Balikci Ergün is a Turkish fish restaurant located under a hidden S-Bahn Bogen in southern Moabit. Great food, a crazy venue and owners with a big heart make this place a hidden gem which you shouldn’t miss.
This place is one of these restaurants where I almost feel hesitant writing about it because it is such a precious secret. It’s by far not a new restaurant, from the stories I’ve heard the place was founded a staggering 20 years ago by a former football player of Fenerbace and it’s been a thriving hangout among the Turkish community since then. When you visit Balikci Ergün you quickly realize that this place has been around for a while, the walls are soaked with history as well as the hundreds of yellow cards on which guests have written their reviews and regards for the last two decades. Which the owner has chosen to hang from the ceiling in long threads. Yes, you heard me. Can’t really picture it? Check the photo in the bottom.
The chargrilled Dorada and the Loup de Mer made me think I’m no longer in Berlin but on some Mediterranean vacation.
The venue of Kardas Mine Balikci Ergün is, to say at least, pretty crazy. There are not only the tons of yellow cards hanging from the ceiling, there are also tons of photos and odd souvenirs and memorabilia hanging from the walls. Slightly overwhelming, oddly capturing and maybe leaving you to question what goes on in the creator’s mind, but yet an import part of the whole experience. Another part of the experience is also the back part of the restaurant where you will find the toilets, it’s kind of hard to explain but you will feel like you’re straight down in Istanbul, promise. A pungent chlorine smell combined with the old-school facilities make every visit to the loo a small vacation.
After you’ve gotten used to the setting and the impressions have settled it will time to have a look at the menu. Now, there’s only seafood available and what’s actually possible to order will differ significantly from what’s on the menu due to day-to-day supply of fresh produce. The staff won’t tell you that though so you’ll have to ask. Usually they have a couple of different fish available along with some shellfish and sometimes also fresh calamari. You can also order a couple of starters in meze-style portions and if you’re feeling wild you can go for the sampler plate of starters which will save you the trouble of choosing. This will get you humus and aubergine dip alongside some variations of pickled seafood. I liked the plate but some of the pickled fish was very intense and salty, probably my least favourite food at Balikci Ergün. You can also order some deep-fried seafood like calamari rings or small sardines as a starter, they’re tasty and crispy. The stars of the night will no doubt ne your mains though. You can either go for a filled fish or a whole fish, chargrilled on the grill for you, especially the Dorada and the Loup de Mer made me think I’m no longer in Berlin but on some Mediterranean vacation. Beautifully grilled fish, crispy and tasty. Often slightly overcooked and dry, but still definitely some of the best fish I’ve had in Berlin. They don’t do potatoes or bulgur at this place so for your sides and you can only order bread and salad. The salad is also a fantastic creation, green and luscious with tons of herbs and pomegranate seeds, and it balances the fat fish nicely. For beverages I would strongly recommend going the Turkish way: Plenty of Efes beer and cold Raki. You can also get some decent Turkish wines.
Kardas Mine Balikci Ergün is a gem of a restaurant hidden in a dark corner of Moabit
Now, the best thing about Balikci Ergün is that the experience is far from limited to the food. Around 10 pm, when the guests are finishing up their meals, there’s a big chance that you’ll experience some kind of entertainment. For example a couple of guys jamming and singing on a violin and a sitar. Or some good old Turkish tunes played at max volume over the sound system. Or just someone playing music form their cell by holding it to mic. The possibilities are endless, in any case you should be ready for some dance moves because when the mood peaks it’s well possible that the owner takes over the dancefloor and asks you for the dance of your life. Just like the Venezuelan lady in the cover picture. Or the Turkish old man who chose to showcase his belly dancing during my last visit. Kardas Mine Balikci Ergün is a gem of a restaurant hidden in a dark corner of Moabit. The fish is fresh and the people have a big heart, a combination which will guarantee a good night.