Tag Archives: Brunch

The Eternal Search for Delicious Brunch

I am eternally searching for the best restaurants in Berlin. The latest, greatest, most delicious, most undiscovered place where I can sink my teeth into something divine. Berlin happens to be a happening brunch town, if only you can find the right places to go. Sundays offer up all-you-can-eat buffets to dine to your heart’s content, but where is it worthwhile spending such a luxurious period of your life? There are, of course, the staples (or at least my staples!):

  • Anna Blume for their beautiful brunch tower and over-sized tea mugs
  • Pasternak for their creative and unique buffet filled with Russian goodies (many of which remind me of my grandmother’s cooking) and mouth watering desserts
  • Frida Kahlo which tends to disappoint during all other mealtimes, but they seem to have gotten the Sunday brunch buffet filled with eggs, rice, beans, chicken, pancakes, etc right!
  • Barcomi’s which has your standard bagels affair with delicious dessert options.
  • Nalu Diner for a typical American breakfast complete with diner pancakes, bacon, eggs how you want them, and killer hash browns.

But say you want to take a step away from the norm…where would you go? Inputs welcome.

 

Hot Cocoa and a Spot of…Sunshine?

The weather in Berlin has been fantastically bizarre. One day there are clear skies and sunshine, the next gray clouds and plummeting temperatures. There is really no easy way to tell if you need to layer up, or wear easily peal-away-able clothing. And generally from the time you leave your house to the time you get wherever you’re going, the temperature has most likely changed.

It was one such sunday when I met a friend for brunch in Prenzlauer Berg. We headed for Zuckerfee on Griefenhagener Strasse 15 for their promise of pancakes and waffles – for brunch! (I know this seems normal to most of the Anglo-Saxon world, but in Germany it is not.)

We placed our orders and received our meal on typical Berlin brunch towers. Think 3 tiers filled with layers of pancakes, breads, cheeses, and fruits. Only this time there was also syrup and some type of blackberry sauce to drown our pancakes in.

I’ll be honest here, the food was OKAY, but not the best I’ve ever had. Some of these brunch places really do an equisite job of displaying food and giving the highest quality and cuts of meat and cheese, etc, but for the most part the typical brunch is pretty much the same wherever you go, varying only in the types of dishes the food is served on. That’s not to say I wouldn’t go back here. It definitely tasty, I’m just saying there wasn’t anything particularly unique or exceptional about it.

After we finished our brunch, we decided to wander around the gloriously sunny and warm streets of a spring morning in Berlin. Errr, wait, wasn’t it sunny and warm when we entered the cafe? As we exited, a cold gust of wind blew through our hair and stung our noses and we thought, well, it should still be warm enough to sit outside for another coffee, or hot chocolate so we made our way towards Kollwitzplatz. My favorite, Anna Blume, was packed to the brim (with shivering patrons) and so we found a nice spot in the sunshine across the way at Kaffeehaus Sowohlalsauch.

Perhaps we should have taken a sign from the customers doubling up on the restaurant-provided blankets, but we still had high hopes for those slivers of sunshine peering through the ever enclosing cloud cover. We ordered our hot drinks, I opted for a hot chocolate to try and steal some sugary warmth, and waited as our fingers grew numb.

While the drinks were delicious, mine even came with an overflowing mound of whipped cream, after about 30 minutes on the cold and cloudy corner, we had to call it quits and escape to warmer grounds. Our respective beds!

Almost too cold to enjoy my cocoa!

Brunch in Friedrichshain – Orange Coffee

I have been trying to expand my brunching horizons since moving to Berlin, since ironically most of my favorites are within about a 5-10 minute walk of my apartment. Coincidence? I think not.

So today I set out to brunch in Friedrichshain. I spent some time looking online to find reviews on some popular English speaking Berlin Websites, (such as Unlike Berlin and ExBerliner,) and then found some random ExPat bloggers who write about everywhere they eat in the city. And there is no shortage of material to write about since there are so many good options and new restaurants and cafes keep popping up all the time.

For today’s culinary experiment, I chose Orange Coffee on Voigtstrasse in Friedrichshain.

