Friday, 23 July 2010

Restaurant: Trattoria Popolare in Berlin (Prenzlauerberg)

As mentioned before working in Prenzlauerberg means having a tremendous amount of restaurants to chose from for lunch. My colleagues like to go to an Italian restaurant called "Trattoria Popolare" on Schönhauser Allee just across from the U-Bahn station Eberswalderstr. You can already imagine that this corner is not the most quiet one, so I do not recommend sitting outside.

The trattoria has approx. 20 seats outside and another 70 inside. The decor is..., well how shoud I put it, they try very hard to give you the impression that they are high class but still very down to earth. It is a mix that does not really work. I have been there now a couple times and realized that there are never more than 10 guests at the same time and there is always only one waiter. Actually in total there are two, but only one at a time. There is one which is friendly, and of course there is one that reminds me of grouchy smurf. The Italian version of "good cop - bad cop" so to say.

Anyhow, they do, however, offer a great lunch deal. Any pizza or pasta for only 5€! They do have many different pastas or pizzas to choose from and some of them usually cost double the price and can still be eaten for only 5€ during lunch. This is great!

The pastas or pizzas also really do not taste bad and have a good size. It is not haute cuisine, but also not bad. It is good standard and the price makes it even better.
They also serve some bread.

I do not know how it is during the evening, but at lunch the atmosphere is rather sterile...since there is hardly anybody there. It is really a place for a quick decent bite during lunch and not to stay for longer or a romantic date.

Conclusion: Great lunch offer with a variety of pasta and pizza to choose from. The food is good but the interior, service and athmosphere need improvement. Should you be in the area and want to quickly grab a bite and dont want to spend much, then check it out, otherwise go to Cotto e Crudo around the corner.

Trattoria Popolare
Schönhauser Allee 143
10435 Berlin - Prenzlauer Berg

Here some more impressions:

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Restaurant: I Due Forni in Berlin (Prenzlauerberg)

Today I must say that I was very dissapointed about my choice for Lunch. Which really surprised me, since I actually had only good memories about the restaurant "I Due Forni" in Berlin Prenzlauerberg. I must admit that last week I went for the first time since ages and was not very amused, however gave the place today a second chance (due to the good memories) and now know that I wont go back for a third time.

But lets start at the begining. Last week I met two friends of mine for Lunch. I wanted to have a normal tuna salad and since on the menu you could only see the pizzas and drinks, I asked if it would be possible to have the salad instead. The young italian waitress, which looked more like a punk from Pankow (area in Berlin), simply said "yes" with a strong italian accent and left. Unfortunately I did not make any pictures last time, because you have to see it to believe it...I DID get my big salad, but in form of a modular concept. One big salad, one tomato, one cucumber, one carrot and a little bowl of tuna. next thing she brought was oil, balsamico, salt and pepper - said "buon appetito" and left. I seriously had to cut it all myself. Which at first seemed like a bad joke and somehow was a fun situation turned out to be completely normal at Due Forni. That is how they serve salad. Do it yourself vegetable style. The other two ordered Pizza which seemd much nicer.

Anyhow...I gave it a second chance today and went back with the same two friends. We had a different waitress who barely spoke any German (or English). She could not reccomend me anything and I cant really say that she was friendly at all. Rather spookey with her semi-absent look. With drinks it is easy, you can have either a small bottle of whatever or a big bottle of whatever. Nothing in between. This can lead to some confusion. The Pizzas came 10 minutes later and were also smaller than they used to be. The taste was nothing special, but I must also say that I ordered a normal prosciutto since the waitress was standing next to me and waited for my order after I just sat down. I told her that I need a minute, but she did not seem to care and was just starring at me. The other two Pizzas were nothing special either according to the guys.

BUT the best was just to about to happen! I just took my final bite and all of sudden a waiter came from behind grabbed the plates, the small paper table-clothes in front of us and the napkins crumbled all up and left (all within a second and in a manner as if the war was just about to start and we all have to find a bunker in order to be save). He did not wait for an answer or me to actually finish my meal, but as quickly as he turned up he ran off to the kitchen.

I was so flabergasted about this situation that I almost forgot to take some pictures for you. While doing that, another waiter (there must haven been 10 of them there - all Italian with a more I-do-not-feel-like-working-look-and-attitude) and told me that I am not allowed to publish these pictures anywhere...ooops.

