According to metropolitan statistics, 98 restaurants opened in Berlin in 2012. This isn’t only a testament to the fast-changing pace of the city, but the fact that more and more people are taking notice of culinary excellence here. And while discerning foodies are a relatively new breed in Berlin, their demands are now keeping the capital on its toes.
Today, the link between historic structures and gastronomic planning is evident, making Berlin a place where a great location and excellent food go hand in hand. “I have lived here for 30 years and have seen a lot of restaurants open up and close down — like in any big city. But Berlin is very interesting and keeps getting better,” commented Roland Mary, owner of the Berlin institution Borchardt and the new Grosz restaurant.
“Berlin is a free-spirited city of innovation. It is a city that brings the old back to life and makes it cool again,” noted Jesko Klatt, owner of The Grand and Spindler & Klatt. “A lot is happening in Berlin,” added Ludwig Cramer-Klett, owner of Katz Orange. “It is a place where you are free to express yourself and you have a lot of opportunities here. This city has many little hidden jewels and finding this space — a magical location in Mitte — was a gift.”
Here are three new restaurants in historic locations that offer more than just what the palate can appreciate.
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Grosz the Institution: Grosz looks to be another chapter in the success story of Berlin restaurant guru Roland Mary (of Borchardt, Café am Neuen See, Pan Asia and Fritz 101).
Named after George Grosz, the socially critical painter who caricaturized Twenties Berlin, the restaurant is located in Haus Cumberland, the recently renovated 1911 landmark, on Kurfürstendamm. With an interior also reminiscent of the Twenties, Grosz is a café, restaurant and bar complete with a courtyard. The long and spacious room is punctuated with high ceilings, a dark stained wood bar, elaborate stucco, columns, mirrors, marble floors, even a fountain, plus chairs from Paris and lamps from Spain.
“I wasn’t particularly looking for a space on the west side, but when the landlord offered it I knew this would be a fine place for people to meet friends and enjoy good food,” Mary remarked. A lot of work went into the interior, but “the room itself was already like this, such as the columns and the ceiling. We renovated the space and the rest we built in.”
Grosz is primarily a coffee house with its own patisserie, which is new for Mary, but not for Philippe Lemoine, the French chef with whom he’s worked for many years.
“We bake fresh croissants twice a day, and all our pastries are made here,” Mary said. His favorite café offering is the club sandwich, while in the restaurant it is the braised lamb. He added that the French-German restaurant menu offers many dishes and variations of beef, pork, chicken, seafood, oysters and grilled lobster. His goal is to provide an ideal urban restaurant experience in the heart of the city.
The fusion of great German and French cuisine with carefully selected ingredients was important. “We use local products from farmers we know, and we sometimes prepare food made from organic ingredients. And sometimes better than organic,” he said.
Grosz, Kurfürstendamm 193/194, 10707 (Charlottenburg)
Hours: Monday-Sunday, 8 a.m.-midnight
Entrees: around 26 to 48 euros ($34 to $63)
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