EAT in Berlin:
A pinch of Russia somehow belongs to a trip to Berlin. For those that haven't visited the Russian disco at Café Burger or don't have a Vladimir Kaminer novel in their backpack have their last chance at experiencing the Russian style here at Gorki Park! Everything is approached with the Russian couldn't-care-less attitude here. The service team is everything but nimble, yet they are friendly and Russian! The music is Russian, as well as the food and the beer. This is reason enough for students and artists to dub this place their second home, be it either for a látte, a beer or a vodka to finish off the week. There are twelve different Vodka sorts on offer here, but a sampling of all is only recommendable for the hardened types. There's a Russian trick to vodka drinking: Always a bit to eat with every shot, at best a vinegar gherkin! Only by following this strict rule will your head remain somewhat clear and you will therefore have a chance at making it to breakfast the next morning. The breakfast here is legendary, particularly the brunch offered on weekends.
What do you think about those crazy chefs who throw the conventions of consistency overboard and suddenly serve chocolate air and soup-dust? Not sure? Then you should absolutely drop in at Margaux and breathe in a serving of Iced Berlin Air or nibble on Mineralwater jelly. Our conclusion - more fascinating as absurd! The aromas explode, your tastebuds will be taken by surprise and the gourmet heart will dance for joy. Of course the Margaux undoubtably belongs to the five top restaurants in Berlin. However, it 's astonishing that you don't feel like an underdressed pile of misery hiding behind a miniscule portion. At the Margaux, you are able to enjoy a perfect meal in a comfortable atmosphere. And it is all thanks to the owner and head chef Stephan Hentschel, who principally uses only the freshest ingredients, extravagant wild herbs and Himalaya sauces.
Are you one of those die-hard soup fans who cannot pry themselves away from a bowl of the hot stuff, even on a 30 degree day? No? Then after a visit to Susuru you might be showing up to the recruitment office of this exclusive club.Susuru is Japanese for slurping, which although is not the most welcome tone at the dinner table in Europe, is seen as a compulsory excercise in Japan. If you appreciate your soup, then it is customary to show this by slurping. There's soup with noodles, with seeweed, shrimps, spices, with mini pastries - yes, with pretty much anything that is fresh and fits into a soup pot. A real highlight is the Ebi Kimchi Udon with crispy fried shrimp.Those who can't find the savour in a bowl of flavour should nibble their way through the starters menu. Even at a table of soup-freaks, anyone should be able to find a place. The decor is bright and friendly, the epitome of modern Asian design. Service comes around round tables and round benches, or you can opt for the high bar stools at the counter. Japan goes Berlin Mitte.
STAY in Berlin:
Everyday is honey-sweet at this hotel. Wellness is guaranteed with every booking, whether you are just married or not even married at all! Although the Honigmond hotel doesn't appear that spectacular at first sight, it has won several awards for its relaxed, individually-styled rooms that have been tastefully fitted out with antiques. Dont let yourself be fooled by the unexceptional fassade, as a real comfort oasis is hidden beneath. Especially summer guests can enjoy this hotel's highlight: the garden, which will instantly whisk you away to a southern land. In earlier times, the area was used as a workshop for race-horse teams, however there are no signs of it's past to be felt. As a tip: when the hotel is fully booked, you can always kill some time in the hotel's restaurant, which is only 300m away and equally pretty.
Lux doesn't just stand for luxury, but also the great amount of light, that fills the loft rooms. A bit of Zen, a bit more apartment than hotel and a lot of relaxation, which is really necessary after a lively day in the big smoke. This house is found in the middle of the Mitte, and that alone is naturally a big plus. Once you step out the door there are galleries everywhere you look, and the best opportunities to grab a bite or to go out are just a stone's throw away.Luxury and service are celebrated at the Lux 11, but it is done in such an understated way, that you won't be followed by those supposedly helpful service staff. Even if that was the case, it wouldn't matter much: just hop in the hotel slippers and bathrobe and retreat to your hideaway. The smallest rooms are only 30 square metres large, but the more beautiful ones even have their won balcony. Otherwise, the white minimalism reigns supreme, and it does that rather well. One night in a double room can be yours from ? 139
So what's hidden behind the name Spätkauf (late-night shopping)? A small kiosk, that is open until late at night, and the people providing with essentials at late hours. Beer is, for example, one of those essentials. This Spätkauf however, has a special secret: There's beds on the top floor, which are surprisingly cheap. You can expect to pay ? 20 per person per night, but you should book early, as there are only two rooms available. The kitchen and bathroom are shared, but with few guests at any one time, it's hardly a problem. The owners are genuinely happy to receive guests and are inclined to offer a shared round of drinks. And as a little bonus, you will recieve the best insider tips for free. Kinders under six get to sleep for free. It's a great alternative for your wallet.
