Berlin hot spots
Berlin's Tourism and Marketing office was proud to announce last month that no less than a dozen Michelin stars have now been bestowed in a city previously celebrated for that peculiar sausage dish known as the currywurst. From celebrity chefs down to funky restaurants and fabulous deals, there is plenty to tempt the hungry beyond Potsdamer Platz.
High End: Michelin Men
Fischers Fritz at the Regent Berlin
Christian Lohse at the Fischers Fritz restaurant remains Berlin's only two-star Michelin chef. The decor is swank and the menu is oriented toward maritime specialties, with the silver lobster press the highlight of the French-inspired selection.
Charlottenstrasse 49, 10117 Berlin Mitte, 030-203-363-63; click here for Web site
The Adlon trio: MA Tim Raue, Restaurant Gabriele, Lorenz Adlon
The Adlon is the only hotel in the world to boast three restaurants with Michelin stars. The latest addition is the Chinese-inspired MA Tim Raue, which was awarded one star this season. The menu includes sea cucumber, suckling pig heart and American wagyu beef. Bjorn Alexander Panek, the chef at the Adlon's Italian restaurant, Gabriele, also has been awarded a new Michelin star for his Mediterranean menu. The Lorenz Adler and head chef Thomas Neeser have boasted a Michelin star for their unusual French cuisine for six years running. Expect elegance and the requisite top prices.
The Adlon Kempinski Berlin: Unter den Linden 77, Am Pariser Platz, 10117 Berlin. MA Tim Raue: 030-301-117-33, Web site
Lorenz Adlon: 030-226-119-60
Restaurant Gabriele, 030-206-286-10
High-End to Mid-Range
Lutter & Wegner, Diekmann in Weinhaushut, Florian's
A number of tried and tested restaurants have survived the city's tumultuous history or made a comeback in recent years. Old favorites include Lutter & Wegner for classic German eats in an elegant setting and Diekmann in Weinhaus Huth for good food and the festival scene. It is one of the city's most famous 1920's hangouts. And don't forget old festival haunt Florian's in Savigny Platz for great wine and classic German dishes in an intimate setting.
Lutter & Wegner: Charlottenstrasse 56, Berlin 10117, 030-202-954-0; Web site
Florian's: Grolmanstrasse 52, 10623 Berlin, 030-313-918-4; Web site
Diekmann: Alte Potsdamerstrasse 5, 030-252-975-24; Web site
Mid-Range: The Throw Backs
Pasternak, Oxymoron and TeleCafe
The Russians may be long gone, but they left behind the chic Russian restaurant Pasternak where you can chow down on blinis and borscht to the sounds of an ancient piano in an old-school setting. Oxymoron, meanwhile, is an elegant throwback to the 1920s, complete with leafy interiors and velvet seats. For the overview, head to the TeleCafe restaurant atop the television tower on Alexander Platz, where German classics are served at an altitude of 207 meters.
Pasternak: Knackstrasse 22/24: 10405 Berlin Prenzl auerberg, 030-441-339-9, Web site
Oxymoron: Rosenthalerstrasse 40/41, 10178 Berlin Mitte, 030-283-918-86, Web site
Telecafe: Panoramastr. 1a 10178 Berlin, 030-247-575-875, Web site
Dubbed the "Berlin coffee queen," Cynthia Barcomi brought great coffee, delicious deli and yummy cakes from her native Seattle to Berlin. Situated in a funky East Berlin courtyard, Barcomi's offers a range of delicious home-cooked deli foods at reasonable prices.
Sophienstrasse 21, 10178 Berlin, 030-285-983-63, Web site
Berlin Kreuzberg is the Turkish hub of Berlin and home to the take-away Tekbir, which is one of the city's best-kept secrets among kebab enthusiasts. The vegetarian pizza also is delicious and well worth the trek. Be warned. There is only one small corner table inside.
