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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.

Anna Durkes Genius gelato

When the summer sun beats down, Berliners make a beeline for three things: Lakes, beer gardens and ice-cream parlours. The more discerning Eis lovers among them head to Anna Durkes. Anna and Giorgio — the husband and wife team behind this picturesque, pastel-colored spot — are masters of treating the overheating hordes to super-authentic Italian gelato, all made with love, by hand, and on-site.

The flavors run the gamut from creamy to fruity — so you can experiment with differing combinations to temper a rich cacao, caramelia or creme al limone with a scoop of fresh fragola, passion fruit or melone. Whatever your scoop, just be ready for a full-frontal assault on the taste buds. Basically, this precocious Italian upstart has usurped the much-hallowed crown of finest gelato in Berlin – bar none.

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