They call them BBQ Bacon, Silly Joe’s, Kill Bill or Mexican Hot. We just call them burgers, and expect them to be damn tasty. So we went on a year-long, 45 restaurants long journey through Berlin to hunt for the best goddamn patty of the Hauptstadt.
And please don’t ask us which one really is the best. Because it highly depends on your own taste (or lack of it, of course, ha!). But me and my Polish friend / former colleague Jan have definitely learned to distinguish the baddies from the good ones.
And it showed in the results of our extremely unscientific, but nonetheless representative method: we handed out points for the burger (50%), the fries (25%) and the atmosphere of the place (25%). Which resulted in a top-10 we could definitely both agree on, and we could probably even agree on the best five.
First the good news: we didn’t find any atrocious burgers (we didn’t visit McDonald’s and Burger King, yes). In general, we liked what we saw and ate. Except the one time where the spicy burger (at Lily) proved to be way too spicy for the stomach of my poor companion. Besides that minor mishaps, we survived the ordeal without any physical complaints and even kept our already godlike bodies in shape.
We saw an awful lot of mediocrity though. Not a bad burger, just a plain one, made without a lot of love. And we didn’t aim for ‘okay’ or ‘good enough’ here (we reserve those ambitions for our professional lives of course).This mediocrity usually showed in the fries as well: homemade definitely wasn’t always prepared at home. And why did all the sweet potatoes taste so similar? They’re not called ‘sweet’ for nothing, so don’t bury them in chili powder. At home, when they come out of my oven, they’re lovely sweet and soft and tasty. I’ll show you how it’s done… someday.
But our major complaint was, that there were often way too many ingredients. The patty was buried in an avalanche of vegetables, sauce, more vegetables and even more sauce. Yes, we’re talking about you, BBI and Piri and the likes: we wanna taste the goddamn meat, not splash our clothes with ketchup, mayonnaise and fat.
We don’t want to be too harsh in this department. The Bird still makes really good and huge burgers, but wouldn’t make it into our top-5. Lily has overstuffed burgers as well (and outrageously slow service, or are they the deejay?), but they’re so insanely tasty that we will forgive them.
Give me the goddamn top-5, you think? We’ll just mention the ones that surprised us and/or really stood out. One was MJs Foodshop, not even a real burger place in Neukölln, they didn’t even have meat on them. But the ‘avocado meets onion’ burger was astonishing. Unfortunately, the place has apparently closed, so our rave review is too little too late.
Prenzlauer Berg has become a centre for great burgers. Hirsch & Eber served exquisite Pulled Pork, which has become one of our favorite type of burger anyway. Down that same street (Kollwitzstraße), Fräulein Kimchi truly serves a remarkable Asian-style burger. And in the Pulled Pork-department, Burger De Ville near Kurfürstendamm was exquisite as well. Though they lost their trashy funny vibe since they moved out of the siler caravan into a proper restaurant.
Off to Schöneberg, to the gay area around Nollendorfplatz. We were in for a different kind of meat treatment than usual in that neighbourhood at Zsa Zsa, a classy place with pricy but simply great burgers. And if we would have to finish our top-5, we would definitely add Room 77 in the Graefekiez (more a bar than a burger place, but astonishing burgers and fries, probably the one we both agree on). And though pretty touristic, The Pub near Alexanderplatz might make the list as well.
That was a top-six, you say? Yes, we like to cheat. And there were a lot of nice joints, some with a great atmosphere as well. They don’t come cheap, a menu with burger, fries and softdrink will usually set you back between 10 and 15 euros…so be careful where to spend it, but it can be very much worth the while. Enjoy!