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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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BAN BAN KITCHEN REOPENS & PIG AND TIGER — KOREAN SOUL FOOD

BAN BAN KITCHEN REOPENS & PIG AND TIGER — KOREAN SOUL FOOD

Ban Ban Kitchen lovers, re-unite! The Korean “soul food” joint is finally open again, with new lunch hours, a revamped interior and a fresh menu. Ban Ban — which means “half and half” in Korean — has been Neukölln’s go-to Asian imbiss since they occupied a tiny shack built around a tree on Hermannstraße, a few short blocks from where they are today. The classic bulgogi burgers and nori tacos remain on the menu alongside a noodly take on the bibimbap, and nori sprinkled fries with Korean miso mayo. While Ban Ban makes the perfect delicious pit-stop or quick takeaway spot, in times of leisure we recommend venturing next door to its younger, larger sibling, Pig & Tiger. Exposed brick walls, large windows, and the centrepiece copper-clad bar aren’t the only things that distinguish Pig & Tiger from its tiny next-door neighbor. Expect bibimbap served in piping hot stone bowls, crispy chicken karaage, garlic butter drenched edamame, delicate mandu dumplings, and luscious pulled pork udon. As you watch the sun fade over Schillerpromenade, you’ll wonder why you didn’t visit sooner. (Text: Devan Grimsrud / Photos: Ban Ban Kitchen)

Ban Ban Kitchen and Pig & Tiger, Schillerpromenade 32, 12049 Berlin-Neukölln; map
Ban Ban Kitchen: Thu-Tue 18-23h
Pig & Tiger: Thu, Sat-Tue 12-22h, Fri 13-22h

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LOK6 — FROM BRUNCH TO PRE-DINNER IN AN OLD ENGINE DEPOT

LOK6 — FROM BRUNCH TO PRE-DINNER IN AN OLD ENGINE DEPOT

Arriving at this restaurant is all about the approach. I recommend coming by bike from Gleisdreieck, as at its top end lies Lok6. This way is the most rewarding for all the senses: the eye can revel in the urban landscape of railroad tracks and residential buildings, which form a pleasantly calm backdrop. Time your arrival for sunset if you can. In the warm, rusty-red interior of the restaurant, taste buds are spoiled. Chef Julia Heifer combines seasonal ingredients to create exceptional small plates, which straddle the line between appetizer and main course. Formerly in the kitchen at Dóttir, today Heifer implements her New York-inspired pre-dinner concept as Lok6’s owner — which she runs together with manager Tobias Wallenstein. Those in the mood for a classic apéro can order olives or hummus, or for a summery pre-dinner snack, the burrata salad with fresh tomatoes and peaches. Craving more? Hearty dishes also make an appearance. We loved the grilled aubergine with capers and orange yoghurt sauce. Currently Lok6 closes at 9pm, which is actually ideal, as at that point the evening is still young, and the senses are already satisfied. Testing the weekend brunch here is still on our to-do list, combined with a stroll in the park for the perfect lazy Saturday afternoon. (Text: Nina Trippel / Photos (clockwise): Marlen Mueller / LOK6 / Doro Zinn)

 

Lok6, Am Lokdepot 6, 10965 Berlin-Schöneberg; map

Tue-Sat 12-21h

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LA LUCHA — MODERN MEXICAN MADE TO PERFECTION

LA LUCHA — MODERN MEXICAN MADE TO PERFECTION

Though Berlin is home to a handful of Mexican restaurants, very few do modern and authentic cuisine as deliciously well as La Lucha — another recent addition to Paul-Linke-Ufer. Already booked out almost every night, the staff tell me it’s been like that since it opened — something I quickly understood as I made my way into the bright and bustling interior. “La Lucha” is Spanish for the “the struggle”, and it’s definitely a struggle not to order everything on the menu. Each item is more enticing than the next. Like the “Taquitas Dorados”, fried tortillas stuffed with flavorful potatoes and chorizo and topped with fresh cheese and salsa, or the vegan “Camote Burrito”, filled with agave glazed sweet potatoes, broccoli, pickled carrots and finished with a garlic coriander salsa. The classic “Ceviche Verde” is not to be missed either. Come with friends and order the plates to share to combat food envy. You’ll want to pass around the cocktails too: the enticing menu features a decent selection of Mezcal. And don’t forget to book — La Lucha has firmly fixed itself on our radar of top dining destinations this summer. (Text: Jessica David / Photos: c/o La Lucha)

La Lucha, Paul-Lincke-Ufer 39/41, 10999 Berlin-Kreuzberg; map
Wed-Sun 18-00h

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SIMONE DONECKER RECOMMENDS: SAP DATA KITCHEN

SIMONE DONECKER RECOMMENDS: SAP DATA KITCHEN

My hour-long lunch break countdown starts now. Happily I’ve already placed a food order via an app on my way to the SAP Data Kitchen, tucked away in a heritage-listed courtyard in the culinary void that is Hackescher Markt. Opened in Autumn 2016 as a collaboration between the software developer SAP and entrepreneur Heinz “Cookie” Gindullis, Berlin’s first digital restaurant sees chef Alexander Brosin create culinary delights with high ambitions and a deep connection to nature. In addition to the rotating daily specials, my favourite dish might just be the garden vegetables with fried polenta. At the core of the concept is perfect timing: The custom-made “food wall” keeps orders in individually-named boxes which can be opened via app upon arrival. The Data Space kitchen’s atmosphere also extends to its next door neighbour, a start-up accelerator. If you’re keen to overhear the latest trends in tech at lunch, you might just get lucky. You’ll have the time to try, in any case. (Text: Simone Donecker / Photos: Stefan Lucks / Marcus Zumbansen)

Data Kitchen, Rosenthaler Str.38, 10178 Berlin-Mitte; map
Mon-Sun 9-17h. Order via the Android or iOS App

Simone Donecker has been living in Berlin-Wilmersdorf since 2001. The trained art historian works as a freelance cultural manager and consultant in the nonprofit sector.

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