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XYZ dishes out her mom's recipe for hand-cranked coconut & mango ice cream at the Winterfeldplatz Market.
XYZ dishes out her mom's recipe for hand-cranked coconut & mango ice cream at the Winterfeldplatz Market.

Berlin Dispatch: Food Sweep #3 (4 Euros or Less Version)

The next Berlin taxi adventure is coming soon. In the meantime, I’ve been searching the city for good things to eat that don’t cost too much money.

Here are four tasty dishes and one (not too surprising) disappointment – in honor of my incredible shrinking wallet, everything you see on this list is 4 Euros or less:

Francette Mokros dishes out her mom's recipe for hand-cranked coconut & mango ice cream at the Winterfeldplatz Market.

1. The Winterfeldtplatz Market in Schoeneberg is on the radar for a reason – there are a handful of vendors here who sell delicious food you won’t find anywhere else. My favorite is Francette Mokros, who emigrated to Berlin from Guadaloupe (in the French Antilles) in 1971.

Francette makes her mom’s recipe for coconut and mango ice creams and hand cranks them every half hour. 2.50 for a cup sounds expensive until you taste it. If you like your ice cream very sweet, you won’t like this stuff. If you like it to taste like an amplified version of the flavor you’re after, you’ll love it.

Winterfeldt Platz Markt, 10781 Berlin, Schoeneberg
Website: www.winterfeldt-platz.de
Open: Wednesday and Saturday from 8:00-14:00 (16:00 on Saturdays)
Recommended: Coconut ice cream with mango from Francette Mokros’ Caribbean stand near the center of the market
Click here to see photos of other goodies worth tasting at Winterfeldtplatz.

2. Nil Sudanesischer Imbiss is known for its peanut sauce-topped falafel, which founder and chef Walid started cooking for his classmates when he was studying to be a landscape architect in the 1990s.

Eventually Walid ditched landscaping and started his first snack bar in Friedrichshain (East Berlin) 10 years ago. His falafel became so popular he opened two other restaurants. When I’m hungry for a healthy, vegetarian, 3-Euro meal, I like his falafel, but I like his peanut soup (2.50 Euro) even more: frozen green beans can’t ruin it, and cumin is a great touch.

Nil – Sudanesischer Imbiss
Grünberger Str. 52, 10245 Berlin-Friedrichshain
Telephone: 030 – 29 04 77 13
Email : info@nil-imbiss.de
Open: 11am-midnight, 7 days a week
Recommended: Peanut soup, 2.50 Euro

3. When I read about 1-Euro tacos on Taco Tuesdays at Santa Maria, a Mexican ‘diner’ that got a nod from the New York Times last year, I hoped they would kick my Mexican food snobbery to the curb. (They make their own tortillas! They marinate their chicken in chipotle!)

But no. The tortillas are a little dry but soft enough, but the meat (I tried beef and chicken versions) is an under-salted snooze. There’s no punch, no atomic flavor to be found here. Tomatillo salsa is good but not good enough to wake these tacos up – and red chili salsa (watered down to mellow) is best left alone.

Santa Maria
Oranienstrasse 170, Kreuzberg, 10999 Berlin
Tel. 030 92210027
Website: lasmarias.de
Open: Mon – Sat: 12:00pm-2:00am; Sunday: 4:00pm to 2:00am

4. Whenever I get what sounds like a promising doener lead – like the one from Cihan S. about the doener kebab at All in One in Mitte – I chase it. I agree with Cihan – this is some of the better doener I’ve tasted in Berlin: the meat isn’t too greasy, and they cut it to that dissolve-on-your-tongue razor thinness. The vegetables are fresh.

But the bread – at least the tortilla-like bread they use for durum doener – doesn’t measure up to what’s inside the sandwich (Cihan told me after the fact to try it on regular flatbread – and I will next time). The other problem here – and at most doener stands in Berlin – is that sauces are too sweet (I’ll never understand why anyone thinks sugar belongs anywhere near herb sauce or garlic sauce for a savory sandwich).

