With the unfortunate changes in the value of the pound I wasn't reaching for my wallet quite as gleefully as this time last year. However, perhaps by virtue of Not Being London, Berlin always a solid place to eat well and cheaply. Cuisines to target are obviously central European and (perhaps also obviously) Turkish, thanks to the city's diaspora population. And then there are places like Huhnerhaus which fall somewhere in between.
Huhnerhaus 36, Gölitzer Park
Rotisserie chicken in its finest form - make sure you get plenty of their garlic-chilli sauce to go with it. Crispy skin and served with equally good fries or rice with toasted vermicelli (Turkish-style) cooked with just enough oil. Do reach into the intimidatingly large pickle jars (tanks) in the middle of the long wood tables. I can't speak with any authority on wine pairing but I'm going to say the Fritz Cola is not optional here.
Scheers Schitzel, Friedrichshain
Frankly it would be unacceptable to visit the CET without eating some form of schnitzel, that is flattened meat (chicken, pork or veal) fried with a seasoned crisp coating of breadcrumbs. Get yours out of the way in under five euros with a side of tangy potato salad. Scheers is a tiny little place with posters all over the walls. There's also outside seating for the fleeting warm afternoon that Berlin calls summer, but reserved for people with polar bear heritage for the remaining 364 days of the year.
Mama Kalo, Neukölln
Cosy and cute, unlike the other places on this list you could spend an evening here looking at the pictures of Frida Kahlo. We had a phenomenal flammküchen with walnuts, pears and blue cheese. The bread was thin, the pears were delicately sliced and just cooked, the walnuts were caramelised and the whole thing was really very good. Also on the table we had spätzle, thick little egg dumplings served with melting local cheese. Think cacio e pepe but rougher round the edges and cocky with it.
Mustafa's Gemüse Kebap, Mehringdamm
If you take the U-Bahn to this place you might catch sight of people eating their kebabs in the station as you head out. You'll have to queue for a while (30+ minutes), but it probably enhances the experience when you do get your hands on a crispy bread filled with moist chicken, fried vegetables (courgette, aubergine, carrot and pepper), parsley, salad and a sprinkle of feta.
Here's a peek at the queue, and also how unassuming this well-known kebab shack actually looks.
These ones didn't make the cheap cut but they were still very good, find pictures of what we ate on Instagram.
- Weinschenke Weinstein, Prenzlauer Berg - not quite so cheap but simply made European food and a huge wine list
- Yafo, Mitte - Israeli cuisine, think Ottolenghi but with more spice and an incredibly friendly atmosphere.
- Alpenstueck Bäckerei & Café, Mitte - Particularly good traditional German cakes and pastries.
- Mogg & Melzer, Mitte - Expensive but absolutely killer Jewish deli with in-house cured pastrami.
- Bonanza Coffee, Prenzlauer Berg - Very cute, great coffee and cake, right by the Mauerpark fleamarket.