The German capital, Berlin, is the largest city in the country in both population and size with 3.8 million residents. It is also a popular tourist spot with so many attractions like the Berlin Cathedral, Museum Island, as well as the Reichstag Building, Brandenburg Gate, and the Berlin Wall Memorial.
No matter whether you are visiting Berlin for business or play, you have to eat while you are there so make sure you know the best Berlin restaurants. It also helps if you know the traditional German dishes and German cuisine so you know what to order when you go out to eat in Berlin.
Food is the main attraction for many who visit Berlin. You will find 23 restaurants that have one or more Michelin stars. Actually, Berlin has the most Michelin-starred restaurants in Germany. In addition, the city has many food festivals including Berlin Food Week.
You can enjoy some of the best street food in Berlin at one of the many street vendors in the city. Try some of the favorites like currywurst, pork knuckle, perfectly seasoned potato dumplings, and veal schnitzel or if you have a sweet tooth, try the strudel or German donut with powdered sugar, also known as Pfannkuche.
And you do not have to worry, there are also some excellent vegetarian restaurants in Berlin. In fact, you can have both at most street food vendors because many have vegetarian choices as well.
You may choose to eat at a restaurant to sample traditional German dishes. Or maybe while meandering through a market you'll find beef, sausage, and other delicious delights. But first, find a place where to store your luggage in Berlin. Bounce Luggage Storage has dozens of affiliates in and around the city. Remember, Berlin is the place for wonderful wine tastings, too.
Berlin Food: Königsberger Klopse
This meat dish is what most locals refer to as German meatballs. Served with capers and a generous amount of white sauce, Königsberger Klopse is a meatball dish usually made of veal, chicken, or beef alongside vegetables, beetroot, and potato dumplings. Sometimes, you may see it offered with rice or noodles.
The meat is minced and combined with breadcrumbs, eggs, onions, and spices before simmering in saltwater. The white sauce is cooked with the leftover broth from the meatballs mixed with capers, egg yolk, cream, and roux. Some versions use corn starch or flour instead of the egg while others use only the egg.
This delicious German meal is named after the city it came from, which used to be Königsberg, Germany but is now Kaliningrad, Russia. Interestingly, this meatball dish was one of the most popular East Prussian foods. However, after World War II, the city was repopulated with Russians and renamed. The best place to get this dish is at Max & Moritz at Oranienstraße 162.
Berlin Food: Currywurst or curry powder sausage
Currywurst is the most popular dish in Berlin, Germany and you will see it on the menu whether you are at a local pop-up food vendor or a sit-down restaurant. However, it is typically served as a fast-food-type dish. It is a steamed or fried sausage cut into pieces and seasoned with curry ketchup. You may notice that curry powder and curry sauce seem to be in almost every dish.
Currywurst was invented in 1949 by Herta Heuwer after getting ketchup and curry from British soldiers. She mixed the chopped sausage and the spiced ketchup together and loved it, so she started selling it to soldiers and locals before opening the first street stall in 1960. There's even a museum in its honor.
That fast food stand is still there and you can still get currywurst from the original recipe. It is typically served with fries or bread rolls with a glass of craft beer. Another place to eat in Berlin, Germany to get this historic dish is Curry Baude located at the entrance to the Berlin-Wedding Underground Station Gesundbrunnen.
Berlin Food: Wiener schnitzel
Wiener schnitzel is another popular food in Berlin but this one has an actual Austrian law attached to it saying that it has to be made of veal. To make this tasty food, the veal is pounded thin and coated in beaten eggs and breadcrumbs before deep-frying it in butter or lard. It is crispy and light, without too much breading to make it heavy.
It is always served with a lemon wedge and side dishes are typically french fries, potatoes, or sauerkraut. But remember the Austrian law. If your schnitzel is made from anything besides veal, you cannot call it a wiener schnitzel. The flavor is definitely different so you will know the real one when you taste it.
Although you can find schnitzel just about anywhere in Berlin, there are some spots that stand out. For instance, Dicke Wirtin at Carmerstrabe 9 is known for its old Berlin traditions and serves this dish with potato dippers. And the true wiener schnitzel with veal served with potato and cucumber salad can be had at Prater Garten, also known as the Beer Garden at Kastanienallee 7-9.
Berlin Food: Döner kebab
Often served with potato salad or fries, this is a popular fast food item all over Germany and one of the easiest to find and eat in Berlin. It is seasoned meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie cut thinly by a server on a flatbread, pita, or just served on a plate. Döner kebab is most often served with a side dish of sauerkraut and fries.
One of the best places to get the doner kebab is at Teras at Wilhelmstrabe 45. This Kreuzberg restaurant is known for its wide array of choices from the Durum Doner to the Doner Teller. They even have vegetarian doner kebabs. Or you can try the Seven Doner in Prenzlauer berg.
