The drinking of beer is an important element of German culture and social life. Don't be surprised to see beers in the morning among sports fans, with businessmen for lunch, and drunk by everybody in the evening. One of the biggest festivals in Germany is world-famous Oktoberfest in Munich. There are also a range of other drinks and alcohols to be enjoyed
Coffee is drunk with breakfast and throughout the day. Coffee and cake (Kaffee und Kuchen) may be enjoyed in the afternoon. It is generally filter coffee, fairly strong. Tea is more common in the Northwest. If you want tap water, ask for Leitungswasser. If you just ask for "Wasser" (water), you will usually receive mineral water. You may need to order another drink to receive water.
A variety of juices are available. "Multi-vitamin" mixes are popular. One of the most distinctive is Kiba, a combination of Kirsch (cherry) and Banana.
Beer is still Germany's most popular drink. Almost every region has its own variety, which cannot be found anywhere else. There are almost 1300 breweries throughout the whole country and it is the second highest number in the world. Berlin has two of its own breweries, Kindl and Scultheiss. Beer is usually served on tap (vom Fass) or in glass bottles. The main varieties are:
Export – light and smooth
Pils – light and strong
Bock – dark and rich
Berliner Weisse is the drink for summer in Berlin and you should expect to see it in every beer garden. It is a cloudy, sour wheat beer of around 3 percent abv. It is typically served in a bowl-shaped glass with flavored syrups, such as raspberry (Himbeersirup), or woodruff (Waldmeistersirup). It used to be the primary drink with over 700 breweries producing it, but by the late 20th century there were only two breweries left in Berlin producing the beer. The name is protected and can only be applied to beers brewed in Berlin.
Jaegermeister is the liquor of Germany. A strong 70-proof digestif, it is made with 56 different herbs. The name means "hunt-master", combining Jaeger (hunter) and Meister (master). It has been produced since 1878 by a family company established by Wilhelm Mast. It was recommended as a medicine.
Wine is also widely enjoyed, with the area around Rhine valley producing white wine being especially notable.
Kirschwasser, often shortened to Kirsch, is a German version of brandy. Since the 16th century it has been made from black cherry juice undergoing the process of double distillation. However, it is clear as it is not aged in wood. Unlike other cherry liqueurs, Kirschwasser is not sweet.
Korn is one of the cheapest German spirits and is made from malt (wheat, rye and/or barley).
Germany has a strong tradition of intellectual freedom and a policy of loose liquor laws. Bars usually only close once the last patron has left.
You must be 16 to purchase alcohol, but (in an unusual move for Germans) most stores do not actively card, especially for beer.
In spite of the German love of beer, Berliners tend to drink cocktails when going out. Many people like to meet their friends in a cocktail bar before clubbing. Prenzlauer Berg (Around U-Bahnhof Eberswalder Str., Helmholtzplatz, Oderberger Strasse & Kastanienallee), Kreuzberg (Bergmannstrasse, Oranienstrasse and the area around Goerlitzer Park and U-Bahnhof Schlesisches Tor), Schoeneberg (Goltzstrasse, Nollendorfplatz, Motzstrasse for gays), and Friedrichshain (Simon-Dach-Strasse and around Boxhagener Platz) are some of the main areas. There used to be many illegal bars, but now they are opened and closed faster than you can find them.
Hops & Barley
Wuehlischstr 22/23, 10245 Berlin
A brewery that serves distinctive home-brew of Pilsners, Dunkel, and Weizens. There is a welcoming front room and a larger room in back.
Kastanienallee 7 – 9, 10435 Berlin – Prenzlauer Berg
There are many Beer gardens that open in the summer, and Prater is the oldest. Serving the quintessential drink of Berliner Weisse, this is the perfect place to enjoy an afternoon.
There are Irish pubs throughout the city, but the pub at Europa Center is one of the oldest and most famous. It also claims to have the longest bar in all of Berlin.
German food gets a bad rap as being heavy, limited to pork, and overshadowed by beer. This misses the abundance of local goods and international influence of the many foreigners who live here. Berlin in particular is heavily effected by it's many Turkish citizens.
Visitors and residents can enjoy the many delights for a lower price than almost any other European capital. All prices must include VAT. It is best to ask if credit cards are accepted as many restaurants, big and small, may not accept.
Popular dining areas include:
Hackescher Markt / Oranienburger Strasse - a popular tourist area, it has been vastly gentrified.
