Starter Pack: Berlin

First of all, welcome to Berlin! What I've done here is compiled a "starter pack", a list of the "musts" in the city, the best places to hit for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, coffee, a snack, drinks and my favorite events to get you started off right in the city.  Leave your own tips, reviews and "musts" below to let me know what you think is essential to the Berlin foodie experience!

Roamers: Roamers first caught my eye (and my Instagram) with its amazing decor and overall vibe that reminded me of Arizona or a café straight out of a hipster version of the Breaking Bad set complete with cacti and mesa clay colored walls. It sticks out against the grey walls of it's street in Neukölln for all the right reasons.  Style aside, the menu is as inspiring with fresh juice and coffee and delicious savory breakfast choices like avocado on toast, poached egg plates and shaksukah, and sweet like fruity yoghurt granola jars and french toast.  

Bastard: New on the scene, Bastard has been impressing food lovers and critics alike with its impressive portions and variety of breakfast plates.  Unlike many other cheese plates popular at breakfast spots in Berlin, Bastard offers a very large range of cheeses (we counted at least 9).  Variety is the spice of life!

Salon Schmück: This breakfast hotspot is a classic, having been around for years. A style that sends patrons back to the 60s and 70s, there is nothing tired and old about the menu, large plates of meats, cheese, eggs and fruits can be found on the menu along with classic breakfast and brunch menu items like pancakes, eggs and french toast. 

Cabslam California Breakfast Slam: trendy, cool and funny cabslam matches its personality with tasty American brunch style choices. It's a crowd favorite, I have yet to hear of an unhappy customer.

Nalu Diner: Like Cabslam, Nalu serves up American style breakfasts and lunch food that tastes completely authentic and acts that way too with little touches from the decor to free water refills feel like stepping across the pond right into the US of A.

Alpenstück: Alpenstück is a typical german style eatery.  The restaurant provides authentic breakfasts of cheese and meat plates or pastries in the morning and early afternoon followed by real german dinners in the evening.  The bakery across the street of the same name offers those pastries as well with the addition of fresh baked breads.

Mustafa's Gemüse Kebap: An institution in Berlin, expect to wait in line up to 2-3 hours at peak times for one of their kebaps.  Mustafa's is beloved by both tourists and locals who praise their unique flavors and preparation and their authenticity. Mustafa's still stand at the same little kiosk in Mehringdamm and prices have never increased, their classic order costing €2,90.

W Der Imbiss: Vegetarians, this one is for you!  Berlin is known for being a great place for vegans and vegetarians as, due largely to the fact that these eating lifestyles are increasingly popular in the city, more and more specialty dining locations are opening up all over the place.  One that definitely stands out is W der Imbiss.  Being a meat-eater but a foodie none-the-less, I have eaten in many of these vegan or vegetarian focused spots a large majority of the time miss my protein, but here I never got that feeling.  The food is amazing and I would take it over steak almost any day.

The Klub Kitchen: Classy, slick and modern, Klub Kitchen is the perfect business lunch for the health and image conscious. Minimalistic and modern sleek decor aside, the food stands up to the surroundings with most healthy meals with bold and unexpected flavors. A trendy place favored by young professionals in the upscale Mitte neighborhood.

Salumeria LamuriSalumeria Lamuri is a beautiful, authentic piece of Italy with no substitutions for the foreign palate, meaning that the food is made their way, the true Italian way, and rightfully so. Small but charming beyond with the beautiful tile work and walls lined with bottles of wine, olive oil and other Italian food goods, Salumeria Lamuri offers far more in the realm of aesthetics. This is definitely one of the nicer decors I've seen in this city. The lunch menu here is was damn good, time after time, from the pasta to the pastry. 

Mogg & Melzer: Mogg & Melzer is very popular amongst Berliners and is increasingly drawing in a tourist crowd after being featured in a New York Times article and video.  This Jewish delicatessen in the upscale Oranienburger Str. area of Mitte (also home to favorite dessert spot Princess Cheesecake - see below) is most famous for its unbeatable pastrami served with classic pickles on the side.

District Mot: District Mot is steadily becoming the most popular food destination in Berlin and with good reason.  Not only is the Vietnamese inspired street food to die for, but the whole vibe of the place is made to make the diners feel like they're on the streets of Saigon enjoying the local treats. I've been multiple times and have ordered something different on each of the visits and haven't been disappointed yet. A real A+ in my book.

Neni: Situated in the cool and modern new 25 Hours Hotel in Bikini Berlin at Zoologischer Garten, NENI was always destined to be one of the trendiest restaurants in Berlin. A concept by restauranteur Haya Molcho, NENI boasts an incredibly tasty fusion of Persian, Russian, Moroccan, Turkish, Austria, Spanish and German cuisine. If not for the food, go for the breathtaking panoramic view of not only the Zoo, but all of Berlin. The best view I've seen here so far. If you're not particularly hungry but still want to check out the view, pop into Monkey Bar next door for drinks.

