Photo by Tamsin Van Ross Lessen
You’ll relive the Yuletide cheer - and heart burn - after an evening at Ars Vini, the classic fondue restaurant in this town. Inside, there’s everything you’d expect to find in a postcard-perfect French chalet: candle-lit tables, wood paneling and lodge accents throughout. Ordering can take a while, as the menu is extensive.
The cheese fondue arrives in its own classic red pot - warm, obscenely gooey, slightly on the salty side and garnished with chives (€13.90 per person). It’s stick-to-your-ribs delicious: you will have to force yourself to eat at a civilized pace. And if you can’t, watch out - a few slices of bread dipped in cheese can be remarkably filling. For meat lovers, ArsVini also serves a Burgundy-style Fleisch fondue. This consists of generous portions of lamb, chicken, turkey and beef with a pot of sizzling aromatic oil (€18.90 for a small portion, or €22.90). And to make the evening even more indulgent, there are also chocolate fondues in a variety of seductive flavors like almond and sherry or rum and coconut (€7.50 for a single portion with a side of fruit, or €15.00 for the chocolate fountain). To wash all this down, Ars Vini offers an impressive list of international wines.
The whole restaurant fairly pulsates with the casual, happy vibrations of comfort food; time stalls, laughter pervades and a meal lasts for hours. It comes as no surprise, then, that Ars Vini is so popular for celebratory dinners, friendly meet-ups and the occasional family reunion. Although a certain percentage of Berlin’s young hip scene is sure to be seen here, dipping and dining away, this place is the natural habitat of inveterate conversationalists who want to spend a few languid hours among like-minded folk - and a whole lot of cheese.