When one thinks of German cuisine, images of platters of pork sausages, fried potatoes, and saurkraut come to mind. The reality is not so far off though the above images are more associated with the southern German gastronomy. The city of Munich even offers tours of its culinary delights. Northern Germany also offers the standard cabbage, potato and pork diet but works in a bit more fish due to the proximity of the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. Sushi however is not something you associate with Germany though a growing number of sushi restaurants have been popping up in the German capital in the past decade. Berlin is not really known for its haute cuisine but its more basic fare is of a high standard and usually a simple but quality meal can be found for under 10 Euro. This is now changing as Germany is just behind France with the 2nd most Michelin Star retaurants in Europe , with Berlin being the city with the most starred restaurants in Germany. Other cities like Munich even offer tours of its culinary delights. My favorite sushi restaurant does not yet have a Michelin star but why it does not is a mystery to me.
The restaurant Uma is located in the world famous Adlon Hotel in Paris Square. Fatty tuna or “Toro”of this quality is not something you would expect to find in the landlocked German capital. The last time I had a melt in your mouth Toro experience like this was at Next to Nobu in NYC. As far as a reputation for quality goes Uma is right up there with Nobu. One pleasant difference is that it is not absolutely necessary to make a reservation at Uma. The name of the restaurant is fitting for the Asian décor to be found inside. Uma is the Japanese word for horse and the center piece of the simple yet luxurious interior is a clay horse dating back to China’s Han dynasty. It is not just the fatty tuna that is sure to please. The selection of steaks are perhaps some of the best in all of Berlin. The menu offers different grades of marbling and of course Wagyu. The food is complimented by a superb wine menu. Although you will spend easily between 50-100 Euro per person you will not be disappointed.
Another of my favorite Berlin sushi spots is Goko. This is not quite as fancy as Uma but all the more authentic for its simplicity. The empahisis here is on high quality fish and they also serve my favorite, “hamachi” or yellowtail which is harder to find in Berlin. You will also not find any rolls here made with mayonaise or anything else the more hip and trendy places like to do. They offer the classic Bento Box and they also were one of the first restaurants to offer “Oshi” sushi where the rice and fish are pressed together in a traditional box and served in a similar style to nigiri. The quality of the fish and friendliness of the staff are what keep bringing me back. Goko is located in Mitte on Alte Schoenhauser Allee in the heart of the new art and fashion district.
My third sushi recommendation for you is Sasaya. This is also a more purist sushi location though they also have some fancy house rolls which come with a variety of sauces. Like Goko the staff is entirely Japanese and they do offer more traditional dining options such as pillows on the floor and low tables instead of chairs. My favorite roll here is the “crunchy roll” though everything they do is wonderful. Sasaya is located in Prenzlauerberg in the area around Helmholz Platz. Over the past five years this has become one the trendiest and beautiful areas to live. Many fancy shops and restaurants have sprung up around here as it is wedged between the more commercial Danzigerstr and the more residential and hip Stargarderstr. One the west and the east are Schonhauser Allee and Prenzlauer Allee respectively.
There are of course many more places worth mentioning but the above three are my personal favorites. Some people would say Kuchi deserves to be on a list of Berlin’s best sushi but I find most people go there for the hip reputation and the beauty of the staff rather than the quality of the food. Kuchi does have excellent sushi but it is more “california” fusion rather than the traditional style I prefer. All in all the quality of food in the capital is growing rapidly and there are a plethora of fancy new restaurants worth checking out. It is a battle to get to them all and try their delicious offerings but for you my readers I am willing to sacrafice my waistline!