There are so many restaurants in Berlin, and it's quite impossible to visit them all. Food, and specifically good food, is however one of our passions, so we do try the impossible.
There are various sites with restaurants reviews, for example those in my list of other relevant websites. What you'll find below, are my personal recommendations based on my personal experience. Having said that, we have to note that we eat kosher style, so we didn't try any pork etc. at the following places (which all offer also non-pork or veggie alternatives).
In order to help you stay focused, we tried to limit myself in each category to those 3-5 places that we frequent with our own friends and family. In each category, we marked one restaurant with a heart (♥) as our personal favorite, even though it was sometimes a hard choice to make. Not all websites have an English version, so if you're puzzled and can't figure out the address etc., we'd be happy to help.
Please also note that none of the these restaurants is certified as kosher, although the vegetarian and specifically vegan places listed below might serve as a reasonable substitute (for kosher restaurants, please have a look at the page Eating Kosher in Berlin).
If you're interested in Berlin's very expensive Gourmet restaurants (which, in our humble opinion, aren't always worth it), we have a separate page with a complete list of all Michelin starred restaurants in Berlin.
For your convenience, we added (at the bottom of this page) a Google map marking our recommendations, so you can easily locate each restaurant and see what's around your hotel.
And last but not least, here's an interesting article about tipping in restaurants.
FYI: Due to corona, many of these restaurants are closed. It remains to be seen which will come back and then we will update our list and map accordingly.
Local / German style
Alpenstück: South-German flair, atmosphere, and tastes
Schnitzelei: The name says it all... But except for quite a few different kinds of Schnitzel, they also serve “German Tapas”. They have two locations, one in East-Berlin and the other in West-Berlin
♥ Charlotte & Fritz: Located at the Regent, one of Berlin's finest hotels at Gendarmenmarkt, this very continental restaurant isn't as expensive as one might expect:
Augustiner: a piece of Bavaria in Berlin, lots of authentic pork dishes, but also a very delicious beef goulash with Spätzle
Braufactum: Everything you (n)ever wanted to know about German sausages - and beer!
Kartoffelkeller: Berlin's "Potato Cellar" has a very local atmosphere and clientèle, and although it's located very centrally, hardly any tourists go there:
Beer gardens / chilling
(irrelevant in wintertime, naturally)
♥ Café am neuen See: very nicely located next to a lake within the Tiergarten (Berlin's "Central Park"), fantastic ambience on Summer evenings
Prater: Berlin's oldest and largest beer garden + restaurant
Golgatha: Not as deadly as it sounds...
Strandbar Mitte: Not exactly a beer garden, but really nice + very close to the famous Museum Island you'll surely visit
Gasthaus Alt Wien: "Old Vienna" is in the posh borough of Prenzlauer Berg and seems to have the quality to stick around for many years
Aigner: Fine dining at Berlin's famous Gendarmenmarkt square with a fabulous Wiener Schnitzel
Ottenthal: An honorable establishment in Berlin's bourgeois quarter. If the TV series "Mad Men" had taken place in Berlin, this would definitely be one of their dinner locations
♥ Austria: The largest Viennese Schnitzel in Kreuzberg, I recommend sharing one for two... Please note that there's another place, called "Felix Austria", which you might see on your way looking for the original "Austria" - this recommendation refers to the original that's simply called "Austria"
Café Einstein (the original villa!): the most Viennese café in Berlin, recommendable for its world-known Apfelstrudel
Fish / Seafood
Seaside: Located at the very center, close to Gendarmenmarkt, a seafood bar with an urban atmosphere
Der Fischladen: a popular and, in the positive sense of the word, simple place, which is really all about freshness
Munch's Hus: a little piece of Norway in Berlin, including some fantastic grilled salmon
♥ The KaDeWe: Germany's largest department store dedicates two floors just for food, including several very fine bar-restaurants for fish, oysters and lobsters in its 6th floor, where you can sit around the kitchen and watch them preparing your food
Bocca di Bacco: probably the best (and most expensive) Italian in Berlin
The 12 Apostels: a classical choice with 2 great locations
♥ Mondo Pazzo: very popular with locals
Il Pane e le Rose: in Berlin's trendy Friedrichshain quarter of the young & beautiful
No website; address: Am Friedrichshain 6, 10407 Berlin. Tel.: 030-4231916
I Due Forni: Probably the most Mediterranean atmosphere that a Berlin pizzeria can offer
No website; address: Schönhauser Allee 12, 10119 Berlin. Tel.: 030-44017333
Pasternak: Russian delicacies in one of Prenzlauer Berg's most beautiful streets (it's really close to the Rykestraße Synagogue and, although not kosher, offers sometimes Russian-Jewish specialties)
♥ Gugelhof: Let me put it this way - when I (Yoav) was studying in Heidelberg, my German professor for philosophy asked the class, where the best German cuisine is. Everybody said something, but at the end he corrected us all and answered: The best German food is in Alsace (which is, nowadays, actually a part of France, although many Germans still consider that as an unofficial part of Germany). So, to put it short, Gugelhof serves Alsacian food at its best.
