Five Frenchies, and one Franco-American just returned from 5 days in Berlin (October 2006). We found several upper-end establishments to be disappointing in terms of "value for money". Some of the best food and overall experiences were found at the more reasonable end of the spectrum. Below are a few of our Berlin restaurant recommendations (with thanks to others who shared thoughts here and elsewhere!).
** Anne in Paris
1) Lutter & Wegner
56, Charlottenstrasse, Gendarmenmarkt
+49 20 29 540
Brasserie style German-Austrian cuisine served in an elegant traditional room lined with contemporary art on the walls. A setting that speaks of both the past and present. Excellent fish and updated versions of many traditional dishes. Reasonable prices 17-25euros/ main course. We found it a very enjoyable experience overall. (Thanks to Ed Ward for his posting on this one).
2) Dachgarten Restaurant
Within the glass dome of the Reichstag we enjoyed superb views over the city of Berlin with inventive cooking coming from the open kitchen. Part of a very successful Munich based restaurant group, and the best way to cut the queues to get into the Richard Foster-designed glass dome of the Reichstag. (Suggested to us by a local)
Platz der Republik, 11011 Berlinhttp://www.feinkost-kaefer.de
Tel. +49 30 22 62 99 0
3) Lunch and Tea spots . . .
a) Self-service restaurant in the 7th floor
glass dome of the KaDeWe
department store (Tauentzienstrasse 21-24 (Wittenbergplatz). (Suggested to us by a local)
Rosenthaler Strasse, 40-41 (Hackescher Markt) -- German-Italian cuisine in a brasserie-style setting. Very good desserts as well, and just a short walk from the Museum island and Berliner Dom. (Suggested to us by a local)
c) Cafe Einstein
-- Unter den Linden 42 (at Friedrichstrasse). Not the original, but great stop for coffee and excellent cheesecake, or a glass of wine, while people watching or reading newspapers from around the globe. (Also suggested to us by a local)
d) Hotel Adler Bar
-- great for tea of hot chocolate if you want to experience the Adler ambiance for "un petit prix".
4) Restaurant Remake
-- very good food, nice atmosphere, pity about the service! (Again, thanks to e-Gullet member for posting).
32 Grosse Hamburger Strasse
10115 Berlin http://www.restaurant-remake.de
Tel: +49 30 200 54102
Just a few more comments about REMAKE because it was in part through recommendations in e-Gullet that we made the decision to go . . . REMAKE has had a lot of positive press and has been sought after by diners in the know. On the night that we dined, the classical singer Renee Fleming walked in with two others, as she was apparently in the city in preparation for a concert there next month. Our group enjoyed our dinner here, despite what we considered very average service from a young waitress whose primary interest was clearly to make our bill for the evening as high as possible (perhaps presuming a large tip?) The restaurant was conceived by owner Stefan Dreier. Having lost it's original chef, a new duo of Andreas Dietrich and Michel Wendel displayed the talents they developed at several Michelin starred establishments. Their cooking showed both modern creativity as well as respect for traditional German ingredients and cuisine. A very good 4, 5 or 6 course menu was on offer for between 45 and 68 euros, depending on the number of courses. We were impressed and would certainly come back, except . . . our universal complaint about the service was significant. It did not match the quality of the cuisine. Our waitress was not knowledgable about the dishes, and her manner varied form inappropriately informal and lacking in descretion, to outright pushy (when it came to ordering higher priced items) and inattentive (when it came to checking to see if everything was okay). All of us felt the service was not good enough for an establishment trying to pitch a certain degree of sophistication. For example, having ordered our meals, we asked for recommendations on a moderately priced bottle of wine preferably from the region. Our waitress recommended a (hardly local) Spanish Rioja which I quickly noted was listed in euros for the equivalent of USD $120 a bottle. Though we made an alternative choice, we had to stop her from opening a second bottle before we had ordered it. We decided not to go for another bottle since we had already had drinks at the hotel before dinner, and a glass each of champagne upon arrival at Remake. At the end of the meal, we had been through so much with her that there was collective laughter as she tried to push everyone to have coffees. At that point, the few who did want them decided to retract their request. It was enough.
Let's hope REMAKE can remake the front of the house so that it is a true complement to what is going on in the kitchen.