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Food & Dining in Germany



High-end restaurants in Berlin can easily import fresh ingredients from other European countries, but some prefer to rely on the farmers close to home. Since Berlin became the capital again in 1999, restaurants have increasingly offered other regional German cuisine to feed those who followed the federal government here from their home state.

Stands near subway stations sell spicy Currywurst, a chubby frankfurter served with tomato sauce made with curry and pepper. Turkish food is an integral part of the Berlin diet. On almost every street you'll find narrow storefronts selling Döner kebab (grilled lamb or chicken served with salad in a flat-bread pocket).

A real Berlin institution is the weekend breakfast, a lavish affair consisting of a selection of cold meats, cheeses and fresh fruit washed down with a glass of orange juice and plenty of coffee. Sunday brunch is a popular social event with Berliners, who descend upon the city's cafés to while away a few pleasant hours with friends and family. Most cafés serve breakfast until at least 4 pm – perfect for the hoards of young revellers out late the night before. If you've had breakfast at a more reasonable hour and feel a bit peckish during the afternoon, try some Kaffee und Kuchen – a slice of cake accompanied by freshly-brewed coffee. A particular specialty is Milchkaffee, lashings of milky coffee served in a large bowl.

Charlottenburg is a chic and up-market neightbourhood. The best restaurants and cafés in the western city centre are found in the side-streets between Kurfürstendamm and Kantstraße as well as in the area around leafy Savignyplatz. Diners with a deep wallet should pay a visit to Ana e Bruno for exquisite Italian, while those on a normal budget could try the legendary pizzas at XXII Apostel. Otherwise head to Tai Ji for some great Chinese, to Le Canard for fantastic French or to Hitit for Turkish delights with an Oriental flair. Celebrity spotters will be in their element at Paris Bar, a French bistro better known for its well-heeled clientèle and late-night cocktails than for its food.

Fans of the traditional Berlin Currywurst sausage couldn't do any better than at the Imbiss stand at Amtsgerichtplatz in Kantstraße. The queues are always long, but it's well worth the wait! Good bets for a lazy Sunday brunch are Restaurant 31 and Pasticceria e Rosticceria Italiana.

Southern Kreuzberg (around Bergmannstraße) is also dominated by chic cafés and exclusive restaurants. Riehmers Hofgarten, Altes Zollhaus and Medici serve up some of the best "neue deutsche Küche" in town, while places like Austria and Jolesh are good bets for more traditional fare. Francophiles should head for Le Cochon Bourgeois, while lovers of Mediterranean cuisine should pay a visit to Sale e Tabacchi. Kreuzberg is also home to thousands of Turkish immigrants.

Many of Berlin's most scenic cafés are situated on the banks of the canal at Paul-Lincke-Ufer, the perfect place for a lazy Sunday afternoon brunch.

In Mitte, diners can savour the finest new international cuisine at Borchardt and Vau while fans of hearty German food will be in their element at Stäv, Volksgaststätte or Zur Letzten Instanz, said to be Berlin's oldest restaurant.

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