By Molly Hannon in Berlin—
The predominantly Turkish district of Neukölln in Berlin is no longer a no man’s land of imbisses and döner kebab stands. Although the Turkish influence still looms large, there are some new kids in town, the majority of whom are artists, designers and chefs, all drawn to the neighborhood’s affordable rents.
In the past five years, the neighborhood has transformed and now the selection of cafes, restaurants, and stylish watering holes is more varied than ever. Its international flavor still endures, blending well with Neukölln’s new trendy five-and-dimes while staying mindful of both the palate and the wallet.
Here’s a quick gustatory guide to five of Neukölln’s cheapest and most delicious hotspots:
Bird is the word at this Hühnerhaus. Somewhat a Berlin institution, City Chicken‘s succulent roasted poulets continue to attract a cult-like following. Located on the bustling Sonnenallee snug between bio markets, florists and spatkaufs, City Chicken never stops spinning its rotisserie racks, nor does its line of anxious customers eager for a juicy bite abate.
Your best bet is to opt for the “½ menu” with fries, salad, humus and garlic sauce served with a flat breads to lather up the juices. For a modest sum of €5, the man-size portions and great taste will quickly convert you to a die-hard fan of this chicken shack.
Berlin may be a landlocked city, but that does not necessarily mean that sushi is forsaken. Located on Karl Marx Strasse, Steel Shark Sushi adds new verve to the ubiquitous California roll with its beautifully crafted sushi rolls packed with fresh ingredients and delectable seafood. Their inventive approach to the Japanese craft offers original creations such as an Italian roll, packed with typical Italian ingredients like mozzarella and tomatoes.
Although it’s a small space, the shark is well worth the wait for its exceptional taste and low cost. There is also a satellite location near Alexanderplatz.
Berlin Burger International
The debate over who makes the best burger in Berlin continues amongst culinary gurus and avid carnivores. Although a relative newcomer to the art of the burger, Berlin Burger International has quickly made a name for itself with its fresh and thoughtful approach to flipping patties. Its emphasis on fresh ingredients, “Grade A” meat and homemade buns will easily delight you.
Located in the heart of Neukölln on Pannierstraße street, Berlin Burger International looks more like a small cave than a restaurant. Although the space is small, its portions are mighty and the overhead is low. With BBQ season in the forecast, Berlin Burger international is posed to become a summer staple.
Canadian what? Yes, we said Canadian Pizza, and we’re not just talking about Canadian bacon and maple syrup drizzled over large pies. Well to some extent we are. However, it’s owner Ron Telesky’s emphasis on unconventional ingredients that make this petit pizza cove rise above the rest.
From slices of pizza dressed in tofu and curried veggies to roasted sweet potato mixed with ricotta cheese and sage, there is something for every pizza lover here. The house chili maple syrup is weirdly delicious and insanely addictive. Pour it on your slice with complimentary heaps of fresh arugula and black olives and situate yourself under the moose mounted on the wall. Coupled with a nice brew, it guarantees a great, cheapo pizza night. The memorable taste will bring you back for more.
Here’s a quick video of Canadian Pizza:
There is nothing like a flaky and buttery croissant to start your day right. Since its inception, the beloved French flake has been fine-tuned and remodeled, so that now everyone, as Marie Antoinette once snootily said, can “eat cake.” The number of bakeries scattered throughout Berlin make it such a common coffee companion that it can inevitably bore your palate.
Fortunately, Neukölln’s beloved Croissanterie breathes new life into these buttery delights, with croissants ranging in flavor from the standards, such as plain and pain au chocolate, to vanilla custard, apricot and marzipan. There is also a range of fresh baked breads, cakes, and delicious eye-opening espresso that will quickly re-convert you to this morning ritual.
Also in our guide: If you’re planning a trip to the city, make sure to read our reviews of hotels in Berlin, all of them centrally located and affordable. Our editors have visited and inspected budget hotels in the center of Berlin, and posted reviews of the very best. Read more in our Berlin guide.