Once a wasteland of fast-food franchises and overpriced steakhouses, Potsdamer Platz has evolved as a dining destination over the years – but finding a place to eat before, between or after Berlinale screenings can still be tricky, especially if you’re looking for something between haute cuisine and street food. We’ve rounded up 10 of our favourite options, whether you’re one of this year’s privileged few festival guests or catching a flick at Arsenal or Cinemaxx during any other month.
Reliable Deutsche Küche at Pots
People pay €250 a night to stay at the Ritz-Carlton for the feeling of being in good hands, sheltered from any unwelcome surprises. For much less money, its restaurant Pots provides that feeling on a plate. As conceptualised by fine dining vet Dieter Müller and executed by chef Christopher Kujanski, the copper-festooned restaurant’s seasonal German dishes may not be cutting-edge but they’re technically flawless, the culinary equivalent of a Neil Peart drum solo. Three courses – which could include Königsberger Klopse or charred Jerusalem artichokes with local miso – will run you €69, a bargain for the quality.
Potsdamer Platz 3, Tue–Sat 18–22, www.potsrestaurant.com
Nobu meets Berlin at Go by Steffen Henssler
Also in the Ritz-Carlton since late 2021 is a “pop-up” sit-down version of Hamburg celebrity chef Steffen Henssler’s sushi delivery service Go. While Henssler’s portable concept is centred on wacky fusion rolls, the restaurant (to which he lent his name and little else) specialises in lavish omakase meals along the lines of Matsuhisa Nobu, complete with buttery wagyu beef, soft pink petals of otoro (bluefin tuna belly), daubs of caviar and edible gold.
Potsdamer Platz 3, daily 12-21:30, www.gobysteffenhenssler.com
Fine fusion at Vox
Speaking of sushi, the Grand Hyatt’s Asian-influenced restaurant is one of the places to be during the Berlinale, serving fresh and authentic rolls, nigiri and sashimi alongside European-style mains like truffle risotto, Iberico pork chops or pan-fried sea bass. It’s all prepared with flair and a Zen attitude in the big show kitchen.
Marlene-Dietrich-Platz 2, Mon–Sat 12–23, www.vox-restaurant.de
Dining with the stars at Facil
Here in the glass pavilion on the fifth floor of the Mandala Hotel, you almost feel like you’re eating under the open sky. In the midst of a small bamboo grove, guests enjoy the arts of chef Michael Kempf, whose intelligent, light style has earned him international renown and a pair of Michelin stars. For example, he conjures up Black Angus skirt steak with lentils, ngo om and Chinese cabbage or langoustines with broccoli, seaweed and Earl Grey. At the end of your meal come the equally dreamy, gorgeously presented creations of award-winning pastry chef Thomas Yoshida.
Potsdamer Straße 3, Tiergarten, Mon–Fri 12–15, 19–22 Uhr, www.facil.de
Stealth birria at Amigo
Hidden in plain sight beneath the garish lighting of the Sony Center, Baruc Gayosso’s taco truck turns out some of the most authentic Mexican food in Berlin, let alone on Potsdamer Platz. Quesabirrias overflowing with marinated beef and melty Gouda, pineapple-topped al pastor, piquant vegan chorizo and more are served by a beyond-friendly crew who calls everyone “amigo” – confusing when you’re trying to figure out which order is yours, but endearing as hell.
Sony Center, Tue-Sun 12–20, www.instagram.com/el_amigo_tacos.berlin
Son Kitchen (and more) at the street food market
Following the first Berlinale street food market in 2014, more and more mobile food stands began to park in the alley next to Potsdamer Platz Arkaden year-round. Our favourite is the one from the Charlottenburg fusion bros at Son Kitchen, who serve a mean bulgogi burger and kimchi fries as well as bibimbap, Korean tacos and soju. A perfect way to refresh yourself before going to seek out the next Parasite.
A coffee (or booze) break at The Barn
Berlin’s original third-wave coffee pioneers have moved into Weinhaus Huth. If that name doesn’t ring a bell, just know that it’s the only original historical building on Potsdamer Platz. It also, shockingly enough, used to serve wine. Which is perhaps why this Barn outpost expanded its focus beyond its excellent espresso and pour-over brew to natural wine, craft beer and coffee-based cocktails. Soak up the alcohol with cheesecake, a sandwich or a surprisingly great croissant.
Potsdamer Str. 5, daily 9–18, www.thebarn.de
A sugar rush at Brammibals
Yes, everyone’s favourite vegan donut franchise is here on Potsdamer Platz too, and we have to admit its ever-Instagrammable frosted, glazed and/or cream-filled creations make for a good pre-movie pick-me-up. Try the one with coconut “bacon” if they have it, or the monthly charity special.
Alte Potsdamer Str. 7, Mon–Fri 9–21, Sat 10–21, Sun 11–19, www.brammibalsdonuts.com
Killer dosas at Saravanaa Bhavan
Established 40 years ago in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, vegetarian chain Saravanaa Bhavan now comprises over 100 locations across five continents. Its popularity, especially with Indians living abroad, is such that even the 2004 murder conviction of founder P. Rajagopal barely dented its reputation. What’s the fuss all about? Order a gigantic Ghee Roast Masala dosa at the recently opened Berlin branch and you’ll find out. “To die for” jokes aside, this is basically the only inexpensive and reliably good sit-down meal in the area. Just stick to the rice and lentil dishes (dosas, uttapam, idli and vada) on the South Indian part of the textbook-length menu.
Potsdamer Platz 5, daily 11-22.30, Tel. 030/55 65 56 54, www.saravanaabhavan.de
A healthy pause at Weilands Wellfood
Right next to the Berlinale’s accredited ticket centre, Weilands offers up a light, veggie-friendly Israeli/pan-European menu that’s a good choice if you’re looking to avoid a food coma. Think marinated salmon with edamame and seaweed salad, a roasted cauliflower bowl or Thai-style grilled chicken breast with salad over basmati rice. Dinner goes more Mediterranean, with mixed mezze platters and chraime (spicy seafood stew). Sit by the big windows for a relaxing view of the Pianosee, Potsdamer Platz’s miniature pond.
Eichhornstr. 3, Mon 11.30–15, Tue-Fri 11:30-22, Sat 17-23, www.weilands-wellfood.de