Pierogarnia. Photo by Jason Harrell
You may not find five-star fine dining or trendy fusion in our new favourite neighbourhood, but you will find real-deal eats from all over the globe.
Though Wedding boasts an Afrikanisches Viertel, the best African food might actually be in the Soldiner Kiez: Assibi Wartenberg’s Relais De Savanne, located in the German-Togo Friendship Centre (Prinzenallee 33). The woman nicknamed “Mama Africa” makes a mean avocado salad (€6), topped with shrimp and dressed in a delicious vinaigrette (a secret recipe), as well as plantain fufu, vegetarian stews served with millet or couscous (€7) and fish plates (€12) with steamed yams, plantains or sweet potatoes.
Closer to Leopoldplatz, Wedding street food connoisseurs in the know evangelise the West African Safari Imbiss (Müllerstr. 143; tagline: “Jesus is Lord”) for its grilled beef skewers with peanut sauce (€1.25 each) and shakalaka (€3.90), a vegetarian wrap filled with a mildly spicy tomato-bean-pepper stew.
Want a sit-down meatless meal instead? Head to Naveena Path (Tegeler Str. 22), an Indian/Tamil restaurant with plentiful vegan options like jackfruit and soya curries and a spinach-plantain dal that’s as delicious as it is unorthodox. Staying in Asia, the hole-in-the-wall Dan Thai (Reinickendorfer Str. 96) is Wedding’s source for authentic (if not always mind-blowing) Thai staples like khao man gai (€5), a humble dish of poached chicken over rice served with pungent tamarind dipping sauce, pickled ginger and a cup of warm broth.
Chinese foodies, calm down: we know about Asia Deli (Seestr. 41) and its not-so-secret “red menu” of Hunan delights like velvety braised aubergine with minced meat. We’ve also heard it’s gone downhill in the past months – judge for yourself. Or just eat Korean instead. Intimate semi-underground bistro Shikgoo (Tegeler Str. 27) serves decent bibimbap (€9 veggie/€10 beef), homemade mandu dumplings and Hite beer, while the larger Korea Haus (Nazarethkirchstr. 45) will be the place to go for tabletop barbecue (€30 for two) when it reopens in mid-July.
Let’s not forget Turkey, the land from which nearly one-fifth of Wedding residents hail. The kebab density here rivals Kreuzberg, whose much-vaunted Imren Grill, some say, is but a pale imitation of the original location at Müllerstraße 134. Although the cult appeal of Hakiki, the little orange hut by the Olsoer Straße U-Bahn station, eludes us, it’s a good spot for chowing down on a meaty, overstuffed döner (€3) among Turkish families, cab drivers and ravenous Tegel arrivals.
Meanwhile, comparatively few Poles live in the neighbourhood, but that hasn’t stopped Lidia Kozlowska of Pierogarnia (Turiner Str. 21) from serving her home-made dumplings for the past five years. Pierogies come six to a plate, big doughy parcels glistening with melted butter and caramelised onions, filled with pork, cottage cheese and potatoes or sauerkraut and mushrooms (€6.50). Kozlowska says more internationals have been eating there of late, although the proportion’s probably higher at Neontoaster (Seestr. 106), a vegetarian Italian bistro opened last year. Decked out with funky, retro furniture, it offers a killer cheese selection sourced directly from Italian farmers, along with creative vegan dishes like celeriac parmigiana with smoked tofu (€8.60).
If you’re more into gourmet food, head for the Centre Français. At his newly opened second location of Pastis, veteran chef Vincent Garcia offers well-executed French classics. Here, you’ll get an authentic tartare (€19.90 served with delicious matchstick fries), a real entrecôte-frites (€22, 90) or a traditional boudin (blood sausage) with caramelised apples (€17.90) in a relaxed bistro atmosphere – within spitting distance of the Eiffel Tower. For a more affordable meal, come for the signature Flammkuchen (€7.90-13) or, at lunchtime, for their daily changing mains at a €8.90 bargain.
And what of the Germans? Well, Wedding’s home to one Imbiss that does a particular kind of justice to Berlin’s favourite sausage. The currywurst (€1.60) at Curry & Chili (Prinzenallee 72) is available at 10 different heat levels, reaching an incredible 7,777,777 on the Scoville scale – finish ‘em all and you get your picture on the wall. Back in February, our most iron-stomached reporter lost his lunch at level 9, so if you’re considering a Wedding food tour, you might want to make this one your first – or last – stop.