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New German Cuisine?


robyn
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I generally plan my travel far in advance (my husband likes six months notice so he can work on the language part of a trip) - and one of the places I'm considering for next year is Berlin - and perhaps some other places in Germany. Have only been to Germany once - Hamburg - ages ago. Have to say that I tend to dislike traditional German food - and I wondered if there is any trend in Germany in terms of a "New German Cuisine" (like "New American Cuisine"). If so - where in the country would I be most likely to find these restaurants that are coming up with new twists on old ideas? I'm not necessarily talking about fine dining - Michelin stars and the like - more casual dining is fine. Robyn

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Modern German cooking today is widely divergent and represents a wonderful central European fusion of tastes incorporating influences from around the world, as divergent as the country's population is. "New German Cuisine: includes such dishes as lukewarm white asparagus salad with vegetable vinaigrette; wings of skate on young greens garnished with pignolias; roasted calf sweetbreads with corn salad; Brandenburg haunch of venison with cabbage, mushrooms and noodles; Coquilles on a bed of asparagus and morelles; marinated strawberries on white pepper whipped cream; and so many many more. It is not without pride that Germans will happily point out to you that restaurants in their country have more than their fare share of Michelin stars and other culinary accolades.
source

Was this possibly what you were thinking about, Robyn?

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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Robyn, perhaps legourmet would be able to give you some pointers (see his latest post on the Dinner thread).

I've only been to Germany twice and never to the north or the former East of Germany but, in my limited experience, I've found that the cuisine can be somewhat regionally-based. What I've eaten in Regensburg was different from what I've eaten in Cologne which was different from what I've eaten in Aachen.

The same holds true for the beer. Weißbier in the south, Kölsch in Köln, Altbier in Münster. It's very regional.

Maybe you should decide where you'd like to go first and then start looking for the cuisine. Also, what time of the year will you be going? Don't go in July and expect to get white asparagus. My last trip to Germany was in early May; I was there for 10 days and had Spargel at least 6 times. :wub:

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Robyn, perhaps legourmet would be able to give you some pointers (see his latest post on the Dinner thread).

I've only been to Germany twice and never to the north or the former East of Germany but, in my limited experience, I've found that the cuisine can be somewhat regionally-based. What I've eaten in Regensburg was different from what I've eaten in Cologne which was different from what I've eaten in Aachen.

The same holds true for the beer. Weißbier in the south, Kölsch in Köln, Altbier in Münster. It's very regional.

Maybe you should decide where you'd like to go first and then start looking for the cuisine. Also, what time of the year will you be going? Don't go in July and expect to get white asparagus. My last trip to Germany was in early May; I was there for 10 days and had Spargel at least 6 times.  :wub:

Wait, this is eGullet. We are supposed to decide where and what we want to eat, then plan our trips around that!! :raz::biggrin:

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Unfortunately I have not been myself, but the friends I trust all rave about

Landgasthof Adler in Rosenberg (1* Michelin, 18/20 gault millau).

www.landgasthofadler.de

Unfortunately in the middle of nowhere.....in a black hole between Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Nuernberg.

Very old Tavern, now serving supposedly super smart variations of peasant food/local ingredients, without any snobbery, pretension or liquid nitrogen.......

this seems to be the place where old (south)german standards get a surprising new life.

I definitely will go during my next trip in December.

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Wait, this is eGullet. We are supposed to decide where and what we want to eat, then plan our trips around that!! :raz:  :biggrin:

I know it's probably heretical but I plan my trips around dog racing and then look for good food where the races are.

Yeah, even the trips to Germany... :wacko:

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Unfortunately I have not been myself, but the friends I trust all rave about

Landgasthof Adler in Rosenberg (1* Michelin, 18/20 gault millau).

www.landgasthofadler.de

Unfortunately in the middle of nowhere.....in a black hole between Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Nuernberg.

Very old Tavern, now serving supposedly super smart variations of peasant food/local ingredients, without any snobbery, pretension or liquid nitrogen.......

this  seems to be the place where old (south)german standards get a surprising new life.

I definitely will go during my next trip in December.

