When I moved to Berlin a decade ago, Germans still had questions about Thanksgiving. Questions like:
- “Why would anyone add more sugar to sweet potatoes?” (Americans like sugar)
- “How can pumpkin be a dessert?” (Americans really like sugar)
- “Isn’t this holiday basically a celebration of colonial genocide?” (Yes, but the food!)
Nowadays, though, the fourth Thursday in November has entered our city’s cultural consciousness, which means that throwing together your own Berlin Thanksgiving feast is way easier than it used to be. They sell fresh cranberries at Rewe; the import shop AmericanFood4u stocks canned pumpkin and boxed stuffing, and just about any butcher will supply you with a turkey if you order in advance, with the Charlottenburg deli Rogacki your best bet for last-minute birds.
But the easiest way to celebrate is to let someone else do the cooking. And this year, more Berlin restaurants than ever are offering delivery or eat-in menus that are the next best thing to travelling all the way to your great-aunt Edna’s (who, let’s face it, never really got the hang of dry-brining). Just remember to book in advance – like, now. It sells out fast.
Thanksgiving dinner to eat at home:
Thanksgiving is one of the busiest times of the year for chef Suzy Fracassa and her stellar takeaway and catering business. Pre-order before Friday, Nov 19 to reserve an epic meal for a minimum of six eaters, starring roast turkey or veggie mushroom-pumpkin-nut loaf with apple-rosemary stuffing, ginger-rum cranberry sauce, candied carrots, buttered corn, green bean casserole and of course gravy (€48.50/person). For an extra €13, add on soup or salad as a starter and pumpkin creme brulee or apple crumble to finish.
Order here for pick-up Nov 24 or 26 (25th sold out), Weserstr 58, Neukölln
They’re known for Korean fusion street food, but in November Lauren Lee & co. put down the gochugaru and pick up a baster. €59 gets you a “lite” dinner for two with turkey or lentil nut loaf, mashed potatoes, cranberry relish and one side (green bean casserole, cornbread dressing and roast carrots with “kimchified” Brussels sprouts); €79 gets you everything. Additional sides and pumpkin pie are also available a la carte, if not sold out by the time you read this.
Order here for delivery Nov 24 or 26 or pickup at Gürtelstr. 10, Weissensee
Thanksgiving dinner at a restaurant:
Hard Rock Café
This is the one time of year when you have an excuse to set foot in the friendly corporate haven on Ku’Damm. For €18.95, gorge on slow-roasted turkey breast with all the trimmings (stuffings, roasted veggies, sweet potato mash, cranberry sauce and gravy) beneath Annie Lennox’s bra and one of Rammstein’s guitars. Pumpkin pie and, sigh, an espresso martini top off this most authentically American of experiences.
Nov 25, all day, Kurfürstendamm 224, Charlottenburg, reservations
For true family vibes, Ales Frons’ New York deli is doing just one Thanksgiving dinner seating, kicking off at 6:30pm for €32 a head. Expect various starters followed by a whole carved turkey with cranberry sauce and gravy, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and salad, plus pumpkin cheesecake bites and tarte tatin for dessert.
Nov 25, 18:30, Bouchéstr. 15, Treptow, reservations
Salt & Bone
The owners might be from Dublin, but with its craft beer, dry-aged burgers and fusion comfort food, the Helmholtzplatz locale has always been closer to an American gastropub than an Irish one. Still, its outsider status gives it leeway to go bigger and bolder than US tradition dictates, with ham showing up alongside the turkey, chai spices in the pumpkin soup and a mushroom-chestnut-cranberry Wellington as a veggie option. Mains (which come with plenty of fixin’s) are €18; splash out €25 or €30 if you want soup, salad and/or dessert.
Nov 25 from 6pm, Schliemannstr. 31, Prenzlauer Berg, reservations
If you’re one of those Thanksgiving lovers who looks forward to the leftovers more than the main meal, then check out the multi-day extravaganza at Prenzlauer Berg’s California-casual Estelle: turkey schnitzel with cranberry sauce, mash and kale salad for lunch on Thursday, with leftovers-topped pizza the next day and turkey-stuffing-cranberry-fried egg sandwiches for weekend brunch. They’ll also be selling homemade cranberry sauce online from Thanksgiving till Christmas to help fill that Ocean Spray-sized hole in our hearts.
Nov 25-28 from 12pm, Kopenhagener Str. 12A, Prenzlauer Berg, reservations