Although Berlin is enjoying a (relatively) mild winter this year, winter is still winter! The most important winter survival advice I have for you is a hot, steaming and delicious soup. Here are my favourite five soups to try when in Berlin…
If you want to try a traditional Berlin soup, this is a classic one: the Löffelerbsen soup (“spoon peas”, in English). The Löffelerbsen soup is actually like like a stew than a soup: the name suggests that a spoon should be able to “stand” in the Löffelerbsen soup. Like many traditional Berlin dishes, it is originally a “poor people’s food”, although it can be also found in luxury restaurants today. It is made of peas, cooked with cured meat and sometimes also other ingredients. It is best eaten in very traditional joints, like the Ratskeller Köpenick, located in the Köpenick’s city hall and not far from Berlin’s smallest brewery, only 15sq.
Alt Köpenick 21, 12555 Berlin
+49 (0)30 655 51 78
Berlin Fish Soup
Berlin and Brandenburg are known as the “Land of Thousand Lakes”, and freshwater fish like the Zander are a local delicacy. In general, fish have been a staple in Berlin cuisine since the earliest times, and archaeological excavations have even discovered remains of open-sea fish from the Middle Ages. Fish was actually so important that it was “imported” from the Baltic or the North Sea, usually as stockfish or pickled/salted. Traditional Berlin food is known for being frugal and the fish soup is no exception, being traditionally made from different pieces of fish that couldn’t have made it to the main course. Still, fish soup is a wonderful warming addition to the winter and there is no better place to enjoy it than the quintessential Berlin “house of fish” – Rogacki.
Wilmersdorfer Str.145/46, 10585 Berlin-Charlottenburg
+49 (0)30 343 825-0
Steamy Vietnamese Pho
Berlin has a relatively large Vietnamese community, and their culinary traditions have certainly enriched the city’s culinary landscape. One of Berlin’s most exciting off-the-beaten track places is the Dong Xuan Center. Despite its location in an industrial area in Lichtenberg district, it is rather easy to reach from the city centre: just take the M8 Tram to “Herzbergstr./Industriegebiet “, which takes you directly to the Vietnamese Market. You’ll find that from the signs on the walls to the food in the menu – everything caters to the Vietnamese community. And there are several excellent places there to try the famous Pho soup, one of the highlights of the Vietnamese cuisine.
Dong Xuan Center
Herzbergstr. 128-139, 10365 Berlin
+49 (0) 30 – 55 44 03 42
A Comforting Żurek
Berlin is an international city today and this multicultural atmosphere means that you can try almost any type of soup on earth. In taktak, you can find some great soups alongside yummy pierogi. Żurek is almost inseparable from any Polish meal. Made of fermented rye, Polish white sausage and potatoes, eating it feels like a big hug from a Polish grandmother, or from Karol from taktak, who is probably too young to be a grandfather, but makes one of the best Żureks out there.
Brunnenstr. 5, 10119 Berlin-Mitte
İşkembe? Yayla? or Just Mercimek?
We can’t really speak of international Berlin without mentioning one of its largest communities: the Turkish one. İşkembe is the Turkish tripe soup, Yayla is a yogurt soup and both are served in Turkish restaurants and late night joints. Among other warming qualities, these fatty soups are also an excellent cure for hangover or just exhaustion from dancing all night in one of Berlin’s famous clubs. Vegetarians (or vegans) do not despair – you can get one of those wonderful Turkish lentil soups… To be found in any Turkish eatery, including the many joints around Kottbusser Tor.
Adalbertstraße 98, 10999 Berlin
+49 (0)30 616 092 80
Soup with a Beer
When in Berlin, be a Berliner: Drink beer with your soup. This is at least the philosophy at Prachtwerk, a wonderful, typical Neukölln combination of a cultural institute, events centre and a trendy eatery. John and Stephanie serve you with great beer next to the soup of the day, and also provide food for your brain.
Ganghoferstr. 2, 12043 Berlin
+49 (0)176 61474750