I'm very astonished that you there know about this jewel of the "new" German kitchen. Actually it's not new but traditional German food at the utmost level, IMHO. I'll highly recommend this restaurant but one have to make reservations two weeks in advance. And yes Rosenberg is in the middle of nowhere but that's the lucky coincidence foodwise beeing far from any touristic streams and overcrowded places.

H.B. aka "Legourmet"

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Have only been to Germany once - Hamburg - ages ago.  Have to say that I tend to dislike traditional German food - and I wondered if there is any trend in Germany in terms of a "New German Cuisine" (like "New American Cuisine").  If so - where in the country would I be most likely to find these restaurants that are coming up with new twists on old ideas? 

I'm not sure whether I might help you to find those restaurants you are looking for. You tend to dislike traditional German food and have been only once in my country. Where did you pick up that aversion to traditional German food? Traditional food wherever it comes from is a result of decades of cooking culture and handing down of recipes by ancestors to descendants. During that procedure the dishes got their best possible quality and taste and became traditional. I personally think there is no need to twist up old ideas. Cooking is like travelling all around the world in front of your stove but from time to time you have to come back to your roots to discover the unknown.

Let me know what you think you'll discover.

As everywhere in the world there are good and bad restaurants which serve "traditional food" of different quality.

H.B. aka "Legourmet"

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I come from a German family, work for a German company that affords me to travel to Germany every three months. I also lived there for almost two years.

German food is regional just like other European countries, so you really can't lump Hamburg into hating German food and if you have only had "German" food in the US, then that ain't German food.

What area of Germany are you going to be travelling to and maybe I can make some suggestions.

I agree with Heinz, good German food is really good and it doesn't need a new twist.

Edited by Swisskaese (log)
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I'm not sure whether I might help you to find those restaurants you are looking for. You tend to dislike traditional German food and have been only once in my country. Where did you pick up that aversion to traditional German food? Traditional food wherever it comes from is a result of decades of cooking culture and handing down of recipes by ancestors to descendants. During that procedure the dishes got their best possible quality and taste and became traditional. I personally think there is no need to twist up old ideas. Cooking is like travelling all around the world in front of your stove but from time to time you have to come back to your roots to discover the unknown.

Let me know what you think you'll discover.

As everywhere in the world there are good and bad restaurants which serve "traditional food" of different quality.

Dear Heinz. Must you give away all our secrets? :wink:

Granted there is the expected pork and potatoes, but when the pork is in the form of thinly sliced tiroler speck and the potatoes are tiny, buttery yellow and taste like they were dug out of the ground 5 minutes ago...

And then there is the venison, wild boar, ducks, geese, quails, squab, the chanterelles, the rye breads, the black breads, the cheeses, the white asparagus, the baerenlauch, the meltingly sweet/sour braised red cabbage, the summer berries and autumn apples, the feldsalat & arugula, the various forms of hearty or delicate wurst and yes, saurkraut that is fresh and cooked with small cubes of bacon and coriander pods, big yeasty crunchy/chewy pretzles...not to mention the smoked fish and herring and north sea krabben and fish chowders...did I mention the pastry? And the amazing Schneider wheat beers, Augustiner helles, those beautiful rieslings, scheurebe, and the gruener veltliners from across the border that can be had for a fraction of what they cost in the US...

Yeah, I hate German food. Mainly because I have to walk a lot to keep my jeans from getting too tight.

Edited by Behemoth (log)
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Dear Heinz. Must you give away all our secrets?  :wink:

Granted there is the expected pork and potatoes, but when the pork is in the form of thinly sliced tiroler speck and the potatoes are tiny, buttery yellow and taste like they were dug out of the ground 5 minutes ago...

And then there is the venison, wild boar, ducks, geese, quails, squab, the chanterelles, the rye breads, the black breads, the cheeses, the white asparagus, the baerenlauch, the meltingly sweet/sour braised red cabbage, the summer berries and autumn apples, the feldsalat & arugula, the various forms of hearty or delicate wurst and yes, saurkraut that is fresh and cooked with small cubes of bacon and coriander pods, big yeasty crunchy/chewy pretzles...not to mention the smoked fish and herring and north sea krabben and fish chowders...did I mention the pastry? And the amazing Schneider wheat beers, Augustiner helles, those beautiful rieslings, scheurebe, and the gruener veltliners from across the border that can be had for a fraction of what they cost in the US...

