Berlin insiders' guide: Restaurants

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The following is part of a series of visitor guides to Berlin. See also:
Berlin on a budget | Relaxing | Jewish Berlin | From the locals | Bars | Culture | Shopping

Some might think that eating out in Germany comes down to just hamburgers and frankfurters, but in fact that's the Wurst thing you can eat. Berlin has a wealth of great dining spots, ranging from traditional German fare, top Italian and French gastronomy and a wide variety of ethnic food. Below are The Hollywood Reporter's tips for a good plate within striking distance of the Potsdamer Platz. Guten Apetit!

Complete Berlinale coverage

Gropius Mirror Restaurant
Address: Stresemann Strasse 110
Tel: 030854700701
Price: two-course lunch, 19.80 euros
Attendees at the EFM's premises in the Martin-Gropius-Bau have their own lunch spot right on the doorstep. The restaurant is housed in a spectacular round wood-paneled and mirrored marquee at the back of the market building. The menu includes smoked salmon, goat's cheese salad, wiener schnitzel and pasta of the day. The 250-seat Mirror is open at lunchtime only, from noon-3 p.m.

Hasir (website)
Address: Nearest to Berlinale HQ is Hasir Mitte, Oranienburger Strasse 4, Tel: 03028041616; also Hasri Kreuzberg, Adalbert Strasse 10
Tel: 0306142373
One of the most prevalent ethnic cuisines in Berlin is Turkish, and a reliable address is Hasir, with half-a-dozen outlets across the city. The menu is a typical eastern Mediterranean offering with delicious appetizers such as hummus, roasted eggplant, stuffed vine leaves and cucumber in yogurt and mint. Main courses include flame-grilled kebabs and dishes cooked in a clay pots.

Bejte Ethiopia (website)
Zieten Strasse 8
Tel: 0302625933
Price: 8 euros-12 euros
Berlin's one true Ethiopian restaurant provides the ideal break from industry crowds and standard European fare. Low-key and self-effacing, the place doesn't look like much, but the food more than makes up for it. Be sure to try the tasty mead, served in a flask and the perfect drink to wash down the enjera bread and generous portions of Ye-bery sga tibs.

Ristorante Romagna

Address: Stresemann Strasse 95/97
Tel: 030265173031
Price: 8 euros-12 euros for a main course.
No-frills Italian cuisine right across the street from the Martin-Gropius-Bau. Just the spot for the quick business lunch between meetings. Big portions, reasonable prices and friendly staff -- think anti-Cannes.

Vau (website)
Address: Jager Strasse 54/55
Tel: 0302029730
Price: Lunch menu at 14 euros/course, set dinner at 110 euros
Open: Monday-Saturday
Located in Berlin's upscale Gendarmenmarkt district, Vau is run by chef Kolja Kleeberg and his wife Petra. (Kleeberg is one of the chef's participating in the Berlinale sidebar Culinary Cuisine.) Vau is an elegant, elongated dining space decorated with bold cityscape paintings. Service is formal, and Kleeebrg describes his cooking loosely as "Berlin cuisine," wishing to avoid pigeonholing. The quality is first-rate and the presentation elaborate. Vau is heavily booked around the Berlinale, but things change rapidly, and Kleeberg says calling at the last minute can secure a free table.

Dressler (website)
Address: Unter den Linden 39
Tel: 0302044422
Price: 20 euros-40 euros
A bustling prewar brasserie with 1920s decor and a French-heavy menu. Dressler's setting and old Berlin style more than make up for its sometimes hit-and-miss cuisine.

Pasternak (website)
Address: Knaack Strasse 22/24
Tel 0304413399
Price: 25 euros-30 euros
Named after the "Dr. Zhivago" author, Pasternak is a Mecca for Berlin's Russian community. Just down the street from the Berlin Synagogue, Pasternak specializes in Russian and Jewish cuisine -- the perfect break from all those pork-heavy German meals. In the evenings, a piano player provides an extra touch of class.
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