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Cevicheria Peruvian tongue twisters featured

Dresdener Straße is both the cool older brother of Oranienstraße and the prosperous uncle to Kottbusser Tor. With a wine bar, a whisky club and a cocktail speakeasy, Dresdener does serious drinking and it does it with aplomb. Until 2014, however, the serious foodies were left out in the cold. Neighbouring eateries Gorgonzola Club and Mercosy aren’t half bad, but they aren’t great either—Cevicheria, on the other hand, is all that and then some.

The Peruvian delicacy ceviche, as you might have guessed, is most definitely their thing. (That’s fish cured in citrus juice and spiced with chillies, by the way). It’s all as fresh as anything and goes down with a zing to end all zings. Whatever you do, don’t skip the starters: the fish carpaccio with mango salsa and prawns is the stuff dreams are made of. The mixed ceviche main is a solid introduction to the taste bud-stretching possibilities of this cuisine, and why not finish the job off with with a frothy pisco sour or two? Oh Dresdener Straße, you’re too good to us.

MJ's Foodshop New York, Neukölln

Neukölln does Italians, it does burgers, and it does five-euro Vietnamese. In abundance. What it doesn’t do is proper homemade American food—the greasy, soul-soothing sort that extinguishes a hangover in about 10 seconds flat. OK, so now it does. And it looks like MJ’s Foodshop is here to stay…

Opening in summer 2014, it quickly gained a local cult following: Oh ye that hath tasted MJ’s ambrosia shall spread the word. And how social media feeds did light up with Instagrammed gurgles of joy. Philly cheese steak that melts in your mouth! Mac and cheese just like Mama makes! The best cheesecake in town! (In case you hadn’t noticed, MJ uses a shit ton of cheese).

So, actually, there isn’t one MJ as such. There’s Michael Rosenfeld (roaming chef extraordinaire, from NYC no less) and his business partner Johannes Scharf (local boy who also runs DNP music). Together (M+J) they’ve created a very decent, down-to-earth diner where everything is made in-house, and that’s literally everything: from the lemonade, to the bread, to the mayo-bloody-naise. Be warned: the portions are mighty so go easy on the sides.

La Pecora Nera Black sheep, done good

Somewhere deep down inside, we all have an Italian mamma. And in this joyous make-believe world, she cooks exactly like they do at La Pecora Nera. This being Berlin, however, the chef sports tattoos and untamed whiskers, but trust us, this is the real deal.

Roberto Falcone comes from Veneto and serves straight-up classics from his native region to an insatiable Schillerkiez clientele. Think lush slabs of polenta grilled with put-a-fork-in-it salsiccia and tangy radicchio leaves; or long chewy tubes of bigoli pasta with a rich meaty duck sauce. The menu here is as tight as the aforementioned animal’s arse and doesn’t miss a step. Variety is provided by the daily specials which dance to a veggie-Tuesday, fish-Friday, roast-Sunday kind of rhythm – and there’s a traditional Venetian spritz happy hour every day from 6-8pm.

In the not so Siberian months, there’s also a wonky pavement overlooking a red-brick church on which to imbibe the aperitif or one of their exclusive northern Italian wines. All in all, for this sort of money, it doesn’t get much tastier, or cosier, in this city.

Lupus The lone wolf of Neukölln

As Berlin’s culinary offerings chop and change around us, a true original has sprouted on a cosy little corner of the city, where every dish is sure to be a whole new ball game for your weary taste buds.

For brunch you can expect numerous alternatives to the omnipresent plates of cold ham and cheese like the skyscraper-esque raspberry pancakes or a quinoa-cranberry muesli. Then, when it becomes indecent to still be on your first meal of the day, there’s a light menu of Middle Eastern-inspired Mezze plates at your disposal from afternoon to evening.

And the main dish combos? They’re no less intricate—with the black bean and plum burger proving a particular Kiez favourite. Most of the grub is vegan-centric, locally sourced, and organic, but Lupus isn’t a hardline type of establishment, so the carnivorous shan’t go hungry either. It stays open for late-night snifters too, so pull up a rocking chair next to the wood-burning stove or delve deep into the red-walled smoking room out back.

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