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.
Korean food has a unique reception among Europeans. Those who aren't familiar with it don't care about it. It's associated with well-known sushi and glutamate wok dishes. Those whoever, who have had the pleasure of experiencing Korean specialties cooked with love usually develop a life-long affair with the most interesting cuisine in the world.The princess of Korean cuisine is found int he middle of Berlin, in what used to be a pizza restaurant. The design of the restaurant is more urban, more industrial and a bit more stylish than others in Berlin.The tables and the benches are massive, there's corrugated iron sheeting painted in red. The Berliner chic style screams out, which could just as well be found in London. But it's the kitchen and its sumptuous produce that really shine here. The Kimchi on offer is absolutely perfect, and you can't say that about many Korean restaurants. Korean BBQ sounds like a modern dish, but it's actually a classic and is definetely worth a go. High-grade beef is prepared right on your table. Add sesame leaves, Banchan, stuffed cabbage rolls and your tastebuds have a whole new world to discover.
If you're set on Berliner cuisine, then you should reserve a table at Engler's Unikat. A hodge-podge of antiques, souvenirs, photos and trinkets await you. The entire place appears rustic, inviting and somehow private. This impression only grows once the food is under your nose and you are almost sure that your Berliner Mama invited you to the table.And somehow she did. Mother Engler is the mother of all hungry city-dwellers and is a master of traditional German fare. She makes the best meat patties and beef roullade in the entire city. Those who make it past the Sauerbraten must try out one of the home-made cakes on offer. You see, the Germans really know how to bake.And just as typical as the great food on offer is the service. Here you will engage in chit-chat with real Berliners. The Berliners are known for their quick wit!
SHOPPING in Berlin:
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!
The scene shoemakers are on the job right here: There's 60 sq metres of just about everything that would like to wrap themselves around the feet of coolest trendsetters of the world. And the latest designer handbags to boot! Need a few names? Latitude Femme, Dico und Abro. WASTE from Barcelona and Veja from France. The last two aforementioned labels don't just design for the eye's pleasure, but also for a good cause: both colelctions are made from Fair Trade raw products and recycled materials. There's also a wide range of labels from Scandinavia, Italy, Spain and Portugal. The motto demands that the shoes and brands should remain unknown, well, at least to the masses.The decor of the concept store is quite minimalistic. Each shoe has it's own lit mini-display window. Shoe fetichists agree that man's best friend should be treated so. And the customers are also treated well: the store assistants lend great advice and test fittings are done on an oversized leather couch. Even if there's stacks of shoe boxes around you the staff still remain friendly, as they know exacly how it is to be in love with not just one, but all of them.
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.
SIGHTS in Berlin:
Even if your ablity to absorb history is already exhausted, you should still go to the Jewish Museum. This museum is one of the most excellent examples of creative and innovative museum architecture in the world - Daniel Liebeskind took an exploding Star of David as the design template. Interest for the tragic story of the Berlin Jews only grows as you take a walk through this unique memorial.The museum is not only an archive for the past, but also a center for German-Jewish culture. Here you are invited to try and grapple the history of the Jews piece-by-piece. Outside the museum, visitors are arsked to think about members of the Jewish community murdered in war. Those who are attentive will notice the so called stumbling blocks (Stolpersteine), which are memorial plaques scattered throughout the entire city. Even more imposing is the memorial for the murdered Jews by Peter Eismann: 2,711 short columns at places nearby Potsdamer Platz, to remind us of the six million victims.
Please don't touch? You won't hear this sentence in the DDR Museum. There aren't any national treasures stored in showcases, but rather exhibits that are there for you to touch so that you can experience history for yourself. The interactive museum is a lot of fun, but it also calls for visitors to consider how life really was in DDR times. It wasn't just sunny trips in Trabi wagons and plattenbau apartment blocks, but also surveillance, fear and chocolate substitutes. So that you understand how it went, take a seat in the living room of a plattenbau apartment, but watch what you say as someone will be listening. The musuem answers the call of the DDR-nostalgia boom that Berlin has experienced in the last couple of years. The collaboration of historians has however pushed the nostalgics to the side, as this museum provides an objective and true version of the story. The exhibition pieces come from all areas of life; the home, work, recreation, holidays, fashion and culture and are nothing more as the left-overs from old DDR households. But today the kitchen cupboards are anything but private here in one of the most innovative museums in the world.
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.
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.
Artists, bohemians and the avant-gard painted the town red here in the wild 1920's and you there is still a certain wicked aura that surrounds the building. The small Café Sankt Oberholz is popular amongst locals and visitors from around the world. Those that sit around long enough to realise they don't want to go home can bunk in one of the apartments on the top floor. So what's here? Well first and foremost, comfort, style and an aftertaste of the 20's, which melts in your mouth. The hotel boasts high ceilings, impressive views, works of art on the walls and vintage furnishings that actually appear to be really modern. Four to six people can stay in an apartment and when your travelling group starts to get on your nerves, then get out on to the street, as you are right in the middle of Berlin. ? 220 will get you an apartment for four.
When a hotel opens its doors between the record label Universal and the music channel MTV, then it should please people from the music industry. The New Yorker Karim Rashid, the fanciest popstar from the design scene was signed on to provide for the right vibe in the four stars plus design hotel. His funky world of forms welcomes the guest already at the front desk. There's a lot of pink, gaudily coated lifts and graphic works that wriggle through the rooms along the walls and floors up to the pink bedclothes. In the 304 rooms and suites, you find organically shaped partitions with integrated flat screens and indirect lighting. If you want to play music, go to one of the in-house recording studios or use the room service and order a guitar. P.S.: Not only people from the music industry are excited!