Local chefs wow but city houses diverse eateries

Last year was a great gastronomic one for the German capital, with 12 of the city’s restaurants now proudly displaying 13 Michelin stars, proving that eating here just keeps on getting better and better.

The hottest ticket in town has to be Daniel Achilles’ Reinstoff.

The Michelin-starred Achilles opened his doors last March and has since expanded the horizons of experimental cooking, with, in Achilles’ words, “contemporary, high-quality cuisine based on classic haute cuisine with a strong tendency towards regional products. At the same time, I’m not the least bit scared to use the latest techniques and preparation methods of avant-garde cuisine.”

All this served in a “clearly structured, somewhat minimalist atmosphere where you can relax and enjoy yourself, in jeans and without a tie, too, instead of being confronted with starched linen, silver service and crystal glasses!”

Meantime, Finland’s Sauli Kemppainen has taken the reins at the Quadriga, at the Hotel Brandenburger Hof. A sound choice, as evidenced by the establishment keeping its star.

Berlin’s top eatery, however, remains Fischers Fritz at the Regent Hotel, with its two-star chef Christian Lohse tipped to gain his third anytime soon.

Tim Raue won his star for his epic start at MA Tim Raue in the Hotel Adlon with his interpretation of Chinese cuisine combined with regional products — expect the freshest ingredients and a carbohydrate-free zone.

His wife, Marie-Anne Raue, heads up the service, and guests can watch the kitchen through a large window and admire the unusual, Asian-inspired interior design, including a huge clay horse from the Han dynasty (“ma” being Chinese for horse).

Sticking with the Adlon, which has now morphed into a top gourmet establishment with a hotel attached, the Raues also head up Uma, which offers a contemporary interpretation of Japanese food using de rigueur regional products. The menu lists dishes by their preparation method so “guests can compose an exceptionally delicate and elegant taste experience,” according to press materials.

Also gaining his star is Bjorn Alexander Panek in the Gabriele at the Hotel Adlon, where diners can savor contemporary Italian cuisine with influences from the Alps to Italy’s southernmost tip, in a relaxed atmosphere that Panek describes as “Berlin’s Italian living room.”

And to round off the Adlon’s offerings, the head chef of Quarre, Axel Hirtzbruch, takes his inspiration from regional specialties and classic dishes, all served with a twist.

Festgoers might want to take in the rest of those Michelin-starred eateries: Facil (Michael Kempf, Hotel Mandala); First Floor (Matthias Buchholz, Hotel Palace); Hugos (Thomas Kammeier, Hotel International); Lorenz Adlon (also celebrating its 10th anniversary, Thomas Neeser, Hotel Adlon); Margaux (Michael Hoffmann); Rutz (Marco Mueller); and Vau (Kolja Kleeberg).

Kammeier, Kempf, Lohse and Raue are also participating in the Berlinale’s fourth Culinary Cinema program this year.

But just because an eatery hasn’t been singled out for starry honors doesn’t mean taste buds have to take a beating.

Schwarzwaldstuben is a popular cafe-bar-restaurant that excels at all three disciplines.

Here, in a classic village pub-type atmosphere, Tillman Vatter and staff rejected fake kitsch to bring a southern German counterstrike to globalization and look-at-me coolness.

“We brought in irony,” Vatter says of his slightly punked-up take on granny’s living room, “except for the quality.”

The restaurant’s take on southern German cuisine with a twist — except the notoriously fiddly Maultaschen (a kind of ravioli) — is homemade. Try the pork schnitzel (so large it overhangs both sides of the plate), the wild boar ragout, duck with red cabbage and dumplings, or the leg of fawn at very wallet-friendly prices. Factor in some decent drinking, lounging and chatting time and the evening’s perfect.

When Germany-born Korean Young-Mi Park found catering to be more lucrative than acting, she and fellow thesp Hyun Wanner teamed up with cameraman Jan Vogel and chef Insen Choi to open Kimchi Princess.

The decor, which Park terms “industrial,” gives the impression of a modern Korean harbor: minimalist, slick, active and, above all, industrious when it comes to serving up “original, not fusion, cuisine. We’re 180 degrees away from snack and adapted food. The cuisine must be as original as possible. We want our guests to have the feeling they’re no longer in Berlin,” says Park.

Cantamaggio is one of the longest-surviving eateries in Berlin’s tony Mitte district, with its superior quality at reasonable prices drawing and keeping diners.