SIGHTS in Berlin:
To avoid having to repeat ourselves, we will proclaim it loudly: Anything that belongs to the UNESCO cultural heritage list is always worth a visit. The Berlin Museuminsel has belonged to the clib since 1999, and for very good reason. The five museums that call the Spree island home constitute a very unique architectural ensemble, which portrays the development of meseum design and architecture over more than a hundred years.So take a stroll across the island and take in the peace and beauty that is there for everyone to enjoy. Your journey could even take you into one of the museums; das Alte (old) Museum, das Neue (new) Museum, das Nationalgalerie, das Bode-Museum and das Pergamon-Museum. Our recommendation: Visit the Pergamon museum, as it has earnt its name worldwide through its reconstruction of the most imposing architectural complexes.
Off we go to the Grunewald and to its highest point at 115 metres: the Teufelsberg (devil's mountain), an elevation that was made from WWII debris and attracts walkers, mountain bikers and kite-flyers to the fresh open air in summer and cross-country skiers in the winter. The view is great, covering the area surrounding Berlin and it's city skyline. And this is very reason why this place was once a spy post. During the cold war, the Americans and the British used to position their listening devices here. Every now and again curious ones stumble into the dilapidated facility, even though it is prohibited and officiall cordoned-off.It looks like the building permission expired here, as a considerable apartment and hotel complex was once in the works, along with David Lynch's aspirations for a university and meditation centre. Thankfully nothing became of these plans and the Teufelsberg remains wild mountain territory, apart from the local vineyard. Those who are searching for a green space to recharge their batteries should definitely do it here. A small tip: don't forget to bring your swimming gear, as you will pass by the Teufel lake on the way up the mountain. But if you do forget them, don't worry, as the naturist community also has a good presence.
Regarding architecture, not everything ran smoothly in Berlin after the fall of the wall. The new government quarters in Berlin is however a sterling example of successful modern architectur. Located right in the middle of Berlin, on the Spree river, the government quarter is so lightly crafted that it is somehow sleek yet elaborate. The undisputed tourist highlight is the Parliament House, with its famous dome, for which Sir Norman Foster is responsible. But you won't like what you're about to read: Waiting in line is worth it, and if you come early enough you might only have to wait for less than two hourse. But believe us, there is no better place to view this magnificient city than the viewing platform at the top of the dome.And for those who don't have time for parliament house can simply take a walk along the river as there are stairs behind the building that lead to the chancellor's garden. So take a break at 'Bundespressestrand', a beach bar on the river bank or in the Spreebogen park. Be warned: All the places on water get snapped up very early.
SHOPPING in Berlin:
In former times the Tagesspiegel was based at this very place, by now Andreas Murkudis' new concept store has found its way into the big hall on Potsdamer Straße 81E. Andreas Murkudis who owned a concept store in a historic backyard on Münzstraße in Berlin Mitte eight years ago is a passionate collector ever since. Today he presents selected products and collections on 1,000 square metres, including brands like Balenciaga, Maison Martin Margiela, Dries van Noten and fashion designed by his brother Kostas Murkudis. Also available in the new store: his favourite chocolate by Erich Hamann which he has sold for more than 20 years. But the range of offer exceeds fashion and design: you can find perfume, cosmetics and even liquors. The store which is seven metres high was developed by the architects' office AAS Gonzalez/Haase.
Lozek + Stütz
Is your apartment shabby? It doesn't have to be. A step in the right direction would be a visit to the Lozek & Stütz showroom. The two revered interior designers don't just know what looks good, but also where it should be placed. They are the masters of design.They are both passionate out-fitters and fashion collectors, which met at - you guessed it - a house-warming party. Alexander Stütz is responsible for the unusual, eccentric solutions - which he learnt rather well during his days as Anne Maria Jagdfeld's assistant. And his partner, Claudia Lozek is responsible for matching colours to forms for that perfect look.The duo have a unique synergy, which results in the Prenzlauer Berg showroom being something quite special. How this could transfer to your apartment, is really up to you. Wall decorations, antiques, the strange and the beautiful, it's all here along with fabrics, furniture designs, one-offs and art pieces. The one thing you can forget after having Lozek and Stütz redesign your apartment is the house-warming party- it would be too much of a shame!
We can imagine that Mr. Wolfgang Joop doesn't need to watch his hard-earned pennies anymore. Nonetheless, the fashion tzar has brought another label to the market. Lazing about doesn't come into question for the master of fashion: in the blink of an eye the master has whipped another cencept out of his non-existent top-hat.'Wunderkind' is the name of the latest label to come from Joop, which has allowed the designer to design himself anew. The creations are new and feminine, mostly straight, rarely frisky and somehow unbeatable.The new collection is also quite expensive and so maybe there's a bit more sense and pleasure to be had in searching through the vintage Joop collections. It's the sort of stuff that true fashion-victims wouldn't be seen dead wearing, but perfect for those that appreciate classic fashion, even if it's a few seasons old. The ambience here is almost as noble as the flagship store on the Markgrafenstrasse, where the latest collections are to be found.