Even if your travel budget is stretched thin, you won’t go hungry in Berlin. This city of culinary delights caters to backpackers, businessmen and everyone in between. There is a definitive multicultural vibe in Berlin, making it easy to pick up a döner kebab on your way to a museum, chow down on Vietnamese noodles for lunch or bite into a New York-style burger as a late-night dinner.
Ethnic food is all very well — and it’s cheap to boot — but what if you want a more, well, local vibe? You know, schnitzel and sauerkraut?
Here are five German gems that won’t break the bank but offer traditional meals that will give you a taste and a feel of the real Deutschland. These restaurants are, for the most part, centrally based in Berlin, so pop them in your BUCKiTDREAM planner to keep them handy when you’re out sightseeing and feel peckish!
Eat Like a Local at Stadtklause If you’re craving a delicious schnitzel and a good beer, then head to Stadtklause, not too far from Potsdamer Platz. This intimate, traditional restaurant isn’t one bit touristy. In fact, it’s mostly patronized by Germans, so be prepared for loud chatting, laughing and cheering — and not much English. But you certainly won’t feel unwelcome. The building dates to the mid-19th century. The upper stories were destroyed during World War II and rebuilt in the 1950s, but the ground floor, filled with photos of the city and interesting art, is original. Meals are hearty: meat, potatoes, vegetables, and salad with a fried egg or two thrown on top for good measure. Open daily from 4 p.m. to midnight.
Address: Bernburger Str. 35, 10963 Berlin
Express Yourself at Spätzleexpress Spätzle, the German version of pasta, is popular because it’s cheap, tasty and fills you right up. If you’re gluten-free, Spätzleexpress might not be the best option for you. On the other hand, if you’re a pasta aficionado, you’ve come to the right place. As the name suggests, Spätzleexpress isn’t a high-end restaurant but rather a casual diner that’s dedicated to serving different types of fresh, handmade spätzle with delicious toppings, such as sausage, cheese, bacon, onions and more. Plus, you get a decent-sized portion for a relatively cheap price. You can order a small, medium or large depending on your appetite. In addition to seasonal specialties, every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday is Schnitzel Day. We highly recommended the spinach spätzle with mushroom sauce. Open daily from noon to 10 p.m.
Adress: Wiener Str. 11, 10999 Berlin
Read Up on Joseph Roth You know you’re in the right restaurant if it’s full of locals, and Joseph Roth Diele is always packed. Dedicated to the Jewish writer of the same name, the restaurant more closely resembles a 1940s bookstore than a dining establishment. But the food is plentiful and delicious, and best of all, it won’t break the bank. They serve all the classics: schnitzel, spätzle, goulash, sauerbraten (pot roast), wurstsalat (sausage salad) and cornichons (pickled cucumber). There is also a good selection of baked tarts, including bacon, tuna, cheese and salmon. The multilingual staff speaks French, German, Italian and English, and they translate part of the paper menu into English. Open 10 a.m. to midnight Monday to Friday.
Address: Potsdamer Str. 75, 10785 Berlin
Bump Elbows with Berliners at Tiergarten Quelle This cool Berlin pub filled with East and West German memorabilia harks back to the 1970s and ’80s when it was a famous student hangout. Tiergarten Quelle is still popular with locals due to its rustic food and great beer. Situated in the arched space below the Tiergarten S-Bahn stop, the cavernous pub features long tables where you bump elbows with the locals. If the weather is warm enough, sit in the open-air seating area across the road. Meals are hearty and reasonably priced with menu items including sausages, meatballs, schnitzel with hash browns, garlic cream cheese with vegetables, currywurst and baked Camembert. They also have vegetarian options. Open from 4 p.m. to midnight Monday to Thursday, 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday, and noon to 1 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Address: Bachstraße 6, 10555 Berlin
Come To Thomas Eck on an Empty Stomach We recommend you skip lunch in preparation for dining at Thomas Eck. You’ll need an empty stomach because the portions here are huge. Consider yourself warned! But it terms of perfectly cooked, traditional German food, you can’t go wrong. Even locals bring their English visitors here because the food is so delicious and reasonably priced. Just a short walk from Charlottenburg railway station, it’s slightly out the city center but is still accessible. Plus, the walk will sharpen your appetite for meat mains with generous side helpings of potatoes, chips, braised onions, salad and sauerkraut. If you’re after the best schnitzel in Berlin, then you will probably find it here. Make sure to check out the wide selection of traditional beers, wines and spirits, too. Open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Address: Pestalozzistrasse 25, 10627 Berlin
Now that we’ve worked up your appetite with five cheap German restaurants in Berlin, why not try the six best curry houses on Brick Lane when you’re in London or keep an open mind with these top 10 strangest foods and delicacies to try around the world. Don’t forget to share your mouthwatering meals on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so your friends can add these delicious dining restaurants to their Berlin bucket list!