Where to eat in Berlin (even if you’re gluten free) Part I: Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg

An Inter-City Express train in Berlin

In the middle of June, I travelled up to Berlin to stay a few days with my good friend Kate, an ex-Wiesbadener, fellow food lover and Instagram queen.  Having visited Germany’s capital a number of times before, I put no sight-seeing on my agenda for this trip; instead, Kate and I plotted quite the food-lover’s itinerary for my three day visit.

The weekend centred around exploring a side to Berlin I’d never seen before: a city for foodies. (The last time I visited was in 2010, since when Berlin’s food scene has exploded from a handful of underground supper clubs to a hive of street food markets, pop-ups and one-off events.)  Kate took me to some of her and her husband’s favourite places to eat and drink, and we visited a couple of restaurants I’d marked on my list too.  And since they were all very good indeed, I thought I’d share them with you here.

So here’s part I of my Kiez by Kiez (neighbourhood by neighbourhood) guide to to some great places to eat, drink and food shop if you’re visiting Berlin (part II to follow next week).  And as an added bonus for those of you who are allergic or intolerant to gluten, since Kate’s a coeliac, I can guarantee that each of these locations has completely safe options on the menu for you, too (or – disclaimer – did at the time of writing).

Postcard stuck to a copper jug

Friedrichshain

BOXHAGENER PLATZ MARKT  The weekly market at Boxhagener Platz offers all kinds of fresh fruit and vegetables, meats and cheeses as well as storecupboard items and ready-to-eat snacks such as grilled fish, falafel and freshly-made waffles, but we visited with the sole purpose of tracking down a gluten-free tiramisu. The friendly and passionate Italian Geremia team layered up single-serving glass jars (3€ plus a 1€ deposit for the glass) and individual shots of the classic Italian dessert (1€) to order . I bought a couple to bring home, ate one on the train home, and cannot recommend it highly enough: Geremia’s is an outrageously good trims, and you’d never know it was gluten free.

I regret not also pocketing a couple of jars of Kaiser Honig honey whilst we were there: theirs is an astonishing range of adventurously-flavoured, handmade honeys such as whisky cream, caramelised sesame, fig and chilli and strawberry with balsamic vinegar. I tried a little from each jar that Kate bought (5€ for 200g) and I would have happily polished off every single one. Happily, Kaiser Honig products are also available to buy online – they’d make great gifts for any foodie.

Website: Wochenmarkt Boxhagener Platz (Saturdays, 09:00-15:30)

AUFSCHNITT  We nipped into this atelier-cum-concept store to check out Silvia Wald’s wursty ware.  You can’t eat any of her products (hardly surprising given she’s a vegetarian), but the cushions, aprons, brooches and hairpins would all make great stocking fillers.  Thanks for my keyring, Kate!

Website: Aufschnitt Berlin Concept Store
Address: Boxhagener Str. 32

Kreuzberg

TIM RAUE  The standout culinary experience of the weekend was a three-course, 2 michelin starred Asian fusion lunch at Tim Raue.  The food was thoughtful and clever, full of flavour, beautifully presented and served in a pleasingly unintimidating manner. It’s a modern yet relaxed, welcoming venue and the Tim Raue folk were, as you’d hope, extremely accommodating over our gluten issues.  Though some dishes were unavoidably problematic, others were easily adapted, and Kate was able to enjoy a modified version of both the wasabi langoustine starter and the veal main.  For me, the standout dishes were two meltingly soft slices of pork chin in a smooth, honey-like nuoc cham sauce, and strawberries served with basil and pink peppercorns.  A truly exquisite meal and, thanks to the lunch menu, not unaffordable (prices start at 38€ for three courses).

Website: Tim Raue
Address: Rudi-Dutschke-Str. 26, 10969 Berlin

MARKTHALLE NEUN

What’s a visit to Berlin these days without a trip to a Street Food bash?  I was sorry to miss Bite Club and leave before the Frühstücksmarkt (breakfast market) on Sunday morning, but we did manage to make it to Street Food Thursday at Markthalle Neun. There was an almost overwhelming selection of wonderful-looking things to eat but for Kate and I, gluten-free, the choice was unfortunately rather slim.  However, a vegan Ban Xao from Toctoc was pretty tasty, and a chorizo-filled arepa from Maria Maria Arepas impressed me much more than the first time I tried it at the Street Food Festival in Mainz.

During the weekly market on Saturday, I picked up a couple of packs of dry-cured back bacon (5€ for 500g) and some wonderfully juicy pork, sage and apple sausages (€8 for 500g) from The Sausage Man Never Sleeps, a New Zealander who learned how to make proper British bangers in the UK and came to Berlin to sell his wares. The bangers went down well with a spoonful of red chilli jelly from Pink’s Foods, which I’ve slathered on just about everything else I’ve eaten since. And that Mr Pink’s a right giggle, too.

Website: Markthalle Neun
Address: Eisenbahnstrasse 42/43

I hope to be heading back up there again before the end of the year.  What have I missed off?  What else should go on my list for where to eat in Berlin?

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