To sum it up: I used to live in Italy and know what Italian arrogance is, this here was just rude. The service is the worst I have seen in years (and I have been to bad places) and the food is nothing special. The prices for the service and quality are too high (my self-made salad cost 8.50€!). The location itself is very cool and chill. You can sit nicely outside on a little hill and look down on Schönhauser Allee. Nevertheless this does not compensate for the negative aspects and will not be frequented by me again. This is too bad since it used to be a cool place.

I Due Forni
Schönhauser Allee 12
10119 Berlin - Prenzlauerberg
Tel: 030 4401-7333‎

Thanks to Paul and Benni for joining me and sorry at the same time...

Here some more impressions:

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Restaurant: Cotto e Crudo in Berlin (Prenzlauerberg)

Fortunately my office is in the middle of hip and pregnant Prenzlauerberg. This gives me an enormous amount of choices for lunch. Nevertheless most of the restaurants are the same - the same bad quality. But I did not give up and today found a little pearl in the middle of culinary dryland.

It is located on lively Eberswalderstreet just in the middle of the U-Bahn Station and Jahnsportpark. If you are not used to alot of street noise and dont like passers-bye to stare at your meal...then you should sit at one of the approximately 35 seats inside. The terrace has space for around 12 people.

The kitchen, as the name indicates it already, is Italian. From various sorts of Pasta to meat and fish, it is a typical Italian kitchen. They do have a menu, but I would suggest to pick something from their big daily choices. Right after I sat down the friendly waiter Matteo, I assume he is the owner as well, brought me olive oil, balsamico and bread. I love dipping fresh and warm (!) bread into olive oil and balsamico...hmm...what a treat. What was also very nice it that Matteo asked me if I would like some ice cubes and lemon in my water. In most places I have to order that myself and they still forget it.

As main course I decided for some linguini with salmon, olives, tomatoes and capers. It did not only look very good, but tasted very fine as well. The only problem was that the Linguini cant be eaten without making a big mess. My pants looked like I dipped them into the olive oil and not the bread. I had the napkin on my pants, but the wind was too strong and blew it away constantly.

Since it was lunch and I had to go back to work I did not drink any wine. This is up to you to try it. For the Pasta and glas of mineral water I paid 9.40€ which was ok for the quality. I would have wished that they offer some sort of lunch menu or special, but apparently they do not. Maybe that is why it was not very crowded, since approx. 10€ for lunch can not be afforded every day.

While leaving Matteo told me that after tomorrow they are closing the restaurant for two weeks and going on holiday. So, you have to be a bit patient if you want to try Cotto e Crudo yourself. I can only reccomend it! Attention - They do not except credit cards!

Conclusion: The prices are for lunch a bit too much, but for dinner great! The quality of the food is excellent and the service very friendly. It is good for families, but also for a great evening with friends and lot of italian vino and dolce vita.

Restaurant "Cotto e Crudo"
Eberswalder Str. 33
10437 Berlin - Prenzlauerberg
Tel: 030 44037111

Here some more pictures:

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Restaurant: Grünfisch in Berlin (Kreuzberg)

Berlin bietet eine Unmenge an qualitativ hochwertigen und charmanten Restaurants. Ich habe mir vorgenommen einige davon zu "entdecken", auszuprobieren und zu berichten. In den kommenden Wochen werde ich durch die Straßen, Hinterhöfe, Häuser und Küchen ziehen um die Besten zu finden. Dabei geht es mir nicht nur um das Essen sondern auch um das ganze Ambiente. Wie ist der Service, ist es sauber, Preise, Publikum, Lage etc...

Damit ich nicht alleine Essen muss, in Gesellschaft ist es ja bekanntlicher weise immer schöner, freue ich mich über jeden der mich bei den kommenden kulinarischen Abenteuern begleiten möchte! Tipps und Hinweise auf tolle Ecken und Restaurants sind jederzeit willkommen.

