Cafes, bars and restaurants continue to sprout out of Berlin’s gentrifying neighbourhoods like spargel in the summertime. Kreuzkölln, the apex of gritty Kreuzberg and Neukölln, and its surrounds, remain a lure for Berlin’s flock of international émigrés, students and creatives. It’s no secret that the borough offers some of the best and cheapest options in the city for great food, drink and coffee.
After joining the flock a few months ago, here’s a fast rundown of some of our favourite food, drink and coffee go-to’s:
Hands down the best Mexican in town, perhaps the best outside Mexico. Santa Maria’s chicken enchiladas with green salsa are a dream, tacos are delicious and generously sized and, on Tuesdays they’re 1 Euro a hit. Great lunchtime deals and dangerously affordable shots of tequila and margaritas, Santa Maria is the Mexican gift that keeps on giving.
Oranienstraße 170, 10999 Berlin
Tucked away on Skalitzer Strasse by the grit of Gorlitzer overground, Hoai Nam is a cute Vietnamese café-restaurant specialising in delicious thai-Viet curries and noodles. With daily lunchtime and dinner specials under 5 Euro, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better deal in town. The green chicken curry and mango lassi is a flavour explosion.
Skalitzer Straße 103, 10997 Berlin
While the price of a half chicken with chips has been on the up lately, creeping over the 5 Euro mark—no doubt due to it’s reputation as the most succulent-on-the-inside, crisp-on-the-outside bird in all Berlin—this tiny kiosk on Skalitzer is worth every cent. Open from lunch until very late, Huhnerhaus is a Kreuzberg institution where all your rotisserie chicken dreams come true.
Görlitzer Straße; Ecke Skalitzer Straße, 10999
Not the cheapest, but definitely one of the tastiest. The up market sister restaurant to nearby fast food joint, ‘Angry Chicken’, the Princess amps up the Korean quality here with a sumptuous display of delectable, classic Korean dishes. Try the octopus and beef bbq and watch it sizzle as you enjoy libations from the fine selection of beers and wines. Bookings are a must.
Skalitzer Straße 36, 10999 Berlin
Falafel in Berlin
Kreuzberg is rife with Turkish food options and you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to hunting down a good falafel or kebab. Falafel in Berlin dishes up one of the best ‘falafel im brots’ in town, with fresh ingredients and rich, delicious sauces. The friendly folk here are artisans, delivering an enticing menu of sumptuous teller meals, kebabs and shwarmas, with even friendlier prices.
Skalitzer Straße 102, 10997
Like so many venues in Berlin, Fuchsbau multi-tasks as simmering late night drinking hole as well as charming hangover brunch spot. Close to the idyllic canal scene, a skip from Kottbusser Tor, its leafy outdoor seating is an inviting spot for healing sustenance after a hefty beer-soaked night. The Frühstück offers a hearty spread of meats, breads and cheeses, while the espresso is one of the best day-spurning head rushes in the hood.
Planufer 95, 10967 Berlin
Located in a disused toilet block on a traffic island beneath Schelisches Tor overground, there’s nothing glamorous about Burgermeister, but there’s always a long line and rarely a dull moment. Wrap your jaws around the ‘Meister Aller Klassen’, a meat eruption, overflowing with cheese, jalapenos and two juicy beef patties. Enough iron to kill a star. Do it.
Oberbaumstraße. 8, 10997
It’s a classic ‘Berlin’ bar. We walked past this unassuming corner nook countless times without realising it existed. Bellman keeps its profile low—no signage, stripped back wood and plaster décor, an in-the-know-with-locals kind of joint. You’ll love the candlelight, the fine cocktails, and the handsome bartenders in vests. In the summer months, sit outside and enjoy a fine French red, and in the grave winter, a cup of gluvein and rare whisky inside the bar’s soul-warming, smoky interior.
Reichenberger Straße 103, 10999 Berlin, Germany
We stumbled on Mama bar on a crawl down Hofbrechstrasse in our first week of moving to Kreuzberg. Smoky, relaxed, replete with neon and the odd medieval artefact for conversation, Mama Bar is one of those charmingly simple, yet cosy joints, offering a decent range of quality vodkas, excellent Czech beer on tap and, at 2.50 Euro a pint, some of the cheapest.
Hobrechtstraße 61, 12047 Berlin
Bar Without Name
Locals have been known to call it the most beautiful bar in Berlin, a bit like Bellman, but with more mystery and even less signage. Another random find on our wander home one night, the ‘bar without name’ (we really don’t know if it has a name or not) on the corner of Hobrechstrasse and Bürknerstraße lured us in with its warm candlelit windows and ‘smoky, jazz speakeasy of the Parisian 1920s’ vibe. Pouring truly delicious cocktails, this bar will keep you put for hours. Try the Sazerac—it’s one of the best.
Corner Hobrechstrasse and Bürknerstraße, Kreuzberg
An expat-endeavour, Five Elephants is a trendy café on the tucked-away, leafy end of Reichenberger Strasse. The Five Elephants crew are bean devotees, with a solid reputation for delicious fresh roasted brew. The understated designer décor and leafy outdoor seating provides fine spots to sip delicious cortado and unwind from the world.
Reichenberger Straße 101, 10999 Berlin
A hole-in-the-wall coffee roaster by the canal and passer by station for caffeine junkies, Concierge is a tight 15sq metre operation run by a couple of moustachioed ‘cafficionado’ baristas with excellent brewing skills. The perfect flat white lives here.
Katie’s Blue Cat
A cute little hub by the canal on Freidelstrasse, Katie’s Blue Cat is a neighbourhood favourite, sporting excellent in-house roasted beans and delicious cakes and pastries. Cosy and quaint inside, its outdoor tables are rarely unfrequented when the sun spills over.
Friedelstraße 31, 12047 Berlin
It might be more commercial kitchen than cafe, but it just so happens that the coffee at Bravo Bravko is the best we’ve had. And their cakes? Forget about it. This is the place to get high on a dangerous sugar fix. The raspberry cheesecake will put a smile on your dial, and a tire around your waist if you’re not careful. With huge slices at just 2.50 Euro, superior coffee at friendly Kreuzberg prices, Bravo Bravko deserves its round of applause.
Lausitzer Straße 47, 10999 Berlin
Every Tuesday and Friday on the Maybachufer is the great Turkish market where the whole canal-side strip between Kottbusser Tor and Friedelstraße is lined with stalls of fresh produce, seafood, poultry and meats, as well as fabrics and plants, and delicious fresh Turkish fare. The spinach and cheese gozlemes are salty, crispy and moreish. No trip to the market is complete without one.
While frigid and frozen in the winter, the banks of the Landwerhkanal in summertime thaws into one long, warm, happening stretch of convivial action. Locals and tourists huddle together on the green banks by Planufer bike path and right along the watery stretch, enjoying take away brews from corner spatkaufs, playing music, enjoying ample leisure time and soaking up the delicious sunsets.
Written by and photos by Cam Hassard for EuropeUpClose.com