Chutnify: Oh my, the flavors! It's like someone spilled the entire spice rack in perfectly balanced doses into the pot at this Southern Indian street food locale. Chutnify gets it right with a spice profile that is very much present, but not over done.  The meal can be pretty filling, so come hungry, and be sure to make a reservation, they have been packed since opening to rave reviews last year. The menu is full of awesome choices, so luckily they've set up a tasting option with a mix of chutneys and dosas to try it all!

Burgermeister: Burgermeister joins the ranks of Mustafa's and Berghain as far as icons in Berlin go.  Located in a redone restroom under the U-bahn train tracks at Schlesisches Tor, one could be mistaken to think its just another Imbiss, but it's so much more than that.  Their burgers are a classic and some of the best you'll find in Berlin.  An absolute must as a part of the Berliner experience if you ask me.

Silo Coffee: Silo joined the big leagues recently with its addition of a delicious breakfast menu, but most people already knew it as a cosy and modern café with an amazing brew and a no frills kind of vibe, focused solely on the coffee. 

The Barn: The Barn has arguably the best cup of coffee in Berlin.  Berliners are serious about this title and can argue very fervently about their personal faves, but one name that constantly pops up as an almost unanimous positive review is the Barn. They take their brew very very seriously and that passion shines through with a focus on the bean and the banning of laptops in the coffee house forces customers to take a break, enjoy their drinks and really appreciate the experience. 

Sankt Oberholz: Although many coffee houses and cafés are trying to wain their patrons off their mobile devices by banning their use in their establishments (see The Barn), Sankt Oberholz embraces it with readily available sockets at every corner and more than enough desks and tables for busy professionals, students needing to get out of the house or library to enjoy a coffee and get some work done and visitors looking for free wifi or a nice spot to chill.  Even if you're electronice free, Sankt Oberholz offers a large selection of drinks and snacks that can be enjoyed inside or out (in sunny weather of course) which due to its central location at Rosenthaler Platz, makes for the perfect spot for people watching and soaking in the sun.

Princess Cheesecake: Like Mogg and Melzer (above in Lunch), Princess Cheesecake is anchored in an upscale part of Mitte and caters to it.  Their shop is elegant and sophisticated presenting the absolute best cheesecake in Berlin (second is hotly debated between Silo - see below, and Five Elephant).  Not too far is the MonBijou park, perfect in the Spring and Summer for taking a slice of cheesecake to go and settling into a Berlin tradition, parks.

Cupcake Berlin: Much smaller in recognition than Princess Cheesecake and in a much more laid back and trendy neighborhood in Friedrichshain, Cupcake's menu offers drinks and sandwiches for lunch and cool refreshing beverages, but most people will come here for, of course, their amazing cupcakes!

Crack Bellmer: This is my favorite place to go for drinks in Berlin and I take everyone who visits here.  Why? Because there is something for everyone at this bar/club.  Inside yo'll find drinks that range from beer to cocktails and a hybrid vibe of bar and club, with a dance-floor and Dj on one side and a collection of couches and a füßball table separated off on the other. 

Primitiv: Not far from Crack Bellmer is the bar Primitiv which is entirely categorized as a bar.  It hosts a really chilled out vibe and good, reasonably priced drinks.  Great for a nice pint.  Warning though, like most bars, smoking is allowed indoors and Primitiv in particular doesn't have a great ventilation system so it can get pretty smoky in there.  Asthma sufferers steer away.

Street Food Thursday: This is by far my favorite place to eat in all Berlin.  Every Thursday Markthalle Neun in Kreuzberg hosts Street Food Thursday, a collection of food stands run by food trucks, restaurants, cafés and chefs from across the city. Although some appear every week, the roster, curated by food experts, changes often and something new appears every week.

Burgers & Hip Hop:  Burgers and Hip Hop features the best of the Berlin burger scene and hiphop music from the last decade and today.  This event, hosted a few times a year in the trendy Prince Charles hosts new competitors each time competing for the title of Berlin's Best Burger crowned by Stil in Berlin and the judging panel (which I had the honor of being a part of).  One of the coolest and now most popular events in Berlin.

The Breakfast Market: Of all the events, this one in the rarest, but get lucky and snag the pink unicorn that is The Breakfast Market and you'll have stumbled upon a real winner. This is quite simply Street Food Thursday but for breakfast and brunch foods. Unfortunately, it takes place very seldomly. Find out when here.


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