Living Well

Berlin's Gastronomic Renaissance


Berlin is experiencing a gastronomic renaissance as it adds international allure. Hotels are springing up to accommodate an increasing number of visitors, and new restaurants are mushrooming. With so many talented chefs cooking in the buzzy capital, there’s no excuse for pork and cabbage every night.

Here, in alphabetical order, is our selection for business dining in Berlin.
1. Esswein: Fasanenstrasse 40, 10719 Berlin. Information: +49-30-8892-9288; http://www.esswein-berlin.de
What: Hearty, meaty Palatinate dishes such as Saumagen (pig’s stomach), blutwurst, braised ox, liver sausage and dumplings; some excellent, reasonably priced Palatinate wines.
Why: For heaped plates of earthy German fare in elegant, quiet surroundings. This is peasant food with a refined twist for city dwellers.
Where: On a peaceful square in a civilized, residential part of West Berlin. There’s a large terrace, ideal for warmer weather.
When: With out-of-town visitors who want to try real German food. Esswein opens at 9 a.m. from Monday to Saturday and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Bar: There’s a small one, and a separate, sealed smoking room complete with hide-covered seats and a fireplace.
Private room: Yes, seating 15.
Sound level: Serene, relaxed.

2. Facil: Potsdamer Strasse 3, 10785 Berlin. Information: +49-30-59005-1234; http://www.facil-berlin.de
What: Chic, businesslike restaurant on fifth floor in courtyard of Mandala Hotel with a glass roof that retracts for al fresco dining.
Why: Slick service, central location, Michelin-starred cuisine with tiny, immaculate dishes — a thin sliver of veal with bottarga caviar, leek and nettle or venison cooked with celery and strawberries.
Where: Near Potsdamer Platz — a soulless yet central part of town. Movie stars dine here with their producers and press agents during the Berlin Film Festival.
When: Open for lunch and dinner during the week. Closed on weekends.
Bar: The Qiu bar is on the first floor of the Mandala.
Private room: Not in the restaurant, though a room on the same floor of the hotel accommodates a maximum of 16 guests.
Sound level: Lively in February during the film festival, otherwise calm and laidback.

3. Fischers Fritz: Charlottenstrasse 49, 10117 Berlin. Information: +49-30-2033-6363; http://www.fischersfritzberlin.com
What: Top-rated (and top-priced) hotel restaurant with focus on fish dishes. Recent hits included a seabream tartar with celery and avocado and chargrilled quail with bean salad.
Why: Impeccable service, lots of space and privacy, plus the standard of cuisine you would expect from a restaurant with two Michelin stars.
Where: In the Regent Hotel, near Gendarmenmarkt and Unter den Linden.
When: The three-course lunch menu for 47 euros ($67) is good value compared with four courses at dinner for 110 euros.
Bar: There’s a separate bar in the hotel.
Private room: Yes, for parties of up to 15 persons.
Sound level: Hushed, with carpets and table linen to soak up sound.

4. Grill Royal: Friedrichstrasse 105b, 10177 Berlin. Information: +49-0-288-79-288; http://www.grillroyal.com
What: Steakhouse with panoramic open-plan design, soft lighting and see-and-be-seen appeal.
Why: Great steak. Superb oysters and artichokes. Good celebrity-spotting potential. Don’t expect adventurous cooking, and it’s not cheap, though the wine list offers reasonable value.
Where: On the banks of the Spree, close to Friedrichstrasse station.
When: Business meetings, dates; open daily from 6 p.m. It’s best to go early and in a small group to avoid waits.
Bar: Yes, a long sweeping one with cozy sofas.
Private room: No.
Sound level: The hum of chat and the buzz of business, not so loud that it will drown out your conversation.

5. Maxwell: Bergstrasse 22, 10115 Berlin. Information: +49-30-280-7121; http://www.mxwl.de
What: Modern European cooking in an elegantly converted, neo-Gothic brewery with a pretty courtyard, removed from the hubbub of the city.
Why: Reliably good food, nicely presented, with fish and one vegetarian option as well as robust meat dishes. A relaxed yet refined ambiance, with prices that won’t break the bank.
Where: On a residential street in Berlin Mitte, away from the tourist sights. Maxwell isn’t the kind of place you stumble on — you need to know where it is and you must book.
When: Business dinners, social occasions. The courtyard is one of the city’s best outdoor dining locations in summer.
Bar: Yes. There’s a small one in the restaurant, best suited for pre-dinner aperitifs.
Private room: Yes, seating up to 18 people.
Sound level: Low.

