La Picá is Chilean slang for ‘secret tip’, and Felipe Altmann and Melissa Díaz couldn’t have picked a more apt name for their gourmet hangout. Sandwiched between a Lidl, a dilapidated Atelierhaus and the Stasi prison memorial, you’d be hard-pressed to guess that this shack on a parking lot (an eBay find!) in remote Ossi territory could well be Berlin’s best address for kick-arse empanadas. Combining the laid-back atmosphere of a miniature café with the endearing humility of a trailer-park boudoir, La Picá de Deli Mel provides Chilean-style burgers, coffee and miniature bottles of Chilean rioja alongside their signature homemade empanadas. The latter – a recipe from Díaz’s grandmother – leave nothing to desire, with options for both traditionalists (the Pino, with beef, onions, raisins, olives and egg, €4) and plant-eaters (the Vegan, with zucchini, aubergine, quinoa and potato in a lentil-based pastry, €4.50) served piping hot out of the oven. “Many Latin American restaurants do fusion – we do ‘mama,’” says Altmann – a fact corroborated by the loyalty of their clientele, who followed the pair from their Kreuzberg beginnings all the way to their ‘ex-centric’ new location. In the summer it is definitely worth the 30-minute M5 tram ride from Alex: a few crates stacked on the backyard car park make for a totally charming urban experience. In winter, use the opportunity to visit the Stasi Museum or, further afield, the Mies van der Rohe Haus, and pop in for a Chilean pit-stop. More creds for Lichtenberg!
La Picá de Deli Mel | Freienwalder Str. 14a, Lichtenberg, Tue-Fri 10-18, Sat-Sun 12-18.