Kumpir instead of sauerkraut – Exploring Berlin’s best international cuisine

JUAN MARTINEZ

October 7, 2021

Kumpir instead of sauerkraut – Exploring Berlin’s best international cuisine

If you want to taste a bite from any region around the globe, Berlin is the place to go.

These are some of the most diverse, delicious and best places to try international cuisine in Berlin.

“Berliners love to eat sausages and schnitzel”. This is probably the most common misconception about the citizens of the German capital, as Berlin is considered by most completely different than any other German city. Berlin is a cultural melting pot where everyone comes from somewhere else and trends, culture and cuisine are constantly evolving.

This is the city where is normal to have a traditional Turkish breakfast, get a Greek meze for lunch and finish the day eating Moroccan tagine.

Where to go and what to eat with this plethora of flavours? These are some of the most exotic and delicious international cuisine styles you can try while visiting Berlin.  

Markhalle Neun in Berlin
Markhalle Neun is one of the best places to find international cuisine in Berlin

DID YOU KNOW?
Culinary magazine Saveur chose Berlin as the vegetarian and vegan capital of the world back in 2015. 6 years later there is more vegan restaurants than ever and it is probably impossible to go to a restaurant in Berlin and not find a vegetarian option.

Vegetarian options at Markhalle Neun
Vegetarian and vegan options are the most popular in Berlin

Turkish

With thousands of Turkish arriving in Germany in the 1960’s, Turkey’s cuisine in Germany is visible everywhere you go. And while a delicious and very beloved Kebab is always a good choice, the Turkish culinary influence in Berlin goes way beyond that.

The Turkish Market in Berlin is one of the most popular and biggest markets in the city and there is probably not a single area in Berlin, that has no Turkish options for eating outside.

Furthermore, with Berliners having an incredible love for the most known German/Turkish dish ever existed, the Döner Kebab, it is surprising to know that other traditional Turkish dishes like the kumpir, a baked potato filled with everything possible, or a çiğ köfte, a spicy paste made of bulgur, are becoming the first choice for many who don’t eat meat.

Berlin has thousands of choices when it comes to Turkish food, but these are the best places to eat:

Turkish food in Berlin
Turkish food in Berlin is known for strong middle eastern tastes and the use of spices

Tugra

Kurfürstendamm 96

Located in one of the fanciest districts in the city, Tugra is a place to experience Turkish fine dining. Offering great options to taste some traditional dishes with a modern and local twist, this is a place you shouldn’t miss – especially if you are looking forward to taste Turkish food at its full splendor.

Imren Grill

Karl-Marx-Straße 75

Traditional setting and constantly visited by Turkish immigrants and Germans with Turkish background, Imren Grill is the place to go in Neukölln if you want a proper Turkish meal. And while their soups and dishes of the day are simply amazing, Imren Grill is known for having the best kebap meat in the city – a quality and flavour you would usually find only in Turkey.

Alisna

Oppelner Str. 3

This family run restaurant is a hidden gem in Berlin. Located in the eastern side of Kreuzberg, this is a great spot to taste traditional Turkish delicacies and quick bites for a very good price/quality ratio. But remember, a visit to Alisna is not complete without trying their perfectly prepared kumpir – probably the best one in the city.

Vietnamese

Why are there so many Vietnamese restaurants in Berlin? This is a frequent question I hear from new people in Berlin. They are almost everywhere you go and in districts like Charlottenburg or Prenzlauer Berg, there seems to be 3 or 4 restaurants serving Pho on the very same street.

However, the reason of it is not recent, and in reality, quite complex. On one side, large groups of Vietnamese arrived in East Berlin as temporary contract workers by the Soviet Union. On the other side, thousands of Vietnamese arrived as refugees between 1975 and 1986 escaping from the war.

Today, the war is over and restaurants serving traditional delicacies from the South East Asian country are all over the city. Vietnamese food became one of the most popular cuisines among Berliners, and the quality and freshness of the ingredients here can be as comparable as in Asia.  

These are some of the best Vietnamese restaurants you can find in Berlin:

Vietnamese food in berlin
Vietnamese food is known for being healthy and not very heavy.

Maison Umami

Schlesische Str. 5

Considered by many one of the best restaurants in the city, Umami set a standard of how good Asian food can be in Germany. With several locations across Berlin, serving always fresh ingredients and offering a very diverse menu combining flavours from different parts of East Asia, Umami might not be so Vietnamese anymore, but their quality and service is so good, maybe they should have a list on their own.

Duc Ahn Quan

Herzbergstraße 128. Hall 3

Located in the Dông Xuân Center, the biggest Asian market in Germany (and maybe even Europe), Duc Ahn Quan is as real as it can get. There are no fancy menus, matcha-chia smoothies, or fancy cocktails to finish your meal. Duc Ahn Quan is simply tasty and authentic – this can be considered a short trip to Vietnam, without leaving Berlin.