Yeah, I hate German food. Mainly because I have to walk a lot to keep my jeans from getting too tight.

Who is giving away the secrets! :wink:

Are you still in town and did you take part in an amazing Wiesn?

Edited by legourmet (log)

H.B. aka "Legourmet"

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Are you still in town and did you take part in an amazing Wiesn?

No, I had to be back in the US! How sad is that? My husband seems to have taken full advantage of it though. :rolleyes: Will definitely be there next year -- I have been advised to start shopping for my dirndl.

I won't be in Munich again until December, but I am "starting to see land" as you say -- I am hoping to be there full time starting in June. :smile:

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Have only been to Germany once - Hamburg - ages ago.  Have to say that I tend to dislike traditional German food - and I wondered if there is any trend in Germany in terms of a "New German Cuisine" (like "New American Cuisine").  If so - where in the country would I be most likely to find these restaurants that are coming up with new twists on old ideas? 

I'm not sure whether I might help you to find those restaurants you are looking for. You tend to dislike traditional German food and have been only once in my country. Where did you pick up that aversion to traditional German food? Traditional food wherever it comes from is a result of decades of cooking culture and handing down of recipes by ancestors to descendants. During that procedure the dishes got their best possible quality and taste and became traditional. I personally think there is no need to twist up old ideas. Cooking is like travelling all around the world in front of your stove but from time to time you have to come back to your roots to discover the unknown.

Let me know what you think you'll discover.

As everywhere in the world there are good and bad restaurants which serve "traditional food" of different quality.

Ok - let me back off a bit. When we were in Hamburg - we went to - among other places - a very traditional restaurant and ate the most traditional meal on the menu. A lady next to us who was perhaps 80 or so remarked that it was so nice to see "young people" eating traditional food. That meal kind of felt like a lead sinker in my stomach for the next 3 days.

But I am willing to give it another try - as long as I can avoid the "lead sinker" feeling. I realize that a lot of this traditional food (like that made by my grandmothers - who were both from nearby areas in Europe) was meant to be eaten by people who did a lot of physical work in cold weather - where you could simply burn it off. But I tend not to travel in cold weather - or do a lot of physical work while traveling - so a bit lighter would work better for me.

Other than wanting to avoid feeling weighted down - or overdosing on salt - I am pretty much up for anything in terms of eating.

FWIW - other than the "lead sinker" meal - we really had a great time in Hamburg (despite the dreary late October weather). Even though it was more than a decade ago - probably closer to two decades - I remember the harbor tour - the war monuments - the main art museum (forget the name - but remember the paintings) - the great service in the hotel (Intercontinental - they did amazing things in terms of putting in an internet connection for me) - my husband having a good time speaking Italian in a decent Italian restaurant - and the outrageous sex show :wink: . Only sex show I've ever been to - and I can assure the ladies in the audience that sex shows in Hamburg are very non-sexist - there will be something for him - and something for you too :smile: . I realize that Hamburg probably isn't the best tourist city in Germany - so if I had a good time there - I can probably have a good time anywhere in Germany Robyn

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Robyn, perhaps legourmet would be able to give you some pointers (see his latest post on the Dinner thread).

I've only been to Germany twice and never to the north or the former East of Germany but, in my limited experience, I've found that the cuisine can be somewhat regionally-based. What I've eaten in Regensburg was different from what I've eaten in Cologne which was different from what I've eaten in Aachen.

The same holds true for the beer. Weißbier in the south, Kölsch in Köln, Altbier in Münster. It's very regional.

Maybe you should decide where you'd like to go first and then start looking for the cuisine. Also, what time of the year will you be going? Don't go in July and expect to get white asparagus. My last trip to Germany was in early May; I was there for 10 days and had Spargel at least 6 times.  :wub:

Wait, this is eGullet. We are supposed to decide where and what we want to eat, then plan our trips around that!! :raz::biggrin:

I used to travel like that - but I don't any more. It's a question of wanting to see a particular country - or a particular aspect of a country - or an event - and then finding out what's available "food wise" at my destination.

