Always wanted to know where the best chefs in Berlin like to eat and drink while not at their own joints? Well, lucky you -- we've captured exclusive interviews with some of the biggest players in the game so you, too, can feel like you're deep in the Gastro-Szene. Impress your dinner date with these high-quality recommendations, directly from the chefs and owners themselves.
"BFS, Eat Like a Chef", is our interview series with Berlin’s hospitality scene that guides you to their secret spots in the city. These really are the best places to eat and drink in Berlin, told to you by those who would know - Chefs, Cooks, Sommeliers, and Servers. Truly the finest people in Berlin sharing their finest tips. If you follow their lead, you're sure to have a great experience yourself.
“ My Döner order is onions, parsley - no tomatoes, because there's no good tomatoes. - Michael Heiden
Below are Michael Heiden's (Owner of Taquería El Oso and Filthy Pleasures BBQ) top recommendations for their favorite restaurants, bars, and eateries in Berlin.
Taqueria El Oso
If you're craving Mexican food in Berlin, Taqueria El Oso at Markthalle Pfefferberg is a must-visit. This very lively taqueria, located in the back of Markthalle Pfefferberg, serves up a mouth-watering (and, for Berlin, unprecented) selection of tacos, all made with outstanding ingredients and bursting with flavor. Whether you're in the mood for Tacos Al Pastor, Beef Suadero or Chorizo, you'll find it all here. The Nopales and vegan Chorizo are so good too. Basically everything. Don't miss out on their homemade drinks and their signature margaritas out in the front bar, and please don't walk by the Salsa bar, get them all! With a fun, buzzing atmosphere, Taqueria El Oso is the perfect spot to have a good time.
Best times to avoid lines are 2-4pm and on Sundays they offer a Birria special.
Pamfilya is an iconic Turkish grill in Berlin's Wedding district, situated at Leopoldplatz. The cozy and welcoming atmosphere, combined with its traditional, Turkish cuisine, makes it a perfect spot for a lunch or a cozy dinner with friends. The menu offers a variety of traditional Turkish dishes, such as mezze plates, skewer kebaps, döner kebap and mantı. One of the standout dishes is the "Adana Kebab," a spicy minced lamb meat skewer grilled to perfection over an open fire pit, but the number one reason to come here is the hand-stacked yaprak veal döner kebap. Owner Fikri Arslan puts a lot of emphasis on quality and the lean döner meat at Pamfilya is unique and by many regarded as the best quality veal döner in Berlin.
The pro move here is to order a plate of döner meat only, ask for a plate of freshly baked lavash bread and then eat the meat in small pieces of flatbread like a taco with onions, a squeeze of lemon and chili flakes only.
Discover the exquisite dining experience offered at Trio, one of Berlin's highly acclaimed new restaurants. With meticulous attention to detail, Trio presents a refined ambiance where patrons can indulge in a diverse range of expertly crafted dishes. From inventive interpretations of classics to impeccably presented desserts, Trio stands out as a remarkable destination for those seeking a sophisticated and memorable dining experience in the heart of the city.
If you weren't able to reserve a seat, just swing by and queue for one of the seats in the bar
Lebensmittel in Mitte
This standout restaurant will delight your taste buds. Step into this rustic venue tucked away from the bustling streets and indulge in a menu that celebrates seasonality and homemade goodness. From classic dishes like Spätzle and Schnitzel to daily specials featuring delectable creations such as perfectly fried trout or white asparagus. For a memorable lunch in Mitte, this is the place to savor authentic, high-quality German cuisine. You can grab some goods to go too.
Pay them a visit during Spargel season and also grab the fizzy pear soda.
Through the Kotti Arch and away from the pressure of the swirling roundabout, you'll find a far better spin, namely, one of the best-stacked kebap spieses in the city. Expertly cooked and sliced, Hasir shines as one of the district's strongest kebap players and keeps us (and many other chefs and foodies alike) running back time and time again. Jump in line, after 13:00 is usually good to give the restaurant time to warm up and work through the first few layers, and prepare to be wowed. Order at the outside window to show you're here to play (hold the sauce, please), then sit down at one of the outside tables to smash your kebap in peace.
If it's not too busy and you're feeling brave, ask for extra peppers and vegetables tucked into your kebap - it really pushes things towards the divine.
Goldie's Burger is an exceptional establishment, founded by two Michelin star chefs, and the newer sister restaurant to the OG Goldies fry and chicken shop on Oranienstrasse. Located at the head of Gräfestrasse right off Kottbusserdamm a.k.a. one of the most humming corners of KreuzKölln, you can treat yourself to one of the finest (if not THE finest) smashburgers in the city while taking in the scene. Each burger is meticulously hand crafted with premium ingredients that ensure an explosion of flavors with every mouthful. The Goldies burgers are no-fuss minimalistic creations and essentially higher quality versions of the McDonald's burgers, which means you won't find any exotic ingredients on this menu (we're talking mainly classic cheeseburgers here). From timeless favorites to the inventive throwbacks, Goldies Smashburger presents a diverse menu that caters to all levels of hunger, from a drive-by snack to four hungry bellies creaking on the Fest benches on the sidewalk.
The classic double cheeseburger is the pro move and be ready to wait for up to 45 mins in line. (unless you get there early!)
Holly China Restaurant
Embark on a tantalizing culinary journey at Holly Restaurant, a renowned Sichuan eatery essentially across the road from the Charlottenburg Palace. Delight in the bold and fiery flavors of authentic Sichuan cuisine, where each dish showcases a harmonious blend of spices and aromatic ingredients. From mouth-numbing ma la dishes to fragrant stir-fries, Holly Restaurant offers an unforgettable dining experience, inviting you to savor the vibrant tastes of Sichuan in a captivating and inviting ambiance - some of the warmest and kindest service in the city.
The sweet sour eggplant is excellent as well as the crispy chicken. Check out what the other tables are getting too and see what piques your fancy!
Tossakan is an authentic Thai restaurant tucked away in the trendy neighborhood of Prenzlauer Berg in Berlin. The menu features classic Thai dishes, bursting with flavors and aromas, all made with high-quality ingredients and traditional cooking methods. From the spicy and sour Tom Yum soup to the savory Pad Thai noodles, Tossakan offers a truly authentic taste of Thailand. The restaurant's cozy atmosphere and warm hospitality make it a perfect spot for a casual meal with friends or a romantic dinner for two. Don't forget to try the refreshing Thai iced tea or the delicious mango sticky rice for dessert.
The papaya salad brings the HEAT.
Located in an unassuming corner spot on Sonnenallee, Mr. Grill (yes, really) is run by an ambitious team hailing primarily from Iraq producing some of the most quality and expertly executed spinning meat in this competitive hood. Don't sleep on the kebab cooked over charcoal - how could you - they're constantly loading up fresh meat swords as fast as they can. Red pleather booths, Hollywood Stars on the walls, blasting music, and a delicious smoky haze hanging in the air - what more could you want?
The shawarma sandwich is excellent, get it with extra pickles and just a tiny bit of sauce. The minced kebab are next level as well - try it as a plate so you can appreciate the great meat texture with each bite.