Photo by Pete (Public domain)
It’s getting down to the wire; soon the kitchens of Germany will be slaving in unison to transform flocks of geese, fields of cabbage and veritable mountains of dumplings into the obligatory Christmas dinner. No stomach for all the toil that comes with the tradition? Stuck in town without any convenient family to help cook? Or simply a Jew? Why not have others prepare the feast for you? We’ve selected five restaurants around Berlin with special menus on Christmas Day that range across a wide spectrum of locations, cuisines and prices – from Charlottenburg tradition to Neukölln innovation.
To start things off, what if Christmas simply isn’t Christmas for you without that goose? OTTENTHAL may be Austrian rather than German, but there’s nothing foul about our southern neighbours’ fowl, the breast and leg of which forms the centrepiece of a three-course dinner (€41.50). B’soffener Krampus is promised/theatened for dessert, so make sure you eat up all your greens, kids! The à la carte menu remains available for those with daintier appetites; the schnitzel (€21) comes particularly recommended.
If that’s all a bit on the traditional side for you, KOPPS RESTAURANT will be more along your forward-looking lines. No geese here, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a Christmas dinner more ‘Berlin’: vegan, with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Bio – need you even ask? Select three (€44), four (€52) or five (€58) courses, with your choices including items such as tagliatelle with truffle foam and pea sprouts or bread dumplings with red cabbage in clove jus.
Fish may not be the most intuitive choice for a Yuletide feast, especially in our landlocked city, but that isn’t stopping the Montenegrin seafood restaurant LESENDRO from offering special menus alongside their usual à la carte selection. The refreshingly laid-back and non-trendy atmosphere lends itself well to escaping the hustle and bustle of the modern holiday season, so grab the mussels, gurnard, cod or bream of your choice and tuck in to a nautical Christmas!
If Lesendro's too far out (to sea) for you, WILHELM TELL brings things back home – but being located in Neukölln and all (and attached to the Schillerbar), this is German cuisine at its most modern, made nearly unrecognisable by fusion. Your choice is between a duck-based four-course meal (€44) or a three-course meal with braised ox cheeks or chestnut ravioli (€33).
And finally, while there are far more than just Chinese takeout places open in Berlin on Christmas, we would be remiss to ignore such a grand tradition. DA JIA LE is open for business as usual on both Christmas Eve and Day. No special multi-course menus, no fancy trappings… just their usual excellent Dongbei cuisine from northeastern China. With a proper wine list and extensive beer selection, it’s certainly an appropriate way for anyone, American Jewish or not, to celebrate Christmas in Berlin.