The KaDeWe, which is an abbreviation for Kaufhaus des Westens, is Germany’s most iconic and largest department store with it’s enormous size of over 60.000 sq m of sales space. Built in 1907, the KaDeWe is a true West Berlin landmark on Kudamm that’s seen everything from the roaring 20’s to the Nazi era where it was stripped away from its Jewish owners only to be bombed to annihilation during World War II. Throughout the existence of the Berlin Wall, the KaDeWe was the symbol of West German wealth and one of the most visited destinations for East Berliners that crossed the wall for the first time.
“Step out of the elevator to experience the most exclusive and largest delicatessen department in Europe”
Today over 120.000 visitors visit the high end shopping destination every day to burn some serious plastic on their credit cards and it’s one of the most popular tourist attractions of the city. Many people, including me, don’t really come here for the shopping at all though but for the fantastic delicatessen court located on the 6th floor. Step out of the elevator to experience the most exclusive and largest delicatessen department in Europe and watch 150 chefs cook at over 30 food bars, offering anything from classic, German fare to Asian food and burgers.
The food at the KaDeWe is very old school and traditional and there are a few, selected food bars you should stick to when you eat here. But first of all there is one ground rule to keep in mind when eating at the KaDeWe and that is to never, ever make the mistake and venture to the 7th floor. The 7th floor is home to another food court that can be described as one, massive, pre-cooked buffet from hell and doesn’t compare to the quality of the food cooked downstairs a la minute. The KaDeWe is in the process of renovating this floor though and it will be exciting to see what they come up wth.
“Another, truly fantastic destination is the German sausage bar in the back where a couple of gentlemen offer a wide repertoire of Germany’s finest sausages”
Back to the 6th floor where the most popular food bar also is one of the best, I’m talking about the iconic oyster bar “Austernbar” where you can get a fairly large selection of raw oysters with a glass of champagne or sekt. Very straightforward stuff with a couple of different oyster varieties and a very limited and traditional selection of bubbly (borderline boring actually). The fish bar next to the Austernbar is also pretty decent. My favourite destination is the German sausage bar in the back though where a couple of polite gentlemen offer a wide repertoire of Germany’s finest sausages, which they gladly will fry or boil for you a la minute. Served with some of the best sauerkraut and potato salad you can get, this is truly one of the best places for a German sausage feast in Berlin.
“…eating at this iconic and classically beautiful destination and hanging out with the West Berlin crowd is something everybody should have done at least once.”
If none of this appeals to you, just pop into one of the other food bars and enjoy a solid French or Italian meal. None of it will be particularly cheap or stick around as the meal of your life, but eating lunch at this iconic and classically beautiful destination and hanging out with the West Berlin crowd is something everybody should have done at least once. And when you’ve eaten, pop by the extraordinary baker, butcher, fish monger or any other vendor for something to bring home. My favourite: The amazing French patisserie with pastries that will knock your socks off.