Foodie experiences are all the rage. We’ve tested three Berlin walking tours promising to acquaint you with local delicacies beyond the obligatory Currywurst.
Not so secret: Secret Food Tours
Secret Food Tours (€59) operates around the world and prides itself on guiding you away from tourist traps. The “secret” neighbourhood in Berlin is Friedrichshain, which is strange considering this district has long attracted hordes of nightlife-hungry Easyjetsetters. This aside, the Friedrichshain food tour stuffs you full of German classics, including the obligatory Currywurst from Curry Fritze – What a Wurst, traditional (bacon, cream and onions) and vegetarian Flammkuchen at Bech Bilder Bar – the oldest restaurant on Simon-Dach-Straße – and a schnitzel sandwich with a refreshing cucumber sauce at Scheers. At Haroun, “one of the best kebab shops in Berlin” tour-goers are served a chicken shawarma topped with a lecker fusion of chilli paste, mango and zucchini yoghurt. “But don’t go on the weekends, the chefs are really slow then!” the enthusiastic tour guide – LA-born Margot – imparts jokingly. The food choices don’t quite live up to the “secret” theme you’re initially sold. Instead, the alternative ethos is covered by references to the hipster Friedrichshain stereotype, visiting RAW and pointing out drug dealers saying, “Welcome to Berlin, anything goes here!” This, along with questionable statements such as “Every Indian restaurant in Berlin is owned by the Turkish mafia,” may be slightly disconcerting, but does give the tour an informal, tongue-in-cheek feel.
Family-friendly: Fork and Walk
With their “trends and classics” food tour (€32), Fork and Walk – formed in 2016 by Australian Dov Selby – proves it’s not just the mummies that are yummy in Prenzlauer Berg. Meeting at Schönhauser Allee U-Bahn outside Balzac coffee, the tour takes a while to get going – a pit-stop in a nearby Späti for an informative (but extensive!) talk about beer isn’t the most inspiring start – but once you do you’re in for a sustenance safari that isn’t just your typical Flammkuchen and Currywurst (even though it includes a token taste at Konnopke’s). One of the highlights is trying the lesser known Kettwurst, the East German alternative where the sausage and sauce are enclosed tidily in bread, perfect for messy kids. It’s a mixed bag of stops: very strong espresso at Friedl Rösterei & Keske, an informal sharing of halloumi and falafel teller at Zweistromland, a quick stroll round cooking-for-dummies grocers Kochhaus, even a post-snack round of table tennis in a local park, perfect for competitive families, to work up an appetite for the second half of the tour, the cherry on the cake being a visit to Häppies, a tiny dumpling shop in a charming Altbau peddling quirky variations on an Austrian classic. Vegans, fret not: Fork and Walk does a special version of their tour just for you.
An extra helping of history: Bite Berlin
On the Original Berlin Food Tour (€40), Bite Berlin founder Sam Reidie, talks you thoroughly – but digestibly! – through periods of Berlin’s history that aren’t just the usual suspects, for example, a trip to the delicatessen Butter Lindner to try beautiful Bouletten (pork meatballs) prompted a discussion about the settling of the French Huguenots in 1600s Berlin. A newer international influence, Vietnamese, is sampled at District Mot, famous for its award-winning Bao Burger: steamed rice flour bun, topped with onion, radish, green mango and pickle, drizzled with a caramelised fish sauce. At the next stops, your sweet tooth gets to dig into a sticky cinnamon Schnecke from trendy organic bakery Zeit für Brot and traditional German cheesecake (differentiated by its inclusion of Quark) at Kaffee Kultur Rosthaus & Deli. As the tour makes its final stop at traditional Kneipe Schwarze Pumpe, Reidie emerges with a celebratory glass of East German Rotkäppchen sparkling wine. Prost!