In the past decade the fine dining scene in Berlin has been expanding and improving swiftly. In 2015, the Michelin Guide awarded stars to 15 restaurants in the city. Fast forward five years to 2020 and Berlin now has 24 Michelin-Starred restaurants, with several swanky eateries bagging a 2nd star and Rutz, on Chausseestraße in Mitte, becoming the city’s first ever first three-starred restaurant.
Dining in Berlin is also much more accessible and affordable than the scenes in other Western European Capitals – so you can get a taste of the (very) good stuff without flatlining your bank account. To aid you in your quest for sophisticated satiation sans the hefty price tag, we’ve put together a list that introduces some of the more affordable fine-dining spots in the city and also showcases other casual Berlin eateries that don’t skimp on quality. Enjoy...
Horvath has two Michelin-Stars, so you shouldn’t expect the dining experience here to come cheap. It is, however, one of Berlin’s more affordable top restaurants, and, given the sky-high quality, is good value. A 5-course meal costs €120, while a 7-course experience is €145 – plus €50 and €70 respectively for wine pairings. The food – haute Austrian-inspired cuisine – is elegant, creative and beautifully presented; the wine pairings (if you splash out a bit more) elevate everything on your plate; and the service is slick, informative and attentive without ever becoming overbearing.
Nobelhart & Schmutzig
Another Michelin-Starred spot, Nobelhart & Schmutzig claims to be ‘Germany’s most political restaurant’. Since they opened in 2015, they’ve set themselves a rigorous standard for sourcing locally, sustainably and seasonably – only using ingredients that are in season and from the Greater Berlin region. That means no tuna, no lemon, no chocolate and so on. They serve their 10-course menu for €105 on a Tuesday and Wednesday (the price rises to €130 from Thurs through Sunday) and they rock a special where two lucky students per evening can enjoy the full menu at a slashed price.
Like Nobelhart & Schmutzig, Barra embraces seasonality, serving up sharing plates from a menu dictated by the changing of the seasons. Dishes such as ‘Trout, Raspberry & Sorrel’ and ‘Simmenthaler Ribeye, Butter Lettuce & Garlic Capers’ are accompanied by low intervention wines and craft beers. The prices are excellent, too, with almost everything on the menu coming in at under €20. If you’re looking for a casual vibe, with great food in a slick spot (they’re nestled right in Schillerkiez a stone’s throw from the Tempelhofer Feld), then this is your place.
This resto in the R.A.W Gelände in Friedrichshain specialises in cooking Thai-inspired dishes over an open fire. Dining here is much less stiff than the first couple of entries on our list – many of the dishes come as sharing platters and are designed to be eaten with your fingers. The smoked chicken – with lemongrass, wild ginger and tamarind – is outrageous, as are the crispy-fried fermented pork ribs. Make sure you get yourself a lethal spiced papaya salad and some of the grilled giant Dutch oysters to go alongside too. Dishes cost between €5 - 20.
Tucked away behind the opulent golden domes of the New Synagogue in Heckmann Hof, Night Kitchen is all about communal dining. They have an a la carte menu, but the core concept is their ‘Dinner with Friends’ special. It costs €38 per person (€54 with bottomless beer and wine) and starts with a simple dialogue with your server – they’ll ask what you can/can’t eat and what you like. Then a steady stream of modern Mediteranean dishes with an Israeli twist – Octopus Merguez, Tomato Carpaccio, and Crispy Calamari in Tarragon Oil, for example – will start turning up at your table. Excellent food, great value, beautiful location.
Hip and lively, Mrs Robinson’s serves up modern Asian-fusion dishes that are crisp, simple and creative – no nonsense and no window dressing required. They buy local when possible and also support artisan farmers and slow fisheries across Europe. The menu changes regularly, but most items are usually under €20, and all of them are delicious. Think soft shell crab bao buns, fancy fried chicken, and bold sandwiches: beef tartare, fried sweetbreads, shiso béarnaise and hot sauce for example. The desserts are a crowning glory to all that came before – do yourself a favour and get the popcorn soup.