“Laptops welcome” isn’t exactly an omnipresent sentiment in the eateries of this city. So for those seeking a workspace other than their kitchen table, the arrival of a café which encourages its clientele to stay on the wifi comes as a pleasant surprise. Ivy Berlin is a space in two parts: the tile-clad front café is a cosy place to down your espresso over the morning news or catch up with friends. Need to get to work? Step into the light-flooded “back office”, where oak tables by Nutsandwoods and an enviable Monstera deliciosa create a tranquil atmosphere. Productivity levels are taken care of by coffee from Bonanza or Companion tea, and to sustain your energy throughout the day, a simple menu offers generously prepared and thoughtfully presented snacks. We recommend the homemade granola topped with greek yogurt, fruit, chia and nuts. Or the avocado with fresh almond cream, coriander and chives on sourdough toast. Several hours and caffeine hits later, you may end up wishing this living room was indeed your own. (Text: Anna Dorothea Ker / Photos: Damian Tauchert)
As everybody in and out of town talks about how Berlin’s gastronomy scene has evolved over the past years, I’ve always felt that beautifully and sensitively created Japanese pâtisserie – which usually comes not only with joy for visual presentation but with guaranteed good taste – was missing. When I happened to see the picture of the “matcha chou à la crème” from Café Komine, I simply knew I had to have it. When I did, it made me want to boast about the fact that I knew the best pâtisserie in town. Komine opened its doors in December last year, by a former cellist turned qualified pâtissier, Shin Komine, who trained at Le Cordon Bleu Tokyo. His creations are unlike anything that’s existed in Berlin until now, such as the beautiful “mont blanc”, a staple at Japanese pastry shops. It’s hard to choose your favorite from the selection on display, and it’s even harder to take your first forkful, inevitably destroying the most beautiful thing on earth. But once you do, the rest goes down faster than you can imagine. (Text & Photos: Akiko Watanabe)
Café Komine, Wed-Sat 12.30-19h, Sun 12.30-18h
Welserstr.13-15, 10777 Berlin-Schöneberg; map
Akiko Watanabe is a Berlin-based freelance coordinator and editor at Lodown Magazine.
“In Portugal’s restaurants and cafés, the question asked by waiters after the meal isn’t whether you’ve had enough to eat, but instead whether you’re satisfied.” And satisfaction is just the feeling you’re left with after eating at the family-run Mercearia aus Portugal. Owner Júlia has managed to carve out a name for herself amongst Prenzlauer Berg’s many cafés, thanks to her fine coffee and an array of charming homemade tartlets and speciality cakes. The classic pastel de nata makes an appearance, and for more peckish guests, at least one warm lunch dish — such as Portuguese stockfish — is offered every day. Comfortably furnished with a view over Helmholzplatz, Mercearia is the perfect feel-good spot for a relaxing afternoon. (Text: Claudia Schoemig)
Claudia Schoemig has lived in Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg since 1998. In 2010, she founded her atelier Schoemig Porzellan.
Coffee lovers of Mitte, rejoice! In December 2016, Kris and Sophie Schackman, owners of beloved Kreuzberg coffee roaster Five Elephant, opened a glitzy second branch on Alte Schönhauser Straße. You’d be forgiven, however, for feeling like you’re in Paris or Milan when you step inside its glossy white interior, the crowning glory of which is a custom-designed beige terrazzo counter. Fitted out with brass inlays and decorated with abstract shapes in rich jewel tones, it makes for a highly Instagrammable backdrop for the café’s drool-worthy array of cakes, pastries and whoopie pies. The tangy passionfruit tart pairs perfectly with an espresso or black filter coffee, though you may not want to go past Five Elephant’s beloved cheesecake — here all grown up in a round, not slice, form. For Berliners living or working north of the river, rest assured you no longer have to trek out to Kreuzberg for your top notch caffeine and sugar fix. (Text: Anna Dorothea Ker)
A new coffee shop that’s just opened on Köpenicker Straße has quickly become one of my favorites. Pola Café is small but smart: For instance, as room for plants is limited, owner Mascha Roos decided to hang them from the ceiling and let them grow up the walls. The space hardly leaves room for tables – that’s why there’s just one. These constraints make Pola all the more cozy and communal: You quickly get talking with other guests. The excellent coffee is from Bor & Baumeister in Kreuzberg, while vegetarian soups grace the lunch menu – my favorite is beetroot. I also highly recommended Pola’s creative sandwiches, such as the “Bulgogi”: Korean marinated beef with kimchi, pear and sesame. Or the “Morza”, which combines sweet potato puree, scamorza cheese and hazelnuts. Stay a while and you could just make your lucky break - Roos runs her street casting agency, Ostwesting, from the back room. (Text: Diana Hagenberg)
Diana Hagenberg works in Marketing at the anti-migrane app, M-sense, and lives in Kreuzberg.