Apfel Strudel; German pastries

Berlin's cosmopolitan cuisine; Berlin restaurants


Willkommen in Berlin” said the sign at the Tegel airport in Germany’s capital. As a first-time visitor, I wasn’t sure what to expect of this vibrant city that also possesses a vivid backstory. Our initial experiences displayed a contemporary European capital, rich with culture and cosmopolitan cuisine.


Ku'Damm; Berlin

Sculptures line the Ku’Damm boulevard.

Our stay in Berlin was brief, by Sunday we would be boarding the Viking Star luxury ocean liner for a journey through the Viking Homelands of Denmark and Norway. The voyage, compliments of Viking, would be my second time on a Viking Ocean Cruise.* (Be sure to read about my 2017 Viking Ocean Cruise where my boyfriend L and I traveled on the Viking Star to the Cities of Antiquity and the Holy Land. It was awesome.) This year, my lucky companion was my sister N.

Viking Ocean Cruise; Viking Star

After Berlin we would be boarding the Viking Star for a cruise to Viking Homelands.

A Great Place To Stay In Berlin

“Let’s add an extra day,” I said to N when we were booking our flights. “That way we can have time to catch up from our jet-lag and see a bit more of Berlin.” “Yes, yes,” said N, she was all in favor of exploring the city.

Berlin Marathon

My sister N was my companion for this trip. We had a chance to see the Berlin Marathon.

The Viking team had selected the Sofitel Berlin Kurfürstendamm for Saturday and we tagged on an extra night. (I was pleased we could secure a room via Booking.com, considering it was the weekend of the Berlin Marathon.) It’s a beautiful hotel in a great location near the main shopping street in the center of downtown. Plus it’s a block away from the U-Bahn, Berlin’s subway system.

Sofitel Berlin Kurfurstendamm

Sofitel Berlin Kurfürstendamm is in a great location.

We arrived early Friday morning, the Sofitel representative checking us in suggested I sign up for the Le Club Accor Hotels, which is free. As a member, you get an additional discount of up to 10% off the price of your room by booking via AccorHotels.com. Plus, it provides early check-in if there are rooms available – that was the best benefit for this stay. We had a room by 10:30 am to nap and relax after our long flight.

Sofitel Berlin Kurfurstendamm

After a long flight and no sleep, the Sofitel beds were very inviting.

When In Berlin Eat Apfelstrudel

Once rested, we were eager to venture out and sample some German fare. We walked along West Berlin’s Kurfürstendamm, known as Ku’Damm by the locals, and filled with high-end shops. According to my former colleague K who lives in Berlin, “the three or so blocks between *T Schlütterstrasse and Uhlandstrasse have the highest-end stores in the city.”

Leysieffer Chocolaterie

Leysieffer Chocolaterie is located on Ku’Damm.

“Germany is supposed to have good apple strudel,” said N. “Ooh, ooh, ooh, I love apple strudel,” I replied. According to Wikipedia, strudel is part of Austrian cuisine but also common in many other Central and Eastern European cuisines.

Apfel Strudel; German pastries

Apfelstrudel is a popular pastry in Germany.

We didn’t have to go far to find a perfect spot on Ku’Damm for our Apfelstrudel, as it is called in German. The spot was Leysieffer Chocolaterie. N and I sat on the barstools for our Kaffee und Kuchen, a German-style of the British teatime. We ordered cappuccinos and shared a slice of strudel. It was so good, so good, so good!

Berlin; German pastries

Berlin pastries are a foodie’s dream.

Dining Out In Berlin

Not being familiar with Berlin, I asked K for recommendations. He is a big foodie and provided many choices for our Friday and Saturday evenings. We selected two from his list and followed his ordering instructions for each menu.

Where did we go? What did we eat? Glad you asked. BTW, not only did I make reservations at each restaurant ahead of time, but I also googled directions from our hotel to each restaurant (and other Berlin sites we had planned to visit) and brought the printed directions in my travel folder. It was so helpful to have.

