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GAIA: FARM-TO-TABLE DINING IN GERSWALDE’S GROSSER GARTEN

GAIA: FARM-TO-TABLE DINING IN GERSWALDE’S GROSSER GARTEN

Escaping the city and al fresco dining are two essential Berlin summer activities, and Gaia has both on offer. Since June 2021, founders Julia Heifer & Zsuzsanna Toth have been serving seasonal, farm-to-table focused á la carte lunches and aperitifs amongst the overgrown pastures and poppy-filled fields of the repurposed Großer Garten. The restaurant is located in Gerswalde, just one hour’s drive from Berlin in the Uckermark. Inside the glass-paned Palm Haus and former orangery adjacent to the garden which previously hosted Café Zum Löwen, the culinary team crafts an array of rustic dishes, building a menu that is ever-changing and dependent on which organic produce is growing on-site that month. Julia Heifer, one-half of Gaia, believes that the eyes eat too and that cuisine should appeal to all of our senses. It’s a philosophy that the team executes well.

To start, the freshly-baked focaccia and light, fluffy Buchteln bread are prime examples of Gaia’s simple and honest approach to gastronomy. Vibrant plates of pickled produce and artisanal raw-milk cheese from the neighboring Alte Milchcrew exemplify what living off the land has to offer. Homemade pasta, topped with sautéed zucchini blossoms, preserved lemon pesto, and newly-harvested herbs, is a menu mainstay composed of ingredients that change with the seasons. This is true too of the crispy glazed galettes, which come filled with tangy rhubarb stalks and rich, elderberry custard. For those with a sweet tooth, the ice cream topped with a drizzle of decadent fig-leaf oil is not to be missed. All dishes are best served with Gaia’s special edition sencha- and Rwanda tea-infused Bouche kombucha, a curated selection of natural wines and the fresh, countryside air that is one of the restaurant’s greatest offerings.

Text: Claire Mouchemore / Photos: Ina Niehoff & Gaia

Gaia at the Großer Garten: Dorfmitte 11, 17268 Gerswalde; map
Sat–Sun 12–18h

The best way to get there is by car or the RE3 regional train.

Sign up to the Gaia newsletter for updates on seasonal menus & opening hours.

@gaia_feed

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KLINKE: THREE KREUZBERG SIBLINGS SERVING CASUAL CUISINE WITH A HOMETOWN TOUCH ON ORANIENPLATZ

KLINKE: THREE KREUZBERG SIBLINGS SERVING CASUAL CUISINE WITH A HOMETOWN TOUCH ON ORANIENPLATZ

You can’t get more Kreuzberg than this: not only is Klinke right in the middle of it all between Oranienplatz and Kotti, but at the helm are three real Kreuzbergers. Siblings Jette, Lilo and Moritz grew up on Schlesi and are no strangers to Berlin’s restaurant world, having run Mirika near Moritzplatz for several years. The trio found their second location through a childhood acquaintance, who hooked them up with a cafe owner who was giving up his joint. The corner space now shines with new splendour thanks to trained designer Lilo, who has transformed the place into a sophisticated yet casual bistro which retains the vibe of the down-to-earth pub it replaces. Wooden chairs and floors create a warm and uncomplicated look, while the spherical lights and marble counter lend cosmopolitan elegance. Food wise, it’s a similar story with attractively constructed German small plates to share.

This sharing philosophy means it’s best to come to Klinke with several good friends. It’s particularly practical if, like me, you rarely prepare German dishes at home or have friends from overseas visiting. During our visit, we particularly enjoyed the crispy fish croquettes, the tender fried chicken and the cucumber salad as a refreshing addition. Many of the ingredients in these dishes are organic, while the bread and meat come from regional partners (the latter from Havelland). Despite this selection, we didn’t accompany our food with German beer – opting instead for summery, light drinks perfect for outdoor dining. From autumn onwards, Klinke will open its indoor space for cozy gastropub-style dinners and drinks, though you are just as welcome to drop in for lunch to try the simple weekly menu. While the weather allows, grab a seat on the terrace for a slice of Bienenstich and make a toast to Kreuzberg, the Kiez which never gets boring. Speaking of which, the district features in almost every detail: even Klinke’s plates, which are made by a local ceramic artist, are modelled on Viktoriapark. As I said: you can’t get more Kreuzberg than this.

Text: Nina Trippel / Photos: Kateryna Firsova

Klinke, Dresdener Str.119 10999 Berlin–Kreuzberg; map
Tue, 12–15h, Wed–Sat 12–0h, Sun 17–0h

@klinke_berlin

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MIDDLE — ALL-DAY BISTRO FOR MORNING COFFEE, LEVANTINE LUNCH AND EVENING DRINKS AND TAPAS