One reason to think along these lines is we are probably overloaded with information about a select number of "destination restaurants" in the world - and completely ignorant about what goes on in the other 99.9% of the food world. E.g., some of the best restaurants I went to in Japan (which were highly regarded there) do have web pages - but they are only in Japanese. If you tried to make a reservation from home - you couldn't - because the staff speaks only Japanese. How many people who aren't Japanese speak Japanese? Moreover - I found that many high end restaurants in Japan (a lot have 20 seats or fewer) didn't want customers who didn't speak Japanese - and weren't familiar with Japanese dining culture.

Although I've only spent a tiny amount of time in Germany - my impression is once you get even a bit off the beaten tourist path - many/most people in Germany - especially those who aren't young - didn't speak serviceable - or any - English. This isn't a criticism - simply an observation. So I don't know what we'll find once we scratch the surface - which is what we'll do if we wind up taking a "full trip" to Germany. FWIW - when we travel these days - I am the person who makes the reservations - and my husband learns to speak at least a little of the language. That's one reason I plan these trips so far in advance (he needs 6-12 months to learn enough to get us through basic tourist encounters). After Japanese - I think German should be easy :smile:. Robyn

Edited by robyn (log)
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Although I've only spent a tiny amount of time in Germany - my impression is once you get even a bit off the beaten tourist path - many/most people in Germany - especially those who aren't young - didn't speak serviceable - or any - English.  This isn't a criticism - simply an observation. 

Robyn, I think you'll find things are different now. You said in another post that your other trip had been 10-15 years ago. I've been to Germany twice in the last three years and have found that most people DO speak some English.

I'm in my early 40s and my German friends are either my age or in their mid- to late-30s. Some that are my age grew up in the former East Germany and they speak or read no English at all. The rest speak enough English to either actively carry on a conversation or (like me with German) are able to listen in on one with some comprehension.

Most people I met there (aside from my friends) knew some English (enough to carry on a basic conversation) unless they were from the former East Germany. In that case, my horrid spoken German or slightly better written German was enough to communicate.

I admire your travel ethic. I'm with you...go see the country and try to experience the culture through the food (among other things).

I don't know what time of year you're going but there are many regional "festivals" that might not be on the tourist radar. I remember visiting bakery after bakery in Aachen, looking at all sorts of different Printen. (I confess I bought the tourist version so that I could eat them without letting them "cure" in a tin with apple.) I wish I'd clued in at the time I was there but Aachen also has mineral waters. I don't know if there are any baths but I do recall seeing some fountains around the downtown area.

When I was in the south of Germany (Regensburg, specifically), I remember dozens of würste vendors along the riverfront. Although I didn't eat any of the sausages, I do recall being told that they were specific to the region. Why no würst? My friend's client took us to Hof Brau for lunch; I ate schweinehaxe instead. :wub:

(BTW, if you're into architecture, I highly recommend a visit to Regensburg. It escaped much of the bombing in WWII and so has many beautiful buildings to admire.)

Edited by Jensen (log)
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Berlin for me is interesting, but a bit of a concrete jungle. No offence to any Berliners out there.

If you want to visit Northern Germany, then I would suggest flying to Hannover and visiting Celle, Lueneburger Heide (known for their lamb, potatoes, rote gruetze and trout) and Luebeck (famous for their marzipan).

Other places near Hamburg are Goettingen and Goslar.

I can make lots of suggestions, but I have to know what you are interested in and if you are locked into going to the Berlin area.

What type of lead food did you have?

Edited by Swisskaese (log)
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I just returned to Berlin after a 10 year absence. Things have indeed changed in many ways. I have not been out to eat yet so can't recommend any restaurants. But I would like to defend the food:

Now, as then, the meats and vegetables, even at the local corner grocery, taste much much better than what I can get in my fancy and expensive foodie shops in southern California.

I fried some lowly pork chops tonight. No watery discharge! They browned right up and tasted, well, like they came from pork chop heaven.

