Of wine and men

Of wine and men

Of wine and men

Of wine and men

The mixture of influences, youthful energy and a taste for informal hospitality have made Berlin, the fourth city visited by Crozes-Hermitage after ParisBrussels and London, one of the most interesting places to follow for foodies and wine enthusiasts. Chefs travel here from around the world and wine merchants and sommeliers thrive on its challenges. The city is therefore constantly a hotbed for tomorrow’s talent where the major and minor venues of the future emerge and new trends are born. Follow our guide.

Tim Raue

He is probably the best-known and one of the most enterprising German chefs. The owner of the two-starred restaurant of the same name, he is currently renovating La Soupe Populaire, his Prenzlauer Berg annex that he has dedicated to Berlin cuisine.

Star chef Tim Raue has now defected to the East after growing up in a working-class district of former West Berlin, where he spent his early years skipping school and replacing theory with real life experience. He admits that he spent very little time in college and preferred cooking. All types of cooking. “I am a gourmet food hybrid”, he confesses. “I get a lot of inspiration from Thai, Japanese and particularly Cantonese cuisine. And of course, I am also influenced by French cuisine. Ultimately, my dishes are neither Western nor Asian but somewhere in between”.

In 2007, after being voted chef of the year by Gault & Millau and becoming the recipient of his first Michelin star for Le 44, he decided to succumb to his yearning for the East. “I now have four restaurants but the heart and soul of my cooking is at the Tim Raue which I have opened up to Asian influences”. La Soupe Populaire, his latest venture, opened at the start of 2017. Conversely, Tim Raue only serves Berlin dishes inspired by his grandmother there.

In each of them, wine is of paramount importance. “Wine is my only hobby outside of cooking”, admits Raue. At the Tim Raue, the wine list features approximately 1,200 growths. “I am very traditional. Half of our wines are French. Our sommelier focuses on regions such as the Rhone Valley, so we have twenty or so red and white Crozes-Hermitage wines, especially the finest years – 1961, 1978 and 1990. Some of them are among the best wines I have ever drunk in my life!”

Interview by Fanny Steyer



Sebastian Koch

The actor starring in The Lives of Others, Die Hard 5, Homeland and Bridge of Spies loves Berlin and wine, so we talked to him about both.


He knows the city like the back of his hand, all its foibles but also its beautiful stories. He should – he grew up with the city where he arrived in 1989, just as the Wall fell, and signed his first contract with the prestigious Schillertheater. “I have experienced 27 years of incredible development in Berlin and feel as if I was a part of it”, he says proudly. The reason why he accepted a part in the fifth season of Homeland with Claire Danes was because the series was filmed in his home city. “It really was a dream to be able to act in my city for six months!”


“Oddly, my love story with wine began with white wine that I encountered in South Africa in 1996. It was only afterwards that I discovered the marvellous German wines”, he admits. For reds, though, he prefers the expertise of French wine growers. “I love French reds, their power, depth and tannins. They are incomparable. I am a fan of Bordeaux but am still discovering magnificent new regions. The Rhone Valley is one of them”.

Marie Raymond

Happy Street Food

Street food is an intrinsic part of Berlin. Here is our guide to the best street food markets and most prominent diners or ‘imbiss’.

Street food goes back a long way in Berlin, a city known for its ‘imbiss’ or traditional diners where you eat outside on the pavement, and for its mobile sausage sellers. It is also, of course, the capital of the doner kebab, a speciality imported by Turkish immigrants in the 1970s.

But with street food as with everything else, Berlin has a knack of reinventing and updating things. Some of its diners have become ultra fashionable eateries or haunts of the in-crowd where people throng to taste the burger that’s the talk of the town or savour a currywurst.

However, the most striking trend is the rise in popularity or even boom of street food markets. Street chefs from a huge variety of backgrounds meet up either regularly or at random for some colourful demonstrations offering a wonderful array of flavours and smells, some of which even prompt a concert or an exhibition.

Blogger Elodie Benchereau, who scours the city’s secret or unusual venues for the Good Morning Berlin website, has drawn up a non-exhaustive list of them.

Markthalle IX

“Every Thursday evening, the indoor market houses the city’s oldest street food market selling tapas, tagines, meat pies and cheesecake, to name a few. The Kreuzberg district is home to Berlin’s top street food chefs. One Sunday a month, the event becomes the Breakfast Market. During the week, some stands are open at lunchtime”.


Konnopke’s Imbiss

“This family firm established in 1947 is located beneath an overhead metro station and has become a favourite haunt for currywurst enthusiasts in the Prenzlauer Berg. Currywurst, a chopped sausage doused in tomato sauce with varying strengths of curry, is Berlin’s great speciality dish. The legendary Imbiss also serves meat balls and Frankfurter sausages”.


Marheineke Markthalle

“Labourers, trendy students and housewives all flock to Kreuzberg’s other indoor market at lunchtime. Each stall sells fresh produce to retail customers as well as local and international cuisine. Glasses of wine, sausages, Greek salads, burgers and Asian dishes are lined up along the bars. You can dip into them and people watch either at the bar or sitting on the tall chairs lined up along the picture windows”.