MIDDLE — ALL-DAY BISTRO FOR MORNING COFFEE, LEVANTINE LUNCH AND EVENING DRINKS AND TAPAS

For me, this year more than any other has been about finding small pleasures in life’s simpler things. And spending the last rays of evening sunshine sipping a bittersweet Campari Spritz at Middle brings me a lot of pleasure. Add in a smattering of small sharing plates that showcase contemporary Levantine cuisine, and the evening is going to be a good one. Tucked away on Mainzer Straße in Neukölln, Middle is what owner Itamar Lanner describes as a mini-bistro. The relaxed and compact neighborhood spot has an all-rounder concept, opening the whole day for morning coffee, lunch, and evening dinner and drinks. As for the food, you can expect some similar tastes to those at Middle’s Kreuzkölln partner Kitten: think crisp vibrant greens paired perfectly with soft Labneh cheese, zingy fermented courgette, creamy smooth hummus, earthy roasted cauliflower and kohlrabi, and pillowy pitta bread, to name just a few dishes on the menu. One taste I cannot forget is my absolute favorite: the homemade harissa. If, like me, you find this condiment something quite special, you can purchase it to take home along with a selection of other treats in jars. Whether you are looking for a quiet morning coffee with a delicate piece of sweet baklava, a long lunch or an evening spritz paired with a few olives to nibble on with friends, Middle has got you covered.

Text: Chloe Galea / Photos: Kateryna Firsova

Middle, Mainzer Str.39, 12053 Berlin–Neukölln; map
Mon–Fri 9–22h, Sat & Sun 10–22h, closed on Wednesdays

@middleberlin

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A PIECE OF MEXICO IN MITTE — TACOS FROM THE SABOR A MÍ FOOD TRUCK

A PIECE OF MEXICO IN MITTE — TACOS FROM THE SABOR A MÍ FOOD TRUCK

If I had to eat one dish for the rest of my life, it would probably be tacos. For a long time, I could only dream of places like the Taquería Orinoco and the carnitas meat tacos at the famous Mercado de Medellín market in Mexico City. Luckily 2021 has seen Berlin welcome some new taco-based additions: at Markthalle Pfefferberg, Taqueria El Oso serves up excellent tacos “al pastor” with pork and pineapple while on Maybachufer, Victoria Tacos has a vegan take on the dish with king oyster mushrooms. My favorite however remains the Sabor a mí food truck, which has moved from Friedrichshain to the courtyard by the Acud cultural center in Mitte. The atmosphere there is so warm and relaxed it’s become my second home.

That this Mexican stand is a family business becomes obvious as soon as you join the order queue: you see Mario Vázquez cooking and his wife Ellen Häring de Vázquez taking care of the bookkeeping and communication while their son Pablo and his team manage sales and organisation. We recommend ordering three tacos and eating your way through the menu, which includes the original carnitas, a vegetarian option with hibiscus flower and a hibiscus juice drink to complete the experience. Sabor a mí shares space with Señor Ceviche’s trailer, whose Peruvian creations are also excellent. The food is served on beer benches in the open air, and if you’re lucky, there will even be live music playing. 

Text: Laura Storfner / Photos: Sophie Doering

Sabor a mí, Veteranenstr.21, 10119 Berlin–Mitte; map
Wed–Fri 17h30–22h, Sat–Sun 13–21h

@saboramiberlin

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ZENNER — HISTORIC TREPTOWER PARK RETREAT REVIVED FOR SPREESIDE DRINKS AND FOOD

ZENNER — HISTORIC TREPTOWER PARK RETREAT REVIVED FOR SPREESIDE DRINKS AND FOOD

If you walk through Treptower Park towards the Insel der Jugend, you cannot miss the Zenner House on the banks of the Spree. This imposing Neo-Renaissance building served as a grand guesthouse in the early 1900s before it was destroyed during the war. It was subsequently rebuilt by East German architects, but after Berlin’s reunion the building fell into decline: until recently it housed a multinational burger chain. With the opening of Zenner in June 2021, the site has been returned to its former glory as a riverside retreat with a beer and wine garden combining the traditional with the contemporary. Like the century-old original the expansive terrace seats 1500, but the food and drink options are very much modern and extend to two separate menus. The first selection is relaxed: think draught pale ale from the biergarten bar served with a perfectly-cooked Käsespätzle or a plate of Pommes – served not “rot weiß”, but with pico de gallo (tomato salsa) or truffle pesto. The second, more-refined menu includes tapas plates such as stuffed sweet potato with creamed spinach, sage, tomato, feta and pine nuts. These match perfectly with the wine list, which is substantial and focuses on Austrian and German bottles.
 

Whether you go low-key or fancy (or combine both) the cuisine from chef Robert Hilges offers a fresh twist on the German classics that were served to Zenner guests in times past. There’s beauty in the variety: you can drop in for a quick drink to break up your walk or boat ride, or make a full evening of it with a multi-plate dinner with sunset views over the river. As for entertainment, there is a program of live music and DJ sets such as this Friday’s Ceremony x Musikgarten (23.07.2021). Before you head off, don’t forget to seek out the hidden ice cream parlour and coffee stand for some treats to go. As for indoors, all of the buildings on the site are to be fully renovated by 2024, when we will finally be able to say: Zenner is back!

Text: Lottie Mac / Photos: Kateryna Firsova

Zenner, Alt-Treptow 15, 12435 Berlin–Alt-Treptow; map
Mon–Fri 12h–late & Sat–Sun 10h–late

@zenner.berlin

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