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MASON DEAN RECOMMENDS: CAFÉ MUGRABI

MASON DEAN RECOMMENDS: CAFÉ MUGRABI

My love affair with Israeli food began with a late breakfast after a red-eye flight on my first trip to Tel Aviv. The only café open in the empty Shabbat streets had one customer and two options: hummus and hummus with ful (a hearty paste of dried fava beans). I blindly chose the latter and was rewarded with a steaming bowl of hummus crowned with fragrant olive oil and ful — a light and perfect meal. Café Mugrabi brings such eye-opening (and palate expanding) Tel Aviv moments to Berlin, with thoughtful takes on a variety of Israeli staples: from hummus with spicy green skhug (an herby sauce) to sabich sandwiches stuffed with eggplant, smoky shakshuka to light fattoush salads and creamy labneh cheese with pita. More staid options — poached and scrambled eggs or granola with fruit — are invigorated with tahini, za’atar herbs or labneh, each dish anchored by Bonanza coffee and fresh juices. When I can’t decide, I order hamshuka, a delicious hummus-shakshuka hybrid. Get extra sourdough bread or pita to mop up the leftovers, but save room for malabi, a refreshing milk pudding with rosewater. Whether at an outside table soaking up sun or unwinding in the tiled interior, Café Mugrabi is a perfect springboard to greet your day. (Text: Mason Dean / Photos: Jerome Warburton c/o Café Mugrabi)

Cafe Mugrabi, Görlitzer Str.58, 10997 Berlin-Kreuzberg; map
Mon-Fri 9.30-18.30h, Sat-Sun 10–19h

When not researching biology at the Max Planck Institute in Potsdam, Mason Dean happily researches new options for breakfast. He has lived in Kreuzberg for seven years.

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JUDITH TAUDIEN RECOMMENDS: MASEL TOPF

JUDITH TAUDIEN RECOMMENDS: MASEL TOPF

Kollwitzkiez is a total haven for cafes, with new places popping up on a weekly basis. For restauranteurs, however, the scene can be more than a little cut-throat. One restaurant that has succeeded in establishing itself in the kiez with its special concept of innovative cuisine and cosy interiors is Masel Topf on Rykestraße. Since 2014, owner Konstantin Pinski has been serving up traditional Jewish food with a Russian influence and a modern touch. The menu prioritizes carnivores, with the classic Beef Stroganoff, Wiener Schnitzel and “Mommes Fläischroulette” (veal rolls filled with spinach, cheese and apricots) all making an appearance. Vegetarians won’t go home with a growling stomach, however, with dishes like the the falafel plate and the Wareniki. The unique, detail-oriented interior is the result of Pinski’s love for trawling through antique markets, with vintage books and opulent chairs set against patterned wallpaper decorated with framed black and white photographs. The whole experience makes you feel like you’re dining in a 1920s Russian living room. (Text: Judith Taudien / Photos: Konstantin Pinski)

Masel Topf, Rykestr.2, 10405 Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg; map
Mon-Sat 11-24h, Sun 10-24h

Judith Taudien has lived in Berlin since 2005 (mostly in Friedrichshain) and, since last year, in Lichtenberg. She works as an online editor and mainly writes about restaurants and good food.

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NINA KUHN RECOMMENDS: HEIDE’S

NINA KUHN RECOMMENDS: HEIDE’S

Berlin has cafés aplenty, but there are none quite like Heide’s. OK, so strictly speaking, Heide’s isn’t so much a café as it is a deli, according to owner Heide Proett. But instead of worrying about semantics, you should pay a visit to the magical shop on Rykestraße, where so many delicious things await that you’ll want to stay a while. And thankfully you can — on weekends, Heide — who, following a career in marketing and PR, has fulfilled her long-standing dream of opening an Italian deli — whips up an a delectable breakfast menu, from ricotta pancakes to poached eggs with crispy bacon and hazelnut vinaigrette. If the dishes weren’t so satisfyingly filling you could stay right on for lunch, indulge in an afternoon tea of homemade cake and then dive in to the insanely good spaghetti bolognese or mozzarella crostini. There are also lighter options like salad on the Italian evening menu, which changes frequently. The experience is topped off by a fine selection of wine and a smile from Heide and her team. Heide’s is a place to feel good in, to while away the morning with a good book, to bring your parents to, to have an aperitif at — all occasions are perfectly catered for. And if you want to take a slice of it home with you, pick up a treat from the deli wall, which is stocked with everything from olive oil to chocolate. (Text: Nina Kuhn / Photos: Heide’s)

Heide’s, Rykestr.52, 10405 Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg; map
Wed-Fri 12-22h, Sat-Sun 10-18h

Nina Kuhn hails from Hessen and has lived in Berlin since 2010, following stint in New York, Paris and Milan. Three years ago she founded the interior and fashion label Rianna + Nina, together with Rianna Kounou. The duo sell worldwide and also have a Berlin store on Torstr.62.

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SIGURD LARSEN RECOMMENDS: CYCLING TO KÖPENICK

SIGURD LARSEN RECOMMENDS: CYCLING TO KÖPENICK

One of my favorite escapes on a sunny day is a bike trip to Köpenick. From where I live in Kreuzberg, the route offers a nice sequence of diversity — my favorite stops being the abandoned buildings. A bike trip on the northern side of the Spree towards Köpenick is an exciting journey into the eastern history of Berlin where plants are now taking over. The enormous Heizkraftwerk is made entirely of brownstone and the workers’ houses behind it are the first highlights of the journey. Next is the entrance to Funkhaus. If you take a closer look at the large red brick building on the right hand side you realize it’s only a thin façade — behind the glass is a forest. Once in Köpenick, my goal is the abandoned Kabelwerk in Friedrichshagener Straße north of Müggelspree. Many lush plants are taking over the former production halls, and trees are growing through the roof. Creating strips of nature, they match the long openings in the ceiling and create a fantastic self-grown indoor park. Usually the gates are open and people walk quietly around inside, as it somehow feels impolite to disturb the silence. (Text & Photos: Sigurd Larsen)

Sigurd Larsen is a Danish architect and furniture designer. A selection of his creations can be found at Formel A. Since 2016, he has held a Professorship at Berlin’s BAU International University.

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LIV FLEISCHHACKER RECOMMENDS: BIRRA

LIV FLEISCHHACKER RECOMMENDS: BIRRA

Birra is like a mix between an Italian countryside tavern and a modern craft beer bar. A mix I didn’t know I needed in my life, until I stepped foot into Birra. Upon entering you’re greeted by a slew of Italian bartenders rambunctiously jockeying for space behind the bar. Italian craft beer is fascinating — many brewers actually develop their recipes with wine drinkers in mind, which leads to a strong focus on regionality, terroir, and spice. Beers by the Lambrate brewery, a pioneer of Italy’s craft beer movement, make up the core of the bar’s range. They’re flanked by offerings from many other young Italian breweries, as well as a few local ones (Stone and Motel). The bartenders are happy to help you find a beer you enjoy. When I told them I was a big fan of sour beer they plied with me everything they could find, including a taster of a tomato beer that they’d been working on. In order to sustain a solid night of beer, I highly recommend you order some snacks: Birra’s menu offers a delicious selection of fresh panini, charcuterie, cheese, and large, juicy olives. (Text: Liv Fleischhacker / Photos: Devan Grimsrud)

Birra, Prenzlauer Allee 198, 10405 Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg; map
Mon-Sun 18-2h

Liv Fleischhacker is a native Berliner who moved back to Prenzlauer Berg in 2010. She’s a food and drinks writer, a beer editor, and co-organizer of the city’s Jewish food festival, Nosh Berlin.

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