Breslau: Polish "Pierogi" and much more from Eastern Europe's most fascinating land (in my eyes)
Tibet House: really cheap, really tasty + different than Indian/Chinese food
Monsieur Vuong: very trendy, very Vietnamese
Ula: Japan's finest + local Berlin art
Saigon and more: very tasty, and please don't be intimidated by the website, it's part of the Berlin chic...
Sasaya: the Japanese for an easy evening
♥ Dae Mon: Very fine Korean/Japanese/European fusion (“open minded”) cuisine
Transit: Thai and Indonesian delicacies in two different locations (Mitte and Friedrichhain):
Two Buddhas: Asian with a twist, in a historical, protected building at relatively central location
Kuchi: interesting sushi creations at two different locations (East + West Berlin)
Vegetarian / Vegan
Samadhi: Vietnamese style, while most, though not all dishes, are actually vegan
La Mano Verde: probably the most exquisite vegan restaurant in the city
Kopps: vegan bar & restaurant within the so-called Jewish quarter
Cookies Cream: very stylish, very trendy, very veggie
♥ Chipps: from the makers of "Cookies Cream" but with more reasonable prices
Momos: vegetarian fusion cuisine in a simple, nice eatery
Lucky Leek: Your best choice for a stylish vegan evening in the (stylish, of course) borough of Prenzlauer Berg
Yellow Sunshine: Easy going, young, alternative and fast. Soy burgers etc. in Kreuzberg
Fine meat / grill
♥ Entrecôte: French cuisine meat, passionately devoured by Germany's politicians
Grill Royal: where Berlin's VIPs meet for meat, usually a well massaged Kobe steak
Tony Roma's: very American ribs etc. Could be interesting for guests who don't come from the US...
The Bird: great steaks, but quite often crowded, so don't forget to make a reservation
Pauly-Saal: from the makers of Grill Royal - continental "Feinschmecker" creations
Balthazar: French style, and unlike the others - in West Berlin (on the Ku'damm avenue)
Update: They now have another location in East Berlin that's just as good
Steakhouse Asador: Reasonably priced and yet not as touristic as the large chains ("Blockhouse", "Maredo")
Fassbender & Rausch: Berlin's oldest chocolate house, est. 1863, and as they maintain, the world's largest. There's a shop, and on the second floor a very nice café with all kinds of chocolate creations...
Sawade: Just a bit younger than Fassbender & Rausch, but some say better, Sawade is a local establishment for handcrafted chocolate art works. One of their locations is in the famous Hackesche courtyards, which is right within the so-called Jewish quarter
Martin's Place: Joseph Martin is an Israeli chef that makes the most delicious cakes in Berlin's multicultural and multi-ethnic borough of Neukölln
♥ Der Kuchenladen: The "Cake Shop" is, well, exactly what it should be. Great cakes that go well with an afternoon tea in West-Berlin's very bourgeois borough of Charlottenburg.
Ritter Sport's World of Chocolate: Except for the huge variety of products, they offer children the opportunity to make some chocolate themselves. Adults can make up their own recipe and let the professionals prepare it. Why leave Berlin with a normal souvenir when you can bring your very own kind of chocolate as a great gift for your loved ones back home?
(not including kosher places)
Zula: Humus by candlelight in the stylish borough of Prenzlauer Berg
Yafo: Sophisticated Tel-Aviv kitchen in Mitte (close to the Jewish quarter)
♥ Galilee: Delicious Arab cooking from Nazareth
Djimalaya: Oriental grill (kebab, steak etc.)
Kanaan: a Jewish-Arab joint venture, inexpensive, with some Yemenite touches
♥ Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer (= dining room): Located in Berlin's most famous hotel, the Adlon, overlooking Brandenburg gate (come early to get a good table at one of the windows!)
Prism: By the Israeli chef Gal ben Moshe
Tim Raue: Unlike most other gourmet restaurant, the German chef Raue chose a somewhat different location for his double-starred restaurant, namely the multi-cultured borough of Kreuzberg, and as you might expect, his menu includes interpretations of different, international cuisines
Horvàth: Under this Hungarian name, Austrian-born chef Sebastian Frank gives his special "Austro-Hungarian" touch to this restaurant, which has been starred in many guidebooks
If you're into this type of food, don't miss this complete list of all Michelin starred restaurants in Berlin.
Stylish & Trendy / Hipster
(primarily because we didn't think of a better title yet)
Lokal: The website's not very impressive, but nevertheless, it is usually booked long in advance
Katz Orange: Great ambience, exotic food creations (really)
♥ Layla: Mediterranean & Middle-Eastern fusion cuisine by Israeli star chef Meir Adoni
Mani (within the Mani hotel): Trans-Mediterranean Fusion Cuisine
Michelberger (within the Michelberger hotel): Organic, local and “communal” dining (you and the people you're dining with are supposed to share each dish)
Neni: tasty Israeli cuisine with a spectacular view of the city