Long March Canteen

On Friday evening we selected Michelin-rated Long March Canteen. The restaurant was about a 30 minute subway ride from our hotel.

Long March Canteen in Berlin

Long March Canteen is Michelin-rated.

“This is one of our absolute favorites,” said K. “Chinese dim sum at its best. Fantastic dumplings and small plates that are great for sharing.”

Long March Canteen in Berlin

The cold spicy chicken was very tasty.

Ooh, ooh, ooh, I was nervous even with the directions in hand. It was nine stops away and then an 8 minute walk. We got a little lost and asked a nice neighborhood man for directions. When we found the restaurant N and I were so happy.

Long March Canteen restaurant in Berlin

The eggplant was served with an “indescribable” sauce.

We ordered exactly what K advised: cold spicy chicken, eggplant in “indescribable” sauce, and pork ginger dumplings. It was so good, so good, so good.

Long March Canteen in Berlin

Canteen is known for its delicious dumplings.

Ooh, ooh, ooh, I was equally nervous that we would find our way back to the hotel via U-Bahn. We carefully retraced our steps, counted our U-Bahn stops and were very happy to see the Sofitel upon our exit. (Special Note: Always, I said always, cross at the crosswalk when in Berlin and only when you see the green little man light up, which means walk. Otherwise you literally might get run over. Drivers seem to have the right of way here.)

Ampelmann; Berlin crosswalks

Remember to only cross the street when Ampelmann is green.

Grace Restaurant In The Berlin Zoo Hotel

On Saturday evening, we went all out and made reservations at Grace Restaurant.

“Grace is our favorite high-end place with amazing food and attentive service in a stunning setting,” said K. “Make a reservation well in advance, and arrive early to have a specialty drink in the very hip bar just in front of the restaurant.”

Grace Restaurant in The Zoo Hotel

The decor at Grace restaurant is quite elegant.

Ooh, ooh, ooh, this restaurant was just as K said. We were glad to learn that Grace was within a few minutes walking distance from our hotel, right on Ku’Damm. Impressed how I am talking like a local now? It was in a trendy boutique hotel called The Zoo, not in the real Berlin Zoo, as I originally told N.

Grace Restaurant in Berlin

Our dinner included two starters burrata and tuna.

We ordered the 3 course menu. There was so much food to share including burrata with fresh figs and spicy tuna bites for starters, filet and shrimp for the meze, followed by lemongrass chicken with beans and miso cod for mains. Everything was ah-may-zing!

Grace Restaurant in Berlin

There were two second courses — filet and shrimp.

Grace Restaurant in Berlin

The main course was chicken and fish.

Ooh, ooh, ooh, did I say that dessert was included too? OMG, there were three desserts to share. Could we manage to consume all three? Absolut! We scooped up every spoonful of the berry sorbet, we scooped up every bite of the cheesecake and we scooped up every morsel of the molten chocolate cake. It was so good, so good, so good.

Grace Restaurant in Berlin

We ate all three desserts.

The meal was pricey (equivalent to about $100 US per person) but worth every euro. I definitely would recommend this restaurant when visiting Berlin.

A Walking Tour of Berlin

Now that you know we ate well, there’s more to share about Berlin’s backstory from our four hour Walking Tour of Berlin (we needed the exercise to balance out all the food we consumed) and our visit to the Jewish Museum. BTW, if you plan to visit Berlin, which I hope you do, check out visitBerlin.com for tourism information.

For now, my tummy is too full to write anymore. Until next time, or should I say bis zum nächsten Mal. 


P.S.: In case you missed my first blog post about my Viking Homelands cruise, check it out here:
All Aboard Viking Star: A Great Way To Discover Scandinavia

* Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored post.” Viking Cruises provided me with a complimentary press trip on the Viking Homelands Ocean Cruise and a complimentary one night’s stay at the Sofitel. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.