I returned to New York last night after a 10-day romp around Madrid and Berlin with some friends. A major highlight from the trip was the elaborate breakfasts enjoyed in Berlin.
Since we were staying in the neighborhood of Neukölln, we stuck to breakfast spots from that part of town. By the time we sat down for breakfast it was usually between 12:30 and 2:30pm, so we tended to have just two very large meals a day instead of the typical three.
The breakfasts were leisure in part due to the “relaxed” service at restaurants. While we were never really in a rush to eat, at some places it took a little coaxing and nodding at our server before we even received a menu. But the wait was worth it!
Most of the breakfasts consisted of a plate filled with fruit, cheeses, cured meats, egg, and spreads. An entire basket of warm bread would arrive at the table for us to use as a vehicle for eating all of the goodies on our plates.
The first real German breakfast experience was at a cafe called Ungeheur. I ordered the vegetarian breakfast which consisted of slices and curls of fresh fruit (papaya, persimmon, kiwi, apple, melon, orange, pineapple), cheeses (brie, swiss, mozzarella, sliced), a soft boiled egg, spreads (two types of vegetable cheese spreads, jam, and soft butter butter), and bread (baguette, seeded wheat, white, pumpernickel). The classic breakfast plate, pictured in the back, had the same things but with some cured meats on the plate, too.
Another breakfast spot, Lipopette, displayed the breakfast items on a board. My board had a fresh crepe, soft scrambled eggs, jam, butter, tapenade, salami, cheese, cucumber, arugula and sun-dried tomato salad, and orange.
I shared the Turkish breakfast (left) and the small breakfast plate (top right) at yet another little restaurant/cafe in the neighborhood. The Turkish plate had sausage, peppers, tomato, olives, capers, pomegranate, oranges, honey, yogurt, and a spiced sauce (I thought it might be harissa, but it wasn’t a very spicy/hot).
Alternate view of the Turkish breakfast plate.
Ah, and this goodness was consumed for breakfast on New Year’s Day. The Lebanese restaurant was packed, as it was one of the only spots open on January 1, and for good reason. Everyone in the restaurant was enjoying the amazing (and cheap!) food and tea.
We ate pickled vegetables and herbs, lentil soup, baba ganoush, chunky hummus, a mixed grilled plate, loads of pita, and…
…ful! I am not totally sure what went into this ful, but it involved (I think) mashed fava beans, yogurt sauce, meat, crispy corn chips (?), cashews, spices, herbs, and olive oil, and it was insanely good.
I am happy to be back home, but I will miss the colorful breakfasts that I enjoyed in Berlin.