The place is cute and relatively small, though they have several tables large enough for groups of people. It is the typical Berlin style cafe/coffee shop where there is a large menu over the counter of what you can choose, or you can take your seat first and a waitress will take your order, (or they make exceptions for clueless foreigners…either way!)

So they had the “Orange Coffee Special Breakfast” on the menu, which sounded enticing enough to choose with fresh squeezed OJ. While Europeans, (and basically anyone outside of the U.S.,) do not know how to do pre-packaged OJ well, they definitely know how to do fresh squeezed! But the brunch was the “standard” Berlin-type brunch where you get a plate filled with different options of meat, cheese, fruits, veg, butter, and spreads along with some yummy German bread to make your own concoctions.

Let’s get a closer look at that plate, shall we?

So I will be honest here. The plate looks fantastic, theoretically it is all perfect, but realistically it was a bit disappointing. I may just be growing tired of the typical mixed plate of the same toppings that you find at any cafe in Berlin, or maybe the quality of this bread was just not as high as at other places I’ve been to, but I don’t think I would rush back here for a “unique” dining experience. If I was in the neighborhood and looking for a bit to eat, I’d certainly consider stopping in again…but traveling the distance from P-Berg may not have been worth it, (especially when I have Cafe Anna Blume in my backyard!)

Eating Our Way Through Berlin

So Berlin is kind of a crazy town. It was divided in half for such a long time that when they finally tore the wall down about 20 years ago, each side of the city was completely unrecognizable to the other. Reunification began, and along with it the destruction of  and complete renovation of the Eastern side of the city. As a result, the Eastern part of Berlin has become the true center of the city and definitely houses the hipper and seemingly younger neighborhoods. In some areas, of course, it has also become a bit pricier than other parts of Berlin, my guess would be largely due to all the new buildings and businesses that have sprung up over the last two decades.

While there, A and I took full advantage of the culinary delights that fill the city. We had heard good things about the food, and especially in comparison to the ridiculously overpriced dishes you might find in Zurich, Berlin was affordable and worth every penny. The first place we found and truly loved, was a flower shop/bakery/cafe in the Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood of Berlin, (North East) called Anna Blume.

It was a rainy and dreary day, but inside was cozy (and delicious!)

Anna Blume's Amazing Cake Display

I had read some reviews of the place before we went, and was so happy to find

Perhaps my favorite warm drink ever!

that they were all true! We each ordered a Chai Tea Latte to start the meal and then moved on two a three story tower of brunch delights, including ham, cheese, melon and berries, eggs, salmon, vegetables, and the list goes on. We also noted that every tower ordered by our neighboring tables was just a little bit different, so everyone had their own unique brunch experience!

The Brunch Tower at Anna Blume

Overall, for a price tag of about €23 ($32 USD) total for the meal, I’d say we got our money’s worth!

We also discovered a delicious Vietnamese restaurant called ChenChe Teahouse in Mitte. The decor and atmosphere in this place was incredible, and they even had about 6 birds that lived there full time and flew around singing beautiful little songs to make it feel all the more authentic. We each had different types of delicious Vietnamese soups, good to keep warm on a cold and wet day! And felt utterly relaxed in the middle of the city. I even had to go for a Vietnamese Espresso complete with condensed milk and lots of sugar to keep up pace with the city, (no, I am not a coffee drinker…ordinarily!)

A was not pleased he had to wait for a photo op before digging in!

This ought to do the trick for a few hours!

Some other delicious, (but not documented in photos,) restaurants we went to and enjoyed were Cafe Einstein which took us at 11:15 even though their kitchen technically closed at 11. We ordered a delicious Shnitzel and Steak which were both mouth watering and also had a very nice bottle of Italian wine. We were definitely the youngest in the restaurant by far, but the food was great! Then we also went to Borchardt Restaurant on our last night in Berlin and had another amazing steak and A had something with lamb or duck in it…can’t remember, just remember he loved it and I refused to try! All in all, another delicious dining experience! Can’t wait to see what else Berlin has to offer 🙂