Đistrict Một

Rosenthaler Str. 62

Even though some consider it a little bit too gentrified by the city itself, Đistrict Một still keeps the traditional style as their core. A great place for getting a real taste of Vietnamese cuisine and finishing your day, Đistrict Một is a place you can visit every day, if you really enjoy the flavor of Vietnamese food.

Sudanese

With the increase of foodies in Berlin searching for new flavours from all over the globe, Sudanese cuisine has found its spot in this large city. Sudanese cuisine is simple, quick to prepare and just delicious. And while there is not a proper restaurant offering a higher standard of dining experience, yet, there is nothing better than finishing a long day of work with a Sudanese makali and falafels with peanut sauce on a diner.

There is a new comfort cuisine in Berlin – Sudanese mix plates are here to stay.

These are some of my favorite Sudanese diners in Berlin:

Read more: Visiting Spreewald – The Venice of Germany

Sudanese Food in berlin
Sudanese food in Berlin is known for using ingredients from the Middle East cuisine and the use of peanut,

Dar4

Reinickendorfer Str. 95

A bit distant from Berlin’s key attractions, a visit to Dar4 is worth it on its own. I visited Dar4 for the very first time after a friend recommended it and since them, I’ve not found a better place to taste this delicious international cuisine in Berlin.

Offering a variety of sauces you rarely find in another diner, Dar4 is a place to visit over and over again.

Nil

Grünberger Str. 52

Located in the heart of Friedrichshain, Nil offers a variety of dishes for all tastes. From simple, but mouthwatering bites like their manioc fries with peanut sauce, to large plates to share for meat eaters, vegetarians and vegans.

Lebanese

Middle eastern cuisine has been dominating Berlin’s food choices for the past years. It is exceptional and simply mouthwatering, no matter where you eat it. It is a combination of spicy and fresh flavours in which each single bite feels different.

There is even lists where the best falafel, hummus or halloumi is to be found in Berlin. And while these classics are always a safe choice to go, those who explore other more exotic options, might end up pleasantly surprised and with a new favorite dish to talk about at home.

These are the best choices for Lebanese food in Berlin

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Libanese food Berlin
Libanese food is known for using diverse spices and different flavours.

Ali Baba

Krossener Str. 17

This is by far my favorite diner in Berlin and the only place I always go, where I have a new visitor dropping by. Always fresh and simply delicious, Ali Baba is Lebanese street food at its best.

The quality here is so outstanding, that even though they are located in one of the busiest streets for restaurants in Berlin, you will always find a huge line waiting their turn.

QADMOUS

Am Friedrichshain 1

Serving different kinds of meze options, QADMOUS is a place to share and appreciate the flavours of the middle eastern cuisine. No matter if you just order some hummus and bread or a full mix plate with veggies and meats, you will never leave this place disappointed.

Habibi

Goltzstraße 24

Another simple diner offering excellent quality, Habibi simply shows that you don’t need to operate a fancy restaurant to keep customers happy. Their grilled sandwiches are perfect for those in a hurry, while their big plates are excellent for sharing and enjoying in calm.

Ethiopian

Ethiopian cuisine is exotic, spicy and completely different than everything everywhere else in the world. There is no cutlery on the table and it is difficult to know what is spicy, sour or mild.  It is definitely an experience on its own and a culinary adventure everyone should embark at least once in a lifetime.

Even though Berlin does not have a very large Ethiopian community, its cuisine is here and is stepping loud. It became a great option for foodies exploring new flavours and unlike other cuisines that established their style on diners, an Ethiopian meal requires to make reservations, take your time and simply enjoy the journey.

Where to go an eat Ethiopian? There are just a handful of options to eat Ethiopian in Berlin, and while each one of them is simply excellent and offers the full package, I think my favorite place would be Bejte in Schöneberg.

Read more: Why do Germans drink so much sparkling water?

Ethiopian food in Bejte Berlin
Ethiopian food can be very spicy and its eaten normaly using only the hands.

Bejte

Zietenstraße 8

Offering coffee ceremonies at night, a very traditional atmosphere and excellent dishes to choose from, Bejte is a perfect place to visit if you want to get a glimpse of Ethiopia in Berlin.

Don’t forget to try their honey wine, a traditional sweet wine from Ethiopia that is consumed in some sphere shaped bottles – definitely something new to try.

WANT MORE: Curious to try Nepalese, Cambodian or even Venezuelan cuisine in Berlin? The book “50 kitchens, one city” from DW shows you 50 restaurants from 50 different countries located in Berlin and the recipe of their best dish.

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