6. Neu Restaurant: Oranienburger Strasse 32, 10117 Berlin. Information: +49-30-6640-8427; http://www.restaurant-neu.de
What: Contemporary European cooking at reasonable prices in one of Berlin’s most touristy districts. This is one of the few restaurants in the vicinity that expects diners to come back and gives them a reason to do so.
Why: Scallops with a cucumber and goats’ cheese spring roll; succulent, dainty quail cutlets, and a squishy chocolate "baumkuchen" layer cake with slices of blood orange were hits. The four-course menu costs 49 euros. The wine list is short yet well chosen, with mainly French and German choices.
Where: In a calm courtyard with a prettily lit conservatory and terrace, meters from the synagogue on Oranienburgerstrasse. Don’t try Googling it — Neu just means new.
When: Tuesday-Saturday evenings, breakfast and lunch at weekends. It’s a pleasant escape from the sightseeing crowds.
Bar: You can order just drinks and snacks at the tables in the entrance area.
Private room: Yes, an attractive space upstairs, with seating for 18 and room for 45 standing.
Sound level: Soothing, a refuge from the masses.

7. Reinstoff: Edison Hoefe Berlin Mitte, Schlegelstrasse 26c, 10115 Berlin. Information: +49-30-3088-1214, http://www.reinstoff.eu
What: Still the classiest restaurant in Berlin two years after it opened and won its first Michelin star. Choose between two menus: "Ganz Nah" (Quite Near) serves local produce; "Weiter Draussen" (Far Away) has more exotic fare.
Why: Exquisite dishes that rely on high-quality ingredients from local organic farms, such as goats’ cheese from the Baltic Sea island of Ruegen, pike from the Mueritz lakes north of Berlin, mozzarella from Jueterbog, south of the capital. The artistic presentation and choreographed service still leave room for a relaxed, informal ambiance.
Where: In the former fire station of the factory complex where AEG made the first mass-produced light bulbs.
When: For a celebration or to impress.
Bar: No. Dinner is served on the terrace in summer.
Private room: No.
Sound level: Relaxed chatter, plenty of privacy.

8. Rotisserie Weingruen: Gertraudenstrasse 10-12, 10178 Berlin- Mitte. Information: +49-30-2062-1900, http://www.rotisserie-weingruen.de
What: Fresh, flavorsome starters and poultry, game, meat and fish cooked on a rotating spit. Bottles from the owners’ vineyard in Palatinate feature in a list of good German and Austrian wines.
Why: Fine dishes in a simple, home-cooked style at reasonable prices (starters and desserts are about 10 euros, main courses start at about 20 euros.) The game and poultry dishes are particularly good.
Where: In a central side street, next to a canal. Some tables are outside. Oddly, you have to go through the entrance hall of a wedding-ring shop to get to the bathrooms.
When: Monday to Saturday from 5 p.m. Dates or business.
Bar: A few stools.
Private room: No.
Sound level: Tables are close together, so you may find yourself eavesdropping on your neighbors’ conversation.

9. Weinbar Rutz: Chausseestrasse 8, 10115 Berlin. Information: +49-30-2462-8760; http://www.rutz-weinbar.de
What: The wine bar and restaurant was awarded a Michelin star in the 2008 guide. It recently reopened after a subtle refurbishment with a bigger, open kitchen, a fabulous menu and some stiff prices.
Why: More than 1,000 wines; experimental cooking with ingredients such as sweetbreads and blutwurst. Some favorite dishes included Wagyu beef with Allgaeu cheese and raspberry; a 1,000-year-egg with morel mushrooms and peas.
Where: A few minutes’ walk from Friedrichstrasse station.
When: For business and private meetings. Evenings only, closed on Sundays and Mondays. The restaurant also offers cooking classes and wine tastings.
Bar: Downstairs is a wine bar with a simpler menu, offering German fare such as roasted blutwurst with leek and mashed potatoes; or shoulder of ox with cabbage and dumplings. This is a smart option for a less formal meal.
Private room: No.
Sound level: Background chatter.

Catherine Hickley writes for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are her own.

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