Even though our last day trip to Berlin occurred at the time of the Reformation Day, and we were absolutely unaware of the fact all stores are closed during that national holiday, the German capital proved once again that it’s incredible even on calmer, lazier days. First, by a total co-incidence, we’ve stepped into Open Air Mitte, a yard that functions as an open air cinema: it shows anything from classic films to live music performances. But also, it’s Berlin’s top show-off spot for graffiti artists – the street art here is unbelievable! Just like the local pubs, bars and guerilla stores. Later, we strolled around the Museum Island, which is even more spectacular with its monumental architecture when there’s not even one tourist around.
At least, some restaurants were open that day, and Kreuzberg saved us in the evening with its classic. Zola is best known in Berlin for serving Neapolitan style pizza. With its massive, wood-fired oven, the place (crowded even on holidays) has ranked up high with its undemanding atmosphere and very, very well made pizza in the neighborhood. Well, no wonder why.
On a busy Monday evening like this, there’s a certain place I wish I could go to for dinner. It’s Spindler, Kreuzberg’s beloved brasserie. Located in a historic building beside a river shore, the restaurant’s rooms (which actually are over 100 years old) were reconstructed by Karolina Preis and revamped with handcrafted furniture, modern art and selected antiques. Spindler’s ever-changing menu offers seasonal treats as well as classics: Haveländer pork belly, king oyster mushrooms, cod with couscous or the Sirloin steak. Whether you’re here for a meal with friends or a weekend brunch in the sun-drenched garden, I tell you: this place won’t disapoint.
Concierge Coffee, Benjamin Pates’s and Namy Nosratifard’s baby, is there for you to serve the best flat white in entire Kreuzberg, just along the canal. Fresh pastries and house juices are here, too, nicely displayed on the counter (with some quite tongue-in-cheek taxidermy pets in the front). But it isn’t only coffee that attracts Berliners to Concierge, Kreuzberg’s best kept secret. It’s the atmosphere of this low-key spot that makes it so undeniably cool. The coffee bar is hidden away in an old gatekeepers room, while the beverages are served through a small window in the back. Sit with the locals on matching the cups, blue stools, and enjoy the street view!
Cocolo Ramen X-Berg is said to have the best ramen in Berlin. I guess the huge queues for a seat are the best evidence for that. I ate the Wantanramen with shrimp wontons and it was the actual 7th wonder happening in my mouth. Ramen often tends to be too fatty, but this one was just perfect for me – light, but with its recognizable essence. Gyoza dumplings are also worth a try. The industrial interior with long, wooden tables is as charming as the outdoors space. Sitting there on a sunny day and observing the diverse street life of Kreuzberg is something I can do everyday! While sipping Cocolo’s home-made, signature lemonade, of course.