So where do I start?? I remember looking up “healthy food Berlin” a few weeks before my trip to the city, thinking maybe there’ll be some cool vegan restaurants to check out. What I didn’t realize is that Berlin does not have “some cool vegan restaurants”, Berlin is literally vegan food capital. Upon our arrival someone had told me “yeah… I’d say probably most restaurants are vegan.” Um what? Coming from a place that actually thinks vegan is a planet and “vegans” are considered their own rare species, this was a difficult concept to understand. You mean I don’t actually have to spend half hour explaining what veganism means when I go out to eat?? I don’t have to pay 30euro for a salad without cheese, cream dressing, bacon, chicken, egg AKA pay my days budget on a leaf of Iceberg?! This is amazing, let the vacation begin, and let in include eating 2 breakfasts, a brunch, 3 lunches, and a dinner, and of course a few cafe stops in between.
Our trip to Berlin could not have started better (okay maybe would have been better if Stef and I didn’t miss the train and find ourselves waiting for half an hour in the cold right off the bat, but that’s just a detail). After actually getting on the train, we managed to find our way from the airport to the cafe Two Planets. Yup Stef and I (the blondest girl you’ll ever meet, and the most directional challenged chick in the world) managed to find our way via public transport to the other side of a foreign city looking yet again like pack mules bearing more luggage that a village of nomads. We headed to this cafe since our first evening in Berlin happened to also be the evening where The Plant Based Traveler was organizing a pop-up vegan dinner: can you say perfect timing or whaatttt?! We met amazing people, the classic I-just-moved-to-Berlin-on-a-whim-with-50$-and-this-t-shirt style, doing everything and nothing, living carefree in this awesome city. Dana prepared us an amazing meal, and we spent hours sitting around the comfy cafe, eating and chatting.
Although this was a pop-up dinner, different from what the cafe usual offers (they’re more of a breakfast/lunch place), judging from the awesome looking menu nicely written on the hip chalk boards on the wall, Two Planets looked like the perfect place for a relaxed healthy breakfast on a cold Berlin morning.
When googling healthy/vegan/vegetarian restaurants in the city, one place kept coming up: Cookies Cream. But when you browse their site it’s like aight um what the hell is this? Some type of ultra trendy fashion magazine I could never understand or the “accounts of last night” album from some cooler-than-you chick you stalk regularly on Facebook? You would never know. Stef and I wouldn’t have even made it to dinner if it weren’t for a friendly man that told us we actually have to go down that dark alley on the left to get there. Safe to say Cookies Cream likes to keep their restaurant exclusive. It’s only after walking down a questionable alley full of big trash bins that you can find at the end a little door and buzzer, yet behind lies a freaking fabulous restaurant and bar. With a modern take on gastric vegetarian food, a beautiful yet suuuper hip venue with a fun yet chic bar downstairs, I now understand why it was included in every “Berlin recommendation” website out there. And I can only do the same and say, damn if you’re in Berlin, you gotta hit this place up.
Next was Saturday brunch. I had seen online that a little cafe called Pele Mele offered one of the best fully vegan brunches in the city. From the outside this place looks simple, cute and small but don’t let the looks deceive you as it offers a kiilllerr brunch. Everything is 100% plant-based and 100% organic, so heeelllooo time to stuff our faces with everything and everything. And we did. Our brunch had 3 courses. And dessert. Yes our 3-coursed brunch actually ENDED WITH A BIG ASS SLICE OF PIE. We may have left there so freaking full that I almost hurled during our afternoon workout session, but damn it was sooo worth it.
The Bowl was another place I had been recommended time and time again. So obviously, despite having eating enough calories at brunch to last us the winter, Stef and I headed to The Bowl for late lunch (If I include “late” before lunch does it make us sound like less of pigs? Better than saying after brunch was lunch, no? Note my desperate attempts to make our absurd amount of meals seem reasonable). Anyway, obviously The Bowl was just as delicious as anticipated. We shared the Falafel Bowl and the one with Shiitake mushroom before of course getting ANOTHER DESSERT (I’m not even joking). We got the White Chocolate Bowl which was not bad, but I definitely say the savoury ones were better.
After an amazingly relaxing morning yoga class at Yoga Sky we headed to Berlin’s first raw restaurant Rawtastic. Tbh while we were walking there in minus 400 effing degrees with a wind made of razor blades Stef and I were like…are we really going to eat raw? Like gimme a super thick hefty potato stew pls. But I have to say, we ended up spending the nicest and coziest afternoon at this new healthy hotspot. First of all the restaurant itself is so nice, cute and comfortable, and their food was absolutely unnnnnreal. We started with 2 warm matcha latte bowls before digging into the Tex Mex Salad and the ‘Shroom Burger. Safe to say, Stef and I killed the game as usual and our choices were on point . Perfectly spicy and savoury, despite being raw, they warmed us right up. It’s crazy how raw food fills you up so much. It’s like seriously?! This is just different fruit and veg concoctions but daammn I feel like I just inhaled 4 T-bone steaks. So I’m gonna give you 3 seconds to guess what came next, despite how full we were. If you guessed MORE DESSERT then congrats, if not, then I guess you have too much faith in us. Sorry to disappoint.