Street Food auf Achse

“Located in the Prenzlauer Berg district, Kulturbrauerai is a former brewery that now houses shops, a theatre, concert halls and cinemas. Every Sunday, a cosmopolitan street food market is set up in the main courtyard. The Ukrainian pelmeni vendor stands next to the tapioca stall. In winter, the atmosphere becomes family-friendly and gourmet food lovers stand around the wood fires to warm up”.



“Since 2006, former public toilets built in the 19th century and situated beneath the Schlesisches Tor overhead metro station, right at the far end of the vibrant Kreuzberg district, are the setting for a new Imbiss with its famous burgers. Patrons throng there from 11 am to 4 am, sitting around high tables or on beer crates”.



“Designed in a street art and industrial style, this street food market is housed in a disused warehouse in the Friedrichshain district. Every Saturday and Sunday from 12 pm to 10 pm, young restaurateurs cook reasonably priced meals here. Patrons also come to listen to concerts, discover art exhibitions or just soak up the atmosphere. A wine bar should soon open”.


Burgers & Hip Hop

“Every month, the Prince Charles, a trendy club in the Kreuzberg district, invites a selection of food trucks to select Berlin’s top burger. The tasting comes with a hip hop concert which then ends up on the dance floor of the Prince Charles. The wild boar, mushroom or merguez burgers are worth a try”.


Berlin’s new faces

The German capital is home to an upcoming generation of young chefs and sommeliers to rival those in other major European cities.

Born either in Germany or outside the country, many a young chef and sommelier converge on Berlin, attracted by the spirit of a city that rewards enthusiasm. Here, they find young natives who, like them, are citizens of the world and full of positive energy.

The result is a plethora of venues, restaurants and wine bars, the finest examples of which offer the most diverse array of influences. They replicate the German capital’s multicultural dimension and creative juices in the glass or on the plate.

“In Berlin, the gourmet food scene moves along at breakneck speed and the public is very open-minded. For a chef, that is extremely exciting!

Gal Ben Moshe

Jeanne Tremsal – Le Petit Royal

The Franco-German actress is the hostess of Le Petit Royal, a new venue in Charlottenburg where politicians and celebrities from the world of cinema come to taste the most elegant French cuisine and one of the city’s finest wine lists.


Gal Ben Moshe - GLASS

In Charlottenburg, the young Israeli chef works from an amazing glass cube designed by Zeller & Moye and cooks a single menu with five or seven dishes whose common theme is childhood, the city and art. His popularity is constantly on the rise.


Jan Wilhelm Buhrmann – Filetstück

The sommelier designed the wine list for the Filetstück where, so it is said, Berlin’s best beef is served thanks to awesome thirty-something chef, Sascha Ludwig. The claim seems plausible as the Charlottenburg venue has now spawned two other eateries in the eastern part of the city.


Jan Kreuzinger – Vin Aqua Vin

This energetic thirty-year-old has opened a venue that is a combination of boudoir and wine cellar in Neukölln. It is also a cultural melting pot where long-established Berliners and newcomers rub shoulders in its workshops.


Caroline Grinsted & Tobias Zeller – Muse

She is English, he is German. Together, they created the Thyme Supper Club, one of Berlin’s first supper clubs where a host cooks at home for guests he/she doesn’t know. It worked so well that they opened Muse, a restaurant designed like an apartment.


Allan Bourbon – Allan Breakfast Club and Wine Bar

This debonair French-Australian has created a cool, often teeming haunt for savouring a glass of French wine or eating Aussie at any time of the day, in the heart of Prenzlauer Berg.


Daniel Achilles – Reinstoff

Born in Leipzig, the two-starred chef worked all over Germany before opening the Reinstoff in Mitte in 2009, one of the most exciting venues in the city located in a former Edison light bulb factory.

Maxime Boillat – Maxim

Because he prefers “free” wines to “confined” wines, this former Swiss DJ, also an archaeologist in a previous life, created Maxim, the first natural wine bar in Berlin, situated north of Mitte. You can also savour some tasty, typical brasserie dishes.


Patrick Wentzel – Dóttir

In the heart of Mitte, the Dóttir is part of the new wave of Berlin eateries where the product is revered. Here, a clutch of ingredients brings to life cuisine imbued with a very natural spirit. For liquid refreshment, sommelier Patrick Wentzel – who has yet to hit thirty – loves the great classics but also artisan wines.


Emmanuel Rosier – Katz Orange

The French sommelier provides useful advice at the Katz Orange, an eco-friendly spot in the Mitte district where you can find a great selection of organic, biodynamic and natural wines.


Willi Schlögl – Cordobar

Yet another tattooed sommelier! This one has set up his own business in Mitte – the Cordobar, a wine bar where the food is as good as the drink. The wine list features many organic, biodynamic and natural wines.


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