I know there’s a lot of bad doener kebab in Berlin, and I know most of the meat is wholesale, processed, artificially flavored stuff that come from some factory somewhere. But I still can’t resist it. Part of it is because doener is democratic (i.e. cheap, portable, and always enough for a meal). Part of it is because doener – with slices of lamb or beef, lettuce, tomatoes, cabbage, onions, sumac, lemon, and chili or garlic or herb sauce – has the potential to be sublime. It’s not quite sublime at All in One, but when I’m craving doener and I’m in the neighborhood, you’ll find me there.

All in One
Rosenthaler Strasse 46 – 10178 Berlin – Mitte
Telephone: none listed
Open: Always
Recommended: Doener kebab im Brot (in flatbread), 3.50 Euros

5. I didn’t come to Berlin for the burgers, but I’ll stay for the burgers – and I will eat them at Burgeramt.

There’s always a crowd at this restaurant across from Boxhagener Platz in Friedrichshain, and when I tasted their cheeseburger last week – ahem, their free-range, grass-fed, big- as-my-face cheddar cheeseburger – I understood why. Yes, it’s a little heavy on the mayo, and, yes, the bun could be more substantial, but this is a prodigious patty good enough to impress a beef-loving Argentine. And it only costs 3.90 Euros.

Krossener St. 22, Boxhagener Platz, 10245 Berlin – Friedrichshain
Tel. 030 400 39 803
Website: www.burgeramt.com
Open: Mon-Fri, 12:00pm-12:00am; Sat-Sun, 11:00am to 12:00am
Recommended: Classic cheeseburger with cheddar, 3.90 Euros

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  1. I agree that most Mexican food on offer in Berlin is bland. But Taqueria Ta’Cabron on Skalitzer Straße 60 is actually pretty decent. Here’s a few other tips:

    – berlin burger international on Pannierstraße in Neukölln makes just about the best burgers I know. Better than Burgermeister, better than Marienburger, better than Burgeramt.
    – Koriat Kuchenmanufaktur, just down Pannierstraße makes excellent cake. Try the carrot cake or the chocolate pecan
    – Izmir Köfte on Reichenberger, pretty much next door to the Konyali place you already seem to like, makes some of the best Köfte I know.
    – Bal Köfteci on Kottbusser Damm 101 makes excellent Adana. Get it plain, with just onions, tomatoes and whatever other vegetables the guy feels like throwing on there that day. Stay away from any sauce and just dribble some lemon juice on it while you eat it.
    – Gyros Express on Johannistaler Chaussee is is way out in the boonies in Gropiusstadt but well worth the trip. It’s the best Greek gyros I’ve found in Berlin so far

    • Tobias, thanks for all these tips – they sound great. Funny, the gyro is the thing I most want to try! PS – Do you think Izmir Koefte is better than Gel Gor on Kottbusser Damm (haven’t tried Izmir yet but Gel Gor is something really special…)

      • They’re both good, but I’ve eaten at Gel Gör so often I’ve gotten a bit sick of it. Izmir’s Köfte taste completely different and at least at the moment they’re my favorite. There’s also Takil Köfte on Gneisenaustraße, which makes good Adana.

  2. i find that their original place, maria bonita, is still the best of all three of them. found maria peligro and santa maria rather underwhelming.


    also, hamburger heaven is the shizzle when it comes to fast food burgers in berlin. seriously, check them out.


    • Hi Bunny – Thanks for the suggestions.
      I tried Maria Peligro and was also underwhelmed. Will check out Maria Bonita.
      Your burger tip is perfectly timed – I’ve given up on Burgeramt because the service there has gotten so bad there…was looking for a good burger option – this could be it!

  3. Just another quick shout out for Maria Bonita. By far the best mexican food we’ve found in Berlin – i’ve got them on speed dial and their Pork Special dish with the green salsa and a frosty Corona is nothing short of bliss.