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Chipperfield Kantine Exceptional basics

First things, first: erase all preconceptions you have of the word canteen. Well, maybe not all. It is fairly priced, it does mainly serve lunches, and it is attached to a working office. In fact, reinstate the idea of canteen again, but edit out the following words: loud, tasteless, sloppy, and rank. Confused yet? Good.

Put more simply, Chipperfield Kantine is ten different shades of brilliant. It goes without saying that the decor is pitch perfect: minimal, concrete, and airy. The clientele is made up of well-to-do architects from the office itself—taking a timeout from their Museum Island masterplan—alongside other smug Mitte folk, as well they should be having discovered this place. Which only leaves the munchables…

Since reopening in 2013, the extremely capable team from Das Lokal has been bossing things in the kitchen. There are just a few options each day, which are always simple and mostly delicious. Bread and water come for free, and on balmy days, you can enjoy it outside in the sweet little courtyard. As they might say in a less refined canteen: piep, piep, piep – guten Appetit!

Ixthys In Korean food we trust

Two Korean widows run this humble 16-seat eatery, which resides right across from a leafy park with a church—highly appropriate, one soon discovers, as the establishment is decked out in serious religious tones. With excerpts from the Bible writ large on the walls, and more religious prophecies than edible items listed in the laminated menus, one thing is clear: These ladies take Jesus more seriously than their food.

Whatever. You will be so overjoyed at the authenticity of the dishes to notice: Steaming yuk gae jang, a spicy beef broth soup, arrives potent with vegetables and shreds of meat; dolsot bibimbop, rice topped with seven different pickled vegetables, meat and a glossy egg, crackles and continues to cook in a hot stone bowl as it’s eaten; the chunks of soy-marinated bulgogi dish are perhaps a bit too heavy in the sesame oil but still smothers the tongue in a sweet aftertaste.

There are only a few things on the sparse menu—mostly ramen noodles, beef dishes and stews, plus Korea’s must-have staple, kimchi (spicy pickled cabbage). The decoration is extremely basic. But still: Sincere service and genuine ingredients at Ixthys outshine a formulaic Buddha-and-paper-lanterns Asian eatery any day.

Salumeria Lamuri Honor thy lunch

Da Baffi came, saw and conquered the stomachs of this city back in 2011. And all from the unlikeliest of Wedding footholds too. Not content with being emperor of the night, however, they have also now opened a sister lunchtime spot – bringing their whisker-licking cuisine down to Kreuzberg 36.

Uncovering an absolute gem of a property – dating back to 1870 when it used to be a butcher’s shop – the pristine mosaiques and carved wooden ceiling of Salumeria Lamuri make for an extraordinary setting. Even if it is just for a morning espresso or afternoon biscotti.

That said, as with most Italians, food takes pride of place here. The menu changes every day and usually consists of a well-honed selection of soups, salads, panini, pastas and risottos; plus one more substantial secondo dish. It’s all rivetingly fresh and soul-soothingly good – the gooey spinach, gorgonzola and walnut risotto, for example, having just the right amount of blue-cheese kick.

For those inspired by the experience to take their home-cooking beyond the ready-made tortellini and pesto stage, luckily it also operates as a delicatessen, peddling a bunch of fine pastas, wines and whatnot. Just in time too, seeing as the neighborhood Netto across the street recently burned to the ground.

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.

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