♦ Kreuzberg ⇔ Neukölln ⇔ Friedrichshain ⇔ Prenzlauer Berg ⇔ Berlin-Mitte ♦
I seriously can’t get over Berlin. Every visit makes me long for the next one even more. Some aspects just make it more exciting than Hamburg: from all the international people to superior breakfast spots, superfood cafés, parks and forests, decent (I don’t wanna compare anything to Copenhagen) bike paths and – now to become a refugee home – the Tempelhofer Feld.
Here, the best saying I learned about Berlin – from a guy who comes from San Clemente, CA, now lives in Bali and was eating breakfast just next to us with a similarly transplanted Belgium friend.
“Weekends don’t exist in Berlin”
Funny enough, just after that breakfast at Roamers (which definitely is worth an hour bike ride to, an hour wait for a table followed by some patience after ordering) we walked by a store splattered with the words “Everyday is Sunday”. Berlin seems proud of its reputation; for good reason.
Where to have a meal:
Breakfast during the week might as well be an Easter brunch… These were some of my favorite places:
Geist im Glas
Starting with Roamers, aka “Coffee & Booze”. They serve the best kale salad I every had… and their twist on huevos rancheros served on large, rustic, metal trays are every bit as good as as Instagram makes them out to be. But “Coffee & Booze”, that is more what Geist im Glas is about. A Kreuzkölln bar, which doesn’t hold back on their weekend’s scrumptious brunches. Take the fluffy dulce de leche pancakes; you’ll get Makers Mark Maple Syrup® beside it – more a whisky then maple syrup! If you’re up for the superfood, raw, vegan version I highly recommend DALUMA. They have mind-blowing breakfast bowls with exotic fruits, chia pudding, acai bowls, cold-pressed juices, smoothies… Breakfast at Distrikt Coffee and Silo Coffee are still on my bucket list for next trip. Our “quick” stops for an afternoon coffee, turned into 45min waits because Berliners decided to splurge a bit more for breakfast. Distrikt’s unique warm bread pudding with a mocha was worth the wait for sure; and the look of their acai bowls, smashed avocado toasts and pancakes really make me to want to come again. Same goes for Silo; they presented their poached eggs and avocado on artisan bread beautifully. There’s no question to why people waited here for over half an hour, just to get a coffee.
On this trip I learned that I don’t have to do much research anymore about where to go eat in Berlin; strolling through the right districts brings them all to you. Like Café Neununddrei, hidden behind the Hackesche Höfe. In German people would describe it as “klein aber fein” – translated to my liking it’d be – “dainty but hip, cute, scrummy and individual”.
Breakfast Smoothie at Café 93
Apart from what these districts offer for the morning hours; Klub Kitchen is a great option till 17:00. It’s a typical, though untypical “lunch” place with healthy and ingenious meals, such as sweet potato glasnoodles with tofu, carrots, spinach and sesame. Shiso Burger is a good option for creative asian burgers; sides of kimchi, sweet potato fries and mochi for dessert.
Mochi at Shiso
Mitte is one of Berlin’s many downtowns so it has all the usual chains, but those don’t hinder the individual boutiques and showrooms from their business. The more you look, the more you’ll find. Stationary stores, tea rooms, vintage outlets, concept stores, … of course danish design everywhere though challenged by Japanese, French and maybe even local upcoming labels? In Kreuzberg and Neukölln you’ll need a bit more patience but every few streets there’s another new book/art/clothing/cosmetic… Berlin-nuevo.
Berlin-Mitte might be buzzing with people, but neighbouring, Prenzlauer Berg is much calmer and wonderful to get to know some quiet streets. Amid Kreuzberg you can escape to the wonderful Görlitzer Park or stroll along the Landwehrkanal, but even better is the Tempelhofer Feld. After many votes the city eventually decided to keep this former airport just as it was and not spend time, money and thought into recreating it. So this great space in the middle of Berlin offers urban gardening, a playground, beautiful sunsets … joggers, a 2000m runway with meter markers – fast track runs would be awesome here! (But for long runs I recommend the Grunewald. Here you’re totally incorporated in nature, passing lakes and might even see a wild boar.)
The distances are somewhat far and public transportation is quite sufficient, however I still recommend cycling. Even after a piercing cold -10º bike ride home, I wouldn’t travel any other way. It’s the best way to get to know the areas, discover connections between all the districts, see prominent landmarks, museums – and best of all: save that money for shopping and eating 🙂
Roamers: Pannierstraße 64, 12043 (Neukölln); Tu-Fr: 9:30-19, Sa-Su: 10-19
Geist im Glas: Lenaustraße 27, 12047 (Mo-Fr: from 18) Sa-Su: from 10
DALUMA: Weinbergstr. 3, 10119 (B. Mitte), Mo-Fr: 8:30, Sa-Su: 10-19:30
Distrikt Coffee: Bergstraße 68, 10115 (B. Mitte), Mo-Fr: 8:30-17, Sa-Su: 9:30-17
Silo Coffee: Gabriel-Max-Str. 4, 10245 (Friedrichshain), Mo-Fr: 8:30-17, Sa: 9:30-19, Su: 10-19
Café Neundrei: Monbijouplatz 2, 10178 (B. Mitte), Mo-Fr: 8-18, Sa-Su: 10-18
Klub Kitchen: Mulackstraße 15, 10119 (B. Mitte), Mo-Sa: 10-19
Shiso Burger: Auguststraße 29 c, 10119 (B. Mitte), Mo-So: 12-24