Skalitzerstr.23, 10999 Berlin Kreuzberg, 030-612-229-3
This former East German post office is home to a trendy addition to the Berlin dining scene -- a lounge/pizzeria called PizzaStrich. Combining a hip atmosphere and tasty food, the menu includes the Lolita pizza, made with basil, tomato and mozzarella, and the Britney, which comes topped in honey-melon, radishes, gorgonzola and pepper.
Oranienburgerstrasse 36, 10117 Berlin Mitte, 0178-5294308, Web site
-- Liza Foreman
Next page: Nightlife
Like the city itself, Berlin nightlife is constantly evolving -- spreading out to lesser known areas, clustering at times and then breathing life into old standbys that had been lacking visitors for years. Here's a list of what's worth a night out this time around.
Located under a railway bridge just north of Bahnhof Friedrichsstrasse and hidden behind an unassuming metal door, Bar Tausend is a hard place to find. Getting in is also not for the timid, but once you braved the doorman's disinterested stare, you'll be admitted into this metal-and-mirror paneled establishment that could be located in any affluent world capital. Drinks are stiff and inventive, models and actresses sufficiently easy on the eyes and the service as slow as you'd expect from a place you frequent to see, be seen and be snubbed.
Schiffbauerdamm 11, 10117 Berlin, 030-41715469; Tuesday to Saturday from 9 p.m., Web site
Despite its name, the Rodeo Club is not a members-only location, but staring at the long lines forming at the courtyard leading there, one could certainly be fooled. With dining options in the early evening and dancing well into the night, this location has attracted the likes of Quentin Tarantino and German actor Daniel Bruhl (who celebrated his 29th birthday here). The main room, with its high ceilinged cupola, give the place a sense of the faux decadence that has long been the main attraction of Berlin's hidden nightlife spots. Auguststrasse 2, 10117 Berlin, 0177-7041010, Web site
Within walking distance from the Berlinale and located on the 17th floor of a high rise, Solar offers worn-out film professionals a truly breathtaking view of Potsdamer Platz and its surroundings. Discreet lighting and comfortable furniture give the place a relaxed, laid-back feel during the early evening hours, while later, DJs play to the party and dancing crowd. For the nicotine-challenged unwilling to brave the cold Berlin air every 15 minutes, the smoking room next to the bar is another incentive to come here. Stresemannstr. 76, 10963 Berlin,
0163-7652700, Web site; Sunday 10 a.m.-2 a.m., Monday to Thursday 6 p.m.-2 a.m., Friday to Saturday 6 p.m.-4 p.m.
If you have come to Berlin for its famous techno scene, you can hardly do better than Berghain. Located in a 50-year-old heating plant near Berlin's Ostbahnhof (eastern train station), Berghain has long attracted an international crowd of all looks and persuasions -- even though young, fit and gay still seems to be the default position. Getting in can be difficult, so maybe you should mention to doorman Sven Marquardt -- who is actually a well-respected photographer -- that you like his work. Am Wriezener Bahnhof, 10243 Berlin, Web site
Long favored by the staff of nearby Universal Music and MTV-Germany, the Watergate has endured as one of Berlin's prime dancing locations. Situated on several levels in a nondescript riverfront building, one can either listen to house-music on the ground floor or move one level up for a more mainstream sound. The Watergate's most popular feature, its river-terrace (complete with pontoon), will unfortunately not be much of a plus this time of year. Checking out the Web site for special events is advisable, as is getting some of your trendier duds out of the suitcase. Falckensteinstr. 49, 10997 Berlin, 030-61280396, Web site; Friday and Saturday from 11:59 p.m. on
If you want a great cocktail, some fine barfood and can do without frills like live-music, tourists and snobby doormen, Victoriabar is the place for anything between an Americano and Whisky Sour. The low-key, tunnel-shaped location with small booths and a 15 meter bar is elegant but cosy and the bar personnel give every order the proper dedication it deserves. Food is delicious and relatively cheap. Once a month, Victoriabar even hosts a drinking school, featuring a key ingredient like vodka, rum or whisky and lecturing on its creation, history and uses. Potsdamer Str. 102, 10785 Berlin, 030-25759977; Web site