The owner of Brooklyn Beef Club spent time living and working in New York, and this prime steakhouse is a testament to his time there. Great cuts of US beef, duck fat fries, indulgent sides and a great wine list make for a great evening in this swanky little joint. I go for the filet, very rare, with duck fat fries. Out of pride for their steak, they refuse to do it well done.
Grill Royal was called "The restaurant people love to hate" by the Louis Vuitton Guide in 2011. This big chain restaurant on the canal is busy and feels slightly generic, but boy do they know their meat. We dug into kobe beef steaks, matchstick and sweet potato fries and ate in complete silence.
The bar at Soho House is legit. Strong cocktails, old fashioned waiters and a great central bar. The only problem? You have to be a member or a hotel guest to drink there. So a big win goes to Pauly Saal, a bar restaurant with a perfect cocktail menu that includes my favourite, most dangerous cocktail of all time, The Last Word. The waitresses are cute and the selection is great. I heard the food is incredible but that will have to wait until next time.
Best Currywurst: Konnopke's Imbiß Konnopke's Imbiß has been called "King of Currywurst East" . It's the famous snack bar where Anthony Bourdain bit into this German sausage with fries, ketchup, mayo and curry powder in No Reservations. This stand has been run by the same family management since 1930 and has its own old world feel. It is clean, cheap, delicious and has some handy seating available under the train tracks.
Antipodes is a small coffee shop run by a lovely couple from New Zealand. They make incredible coffee (flat whites for me) and a great breakfast on the weekends (although if you ask kindly on another day, you may get lucky). Perfectly fried eggs and crispy bacon served on a hot plate is true happiness on a lazy morning. They also serve great pastries and lunch specials.
Bonanza stands for the so called third wave of coffee culture with its roots in London, Scandinavia and America. The baristas here roast, blend, and make the coffee so beautifully, it's almost surprising when they take your order without any attitude. The coffee is produced with a Synesso Cyncra—a machine that is extremely thermally sensitive— and is watched at all times with a measuring system on an iMac. Apparently there are only three of these insane machines in all of Europe.
When you're born and raised in Vancouver you're a sushi snob. But the sushi and sashimi at Dudu impresses even sushi critics (like my brother and I). Seating is on long wooden tables with benches, giving the place a vibrant hipster feel, but two traditional sushi chefs whipping up fresh rolls on the spot remind you that the food is what you're hoping for.
Dos Palillos is worth visiting simply to see chef Albert Raurich (former head chef at the legendary Catalonian taste laboratory El Bulli) and his team create Japanese tapas with the delicate hands. The team do everything with chopsticks and extreme care right in front of you. The vibe is casual yet refined. You can do the long tasting menus or order off of the menu of hot and cold tapas. The dishes are small, playful and delicious.
Cha Cha Positive Eating is a great place to fill your craving for Thai food. The dishes are fresh, varied, and they have a full gluten-free menu which is a lifesaver for the gluten sensitive.
Goldhahn and Sampson is a little treasure cove for food lovers. It's filled with hard to find spices, sauces, specialty chocolates, cheese, wine, and a huge array of cookbooks, food novels and magazines. I never walk out empty handed.
Kochhaus is another magical spot. It's a gourmet food store where they provide gourmet recipes and perfectly packaged ingredients to make the dish with. If you're nervous about trying a new recipe, hate buying all of the ingredients or simply want to be inspired - this is the place for you. The whole idea is genius and exquisitely put together.
Brooklyn Beef Club Köpenicker Straße 92 Grill Royale Friedrichstraße 105b Soho House Torstraße 1 Pauly Saal Auguststraße 11 Currywurst Konnopke's Imbiß Schönhauser Allee 44A Antipodes Fehrbelliner Straße 5 Bonanza Coffee Heroes Oderberger Straße 35 Dudu Torstr 134 Chacha Friedrichstr 63 Goldhahn and Sampson Dunckerstraße 9 Kochhaus Akazienstraße 1
Also see Best Bites of Paris