The Berlin Marathon is a few months away! If you’re running it, you’ve probably begun to create your trip itinerary. If not, you still have time! Here are some suggestions on where to eat, sleep and play while you visit Berlin for the marathon.
My good friend and fellow Six Star Finisher, Brian Cronin, who happens to also be a sommelier (which means he knows food and wine!) is my go-to guy when it comes to fine dining. I trust his opinion! When it comes to restaurant selections, he never disappoints! He gave me a couple suggestions, that I will pass along to you. I also listed some of my favorites.
"A Berlin institution, Lokal was the first place in the city to embrace nose-to-tail cooking and heavy use of regional ingredients. A refreshingly simple restaurant with an unpretentious, seasonal menu and a casual vibe, it feels timeless, and six years after its opening is still one of the exemplars of modern, terroir-focused German cooking." - Eater.com
“With its rustic stone floors and simple wooden furnishings, this understated dining room feels like a trip to Scandinavia. But the menu emphasizes Berlin's character and (as the name suggests) the ingredients are all sourced as locally as possible. And as simple as the décor is, the menu is playful and unexpected, with nostalgic preparations and fun presentations. In warm weather the big windows open wide, and a few outdoor tables let you enjoy the charming Mitte side street.” – Conde Naste Traveler
Relaxed, friendly and pleasantly unpretentious, it is no surprise that Lokal is popular with Berliners and visitors alike. The food is fresh, flavorsome and seasonal and includes dishes such as ox cheek with swede, chicory and broccoli.- MICHELIN guide inspectors.
Images: by Mary Scherpe
“Cordobar is Berlin's most famous wine bar and the place where Berlin's chefs hang out to eat cutting edge food and drink spectacular wines”.
Images below from Cordobar.net & Berlin Food Stories
I love this description by Berlin Food Stories:
“And while the Cordobar predominantly is about wine, there is also a very talented chef cooking behind the scenes. In line with the concept of a modern bistro you can order anything from bar food snacks to larger plates of food at the Cordobar. Barfood is ordered per item and examples can include intricate bites like a chargrilled leek wrapped in cod skin and served with a cod emulsion or pearl onions pickled in black vinegar. One of the best things I’ve ever had at the Cordobar was a killer peking duck liver parfait that was spread between these amazingly thin and crispy macadamia nut sheets, a creation that was not only perfectly balanced in terms of balance between fat and acidity, but also delivered on perfect consistency when it disappeared into my mouth.”
Check out this Yelp review:
“Don't just come here for the wine. The menu, though small, is just incredible. This is without a doubt some of the most innovative and interesting cuisine in Berlin. And get the BREAD AND BUTTER. I could dive head first into that big plate of paprika, preserved lemon butter.”
Café am Neun See
Cafe Am Neun See my personal favorite restaurant in Berlin. Not only is the food unforgettable, but the beauty of this restaurant will be forever imprinted in your memory. Check out these pictures to see for yourself! I highly recommend the pizza! (Images below 1, 2, 3, 4)
“The beer garden of Café am Neuen See is a bit hidden away under the high trees of Tiergarten, directly by the water. After an evening stroll through Tiergarten or a visit at the Zoo of Berlin you can unwind on their large wooden terrace. Tourists sit alongside with locals on long benches, while enjoying a nice beer and a pretzel, a crispy pizza or even a leisurely breakfast. You'll find somebody to talk to there in no time. The place is always full to the brim and most of the time you will have to share a bench with somebody you (just) have not met yet.” - The Best of Berlin.
How often do you get to dine in a 150 year old restaurant and happens to serve some of the best food in Germany? I highly recommend Borchardt for a pre or post race meal.
"Local and associated trades have evolved into the flourishing restaurant of yesteryear during the golden age of the decade and twenties due to the dismal episode of World War II and the subsequent segregation of the city during the Wall. This is what the guest feels when he enjoys the dishes, made according to the traditional recipes with the gout of modernity."
Classic Berlin Eats
This is an excellent article on Berlin food: Currywurst And Beyond: Classic Berlin Eats and Where to Find Them by Marriott Traveler (Images from website listed)
The following are a must!
Kartoffeln mit Quark
Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown
Anthony Bourdain, famous chef, author and host of one of my favorite shows, Parts Unknown, recently passed away. The last episode he filmed of Parts Unknown was in Berlin. I will highlight here where he ate during this episode. For a full, more in-depth recap, read this article.
In this episode he went to:
Nobelhart und schmutzig
Michelin Star restaurant. Check out their website.
He ate curry wurst at Lichtblick- Kino, paired it with champagne, while watching a midnight showing of an old black and white movie.
We stayed at the Mandala Hotel in Potsdamer Platz. The location was not too far from the start and finish of the marathon. It’s about a 1/2 mile walk. It is also located near a metro (subway) station. Across the street is a Dunkin Donuts and the very large shopping mall and movie theatre. Also, there is a Starbucks just around the corner. The hotel has a fantastic spa, if you need a pre or post-race massage. Plus, we loved just relaxing in the sauna. I got the jet lag massage after we flew in. Check out their Michelin 2 star rated restaurant as well, Facil. Within walking distance are several good restaurants. If you’re traveling with children, they’ll love the LEGOland across the street from this hotel. (Images from Mandala Hotel)
We stayed in a very nice, large suite that had a mini kitchen, two bathrooms and a living area. My sister, brother-in-law, husband and I stayed in this suite. We had more than enough room. It was the perfect arrangement for us.
Here is a description direct from their website:
"The Mandala Hotel sits right on the junction between former East and West Berlin, as the Berlin Wall used to run right through Potsdamer Platz and up to the famous Brandenburg Gate, a short walk away, where nowadays you can find the Holocaust Memorial. The famous Checkpoint Charlie is just a ride away on the urban metro system. In Potsdamer Platz itself you will find a stunning glass shopping arcade, one of the best shopping spots in Berlin, and a huge variety of restaurants and bars are clustered around the square. All this makes our hotel an ideal base for visiting the city."
Other recommendations that come highly recommended:
The Westin Grand Berlin
The Westin Grand Berlin is conveniently located near the finish of the marathon, near the Brandenburg Gate.
The Mandala Suites
The Mandala Suites is also located near the finish. This is the same company as the Mandala Hotel where we stayed. I highly recommend this chain.
There are many things to see and do in Berlin. For more suggestions, read my previous post here. Any travel book will give you the top 10 things to see and do. The basics are: Brandenberg Gate (which you will run through for the marathon), Reichstag (which will be at the end of the marathon also), Tiergarten (start of the marathon), the Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie and the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.
If you are running the Berlin Marathon, best of luck! I hope you have a wonderful time in Berlin. Please feel free to post a comment on what you recommend or not! I want to hear all about your trip!