Friday, 2 April 2010
My Trip Advisor Article- The Neukölln (Berlin) culinary scene
Neukölln is a district in the former American sector of Berlin and is famous for its high immigrant population. Contrary to popular belief, it isn't dangerous, it's a hidden gem and there is plenty to see and do there.
Highly recommended is the culinary scene of Neukölln- it is cheap, cheerful and international. You can eat Turkish for breakfast, Italian for lunch and Vietnamese for dinner. The main focal point of Neukölln is Karl-Marx-Strasse. Start your culinary tour at Hermannplatz and get a rooftop breakfast at Karstadt department store, overlooking the city. Try a German cheese plate with lovely soft rolls.
Ignore Dunkin Donuts and Macdonalds, proceed down Karl-Marx and you will discover a taste of the Middle East and a little bit of sunshine in the Lebanese and Turkish bistros. Sit down on a cushion and try a Shisha in Barbar Aga, an Egyptian/Lebanese cafe, sip a mint tea and stuff your face on a platter of falafel and baabaganoush. On the same block is a wonderful cafe called Gözleme, which sells Turkish street food (also called Gözleme), a flatbread/pancake style dish with a beautiful selection of fresh fillings like curried potatoes, aubergine, peppers etc, and also beautiful salads, dips and Menemen, an egg based breakfast dish with a kick!
Taking a gentle stroll along KMS, there are a selection of shops and then you come to the cultural centre of Neukölln. The old cinema 'Passage Kino' and the Neukölln Theatre have adjoining cafes- Hofperle and Cafe Rix respectively. The clientele is arty, with local artists' paintings adorning the walls. Both cafes have plentiful breakfasts plus Hofperledoes a bargain business lunch around 5.50 Euro- 3 freshly made courses, a different option every day. If you slip out of the back of Hofperle, you find yourself on Richardstrasse, home to a 70s style Italian called Pulcinella. The prices are unbelievably cheap, main courses only 4 euro and the coffee potent.
Walking along the cobbled Richardstrasse, you will approach historic Neukölln and the square of Richardplatz. The square is home to the festive Xmas market, less commercial than the city centre markets and with better food/drink/entertainment. Shaan Indian Cocktail bar is the funkiest place on the street, plus for a more traditional evening meal, Villa Rixdorf offers German and Italian food in an opulent former mansion house.
Time for dessert- head for the Viennese Konditorei by Karl-Marx-Strasse underground station. You will be welcomed warmly and the cakes are to die for. Chocolate is also made on the premises.