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Berlin for me is interesting, but a bit of a concrete jungle. No offence to any Berliners out there.

If you want to visit Northern Germany, then I would suggest flying to Hannover and visiting Celle, Lueneburger Heide (known for their lamb, potatoes, rote gruetze and trout) and  Luebeck (famous for their marzipan).

Other places near Hamburg are Goettingen and Goslar.

I can make lots of suggestions, but I have to know what you are interested in and if you are locked into going to the Berlin area.

What type of lead food did you have?

I'm not locked into Berlin. It's just kind of been sticking in my brain because of the relatively new Jewish Museum - the first new rabbis in Germany since WWII - some articles I've read about exciting contemporary architecture there (I am a big fan of contemporary art and architecture) - and it has a luxury hotel (Ritz Carlton). I like staying in luxury hotels :smile: - and the one in Berlin is relatively inexpensive.

I am interested in seeing what is happening with Judaism in continental Europe these days (that's where my family came from) - also what is happening with the growing Muslim population - and how the majority Christian population is dealing with things (read an article in the NYT this week about a part of non-Paris France that didn't sound so encouraging). And specifically with regard to Germany - I think Berlin is a good place to see how the integration of western and eastern Germany is going (not so great from everything I've read over the years - but I'd like to poke around a bit and see for myself).

And Germany seems like its food scene is kind of developing. I think if I go now - I will probably be too early in terms of any big "food revolution" (I was certainly at least 5 years too early when I explored Spain - and I'm probably 10 years too late now - Spain has certainly been discovered) - but at least if you're early - you know that maybe you can eat at places that haven't been covered ad nauseam in every major English food periodical in the world yet.

I can't remember the exact food I ate last trip at that fancy restaurant. I tend to think from what the woman sitting next to us said that it was food that even Germans eat only at Christmas every 5 years :wink: .

Last time we were in Germany - we drove on the autobahn. Even then - when we were a lot younger - it was frightening for us US people who are used to speed limits. I'm not sure we could handle it now (unless they have rental cars with GPS systems that speak English!). We had such terrific experiences with trains in Japan that if we go to Germany - we'd probably go to 2 or 3 cities that are connected by train. So I would be open to suggestions.

By the way - the one common theme in terms of our travel is we're not interested in seeing what used to be - e.g., quaint towns that don't represent contemporary reality for most people who live in a country. We won't pass up a major historical site if it's where we happen to be - but I'd rather see "what is today". When you call Berlin "a concrete jungle" - sounds like the way a lot of people talk about Tokyo - but I really loved Tokyo - Osaka too - because they're the essence of contemporary Japan.

Our travel time would probably be spring - or - more likely- fall (like to avoid summer because Europe is generally crowded then and it's prime hurricane season here and I like to stick close to home - and I avoid winter in the north because it's too darn cold for a Florida girl!).

Other places I'm considering for a trip next year are Finland and Sweden - but Helsinki and Stockholm don't seem to have anything in the way of luxury hotels. Perhaps that's because they're relatively small cities (even smaller than the city where I live). I tend to like really big cities (probably because I don't live in one). Places where I can poke around and explore. Robyn

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Robyn, I think you'll find things are different now. You said in another post that your other trip had been 10-15 years ago. I've been to Germany twice in the last three years and have found that most people DO speak some English...

But some German wouldn't hurt - yes? My husband likes to study languages :smile: . Robyn

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I am interested in seeing what is happening with Judaism in continental Europe these days (that's where my family came from) - also what is happening with the growing Muslim population - and how the majority Christian population is dealing with things (read an article in the NYT this week about a part of non-Paris France that didn't sound so encouraging).  And specifically with regard to Germany - I think Berlin is a good place to see how the integration of western and eastern Germany is going (not so great from everything I've read over the years - but I'd like to poke around a bit and see for myself).

