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Berlin: Secret lunch spot with a view at Potsdamer Platz

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PS-ZWO Cafe
The PS-ZWO cafe at Sony Center. Photo: PS-ZWO cafe

Potsdamer Platz is one of my favorite central locations in Berlin. How can you go wrong with the Philharmonie and Neue Nationalgalerie, cinemas like CineStar and CinemaXX that screen blockbusters in English and host the Berlinale film festival each spring, living history lessons on the Berlin Wall, and a comfortable grassy knoll on which to enjoy some of Berlin’s finest ice cream?

That’s why it’s so unfortunate that the Platz is home to almost exclusively chain and tourist-oriented restaurants that fail to offer the prices or the atmosphere of most other dining locations in Berlin. It’s not the most charming place to meet for a drink or grab something beyond a quick bite to eat.

The “PS-ZWO” cafe to the rescue!

Imagine my surprise then when I discovered a small cafe so quintessentially Potsdamer Platz and yet everything a Cheapo should appreciate: a reasonably priced menu, a great view, connected to a free exhibition of amazing photography, and a certain secret cache… Al fresco on Potsdamer Platz doesn’t get better than this!

Known as PS-ZWO, the cafe primarily serves the students and faculty of the German Film and Television Academy Berlin (dffb). Open weekdays only from 9 a.m. till 5 p.m., it’s best for a continental breakfast, lunch (served 12-2:30 p.m.), or an afternoon Kaffee und Kuchen break (till 3:30 p.m.).

It’s accessed by taking the elevator inside the Filmhaus (enter from either side of the Sony Center) to the 9th floor. As the picture illustrates, the cafe offers unparalleled views of the Sony Center’s fabulous roof.

Free exhibit to boot!

The space is currently (through June 15, 2013) hosting an exhibition of Brigitte Lacombe’s film photography, entitled, “On Set with Scorsese.” Lacombe is perhaps best known for her star portraits, but as this exhibition shows, she has followed director Martin Scorsese as exclusive set photographer for years. (For true Scorsese fans, the show runs parallel an exhibition on the director, running until May 12 in the Deutsche Kinemathek museum, also housed in the Filmhaus.)

About the author

Hilary Bown

An academic by training, a writer by day, and a Cheapo by heritage, Hilary Bown's meagre means and insatiable travel appetite have helped her sharpen her "no-budget travel" skills across the European continent over the past decade. At home in Berlin or on an adventure abroad, you'll find her in sandals, riding the bus, reading novels while walking, drinking the local wine, writing out postcards with a felt-tip pen, and browsing the shelves of the supermarket and hardware store. Find her unique blend of travel adventure and tested advice at Less Than a Shoestring.

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