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.

Nansen Distinctly Deutsch

On the northern brim of Neukölln, an area previously known more for its döner and cheap eats, Nansen stands out as a beacon of culinary sophistication. It might be on a cosy corner but this isn’t any old Eck-kneipe. Forget the tried-and-tested Schnitzel, Sauerkraut and Schweinebraten—here’s a menu that is both creative and distinctly German. We’re talking about shoulder of lamb with beetroot chutney and pan-fried potato cakes, or grilled trout and mashed potatoes with an artichoke and coriander sauce. There’s a price to be paid for such delicacy with mains hitting the twenty mark, but you get a whole lot of bang for your buck. Take note: skipping dessert would be a folly of monumental proportions—they are specialists here. And the canal-side location is an absolute winner in warmer months as you can eat outside and take a digestif stroll along the waterway.

Le Bon And, behold, it was very good

Not content with being Queen of the local coffee scene (see: KaffeeBar), Johanna Schellenberger has now opened up Le Bon: a crackerjack of a restaurant in Graefekiez, the culinary likes of which this ‘hood hasn’t seen since Little Otik jumped ship back in 2013.

Split across two large rooms on a corner of Boppstraße—rough concrete floors, hefty wooden tables and the odd cactus or two—it’s beautifully understated, putting the emphasis firmly on the food where it belongs. The menu is equally pared-down with just a few options for each course—never a bad sign in our books. Generally the food is a tasty bastard of French and German cuisine; one dish changes every couple days meaning that the menu is totally new again in two weeks. Should the lamb couscous (heaven itself) ever reappear, it’d be a brave person who opted for anything else.

Le Bon is also open for breakfast and lunch, effortlessly raising the bar for Kreuzberg cafes in these domains too. Competition for the ante-meridian attention of the locals is high but given the popularity of their avocado eggs benedict, or better yet, the granola pancakes and chantilly cream, it just goes to show that the denizens of Graefekiez know a good brunch when they see one.

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.

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!

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