Destination: Germany: Berlin
Café am Neuen See
This restaurant and beer garden, on a lake in the Tiergarten park near the Berlin Zoo & Aquarium, is one of those local spots I hesitate to write about lest it get overrun by tourists. It’s a real gem with hodge-podge furnishings and art, a glass-paneled wall overlooking the lake and plenty of benches and tables al fresco. It’s great for breakfast and brunch (served pretty much all day) but also lovely on a warm evening, where you can settle in and sample local wines, beer and cocktails at ridiculously affordable rates. Unless you are staying at the nearby Intercontinental, this place is best reached on a bike or by taxi (don’t attempt to walk from the nearest Zoo Station subway; it looks closer than it actually is).
There’s not a ton of upscale river-side dining in Berlin, but Grill Royal has a wonderful al fresco terrace with Spree river views. It’s a good place for those craving meat; the steaks are renowned and pricey for Berlin standards. It’s all a perfectly orchestrated balance between classic comfort fare and a bit of glitz and star factor, which has led to comparisons with one of Keith McNally’s New York City hot spots, like Minetta Tavern or Balthazar.
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