When I first visited Berlin in 2008 it was all currywurst and eh, more currywurst. But now, it’s a haven for vegetarian and vegan food (including veggie currywurst you’ll be glad to know). This visit was for a friend’s birthday and whilst we definitely managed to get our fill of drinking establishments, tasty German beers, and the all important techno, I also managed to eat my way round lots of tasty places.
Whilst we did (occassionally) venture out of Friedrichshain we mainly ate within stumbling distance to our apartments. One evening though we ran a surprise pop-up dinner for Emma’s birthday at this amazing kitchen gallery in Prenzlauer Berg where we cooked all the food and had a total ball! We also did a wicked walking tour via Alternative Berlin Tours which I would recommend to anyone, especially if you’ve been before and seen all the main sites.
I totally forgot to take photos of any food or venues, so have included some of sites we saw! So here’s the lowdown off some of the picks of this hip east Berlin neighbourhood.
MACHETE BURRITO BOX: MEXICAN
This was the third trip in a row that I’ve visited this epic burrito joint. It helps that it’s always been a stone’s throw away from the apartment I’ve stayed in, but even if I wasn’t staying further a field I would happily search this place out. They do small or large burritos (why you’d ever eat a small burrito is beyond me) as well as nachos and salad trays. The menu includes vegetarian and vegan burritos, with optional tofu, plus the standard meaty fare, meaning it’s great for a mixed group. There’s usually quite a wait for the food but it is most definitely worth it to have that juicy burrito slopping down your face, and given that you can enjoy their array of tasty beers whilst you wait, it’s no biggie. Bonus points for stocking Fritz-cola drinks which are marked vegan and for the killer chilli sauce – be warned!
Cost: €4-6 per person for mains plus €2 for drinks Address: Neue Bahnhofstraße 29, 10245 Berlin, www.burrito-box.de Open: Mon-Fri 11am-11pm, Sat-Sun 12pm-11pm
CHAY VILLAGE: VIETNAMESE
This vegetarian Vietnamese restaurant was brimming when we got there which is definitely a good sign. The menu clearly states which dishes are vegan, and is really vast – much more than your usual pho or bun options at many other Vietnamese restaurants. Our group feasted on a number of starters – the fried tofu and the tofu dumplings were my favourites – and then mains each (I went for pho which didn’t disappoint). All dishes were fragrantly flavoured and we left with satisfied tummies and still plenty of euros in our purses from the low prices – partly due to it being an alcohol-free restaurant. That wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, giving us a couple of hours respite and the ability to actually enjoy our food! NB: They also have a restaurant in Schöneberg if you decide to leave east Berlin.
Cost: €11 per person for two courses each plus soft drinks and tips Address: Niederbarnimstraße 10, 10249 Berlin www.facebook.com/pages/Chay-Village/286061348088087 Open: Mon-Fri 11:30am-11pm, Sat 3pm-11pm, Sun 2pm-10pm
VöNER: BURGERS AND KEBABS
This place is übercool. It epitomises east Berlin with it’s bearded, croc-wearing, pensive staff. It you can suck that up, then it also does some of the best vegan burgers I’ve ever had. Vöner is an abbreviation for vegan doner. Clever hipsters, huh? These guys were some of the original vegan foodies in Berlin, starting off with a vegan kebab stall, touring festivals, and eventually setting up shop when demand went through the roof. The vegan-tastic menu includes a ‘vöner’ kebab made from soy & wheat, a grain & vegetable patty burger, a seitan burger in a wholemeal bun and even a vegan currywurst. What’s the wurst that could happen?! They also do double-fried chips which can be served with vegan cheese and fried onions. Basically this place is what (vegan cheese) dreams are made of.
Cost: €3-5 for a burger plus €3-4 for chips or other sides Address: Boxhagener Str. 56, 10245 Berlin, http://launch.voener.de/ Open: Mon-Sun: 12pm-11pm
CAFE UEBERECK: CONTINENTAL
Even though we were all slightly delicate come Monday morning, this is undoubtedly one of the best places for breakfast in the neighbourhood. Bar a Lidl-based feast in your apartment obvs. We managed to negotiate the German menu (by negoiate I mean recognise some words and take a guess!). The choices included brilliant salad plates and platters, sandwiches, paninis and plenty of different ways of scrambled eggs. As well as a ridiculous amount of bread! We didn’t manage to work out much more than that but it did the trick, and I have visited before so can vouch that it’s just as good when not as hazy. They open from 9.30am all the way through til 2am, epitomising the German hardcore way of life!
Cost: €6-9 for a main and a drink Address: Sonntagstraße 31, 10245 Berlin, www.uebereck-berlin.de/uebereck.html Open: Mon-Sun: 9.30am-2am
I also ate twice at some falafel place near Boxhagener Platz with a random name like ‘Falafel halloumi cocktailbar’ but that strangely isn’t coming up in my Google searches… It’s definitely worth a mention though (if you know the name please let me know!) as the falafel sandwiches served in wedges of Turkish bread were insanely good. Plus they sell dreamy miniature bottles of schnapps so you don’t even need to stop drinking whilst you stop to refuel. That’s what I call German efficiency.