Stretching across from Checkpoint Charlie to the river Spree, Kreuzberg possesses a vibrant art and counterculture scene and a plethora of eateries reflecting the diversity of the area’s demographics. From smoky kebab stands to noisy trattorias to brightly-decorated Indian restaurants, almost every resident can enjoy the smells
Often referred to as ‘Little Istanbul’, Kreuzberg has a kebab shop on almost every corner. If you’re only interested in the best, then check out Konak Grill, Adana Grillhaus and Hasir (see below) where it’s claimed the Döner Kebab was invented. For a more relaxed gastronomic experience, head towards the canal, and to the area in the south of Kreuzberg, close to Bergmannstrasse.
Recommended by the majority of travel guides and a favourite of locals too, Jolesch is a beautifully decorated Austrian restaurant – think parquet flooring, mahogany tables and sparkling chandeliers. It’s famous for its Austrian staples – schnitzels, strudels and pancake soups – but dig a little deeper into the menu and you’ll find dishes like stuffed ravioli, octopus and foie gras. Remember to spare some room for the Kaiserschmarren: a caramelised pancake in a plum sauce.
Sebastian Frank, a two-star Michelin chef, puts a modern twist to Austrian cuisine on this canal-side restaurant. Despite its awards and beautiful decor, it attracts an unpretentious crowd and even the occasional dog (pets are welcome). The menu is quintessentially Austrian and in its majority vegetarian with the produce brought in from regional farmers. Tasting menus (5, 7, 9 courses) are skillfully paired with wines from Germany, Austria, Hungary and the Croatian coast.
Built in a former electrical substation, Volt sits on the Paul Lincke Embankment, close to the Turkish market and numerous street fairs. It’s über-cool, with a towering ceiling, polished brick walls, gold-coloured lamps and seating spread over two levels. Choose à la carte or from one of their fixed menus for a combination of abundant and beautifully presented dishes. Come with plenty of time, as service can be a tad slow.
More wine bar than restaurant, Ottorink is the one of the best places in Berlin to sample German wines. It attracts an eclectic, chatty crowd with couples and large groups mingling in a convivial and light-hearted atmosphere. To accompany the Rieslings and Spätburgunders, snacks of olives, cheese, terrines, and slices of sausage can be ordered from the kitchen. Once you’re done with pretending to be a sommelier, bottles can be purchased to take home.
Dresdener Str. 124
It is claimed that it was here, in the heart of ‘little Istanbul’, that cuts of lamb were first served in pitta bread. Since then, the popularity of Döner kebabs has grown exponentially, but this restaurant remains a front runner in Turkish cuisine and popular with visitors. Punters come for the grilled lamb ribs, rich hummus, sticky Baklava and the informal, cheeky service which, on busy nights, can become a bit erratic.
In the past, this venue has hosted a cinema, a Shisha bar and even a club popular with punks before it was converted into an elegant, French-inspired restaurant. Decorated with dark carved wood, chandeliers and the Swiss owner’s private art collection, you can choose from set-menus split into vegetarian and non-vegetarian. Despite its Michelin star and refined decor, the atmosphere is remarkably laid-back.
Köpenicker Straße 174
Curry 36: eyes peeled for a lurking Merkel (Photo: ilovebutter)
It’s only when you walk past places like Curry 36 that you realise how important the sausage is in German society. On any given evening, you’ll find a colourful queue of cabbies, clubbers and uniformed and besuited men outside this sausage stand. They come for the Rostbratwurst, Wieners, Schnitzels, covered in curry ketchup and mayonnaise, and the golden fries and potato salad. Even Angela Merkel has visited… but it’s really hard to imagine.