I recently spent a weekend in Berlin and I’ll be blogging a photo-heavy travel post soon (it’s in my diary, promise), but as I usually do on my return, here’s my guide to the places I visited.
Grounds Coffee – Chausseestrasse 101, 10115, Berlin
This cafe was opposite the hotel and we hadn’t paid for breakfast, so found this on Trip Advisor with some positive reviews from other guests. Coffee and cakes are something the Germans do well and the cake counter didn’t disappoint – I was spoilt for choice. In the end I panicked and went safe with a pain au chocolat, accompanied by a chai latte (my new favourite hot drink – I am addicted!) which was lovely.
The hot breakfast menu catered for all nationalities, ranging from French toast for Americans, the standard fry-up for the British and various cheese and meat options for Europeans. The Hawaii toast was an interesting concept –a toasted sandwich of cheese, ham and pineapple; slightly random and something I’d never pick for breakfast, but it was actually very good.
It was a good pit stop before the day’s excursions and I was full for the rest of the morning.
Einstein Cafe – Friedrichstrasse 185-190, 10117, Berlin
My auntie recommended a coffee and cake at Einstein Cafe, from her time in Berlin and it was certainly a popular spot. In an excellent location, next to Checkpoint Charlie and within walking distance of other popular tourist attractions, there were queues and it was difficult getting a table. We sat in the window, ideal for people watching. I opted for a piece of carrot cake and a cappuccino, both were excellent. The chocolate cake and cheesecake also looked scrummy, so it was a difficult decision; the former was cut in Bruce Bogtrotter-esque proportions! On this visit, I can understand why Einstein is such a hit with locals and tourists alike.
The Pub – Rochstrasse 14, 10178, Berlin
Another Trip Advisor recommendation, The Pub was a real man’s paradise – but I still enjoyed myself. It’s all about beer, burgers and the Bundesliga/Premier League on plasma screens. We sat and watched Arsenal lose to Stoke, while eating some of the biggest (and best) burgers I’ve ever had. Each table has its own beer pump, so you can pour your own pints (you get charged 7,80€ a litre) and it keeps track of how much you’ve drunk. It’s a clever idea for groups as it tracks individual progress and you can set up individual tabs on the same table so you can pay separately at the end. All food and drink is ordered on the computer screen – I had a couple of white wine spritzers – and on arrival, the staff explain how everything works, even demonstrating how to pull the perfect pint.
The menus came round on wooden boards and as well as burgers, you can order nachos, wings and even fish and chips! There’s even something called the burger platter, which contains 12 burgers (for 42,00€) – ideal for sharing. There were some really unusual combinations, so I just played it safe with a cheese and bacon burger, which was served with chips and coleslaw. When it arrived, it was huge and a proper burger – the beef was incredible. Of course, I struggled.
Despite obviously being aimed at men, I was pleased to see I wasn’t the only female – and they too drank wine and cocktails. It’s a novelty place, but one well worth going to.
Bonfini – Chausseestrasse 15, 10115, Berlin
Yet another Trip Advisor find, Bonfini was just around the corner from our hotel and it had decent reviews. Inside, it was cosy and traditional, with around 10 tables. The food was good, but the service really let the evening down – it was slow and the staff seemed very unprofessional.
I chose the spaghettini scampi – spaghetti with crayfish and rocket, in a tomato and sweet chilli sauce. Luckily the sauce was light and it didn’t swamp the spaghetti at all. The rocket on the top was fresh too. I rarely order pasta at restaurants because at home I eat no more than 40g, so when this arrived, I knew I would struggle. It was a lovely pasta dish but just far too much for me. I wanted a dessert but we ended up leaving, having waited so long.
The noise from the kitchen was somewhat off-putting, and I can’t imagine we were the only ones to hear it. There was a lot of laughing and odd noises, included squawking; while a young guy cleaning glasses stood behind the bar eating the bread baskets. They didn’t give a very good impression at all.
I’m sure there are lot better places that serve Italian fare in the right environment.