So yes, more dessert came next. We got the apple cinnamon cake and the lemon cookie. The lemon cookie was meh and a little too lemony, but the cake was daaammnnn good. I have this idea in my mind that all raw cakes just taste like blended cashews (cuz that’s all they’re ever made of) but this one was completely different. 5-stars for this raw-some restaurant (see what I did there 😉
So Stef left, but was replaced literally 2 hours later by my best friend from London Chloe. Yay the vacation in Berlin continues! Chloe and I have this terrible habit of indulging in extreme gluttony when we travel. We pretty much go from market to restaurant to market to cafe to restaurant to market, and pick up little things to try at each and every place. We’ve managed to calm down a little over the years, but regardless, of course our first stop in Berlin had to be the Turkish Market. The perfect place to stock up on uber cheap fresh produce or pick up some falafels, or spinach gozleme or little date and nut bliss balls. Chloe and I had em all. Aaaaand the gluttony begins. I didn’t try the gozleme (cuz that cheese filled pastry aint about that vegan life), but the falafels and date balls were yyuuuuum.
Chloe and I love our cute little markets and simple cafes, but when it comes to dinner, we love treating ourselves to fancy meals where we can spend the entire evening chatting over small portions and nice wine. Of course being vegan has made doing this a little harder for us, but then you get to Berlin and you find a classy fully vegan restaurant that offers a 5-course tasting menu with wine pairing, like win win win. I’ve also never had a tasting menu with such generous portions. One of the courses itself could easily be considered a full meal. Plus the entire time I was like… are you sure this is vegan? We shared the dessert platter which was a huge plate full of creamy cakes, sorbets and brownies. We sat, ate and chatted until everyone else in the restaurant was long gone and we actually saw the entire kitchen staff leave. At that point we were like k we’ve both worked in restaurants before and we have become those customers we hate, so lets maybe leave. But if you’re looking nice place for a special dinner in Berlin, Kopps is a must go.
We were approached in a cafe one afternoon by a couple that proposed us Berlin maps that were specialized for each neighbourhood, including tons of recommended restaurants and cafes. My first instinct was omg Chloe these guys are obviously trying to get money off us, stop talking to them, but turns out my cynical self was proved wrong when the very friendly couple just gave us the maps for free and walked out (obviously I felt like an asshole when they left). In any case, these maps were absolutely awesome and the rest of our trip in Berlin pretty much revolved around their recommendations. So the following morning, we cracked open our Oooh Berlin map and headed off the recommended cafe Distrikt. Of course we were not disappointed by this effortlessly hip cafe that served light healthy breakfast and amazing coffee. Almond milk latte and acai bowl for me, poached egg and cabbage with a cappuccino for Chloe.
During my week in Berlin I went to a ton of amazing restaurants and cafes but I have to say, out of all of them, there isn’t a #foodieheaven quite like Street Food Thursday. Literally if I could I would build myself a little shed in the market and live the rest of my life happily scraping coins off the floor and endlessly stuffing my face with veggie burgers and vegan donuts. What a lovely simply little life I would lead. Chloe and I had minimal time at the market since we had a flight to catch, but we still managed to quickly scan all the stalls (of course we had to make sure we considered all the options carefully before choosing what to eat). We decided on sharing a veggie burger and a vegan wrap. The wrap was a little slim, and the burger wasn’t all that hefty (although I have to say after the obscene amount of food I ate that week pretty sure I could have eaten a few small farm animals and been like hmm what’s for dessert?). I could make some joke here about how we’re such fatties and of course had to get dessert to-go since we didn’t have time to eat it at the market, but I can’t even make a joke about it since this was the dessert I had been waiting for since the minute I planned to go to Berlin. Vegan donuts. Real, big, fatty, chocolate-sauce-coated, sugar-sprinkled donuts, but vegan. Need I say more? Chloe and I found ourselves sharing a box of 4 (yet again, no shame) in the train on the way to the airport, but the train was so full we ended up being stuck between the two rows of seats. I was sitting on a tiny fold out chair and Chloe was using her suitcase as a stool. Here we sat, like little famished children stuffing our faces with the magical vegan donuts. Some guy then walked passed, took one look at us and burst out laughing. Classic. Was pretty much the perfect summary of our vacation.
All in all, Berlin was foodie heaven. And although I’m already back home, I have a little bit of Berlin with me, in the form of 5 extra kilos and a third chin.