Fine dining may not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think of Berlin, but in recent years the city’s gastronomic scene has been undergoing a mini-revolution. The influx of internationals over the last decade has brought with it several eager young chefs, who are setting up their own restaurants or teaming up with some of Berlin’s most highly regarded restauranteurs to challenge the perception of Germany’s dining culture.
Today, it’s not usual to hear Berlin referred to as the epicenter of German cuisine reinvention and the city is rightly earning its place on the global gastronomy map. Although still not on par with the likes of Paris and London, the German capital has a number of fine dining venues that are worthy rivals to their metropolitan counterparts.
As well as mouthwatering menus and extensive wine lists, several of these gastronomic spots are located within historical buildings that are worthy of a visit alone. Inside, they have been remodeled with slick decor and elegant furnishings while preserving all the character of the original locations, making for a full first-class feasting experience.
With Highsnobiety’s main office located in Berlin, Founder David Fischer is very familiar with the gastronomic scene. As part of our City Experiences with American Express, we asked him to weigh in on the city’s top spots for gourmet dining. If you’re feeling flush next time you’re in town, make sure to take note.
For a true fine dining experience and hands-down the best steak you will find in this city, head to Grill Royal. Aptly named, this restaurant is known for its extensive selection of succulent aged prime steaks and freshly caught wild fish. The brains behind Grill Royal are largely responsible for fueling Berlin’s fine dining revolution, so this popular spot books out quick—even Kanye has dined there. Alongside incredible food and drink, the restaurant’s setting overlooking the River Spree is worth the extra dollars, too.
Hidden away in a stunning courtyard in Mitte, Katz Orange is spread over two floors of a disused brewery and boasts bare brick walls and slick wooden furnishings. Katz Orange prides itself on its conscious thinking—carefully sourcing seasonal ingredients that have been grown and harvested mindfully. Although short, the menu offers an enticing selection of wholesome, consciously prepared, and extremely flavorsome dishes such as mouthwatering 12-hour slow roasted pork or lamb (which you can get a second serving of). Not so limited is the wine list, which has more than 150 types to choose from.
Pauly Saal is one of the most stylish locations in the city. Situated in a former gym hall in Mitte, the venue is fitted out with dark green velour sofas, wooden furnishings, tiled walls, and an unusual work of art in the form of a six-meter rocket (we’re not kidding, it’s a genuine rocket) that hangs above the kitchen. Chef Arne Anker took over the kitchen in 2015 and rewrote the menu to create a cutting-edge repertoire of gustatory delights that are a pleasure for both the eyes and the taste buds. Make sure to leave time for a drink before or after you dine, as next door is the restaurant’s own cocktail bar which serves up some of the finest concoctions in town.
Zenkichi is the closest you’ll get to Japan without leaving the city. Situated in the basement of an unremarkable office building, the interior of the brasserie has been completely redesigned to replicate the ambiance and decor typical of Tokyo restaurants. The food pays homage to the flavors and craftsmanship of Japanese cuisine with a menu of contemporary dishes and a carefully curated selection of premium Junmai Sake to go alongside. But it’s not just about the food, and with its semi-private bamboo booths, black lacquered wood decor, and warm hospitality—a rare find in this city—you’ll enjoy a holistic, authentic Japanese dining experience.
Chef Dalad Kambhu is taking Berlin’s Thai cuisine to the next level with her refined contemporary creations. Born and raised in Bangkok, she arrived in Berlin following a decade-long stint in New York. After a successful two-week pop-up that caught the attention of the minds behind Grill Royal and Pauly Saal, she opened her own location in Berlin’s Schoeneberg neighborhood. What she serves up is unique. Her recipes are filled with real Thai flavors, but she switches out ingredients for local options where possible to keep the dishes as fresh as possible. “Kin Dee” means to eat well in Thai—and here, that is exactly what you’ll do.
Hidden in the courtyard of an old factory on the vibrant Potsdamer Strasse, Panama’s philosophy is to balance the longing for the exotic with the comfort of home. With that in mind, Head Chef Sophia Rudolf has created a menu of delectable dishes that seem familiar but are made with exotic twists or unusual details. The restaurant’s philosophy carries through to its spacious interior and to its diverse selection of terroir wines.
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- Location Selection: David Fischer