At Hako, they know how to do ramen. But what makes their version of the ever-popular bowl of broth so divine? Toothsome noodles a plenty, of course, with a sprinkle of dried seaweed, crispy menma and green onions that add zing and texture to every bite. Opened in September 2017, Hako has been serving up ramen that Berliners are happily devouring on the daily. Take a glance at the minimal menu and add welcomed sides of pork gyoza potstickers, edamame and iced green tea to delight the senses. Their miso based broth is a real winner — the bowl finished with unctuous noodles and a beautiful tea-stained soft boiled egg. With paper origami lampshades hanging from the mahogany wood surrounds, you’ll find yourself sitting in some kind of culinary theatre — just as you might find in downtown Tokyo. Hako Ramen is a new spot that’s nearly too good to share, so head there early and let yourself be transported spoon after spoon. (Text & Photos: Emilie Wade)
Opened in November 2017, Wagner Cocktail Bistro strikes the perfect balance between fine and casual dining. Each and every share plate on the menu is refined, but approachable — from French fries smoked in beef fat served with an earthy beetroot dip to silky black pudding dumplings with a fragrant rosemary broth. Did I mention the burrata with plums and Hanoi pepper, or the ridiculously huge Gillardeau oysters from France’s famed fourth-generation oyster dynasty? Each plate is more tantalizing than the next. Headed up by Ramses Manneck (co-creator of Industry Standardand co-founder of Wild Things), the team also includes chef Thomas Leitner and mixologist Tuan Nguyen — ensuring you’re more than taken care of on all fronts. While the drinks are organized by features into categories from “Slick” to “Fancy” and the wines are all natural (of course) we recommend taking in Tuan’s signature drink: the Sakura – served in a chilled ceramic cup, the floral drink mixes sake with raspberry and cherry, for a light and clean cocktail that goes down oh so smoothly. Sit at the high communal table for glimpses of chef Thomas finishing each plate at the open pass and scenes from Tuan as he elegantly mix drinks — bottles and stir sticks effortlessly gliding through the air, reflecting just how it feels to dine at Wagner. (Text: Devan Grimsrud / Photos: Luke Marshall Johnson, Wagner Cocktail Bistro)
When you step inside Fondette’s pop-up in Mitte, you immediately feel immersed in alpine magic — no slopes in sight. The space perfectly embodies that ‘après ski’ feeling and inevitably leaves you all warm and tingly inside, from the wafting scent of cheese to the vintage skis and don’t forget the dulcet Swiss tones coming through the speakers. Begin with a tipple – Nüsslisalat anyone? — then make your way to the main events: three choices of cheese fondue and hearty slices of raclette melted to cheesy bubbles on a coupelle grill. The champagne fondue is near perfection, but perhaps a bit of truffle on top wouldn’t be a bad idea… With traditional Swiss sides of overflowing baskets of bread and chunks of juicy pear (for the fondue) and mini pickled onions and cornichons (for the raclette), you’ll have plenty of perfect accompaniments to whichever gooey cheese you desire. Dip your bread in kirsch liqueur beforehand for a true taste of the Alps. Grab a group or dine with a partner and have a night that will leave you singing Yodel-Ay-Hee-Hoo all the way home. (Text: Emilie Wade / Photos: Fondette, Emilie Wade)
Sitting beside its ever popular sibling, 893 Ryōtei on Kanstraße, Funky Fisch is a modern fish market meets restaurant. A welcomed newcomer from chef and restaurateur Duc Ngo, inside you’re immediately met with a vast counter filled with fresh fish while rustic wooden tables for any party size sit around in nooks — some giving you a rare glimpse of the happenings in the busy kitchen. It’s hard to choose from the menu with the variety on offer, but beginning your meal with the crispy fried fish in soft bao buns with cucumber and hoisin sauce will leave you far from disappointed. Then, try something new and go for the fresh noodles topped with a poached egg, caviar and crispy oysters — decadent and rich, the “massa imperial” is certainly something to behold. Each dish packs a punch, and Funky Fisch showcases something new for Berliners from a name they know, and trust. (Text & Photos: Emilie Wade)
Since my childhood I have always been attracted to rooftops and beautiful plants, so any kind of urban jungle is something I am always on the hunt for. Maybe that’s why Neni, on the top floor of boutique hotel 25hours, caught my eye. The menu is a pure culinary collage with a palette of influences from Morocco to Russia, Spain to Austria. Start with the creamy cabbage soup with kaffir lime and lemon grass, but don’t skip the babaganoush starter either — one of my favorite Lebanese specialties served with fresh pita bread. On the weekends, I go to Neni for the great cocktails but nearly always end up with food on my table. They’ve got one of the best views over West Berlin in a multicultural but never clichéd environment and, if you’re lucky, you’ll get the table next to the huge vitrines where you can dine or drink with views of the city or zoo. Everything at Neni leads to a memorable experience, from the menu approach to the service to the design, and don’t forget about the perfect Instagram-friendly lighting. (Text: Gintare Adomaityte / Photos: Emilie Wade)
Gintare Adomaityte is a creative thinker, journalist and writer who combines her knowledge in PR and communication at Refinery High End Coffee. Since 2014 she’s been based in Berlin, calling Charlottenburg home.