Lunch tips

Well, your main problem this year has a name: lunch. The bad news is that you don't get it nice and ready, cooked by the organizers with their loving hands. The good news is that you can cater yourself with what your stomach is in the mood for. Well, some of you missed this wonderful chance by booking tickets for the Humboldt Mensa. In this case all you have to do is walk out the conference room and walk into the Mensa. Inside the Humboldt main building there is also a Cafeteria which offers sandwiches, Wurst and other amenities. For those who want to get some fresh air, although you could in principle pick up the first S-Bahn and go anywhere you want, I suggest to stick around the Humboldt Main Building, i.e. Mitte, to get something quick and not too expensive. The closest places are Friedrichstraße Bahnhof, Alexanderplatz, Gendarmenmarkt and some of the places around Oranienburger Straße and Hackescher Markt. As a rule, besides Wurst Imbiss, they all offer some vegetarian dishes. If on the other hand you are on a hurry and want to grab something on your way, then Kebab&Currywurst is your thing...

Friedrichstr. Bahnhof

Walking out the back of the conference site, right across the little yard, you will find yourself below the railway track on Georgenstr. Starting from your left and going along the street on the right you'll see under the railroad, alternating with antiquity shops, many places with tables outside which offer sitting lunch menus at very reasonable prices. As you go further, you get to Friedrichstr. Railway Station where in the day time many quick snack places (Imbiss) offer a wide range of good and cheap food (most of them are closed on Sunday). Behind it, on Schiffbauerdamm and along Albrechtstr., some pricey but nice restaurants mix with more convenient cafes'. Finally, back on Friedrichstr., going from the station towards Unter den Linden and Branderburger Tor some other fast food places and cafes are to be found.
12 Apostel: Italian restaurant. Changing set menu and half price for pizza at lunch.
Deponie: known for live music at night offers good lunch menus at reasonable price.
Restaurant Zur Nolle: Nice German cooking in a typical setting.
Tex-Mex Cantina: small mexican restaurant with set lunch offers.
Berliner Ensemble Kantine: cafeteria inside the Bertolt Brecht founded Theater.
Broker's Bierbörse: small warm meals, ideal for a quick lunch break.
Bonn Hbf.: Brasserie in a nice atmosphere, good lunch platters.
Ganymed: medium priced French and German cuisine.
Cafe' am Schiffbauerdamm: nice atmosphere cafe with good lunch dishes.
KartoffelKeller (Albrechtstr.): Potato based dishes at a reasonable price.
Inside "Bahnhof":
Asia Snack: Chinese and Thai "Imbiss".
Damisch: German sausages and meat dishes.
Pizza Hut: well, sort of pizza.
Chiquito-Chiquito: Mexican Imbiss.
Blums Seafood: Seafood "Imbiss", very nice price/quality ratio.
Friedrichstr. & Unter den Linden:
Suppenbörse (Dorotheenstr.): warm soups Imbiss. Something different...
Cafe Einstein (Unter den Linden): nice Vienna style cafe', try the cakes!
Edo-Sushi (Rosmarinenstr., right behind the Volkswagen palace): Sushi bar...
Theodor Tucher (Pariser Platz): somewhere between a literary cafe' and a restaurant.

Oranienburger Str.

To get there, you can either walk along Universitätsstr. (on the left side of Humboldt facing it) all the way to the river, cross it and then along Tucholskystr. or you can walk along Friedrichstr. in the north direction. The place is packed with restaurants, cafes and Imbiss, with clearly advertised prices as in the best tourist hot spot. Just choose what you like, here is only a selection of my favorites.
Becker's Frites: The best French fries in Berlin are cooked in this truck!
Amrit: Good Indian food with set lunch menu.
Kamala: Good Thai, slightly expensive.
Las Cucarachas: Mexican food.
Cafe' Orange: Nice setting, good and cheap food.
Cafe' Silberstein: full in the evening as disco bar, offers some lunch combinations.
Küchenamt: Fast Italian food, good and cheap.
Aufsturz: Nice cafe' known for its selection of bottled beers. Good German dishes.
Beth Kafe' (Tucholskystr.): Gefillte Fisch!!! Very cheap and tasty Kosher cuisine, a little random opening hours and service.
Dada Falafel (Oranienburger Tor-Linienstr.): Felafel Imbiss, tasty and quick.
Trattoria (Fridrichstr.): Italian cuisine in a nice atmosphere. Reasonable lunch offers
Bar-Celona (Hannoverschestr.): Tapas and more...
Malete (Chaussee corner Hannoverschestr): Anatolian cuisine.

Hackescher Markt

Being the trendiest spot in Berlin, cheap is not the password here. During the day it is still however possible to get something at reasonable prices. Walk along Hinter dem Gießhaus (left of Humboldt facing it), cross the river twice along Bodestr., turn left along the park on Burgstr., then keep to your right passing under the railway track and you're there. Most of the places are under the S-bahn station or opposite to it and along Rosenthaler Str.
Ossena: good Italian food, a little expensive.
Aedes (inside Hackescher Höfe): wonderful place to sit, right in the middle of one of the most beautiful courthouses in Berlin.
Kotobuki Sushi (Neue Promenade): yes, you got it right. Sushi bar.
Aschinger (Neue Promenade): typical German, lots of meat, lots of tourists.
Hasir (Oranienburger Str.): nice Turkish cuisine with reasonable lunch options.
Assel (Oranienburger Str.): Cheap and nice place to get something warm to eat.
Anatre (Rosenthaler Str.): Italian, quick and cheap. How can you go wrong?
Cibo Matto (Rosenthaler Str.): very nice Italian cafe, usually trendy and expensive, offers set lunch menus at reasonable prices, if you can find a seat.
Bagels Bialys (Rosenthaler Str.): Fresh bagels and muffins.
Cinema Cafe (Rosenthaler Str.): Nice setting, cheap lunch dishes.
Restauration Sophien 11 (Sophienstr.): nice wine selection and good priced dishes.
Barcomi's Deli (Sophienstr.): A little nice cafe with some quick lunch dishes.