Berlin is simply a must-see city. I get there about once a year and I always find it has changed noticeably since the last time I was there. Go there without any preconceptions, and keep in mind that it will be hard to grasp the full extent of the city's cultural fabric as a short-term tourist. There have been large turkish and arab areas for years, but also a considerable southeast asian population, as well as a rapidly growing jewish population, and a bunch of central and south european immigrants added in the mix. As far as I can tell Berlin residents function in sort of a bored coexistence, as they do in any big city. Some of these areas will be close to where you will probably be walking around, but others will be farther from the absolute center of town -- Berlin is very spread out, so you have to get to most places intentionally, and will need to use the subway more than in most cities.

I have to admit I find it ever harder to see the difference between the parts of town that used to be east, or west. Half the time I can't tell for sure until I look at the pedestrian signal. Architecturally it is not the most beautiful place in Germany, nor necessarily the most modern, but historically I find it fascinating. Of course what makes it fascinating is precisely what makes it difficult to use as a point of extrapolation about the rest of Germany, or Eastern europe, or anything else. in the same sense as you wouldn't generalize about the US by looking at New York City.

You will find that almost everyone under 30 speaks some English. But being able to speak German is definitely a much appreciated gesture.

Edited by Behemoth (log)
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All of the car rental companies have cars with GPS. You have to request them. My company uses Avis exclusively and you can rent a car with GPS. Make sure you ask them for an English CD. I speak German fluently, so I don't need one.

Most every town is accessible by train, but I understand that you like modern things. Alot of Germany is quaint and still represents contemporary life, but that discussion would have to be continued in person. :wink:

If you like modern, you should definitely go to Finland.

I will leave the suggestions to someone who has the same interests as you. I prefer quaint and traditional foods when I travel. I like off the beaten path.

BTW - My avatar is the synagogue in Padberg, Germany where my great-great grandfather worshipped and my 5GG grandfather was the Rabbi and later the Chief Rabbi of Westphalia. I just visited there in September.

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Unfortunately I have not been myself, but the friends I trust all rave about

Landgasthof Adler in Rosenberg (1* Michelin, 18/20 gault millau).

www.landgasthofadler.de

Unfortunately in the middle of nowhere.....in a black hole between Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Nuernberg.

Very old Tavern, now serving supposedly super smart variations of peasant food/local ingredients, without any snobbery, pretension or liquid nitrogen.......

this  seems to be the place where old (south)german standards get a surprising new life.

I definitely will go during my next trip in December.

I will have to check this out. This is near my old hood. I used to live in Schwaebish Hall. And, I really like Schwaebish cooking; maultaschen :wub::wub: .

Edited by Swisskaese (log)
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Other places I'm considering for a trip next year are Finland and Sweden - but Helsinki and Stockholm don't seem to have anything in the way of luxury hotels.  Perhaps that's because they're relatively small cities (even smaller than the city where I live).  I tend to like really big cities (probably because I don't live in one).  Places where I can poke around and explore.  Robyn

A luxury hotel in Stockholm is The Grand Hotel. It is a beautiful hotel, but I would stay at Hotel Rival. I would recommend the Hotel Kamp or the Palace Hotel in Helsinki.

Edited by Swisskaese (log)
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Just got back from a (too) short visit to Berlin and was most impressed by the modern architecture and sophistication. Went to an operetta --if you don't like traditional things, this might not work, but the theatre was full of Germans and it was Very funny. We had an early dinner before the theatre at the well known Atten hotel and I was underwhelmed. Nice hotel though.

The best --and I mean wonderful, meal was on the outskirts of Berlin in Spandau, where I stayed with in laws. The name of the restaurant is Spandower Xollhaus. It is small, local, informal. One cook in the kitchen does the best duck I have ever tasted in my life-- and I have eaten well. Traditional, but not heavy. She came out of the kitchen to see how we liked our meal. It was , by the way 15 euros.

Berlin is an amazing city. Be sure to see the Jewish memorial. Not to be missed.

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Berlin, esp. formally East berlin, is a very nice place to go to.

Foodwise, I don't know whether Berlin has much to offer (although I liked restaurant Zander in Kreuzberg). The starred restaurants are terribly expensive and require booking in advance.

Modern cuisine does exist e.g. in Dresden, also a nice city to visit. Lesage was one of the most interesting restaurants there, even more interesting then the starred restaurant Carroussel.

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