Thank Ottolenghi or the arrival of Syrians in Berlin, Tel Aviv’s beaches or Beirut’s clubbing scene: there’s no cuisine hotter than the taste of the Levant at the moment in Berlin. But it’s not all hummus and tahini, although they obviously feature heavily – these Levantine kitchens add an exciting range of different tastes, textures, and traditions to Berlin’s culinary landscape.
From the outside, this diner doesn’t look very different from the others on Sonnenallee, but once inside, there’s so much more to discover than only schawarma and falafel: spicy potatoes, rice and lentils, spiced spinach and other Lebanese specialities await hungry punters. Try them all on their large mixed platter.
Address: Sonnenallee 40, Neukölln | Sun-Thu 9am-2am. Fri+Sat 9am-3am
Directions: U-Bahn station Sonnenallee
An Israeli and a Palestinian open a restaurant together: what could be the first line in a highly inappropriate joke is actually a culinary success story in Berlin’s Prenzlauer Berg, built on creamy, dreamy hummus and hospitality. They also recently opened a stall in Berlin’s foodie heaven, KaDeWe’s sixth floor – this city’s answer to London’s famous Harrods food hall.
Address: Kopenhagener Straße 17, Prenzlauer Berg | Tue-Thu 5-10pm, Fri 12-10pm, Sat+Sun 10am-10pm
Directions: S- and U-Bahn station Schönhauser Allee
Aleppo Supper Club
Aleppo’s cuisine was known as one of the most refined in the Middle East – and now you can taste it for yourself on Friedrichshain’s Rigaer Straße, usually better known for riots on the streets than on your tastebuds. Owner Samer Hafez even cooked for the previous German president, Joachim Gauck, and runs a successful catering business. For his Kibbe, he follows his mother’s recipe – Berlin hasn’t tasted anything like them yet!
Address: Ringer Straße 58, Friedrichshain | Daily 9am-10pm
Directions: S- and U-Bahn station Frankfurter Allee
Cookies & Co
Gone are the days Berliners had to search far and wide for a proper Babka: Cookies & Co bakes one so chocolatey and lush that it makes even New York’s most famous Babkas pale in comparison. A favourite at Prenzlauer Berg’s bouji Senefelder Platz.
Address: Senefelderstraße 4, Prenzlauer Berg | Wed-Fri 9am-6pm, Sat+Sun 10am-6pm
Directions: U-Bahn station Senefelder Platz
Heaven probably tastes like ‘Halawat al-Jibne’ — creamy fresh cheese, wrapped in soft semolina dough, spiked with copious amounts of pistachio and fragrant orange flower water. And there’s nowhere better to try it than here – the family ran a famous pastry business in the Syrian city of Homs until the shop was destroyed by bombing. With a second branch now open in Wedding, this is a true Syrian-German success story.
Address: Sonnenallee 93, Neukölln | Mon-Thu 9am-9pm, Fri 9am-1pm and 2-9pm, Sat 9am-10pm, 11.30am-8pm
Chef Gal Ben-Moshe knows his way around French haute cuisine just as well as he does the Syrian shops along Neukölln’s Sonnenallee. Born in Israel, he serves Berlin’s only ‘haute Levant’ in his newly opened restaurant, Prism, reaching new heights with his signature creations: the flavours of his childhood, of the authentic Levant, on the big stage. On weekdays, the 8-course dinner is only €55 per person — certainly the finest Levantine cuisine in town for a less than fair price.
Address: Fritschestr. 48, Charlottenburg | Thu-Mon 6pm-12am, Tue+Wed closed
Directions: S-Bahn station Berlin-Charlottenburg
Under the roof of Kreuzberg’s St. Bonifatius-church, the citizens’ group set up to assist refugees in 2015’s long summer of migration developed into a remarkable restaurant project. Nevertheless, or maybe exactly because of this origin story, Kreuzberger Himmel (an ambiguous name, meaning both “the sky over Kreuzberg” or “Kreuzberg’s heaven”) is one of the most ambitious of Berlin’s many new Levantine kitchens.
Address: Yorckstraße 89, Kreuzberg | Tue-Fri 5pm-12am, Sat+Sun 10am-12am
Directions: U-Bahn station Mehringdamm
Good food, good drinks: Night Kitchen (Photo: Boaz Arad)
This restaurant in an old stables tucked away between Oranienburger- and Linienstraße (watch out for the mysterious horse’s head!) carries its passion for the late and the debauched in its name. We celebrate Night Kitchen and its head chef Mori McNabb for the gorgeous pulpo they serve, the drunken nights to be had here, and the soulfood-y simplicity of it all.
Address: Oranienburger Straße 32, Mitte | Mon-Sat 5pm-12am, Sun 11am-12am
Directions: U-Bahn station Oranienburger Tor
Few restaurants are as raucous and fun as Yafo. (Photo: Jaque Attaque)
Noisy, cool, Yafo. This hummus joint shows perfectly how the Berlin culinary scene marries nightlife and dining. The cooking is simple, but heartwarming, the nights are long and fun. The crew behind it also recently opened their second spot, Shishi, in Kreuzberg.
Address: Gormannstraße 17b Mitte | Open daily 12pm-3am
Directions: U-Bahn station Rosenthaler Platz