During the 1990s – and even up to the mid-2000s – it was possible to visit Berlin for its expansive cultural scene, fascinating and often tangible history, or its edgy fashion and nightlife: but not really for the food. In the decade or so following reunification, the city’s culinary scene understandably lagged far behind other European nodes such as Paris, London and Barcelona. But over the last few years, this city – now considered Europe’s ‘capital of cool’ – has drawn unprecedented numbers of creatives, innovators, artists and entrepreneurs, and the food scene has expanded accordingly.
Today there are nearly 6,000 restaurants scattered across the metropolis, with new ones opening almost every day. As well as 20 Michelin-star restaurants (boasting a total of 26 stars), there are hundreds of excellent high-end and mid-range eateries, and an abundance of niche spots. There is also an abundance of cuisines from many countries, a trend that can be traced back through the years to when French Huguenots in the seventeenth century named the local meatballs “bulette” (from the French word “boule“), or East Prussian immigrants in the nineteenth century introduced dishes such as “Königsberger Klopse”.
Now Berlin is home to hundreds of nationalities, which is reflected by the restaurants serving food from countries as far flung as Peru, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Ethiopia, Sudan and Vietnam. This being an inherently artistic town, there are also many playful takes on food –the annual Food Art Week is a prime example – as well as a burgeoning ‘third wave’ coffee scene and plenty of street food.