Meine Gaumenreise durch die Küchen der Spreemetropole führte mich zunächst nach Kreuzberg. Am wunderschönen Chamissoplatz ruhig gelegen findet man das Restaurant "Grünfisch". Die schönen Altbauten, das Kopfsteinpflaster, der kleine Park um den sich der Platz rankt und die schönen Straßenlaternen vermitteln ein angenehmes Flair. Die hügelige Ecke Berlins, ja - es gibt Hügel in Berlin! - ist wohl eine der schönsten Kieze. Vielleicht bekommt man gerade deshalb ein wohliges Urlaubsfeeling wenn man bei Grünfisch auf der Terrasse sitzt. Vielleicht liegt es aber auch an den beiden Besitzern Giovanni Di Liberto und Vu Pham Dang. Der eine Sizilianer der andere Vietnamese haben verstanden was es heißt gute Gastgeber zu sein und die richtige Mischung an "Fusion" in Ihre Speisen zu bringen. Das Vietnamesische und Sizilianische vermischen sich wunderbar zu einer Einheit. Nur bei den Weinen sind die beiden konsequent geblieben. Jeder Tropfen stammt ausschließlich von kleinen Weingütern von Sizilien.

Vorne weg ein Klassiker...Spritz! Verfeinert mit etwas Rosmarin war es ein guter Start in einen gelungenen Abend. Bei der Wahl des Weines ließ ich mich überraschen und testete einen sizilianischen Müller Thurgau! Sachen gibt´s - die gibt´s gar nicht. Zu meiner wirklichen Überraschung hat er sogar sehr gut geschmeckt und war der perfekte Sommerwein. Nicht zu fruchtig, nicht zu säuerlich, nicht zu schwer. Einfach lecker und erfrischend. Kein Wunder das wir noch einige Flaschen bestellt haben...
Mit 24€ die Flasche war er zwar noch einer der günstigeren Weine, aber meiner Meinung nach noch einen Tick zu teuer. Ein Paar Euros weniger und er hätte gleich noch besser geschmeckt.

Als Vorspeise bekamen wir eine große Antipasti-Platte mit verschiedenen Leckereien. Vom sizilianischem Auberginensalat mit gebratenem Pecorino (sehr lecker!), Zucchinis mit Frischkäse, panierte Sardinen, vegetarischen Reisbällchen und verschiedene Meeresfrüchte war alles dabei.
Die Platte war somit reichlich gedeckt und mit 32€ ist man dabei. Wir waren sechs Leute und keiner musste hungern.

Als Hauptgang kann man zwischen Fisch oder Fleisch wählen. Auch wenn das Rinderfilet vom Nachbartisch sehr gut aussah und roch, haben wir uns doch für Fisch entschieden. Der Thunfisch mit Gemüse und Püree (20€) und die Dorade mit Shrimps überbacken dazu Kartoffeln und Gemüse (19€) haben sehr gut geschmeckt. Der Fisch war frisch, gut gewürzt und nicht trocken. Die Beilagen waren bissfest und sehr gut verfeinert. Es gab nichts zu meckern. Um den Abend abzurunden gab es natürlich noch einen Espresso und Giovanni gab noch eine Runde Averna aus.

Besonders gut sahen auch die zwei Menüvorschläge aus die aus Vorspeise, Hauptgericht und Nachspeise bestanden und für ungf 35€ zu genießen sind. Das Restaurant ist nicht besonders groß und bietet drinnen ungf 60 Plätze und draußen noch mal ungf 30. Unter einer roten Markise sitzt man an Holztischen mit den typisch italienisch karierten Tischdecken. Die Stimmung ist gut und locker. Das Publikum ist mehr zwischen ende 20 und ende 40 und kommt meistens aus der Nachbarschaft. Die Toiletten sind sauber und funktionieren.

Wenn Ihr an einem schönen Sommerabend draußen sitzen möchtet, würde ich eine Reservierung empfehlen - vor allem am Wochenende. Zahlen kann man Bar oder mit EC-Karte.

Fazit: Preise ein Tick zu hoch, angenehme Location, Umgebung und Gäste, tolles Essen und sehr guter Service. Auf jeden Fall ausprobieren!

Restaurant "Grünfisch"
Am Chamisso Platz
Willibald-Alexis-Straße 27
Telefon 00 49 (0) 30 / 61 62 12 52
Telefax 00 49 (0) 30 / 61 62 12 52

Vielen Dank auch an meine charmanten Begleiter Sharon, Anne-Christine, Agneta, Alice und Fabio!

Hier noch einige Impressionen: