Finding the best fish and seafood restaurants in Berlin is a bit like looking for the best beach bar on Greenland . I don’t want to sound overly negative here, but eating great fish in Berlin is very difficult. And finding the best fish restaurants in Berlin doesn’t mean you’ll be blown away. Especially if your references for quality originate from Mediterranean, Scandinavian or Asian countries. Then you’re basically screwed, because not only is Berlin located over 200 km from the nearest ocean, which is the massively overfished and polluted Baltic sea, no, Berlin is also located in Germany, a country which really has any no seafood traditions what so ever worth mentioning.
Yes, I said it, and with the risk of pissing off of a lot of people here, I believe it is important to talk about the general quality level of German fish restaurants. I’ve never been in a country where I’ve heard more people say the words “I don’t eat fish.”. As a Swede born close to the sea, that argument always cracks me up, but the complicated relation Germans have to fish is very real. Even up North, along the coast, there is not much tradition working with high quality seafood and most fish is either smoked or cured to annihilation.
Eating great seafood in Berlin is hard, but running a great seafood restaurant in Berlin is even harder. Not only are there very few suppliers offering fresh seafood, the demand and knowledge on the customer side about great quality fish is also just developing. With the current, general rise of the quality level of the restaurant scene in Berlin this is slowly changing though and in addition to a few traditional institutions several interesting restaurants have popped up in Berlin over the last years that serve high quality seafood.
The following list contains anything from Michelin star establishments to smoked fish huts and sushi joints. That might seem odd, but the lack of choices left me no choice but to throw all of them into one pot.
As always, this is in no way a final list but a work in progress. Missed any places? Please send them over.
Without further ado, the best fish restaurants in Berlin are:
This riverside restaurant in Treptower Park, right next to the beautiful Insel der Jugend, scores a lot of points for its location. Located on an actual dock and around an old boat, this restaurant actually feels like a piece of countryside and that can be quite refreshing for an urban Berlin cowboy. The food is pretty good, they smoke their own fish on the premised and the trout with fried potatoes makes a pretty splendid lunch on a hot summer day.
10. Kardas Mine Balikci Ergün
A Bosporus pearl hidden under the S-Bahn tracks in Moabit. This place does not only serve pretty great grilled fish with Turkish meze and salads, the owner is also slightly insane with a big heart so expect to be invited for the occasional Turkish dance after service. Go for the freshly grilled fish. Nothing else.
This tiny fish bistro on Danziger Straße is the place to go for a proper fish meal in Prenzlauer Berg. Choose if you want to buy fresh fish or if you want to eat the fish in the bistro. Not too many options to eat here, but the quality of the dishes are surprisingly good here. This goes both for the fish and chips, where you can choose the fish used, as well as for the pan-fried fish dishes that are served with a fresh salad.
A couple of guys who tour the farmer’s markets of Berlin with their fish grilling operation. Choose between trout, mackerel and pike perch and have the dudes throw it on the charcoal BBQ for you. Served with a couple of average sides (wakame? wtf?) a grilled fish from Steckerlfisch is most of the times well cooked and a solid option for a market lunch.
7. Taka Fish House
UPDATE JULY 2016: The seafood gem of Kottbusser Tor does, of course, also need a spot on this eminent list. Taka has been around for ages and is by far the best Turkish fish restaurant I’ve encountered in Berlin. It’s even better than my beloved (but slightly crazy) Kardas Mine in Moabit. Taka is all about basic fish dishes like grilled dorada or fried sardines served with a fresh green salad and finished of with a good squeeze of lemon. A stacked plate of mini-sardines with a cold ayran is a Kotti experience you shouldn’t miss.
What would a list of the best fish restaurants in Berlin be without my favourite sushi restaurant? Omoni in Northern Prenzlauer Berg is always the answer to my sushi cravings and a massively popular destination in the neighbourhood. Try their innovative sushi rolls or the amazing, pressed sushi.
Descend into this mesmerizing labyrinth of a restaurant in Mitte, beneath the popular café House of Small Wonder, for a memorable and authentic Tokyo-style Izakaya experience where you not only can enjoy the best sashimi in Berlin, but also amazing grilled Hamachi collar or a buttery piece of black cod marinated in miso.
Story – Map
4.Lebensmittel in Mitte
Despite the fact that this isn’t even a fish restaurant, Lebensmittel in Mitte is one of my favourite places to eat fish in Berlin. They sometimes have dishes like pan-fried trout or plaice on the lunch menu and this is highly recommended meal, the fish is always perfectly cooked and the sides spot on. Keep in mind that the quality for dinner service isn’t always equally good.
Since chef Arne Anker took over Pauly Saal the kitchen has taken a turn to being quite seafood-focused and this one-star establishment has developed into one of the top destinations for a piece of great fish. Yes, it’s fine dining and yes, it’s very fussy with a few too many components on every plate, but the dishes taste surprisingly fresh and light and in the end the quality of the produce is allowed to shine enough. Tip: Go here for lunch.
UPDATE JULY 2016: This two-star Michelin and seafood dedicated temple of fine dining and decadence does, of course, need a spot on this list, I can’t deny that. I’ve only visited Fischers Fritz once but that one time was enough to satisfy my lobster and turbot cravings for a while. This –for Berlin– insanely expensive restaurant dishes out some extraordinary luxurious seafood and an à la carte dinner at Fischers Fritz is definitely one of the best seafood meals you can have. But at 90€ for one main course (not a joke) it damn well should be and it almost should be even better. And sorry, the interior and the vibe of this place are insanely stuffy. Trivia: The bread at Fischers Fritz was some of the best German bread I’ve ever had.
If you just look at the quality of the fish dishes that are served at Dóttir, it’s easily for me the best fish restaurant in Berlin right now. Take two great Scandinavian chefs and give them access to the best seafood connection in town and voila, you’ll get amazing dishes with solid Northern roots that truly let the quality of the produce shine. The secret behind the seafood connection is extraordinarily successful restaurant group behind Dóttir that also owns Grill Royal and Pauly Saal and who have the means to source their own seafood twice a week by car from the North Sea.