The doner kebab was conceived sometime in the Ottoman Empire alongside dishes like gyros and Middle East shawarma. Brought to this German capital by Turkish immigrants in the 1970s, the doner kebab has grown to cult status.
Berlin Food: Pork knuckle
Whether you are ready to eat in Berlin after a long day of sightseeing or if finding what to eat in Berlin is your reason for being here, the pork knuckle is everywhere. You can even find them at the best restaurants. But they are most often seen cooked on a grill and served as street food.
Also known as eisbein or schweinshaxe, the taste depends on how it is prepared. It can be boiled in saltwater, smoked on the grill, or fried in a deep vat of lard. Most often, you will get it slow roasted over beef joints and served with sauerkraut, potato pancakes, or some other vegetables.
This delicious meal began hundreds of years ago by peasant farmers and was seen mainly in the poorer parts of Germany since it was the least expensive, and often tossed out by the rich. However, today it is found all over the country as well as the world. The spot to go to in Berlin for the best eisbein is Marjellchen Restaurant at Mommsenstrabe 9.
Berlin Food: Pretzels
Also known as brezeln, pretzels are to Berlin what tacos are to Mexico. You may not be able to find them at a fine dining establishment, but you will find them everywhere else from east Berlin to west Berlin. Topped with cheese or served plain, you will never have a pretzel like this anywhere else.
Germans like to say that pretzels have a twisted history because the twisted doughy snack was born in the 7th century (610 AD) by Christian Monks in Europe, they are also said to have been created by an Italian monk who invented them as gifts for children who learn their prayers.
No matter where they began, this delicious snack is often covered in cheese, soaked in sauce, or just eaten plain and served with a cold German beer. You can eat them on the go, making this tasty bread a popular street food. They go with burgers, chicken, potatoes, or any kind of meat too so you may see them on the menu anywhere.
Berlin Food: Apple strudel
You will usually see this called Apfelstrudel at most Berlin restaurants, cafes, and food trucks during the fall season. No matter where you eat in Berlin, you can often find desserts like this on a seasonal menu, especially at those eateries that use local fresh produce.
Although there are some places where you can enjoy the strudel all year long, just in different flavors. If you are trying to find the best apple strudel in Berlin, you will want to try Caffe Gelato at Alte Potsdamer Str. 7. The apples are tender and juicy and the pastry is flaky and delicious.
Although it is often considered to be a German dessert, strudel is the national dish of Austria. The earliest known recipe for strudel was found in a handwritten cookbook from 1697. The book is on display at the Vienna Town Hall Library in Vienna, Austria. The best recipe calls for flaky pastry with apple filling spread between many layers of unleavened dough.
Berlin Food: Chocolate
The largest chocolate store in the world, Fassbender & Rausch, is what puts chocolate on this list. It is also the oldest chocolate shop in Berlin, opened in 1863 by Heinrich Fassbender. Will Rausch opened his chocolate shop in 1918 and competed with each other until merging in 1999. Today it is where you want to eat in Berlin if you are a chocoholic.
At the flagship store, you can browse two stories of chocolates from amaranth to the Zero Bar with white chocolate fudge. Some of the really unique items there are the chocolate Faberge Egg, Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, and the Brandenburg Gate made completely of chocolate. You can even see a chocolate airplane and a volcano.
Head upstairs to the cafe and enjoy 16 types of cakes to 10 kinds of hot cocoa. They have truffles, chocolate-covered nuts, Berlin Bears made of chocolate, pralines, and even chocolate chili. You may need to book ahead if you are wanting to have a seat at the cafe. Otherwise, you can just buy your favorites and take them to go.
Berlin Food Festivals
Anyone who comes to Berlin looking for a taste of local cuisine can often find lots of choices at one of the food festivals held all year long. Berlin Food Week in October is the most well-known and features the most diverse food in Germany all over Berlin.
Eat! Berlin is another special food event, this one serving gourmet foods. It is usually held in early November. If you like everything pistachio, the Pistachio Street Food Festival in late August is for you. You will find all sorts of delights from Watergate cake to pistachio pie.
Bite Club is a street food event in the summer that features a variety of street vendors and trucks as well as businesses that sell food on the go. One such place is Moggs Deli, located in a former Jewish girls school, which sells the best pastrami sandwiches. And for those who love Italian food, the Italian Street Food Festival in the middle of June is amazing. Festival lovers should also read our guide to Music Festivals in Berlin.
What to Eat in Berlin
Start at a spot like Alexanderplatz and venture out in search of good eats! After pigging out on all the Berlin food favorites like potato pancakes, pork sausage, and french fries, you may need to work off some of those calories. Luckily, Berlin has hundreds of miles of trails to explore. For example, Grunewald Park has 21 trails from 1.3 to 64 miles long and Tegel Forest has eight trails from 3.2 to 77 miles long. Some of the best hikes in Berlin are actually in the city center where you can take a food tour and combine two favorite activities: eating and hiking. Or take a day trip to a nearby region for a day of walking and exploring.