Photos by Sigrid Malmgren
If you’ve ever asked yourself why you should possibly want to cross a canal or a river to go ‘all the way to Moabit’, a good reason might be: to eat some real Eis!
At Rialto, a small unassuming parlour on an unspectacular side street, a quiet and gentlemanly Osama Baba makes some damn tasty gelato, maybe the best in the city. Everything here oozes the good old days, the 30-year-old original espresso machine, the 42-year-old Italian Carpigiani ice cream maker with which Baba mixes fresh ingredients every day in the ‘vintage’ surroundings left by his Italian predecessors four decades ago. It’s a décor frozen in time, with 1960s chairs and matching round tables from Treviso and an understated but fitting poster of Brigitte Bardot hanging too high on a wall. It feels as if this might be Capri and Brigitte could skip in at any moment in her sexy A-line flared skirt, straight out of a scene from Le Mépris.
Come try one of the 13 flavours on offer – any, for that matter – and you’ll forget about those trendy-fancy-bio Eisdielen in other parts of town, with their showy mountains of fluffy Eis with fairytale names reminiscent of a Snow White porn fantasy. Rialto’s gelato is adequately luscious and dense, i.e. less air and water, for a richer, creamier texture and more flavour – plus, it doesn’t melt as fast.
Gelato also contains less butterfat than ice cream, making it more waistline-friendly. Finally, coffee ice cream that tastes like coffee, not sugar or milk, unheard of in Berlin. Amazing pistachio, luscious chocolate, delicious sorbets – lemon, orange, strawberry and melon… The small parlour is visited by regulars: older men sitting over inexpensive coffees at the tables outside, families, locals, normal people – unpretentious as the shop itself, but clearly people with discerning taste. If there were one good reason to move to Moabit, it would be Rialto!