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Find food, fashion, and fun in one of the city’s poshest districts. Slower than fast-paced Mitte and less achingly hip than Kreuzberg, this neighbourhood has charm to spare.
With its leafy boulevards lined with sidewalk cafes, Prenzlauer Berg is easily one of Berlin’s most aesthetically appealing areas. These laid-back streets boast all sorts of charm, not to mention wonderfully atmospheric pre-war architecture. Spend an afternoon soaking it all at a relaxed pace.
Prenzlauer Berg prides itself in having some of the city’s top tables, including the beloved Gugelhof. This restaurant serves what many consider to be the best Alsatian cuisine in Berlin. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton reportedly paid it a visit during a trip to the city. Leave your dietary restrictions at home and prepare to indulge in hearty fare like slow-braised venison stew with chanterelles and spätzle or Flammkuchen, a whisper-thin tart. Traditionally, the latter is topped with nothing more than a slick of crème fraiche, crispy lardons, and onions, but the chefs here offer a few modern variations, including one with Hokkaido pumpkin, roast beef, mozzarella and plums.
Though there are plenty of hipster-friendly third-wave coffee shops in Prenzlauer Berg area, the best place for Kaffee und Kuchen is undoubtedly Cafe Anna Blume. Order a decadent slice of Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (Black Forest cake) piled high with whipped cream and enjoy it over a long, leisurely cuppa.
It may not look fancy, but Kanaan is one of the neighbourhood’s most significant, wildly popular arrivals in recent years. Oz Ben David, an Israeli marketing expert, and Jalil Dabit, a Palestinian chef and restaurateur whose family has been making hummus for generations, teamed up to bring the food of both of their nations to Berliners. The result is the best hummus around, not to mention shakshuka and other specialties.
Unlike rowdy Kreuzberg or too-trendy Neukölln, Prenzlauer Berg has something of a sleepy reputation when it comes to nightlife. You won’t find techno clubs and weekend-long dance parties here, but there are still a few places for discerning drinkers to grab a more subdued tipple. The best among these is Becketts Kopf, a fashionable speakeasy named for playwright Samuel Beckett. When summer rolls around, be sure to head to Prater Biergarten for a Maß of beer and an oversized pretzel with sweet mustard.
There’s an abundance of excellent food at the Saturday Kollwitzplatz Farmers Market, not to mention locally made ceramics and other crafts. If you happen to be on the lookout for children’s gifts, you might consider a visit to the whimsical Ratzekatz store, where Angelina Jolie apparently once picked up a bundle of playthings for her child Maddox. Finally, if you’re hoping to emulate Berlin’s brand of stylish shabby-chic, head to VEB Orange, a funky thrift store, for vintage duds.