Kreuzberg and Neukoelln - Cheap, Middle Eastern specialties abound here. Doener Kebap restaurants stands dot every corner. Prices start at 1.50 euro for a Turkish pizza. Goerlitzer Bahnhof or Schlesisches Tor are bountiful with inexpensive, quality restaurants.
Kastanienallee - Less gentrified than Hackescher Markt, this area is in the process of being developed but still has Bohemian charm.
Brunch is another important element of the Berlin dining scene. Partly in reflection to the long club hours, all you can eat buffets run from 10:00 to 16:00 on weekends. Prices range from 7 to 14 euros and may include coffee, tea or juice. The selection of food ranges, but is generally amazing.
Dishes in Berlin commonly include pork, goose, fish (such as carp, eel, and pike), cabbage, legumes (such as peas, lentils, turnips, and beans), pickles, and potatoes.
Not to be ignored, there are also extensive options when comes to sausages and sausage dishes.
Despite the pork reliant dishes, vegetarian dining is quite easy to do. There are many restaurants in Berlin dedicated to vegetarian dining and even vegan. Every kebab stand has a good selection of roasted vegetables and meals. Look for the word "Gemuese" which means vegetables. Falafels, Turkish pizza, Gemuesestrudel (vegetable strudel), Ofenkartoffel mit Kraeuterquark (baked potato filled with soft cheese) are all options.
The site, VegGuide, has restaurant listings for cities around the world.
Majas Deli - Vegan bistro offering several dishes of the day, such as lasagne, bakes and curries. Moderately priced, they also offer a catering service.
Address: Pappelallee 11
Tel.: (030) 48 49 48 51
Yoyo Foodworld -- Offers pure vegan organic fast food at low prices. The employees are vegetarians or vegans themselves and will be happy to help you. Traditional fast food dishes, vegan pizza, smoothies and desserts.
Address: Gaertnerstr. 27
Tel.: (030) 49 78 73 84
Yellow Sunshine - Vegetarian / organic fast food restaurant. They offer a wide variety of substitutes, tofu and seitan burgers, salads, soups, gyro, fries, soy milkshakes and coffee specialties. Over 50 percent of the dishes are vegan. Menu is in English.
Address: Wiener Strasse 19
Tel.: (030) 69 59 87 20
Vego Foodworld - Vegan organic fast food restaurant. Large menu offerings with burgers, fries, salads, wraps, home-made pizzas, snacks and desserts.
Address: Lychener Str. 63
Tel: 030 / 60923968
Cafe Vux - Brazilian-inspired menu with bagels, cakes, soups and salads. Plus, Vux serves FairTrade coffee and tea specialties and tropical smoothies. Also offers Sunday brunch.
Address: Richardstrasse 38
La Mano Verde - Vegan cuisine in a unique setting.
Address: Scharnhorststr. 28-29
Tel: 030 / 82703120
Tipping is practiced for satisfactory service with an average of 5-10 percent added. On low-cost meals this may be as simple as rounding up to the nearest euro. However, western Europe servers are not dependent on tips so tips are more conservative than in the United States.
When you wish to pay, you will need to summon the waiter. You can say "Die Rechnung, bitte" which means "The check please". They will bring the bill, and you should tell them how much you're paying (including the tip) and they will immediately give you change.
There are numerous styles of places in which to eat and drink in Berlin. Kneipe (small bars) can be found on just about every corner. Konditorei (cafe / pastry shop) offer coffee drinks, baked goods, sandwiches, and salads. Grocery stores also have some prepared goods like sandwiches and salads.
Krossener Str. 12, Friedrichshain
The first cupcake shop in the city, this fashionable dessert cafe has inventive flavors like "The King" which honor Elvis with peanut butter and banana. Breakfast and coffee is also served.
Kantstrasse 148, 10623 Berlin
This dark and romantic cafe is known for it's delightful dessert offerings, wide drink menu, and modern bathroom.
Simon-Dach-Strasse 41a, Friedrichshain
This coffeeshop is small and relaxed. They serve fabulous coffee, tea, Indian chai and home-made cakes.
Gaertnerstr. 4, Friedrichshain
A homey cafe, there are chocolate croissants, coffee, and carafes of red wine. The cafe is unusual in that you can buy everything here: lampshades, art work, chairs and even the ashtrays.
