Destination: Germany: Berlin
This hip Vietnamese sandwich shop in the Mitte serves delicious soups and salads, including a memorable miso slaw and wasabi roast beef.
Café Anna Blume
One of the Prenzlauer Berg’s little restaurant and café gems, which also—very Berlin—has a flower shop in the back. It’s best for breakfast/brunch or coffee, though a small menu of soups, salads and quiches can also make for a light lunch. Save room for the homemade cakes (a wonderful variety) for dessert. Watching the neighborhood go by while sitting on the tree-shaded patio out front on a summer day cannot be beat. It’s open every day, from 8am until 2am.
There are other locations (like a more convenient one on Unter den Linden near the Brandenburger Tor), but if you are touring in the Charlottenburg district, this turn-of-the-century café rivals those of Vienna. The coffee is roasted on-site, and there’s a garden if you want to stay for lunch.
It’s not worth seeking out if you are not staying in the neighborhood, but if you are at Lux 11 or Casa Camper, Café Oliv is a good spot for breakfast or lunch. The design is simple, the staff welcoming and the food nicely prepared and with a healthy emphasis.
Ask any Berliner what their favorite ice cream place is and you end up in a heated discussion. Suffice it to say, there are many, and many of them are good. But a clear favorite is Eismanufaktur, where flavors change daily (if they have strawberry-mint or cherry while you’re there, taste them…they are both amazing). There are several branches, including one at Café Anna Blume, but this one is centrally located if you’re touring near the Hackesche Höfe.
Hamburger Bahnhof Café
The café inside this former train station turned contemporary art museum, the Hamburger Bahnhof, is one of the city’s insider secrets and a great spot for lunch. It’s overseen by chef Sarah Wiener. Closed Monday.
One of the many extremely child-friendly spots in the Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood, this is a café-cum-playground (there’s actually a large sandbox inside the café). Kiezkind is a bit out of the way and doesn’t warrant a special trip. But it’s a good spot to know about if you are touring in Prenzlauer Berg and are in need of a welcoming spot to refuel over coffee and snacks while your kids make friends with the locals. Open daily, 10 a.m.–7 p.m.
Vanille & Marille
This colorful ice cream parlor is in a residential part of the Kreuzberg district, meaning as a first-time traveler you may not make it here. But if you are in the neighborhood, it’s worth a detour thanks to the incredible variety of all-natural flavors, including white chocolate with ginger and orange; Sicilian pistachio and honey-sesame.
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