And so there we have it, three years to the day that I published my first post. 80 different cuisines visited and mostly enjoyed. A point proven about the multicultural and diverse nature of Berlin and a personal quest accomplished. Unfortunately I found that my enthusiasm waned towards the end, but this felt like a natural consequence to having discovered so many great new places to eat as we wanted to revisit places, and there are only so many days you can eat out during a week without bankrupting yourself. I also think that choosing Germany at the end meant that my mission became a bit less appealing. No offence to German food but you have to be in a fairly specific (and hungry) mood to really appreciate the heartiness and comfort of this specific cuisine.
So what have I learned along the way? One of the first things that became apparent is the ubiquity of the dumpling or savory parcel across the world. We call them dumplings, pasties, dim sum, pelmeni, pierogi, maultaschen, empanadas, momos, croquettas, ravioli, burek, samosas and many other names. I think you could probably write a blog purely devoted to this art form, and I sure do love me some savoury parcel comfort food action. I guess they are so popular as it is a good way of making tasty ingredients go further, by encasing them in something carby and it is an easier way to transport food around perhaps.
As I drew to the end of the blog and started to revisit pages and update the details, I learned about the precarity of the restaurant industry through the number of places that are now permanently closed since my visit. In fact there were so many places from the blog that have since closed that I worry I might have been a kiss of death for them – I hope not, sorry guys! In one case (Melbourne Canteen) my inflated ego has convinced itself that my acerbic review was the final nail in the coffin for this once popular Aussie cafe and restaurant as it closed very soon after I published what was my second meanest review.
I have tried to be fair, kind and objective in writing up my visits but unfortunately a few places fell really short and I couldn’t help but write negatively about them. However, I won’t dwell upon these and will instead chose a top ten (in no particular order) of my favourites. Whenever I tell people about the blog their first question is which one did I like the best? I can never decide upon just one but will instead refer them to this list:
Txoxoa (Basque) We have revisited this local restaurant several times and the quality of the food has never wavered although the prices have increased a bit and service has been pretty bad on a super busy night.
La Tia Rica (Chile) We have yet to revisit but I still have very warm memories about this place especially the quality of the wines alongside some great cookery.
Mabuhay (Indonesia)I have revisited twice since and the food remains delicious and such good value. Especially recommend the chilli prawns, beef rendang and the nasi goreng. It is also surprisingly close to Potsdamer Platz which otherwise has a dearth of good places to eat.
Chicha (Peru) Another local favourite, we have been back twice and have noticed an increase in price each time but also they are upping their game flavour-wise and with presentation. A great place to go to treat yourself and especially if you love fish.
Le Saint Amour (France) So a pattern is forming here! Another local favourite but one that is very much deserving of a place in the top ten. If you love french cooking you cannot do any better than this place which is so authentic and warm and demonstrating such an obvious love of cooking that you cannot help but fall in love yourself.
Tabibito (Japan) Just up the road from us (we are so lucky!) is so far the best sushi place I have tried in Berlin (with the exception of the secret sushi pop-up club at Fish Fabrik every second Wednesday) because every single time I have visited the fish has been super fresh, the presentation beautiful and the environment without cynicism. A reservation is a must any night of the week.
Babel (Lebanon) There are so many middle eastern places in Berlin that it is hard to chose one (honorable mentions to Azzam, Lasan and Yarok) but when I think about what makes a perfect middle eastern offering I think of a teller at Babel. The falafel is crisp on the outside, fluffy in the middle and full of herbs, the meat is perfectly cooked, the side dishes and dip are delicious and plentiful and the surroundings are beautiful with fresh flowers surrounding you all year round. Perfect.
Merle’s Rum & Roti (Trinidad) This was a very early visit and we have yet to go back but we really want to. I remember a warm happy environment with delicious spicy creole food.
Da Jia Le (China) There are two chinese restaurants we visited which both nearly ended up in the top ten. Da Jia Le edged it slightly over Asia Deli because it really opened my eyes to the richness, new flavour profiles and diversity of chinese food compared to my experience of the ubiquitous UK takeaway (sweet and sour chicken balls anyone?) and they serve craft beer which is also important.
Ebo Ano (Nigeria) I really wanted to include a West African place in this top ten as this is a completely new cuisine discovery since moving here. I chose Ebe Ano as it is the most welcoming and restaurant-like of the places we have visited and the food is warm, comforting and tasty plus they have the good guinness.
All this hard work feels like it should be headed somewhere and thanks to my current state of unemployment and being married to a programmer it will live on beyond WordPress and hopefully become something much bigger and better and a real tool that people can use to find different types of restaurants in Berlin. I am pleased to announce that we are building a new website and app based upon this blog but with lots more entries across the city for each cuisine based upon general reviews and not just the ones we have visited.
Thank you to everyone that has followed the blog and although I don’t often get as many comments or likes as I would have hoped, I know that people are reading it and using it across the world it from the statistics and also from whenever I get back in touch with a friend as they will always tell me how much they have enjoyed reading it. This blog has really helped me get to know and love Berlin and with a bit of luck and hard work maybe it will lead me to new opportunities for working in an area for which I have so much love, knowledge and passion.
Goodbye readers and I’ll keep you posted on the next adventure. I will leave you with one of the recurring themes of the blog, a picture of my husband sat across from me holding a drink and enjoying some tasty food 😉