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Königsberger Klopse may no longer get as much love as they once did, thanks to an influx of newfangled foodie establishments, but die-hards can still find the classics at these beloved eateries.
Let’s face it: there’s a good reason why a city whose most famous contribution to the gastronomic world is the currywurst was long the butt of culinary jokes. These days, much has changed and Berlin is one of the most exciting places to dine on the continent. In the rush to embrace Asian fusion, authentic Neapolitan pizza, and trendy taco trucks, however, many Berliners have abandoned some of their old staples, which is a shame. Heavy, hearty, and often conceived more out of necessity than any high minded gustatory ambitions, traditional Berlin dishes are nonetheless deeply comforting and well-worth seeking out.
Born from the ashes of the pop-up eatery Kantine, Lokal proves that time-tested German staples need not be stuffy or boring. The menu, which rotates weekly to reflect what’s in season, might feature dishes such as trout with green beans, pumpernickel and a yogurt-dill sauce or lamb with white beans, asparagus and sour cherries. Though less dogmatic about its “locavorism” than Nobelhart & Schmutzig, the restaurant keeps the focus squarely on exceptionally sourced regional produce.
KaDeWe is one of the rare places in Berlin where it’s possible to taste dishes from all over the world. From southern French seafood dishes at Bouillabaisse to fiery Thai specialties at Papaya Royal the timeless, decadent duo of oysters and champagne at Austernbar, this cosmopolitan space has something to satisfy virtually every gourmand’s craving. Yet this restaurant, which prides itself on serving subtly updated versions of local classics, remains one of the most popular places to dine.
In recent years, brunch places hawking avocado toast and eggs Benedict have become ubiquitous across the Hauptstadt. While there’s nothing wrong with a fluffy stack of American-style pancakes dripping with maple syrup, Germany’s sturdier take on the morning meal has an old-fashioned appeal. This rather lovely spot in Prenzlauer-Berg keeps it simple, but executes dishes like bircher weißwurst with sweet mustard with extra aplomb. Order up a heaping plate of top-flight charcuterie and cheeses served with crusty sourdough bread or a butter-stuffed pretzel.