Wilmersdorferstr. 145-6, Berlin - Charlottenburg
This grocery store/cafe allows you to pick the freshest ingredients and enjoy locally made specialties. Mind-boggling displays of fish, crab, eels, meats, cheeses, and desserts are on show.
A quick, inexpensive meal is easy to find in Berlin. From falaffel, to pizza, to Chinese box, to roast chicken.
Berlin is also the birthplace of the Doener kabob. Doener was developed to suit German tastes by Turkish immigrants in Berlin and has become one of Germany's most popular fast food dishes. Typically it is served with rotating meat cut off a grill, salad consisting of chopped lettuce, cabbage, onions, cucumber, and tomatoes , and a choice of sauces. There is hot sauce (scharfe Sosse), herb sauce (Krauutersosse), garlic sauce (Knoblauchsosse), or yogurt (Joghurtsosse). It is put into grilled flatbread (Fladenbrot). The meal is delicious, cheap, and filling.
Goerlitzer Strasse 1, 10997 Berlin, Germany
Excellent half and whole chicken with salad and pommes (fries). This small stand is just outside of Goerlitzer Park and is one of the tastiest meals in the city.
Currywurst can be found Everywhere, but two of the most renowned are Konnopke's Imbiss below Eberswalder Strasse U-Bahn station on line 2 and Curry 36 opposite the Mehringdamm U-Bahn station in Kreuzberg.
Bayreutherstr. 36, 10789 Berlin
If you are missing American/Mexican food, come to this Chipotle-esque burrito bar. Fresh veggies, soup of the day, housemade salsas & chips, and inventive sauces are inspired by San Francisco's Mission District.
Oberbaumstr. (am U-Bahnhof Schlesisches Tor), 10997 Berlin
If you are missing big juicy burgers- this is the place to go. Once a 19th-century cast-iron public bathroom below the U-Bahn rails, this tiny Imbiss in kreuzberg is the perfect stop off. Burgers are sold a la carte, they also sell fries & drinks.
Frankfurter Allee 42, 10247 Berlin
Large squares of pizza can be bought at all times of day, but Pizza XXL is one of the best. At just 2 euro a square, they have fresh options that they warm for you in the pizza oven and top with fresh reculla, cheese, and chili or garlic oil. Several locations.
Corner of Zionskirchstrasse & Kastanienallee
Superb Indian fusion food, mostly vegetarian.
Thai food is bountiful, inexpensive, and tasty. This restaurant flies ingredients in from Southeast Asia regularly. Service is quick and orders are delightful.
Men with a grill of sausage attached to them are a common site outside Public Transport stations and squares. A tasty sausage and roll are usually 1.50 euro and served with spicy mustard.
Menus (Speisekarte) are usually displayed outside most restaurants. It is normal for strangers to share larger tables in some of the busier establishments. VAT (Mwst) is usually included in the bill.
Address: Jagerstrasse 54-55, Berlin, 10117
Prices: Main courses around 35 euro; lunch 12 euro
For a global spin on German fare, make reservations at this modern bistro in Mitte. Chef Kolja Kleeberg serves delightful dishes like suckling pig with sauerkraut.
Address: Potsdamer Strasse 3, Berlin
Prices: Main courses from 18-40 euros; fixed-price menus 75-110 euros
Located in the Mandala Hotel, this restaurant exudes Zen-like calm. A glass roof, tightly closed for midwinter views of the falling rain and snow, opens dramatically during pleasant weather. Intimate dining room with a medley of extremely sophisticated menu items.
Address: Unter den Linden 78, D-10117 Berlin
Phone: 49 (0) 30 22 65 26 11
This restaurant was awarded a Michelin star. It serves culinary masterpieces such as foie gras and ravioli von Kuerbis.
Address: Bachstrasse 6, 10555 Berlin
Phone: 030 392 76 15
Prices: Main courses from 8-15 euro
Traditional German food served in a homey environment for unbelievably low prices. For the quality of food, this is one of the best deals in the city.
Spreeufer 4 - D-10178 Berlin
Located in picturesque Nikolaiviertel, this brewery serves traditional German food and beer.
Phone: 49 (30) 2033-6363
Formal wood-paneled dining room is one of the grandest experiences in the city and the only one with two Michelin stars. A rolling silver Christofle lobster press and haute cuisine set the mod for an enchanted evening.
Veteranenstrasse 14, 10119 Berlin
This uniquely Berlin venue offers a buffet of vegetarian options with a variety of wines. What truly sets it apart, is that you only pay what you feel the experience was worth.