Berlin is an exciting city so I often have friends visiting and decided to finally compile a list of my top recommendations.
Teufelsberg – The former American listening station to spy on the USSR during the cold war. Ideal to visit on a good weather day but if you are into urban art and abandoned buildings, it is also worth doing on a cloudy day. It is a bit outside the city and you will walk through a park/forest for 30min before reaching the station turned street art gallery but once there you can chill at the beer garden and enjoy the view of Berlin. My recommendation would even be to take one of the tours in English and if you are lucky you will be guided by a former spy who was working at the listening station (He explained that his job was closer to an office job than to a James Bond movie but it was still great to hear about the place from someone who knew it inside out). You can contact the place there but tours have been suspended until further notice due to COVID-19. While being in the West side of Berlin take the opportunity to check out the Schloss Charlottenburg (from the outside) and the Berggruen museum a small and underrated museum that still hosts pieces from Picasso, Matisse, Klee and Giacometti. The most interesting thing about this museum is the research it supported about the provenance of its own pieces in the context of the 2nd World War and art stolen by the Nazis. The museum hosted a temporary exhibition in 2018 described here pointing out the difficulties of tracing the origin of art and with the intention to restitute any piece that would have been stolen. I randomly watched Monument Men the day before going to this exhibition and it was perfectly on point. A nice place for dinner in the area is Funky Fish, one of the rare good seafood places in Berlin.
Boros Collection (aka the Bunker) – In the middle of town walking around Friedrischstrasse you might bump into this impressive bunker and wonder “what is that and what is it doing here?” Well, it was a bunker during the second World War, then it was turned into a club, and more recently bought by Christian Boros who made his fortune in advertising and invested in Art. He opens his private gallery to the public every Friday, Saturday and Sunday and only 12 ppl are let in for 90min. The collection is modern art and both the pieces and the location are quite impressive. Book long in advance.
Hoffmann Collection – Similar to the Boros collection, the Hoffmann Collection is a private gallery opened to the public only on Saturday. It welcomes even less visitors that the Boros Collection, is much less publicised and can only still be visited until 2022. I heard of it because my best friend who works in Culture had arrange for us to visit it during one of her visit to Berlin and it was a blast. The visit finished in the living room of the owner and we could exchange a few words with Ms Hoffmann. It was a very unique experience.
Dark Matter is a permanent exhibition of light installations from Christopher Bauder that just opened in 2021. Christopher Bauder was the artist being the Lichtgrenze (“light border”) from 2015 to recreate the delimitation of the Berlin wall for the 25th anniversary of its fall, and the temporary exhibition Dark Matter (see pictures here). The location is in the outskirt of Berlin so while being in the area why not dropping by the famous Berlin club Sisyphos. They sell tickets on Wednesday for the upcoming Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. Like most Berlin club they are open 24h so if you are not a party animal you can also enjoy a day-dancing experience in this large indoor + outdoor venue. You can also enjoy a nice meal or drink along the Spree at Hafenkueche and enjoy the nice riverside walk back to the S-bahn station Rummelsburg.
Kraftwerk is an old power station, a huge concrete hangar turned art space for temporary exhibition. If there is anything going on there at the time of your visit, it might be worth checking it.
Einsunternull (Michelin) Nice, classy and delicious dishes focusing on high quality ingredients. I was there for a team event at lunch but it seems that they only do dinner now.
Tim Raue (Michelin, featured in Chef’s Table season 3 episode 5) Haven’t tried yet but it is on my bucket list.
Shiso Burger – my confort food in Berlin. Order the Ebi burger. Weirdly enough they open a branch in Reunion island.
W der imbiss – I always thought it was sri lankan food but it turns out that they describe themselves as vegan/vegetarian/salmon dishes influenced by Indian, Mexican, Californian and Italian cuisine…. what matters is that they are delicious!
Liu 成都味道面馆 Nudelhaus Spicy Chengdu style noodles, very authentic… I’m mouth-watering just thinking about it.
House of Small Wonder (for Brunch) This is the cutest place to start your weekend and have a delicious breakfast, cake or japanese lunch. They don’t take reservation and it will get full so go there early bring a book to stand in line. This is the sister restaurant of House of Small Wonder from New York.
To have a great coffee
Bonanza Coffee Hero and wander in Mauerpark.
To have a drink
Klunkerkranich – Despite its impossible-to-pronounced name, this bar offer a very chill ambiance in a very original location. It is located at the top floor of a shopping mall but you need to access it by lift to the parking lot, than walk the way up to the last floor. As Berlin has mainly short buildings you have a pretty amazing view of the whole town and a beautiful sunset view.