Noemi Anastasi, who hails from Genoa, and Peer Martiny, a filmmaker and thesp whose credits include the “The Edukators,” provide the perfect platform for Christian Drewitsch’s upper-level Mediterranean cuisine, seasonally oriented but never losing touch with its Italian basis.

The decor is simple, clear, timeless. Service is overseen by the charmingly Austrian Michael Egger; the menu changes daily, with Sunday scaled down a notch to a more roasty-oriented level.

The cuisine, Anastasi says, “is light, healthy, no heavy sauces. We use freshwater fish, no more tuna, and we buy locally and regionally, so our mozzarella comes from water buffalo from Jueterbog. It’s genuinely natural.”

And if you’re wondering where Daniel Achilles got his start, it was here at Cantamaggio.

If there is one thing Berlin has in spades, it’s Thai eateries, but there are very few that stand out from the standard curry crowd. One such rarity is Andy Halim’s Mai Phai.

The name means bamboo and here, in its very wooden and cozy interior, is where the impeccable Indonesian maitre d’ Chandra The will happily guide you through Thai head chef Noi’s colorful, not to say complex, menu.

The cuisine is biased toward northern Thailand, with salads a specialty. The curries (yes, they come in red, yellow and green) are made from fresh spices featuring, among many others, tumicuni, or Laos root. MSG is verboten!

Alongside its authenticity, what really sets Mai Phai apart and makes the trip especially worthwhile is that you will find many dishes here that most other Thai restaurants do not offer.

Chandra The is happy to assemble your ideal meal with the menu closed, selecting and combining flavors and textures to suit all palates, and laying to rest that old myth that it has to be burning hot to count.

Chinese cuisine in Berlin takes a great leap forward at the Peking Ente, the Tang family eatery situated where Hitler’s Chancellery used to stand, just a long stone’s throw from Potsdamer Platz. Established by father Wenyuan, overseen by daughter Mengling (who used to work at the Adlon), sporting mom in the kitchen with chef Zhao, eatery features its famous duck with pancakes as well as regular specials. Currently, these include jellyfish salad; steamed chicken feet in black bean sauce; duck tongues fried with salt and Szechuan pepper; rice flour pancakes with yam root and pork; and dumplings with radish and prawns. There is also the classic Chinese hot pot.

The cuisine is typically very northern Chinese, “from the countryside, from home,” Mengling says. “It’s hearty Beijing and Szechuan food, using different kinds of chili, no MSG and definitely not adapted.” Mama Tang brought her own secret recipes with her, so when the menu says “Mama Tang’s Dumplings,” they really are.

EATING YOUR WAY THROUGH BERLIN

Cantamaggio
Address: Alte Schonhauser Strasse 4
How to get there:

U-Bhf Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz
Phone:+49 (0) 30 283 18 95
Web: cantamaggio.de

Gabriele
Address: Behren Strasse 72
How to get there: U-Bhf/S-Bhf Brandenburger Tor
Phone: +49 (0) 30 22 62 86 10
Web: gabrielle-restaurant.de

Kimchi Princess
Address: Skalitzer Strasse 36
How to get there: U-Bhf Gorlitzer Bahnhof
Phone: +49 (0) 163 458 02 03 / +49 (0) 30 48 81 24 60
Web: kimchiprincess.com

MA Tim Raue
Address: Behren Strasse 72
How to get there:

U-Bhf/S-Bhf Brandenburger Tor
Phone: +49 (0) 30 301 11 73 33
Web: ma-restaurants.de

Mai Phai
Address: Feuerbach Strasse 16
How to get there:

S-Bhf Feuerbachstrasse / U-Bhf Walter-Schreiber-Platz
Phone: +49 (0) 30 792 28 45
Peking Ente
Address: Voss Strasse 1
How to get there:

U-Bhf/S-Bhf Potsdamer Platz
Phone: +49 (0) 30 229 45 23
Web: peking-ente-berlin.de

Quarre
Address: Unter den Linden 77
How to get there:

U-Bhf/S-Bhf Brandenburger Tor
Phone: +49 (0) 30 22 61 15 55
Web: hotel-adlon.de
Reinstoff
Address: Schlegel Strasse 26
How to get there: U-Bhf Zinnowitzer Strasse / S-Bhf Nordbahnhof
Phone: +49 (0) 30 30 88 12 14
Web: reinstoff.eu

Filed Under:

Want Entertainment News First? Sign up for Variety Alerts and Newsletters!
Post A Comment 0