If Hackescher Markt is expensive, Gendarmenmarkt is outrageous. You can have however a very nice lunch in one of the many restaurants around the square, the price is worth the view, or you can walk in one the big shopping centers which lie between the square and Friedrichstr.: Galeries Lafayette, Quartier 205, 206, 207, all connected through the Friedrichstadtpassagen. Many bistros there feed the hunger of clerks and shoppers at lunch break and are all, obviously, closed on Sunday. Here is a selection of fair priced places in the area. To get there, walk out of the main gate, cross Unter den Linden and Bebelplatz, turn right on Behrenstr. and then left on Markgrafenstr.
Galeries Lafayette: many little bistros offer very good dishes at reasonable prices in the food section of the Galeries, bottom floor.
Bar del Centro (Quartier 207): little Italian bistro inside the shopping mall.
Cafe' in Quartier 206 (Quartier 206): same as above, a few shops further.
e 33 (Quartier 205): same as above, still further.
Löwenbräu (Charlottenstr.): it should be the best bayerisch restaurant in town....
Sushi Circle (Französischestr.): Guess what? Sushi.
Nö! Weingalerie und Cafe (Glinkastr.): Wine bar with nice lunch dishes.
Galleria (Jägerstr.): Italian cafe' with a reasonable lunch menu.
Schlotzky's Deli (Friedrichstr.): Sandwiches and more.


The former pride of the GDR, it is now mostly a tourist trap and thus many fast foods are to be found, good for something quick and cheap. Most of them are  aligned on the north side (Karl-Liebknecht Str.) and around and inside the Railway station. Some good German restaurants (hard time for vegetarians) are scattered around in the Nikolaiviertel. To get there, just turn left on Unter den Linden out of the main gate, and cross the river twice beside the Berlin Dom. Karl-Liebknecht Str. is the name of the street you are on. Going further you can find the station on your right hand side, while after crossing the street right after the second bridge and walking across the Marx-Engels Forum you get to the Nikolaiviertel.
Operncafe': Right across the street from Humboldt, on Unter den Linden, between the Deutsche Museum and the Opera House. Nice with nice weather.
Brauhaus Georgbräu (Nikolaiviertel): Simple and good German food and beer.

Zum Nußbaum (Nikolaiviertel): one of the oldest in Berlin, good German food.
Mutter Hoppe (Nikolaiviertel): good German food at good prices.
Paddenwirt (Nikolaiviertel): one of the few places serving typical Berlin cuisine...
Leopold's (Karl-Liebknecht Str.): bavarian food with nice self brewed beer.

Kebab & Currywurst...

... or the best and cheapest way to get something quick to eat in Berlin! Nothing symbolizes better the Multi-Kulti revolution of the city as its two most famous street foods, Currywurst and Kebab. Both invented in Berlin, both mixing different traditions to meet the ever changing tastes of a ever changing population, both enjoying a precise date of birth and known parents.
The Currywurst came first. Herta Heuwer made the revolutionary discovery on September the 9th, 1949, in her "Imbißbude" in Stuttgarter Platz, between Charlottenburg and Wilmersdorf. The revolution consisted in taking a 100% original German sausage (Bockwurst or equivalent), frying it, cutting it in pieces, sinking it in 100% original american Ketchup and covering it with 100% fake Indian Curry. The Currywurst was born, and it changed the face of Berlin. Served normally with fries (Pommes), it fed generations of clerks, commuters, taxi drivers, policemen and lost souls at impossible hours, killing their livers as well (to enjoy a real Currywurst, you have to eat it at 5 am after a wild night spent dancing and drinking). The original Imbiß is still there, the equivalent for Berlin of the Sacher Hotel in Vienna, so if you want to take a picture and try the original, go ahead (S-Bahnhof Charlottenburg, U-7 Wilmerdorfer Str.).
If Herta was Copernicus, Mehmet was Einstein. A 16 year old just immigrated from Turkey to work in his uncle's little restaurant in Kottbusser Damm, 76 (Kreuzberg), Mehmet Aygün was struggling with the evidence that traditional turkish cuisine, eaten quietly around a table, didn't fit well with the new lifestyle imposed by such a hectic city. On March the 2nd, 1971, he was struck by enlightenment: why not sell the traditional roasted meat instead of in a dish with rice, in pita bread with salad and sauce, ready to go? The Dürüm Döner was born (Kebab being his nickname), ready to conquer the world. It is now sold in every corner of every continent and is a striking evidence of what the meeting of different cultures can do, like Chicken Tikka Masala or Chicken Chow Mein or TTTCPITS (The Thing They Call Pizza In The States). There are now thousands of Kebab stands around Berlin, but look out for what kind of meat they sell: most use some sort of compactified meat loaf (nothing to do with string theory) which tastes terrible. Look for the ones with fresh meat, either beef, turkey or lamb. The name Dürüm is now usually reserved to the version rolled in fresh pita bread, which tastes anyway much better than the regular one in plain bread. Unfortunately the original restaurant in Kottbusser Damm doesn't exist anymore, but Mehmet has made some progress since then and now owns the Hasir chain of turkish restaurants, still serving the best Dürüm Döner in Berlin.
Giuseppe Burgio