Do you remember that one dish your mum used to make for you on your birthday every year? That very personal favorite dish of yours, the scent of which still makes you forget where you are, catapulting you straight back to your childhood? We Germans have a collective memory that links us all together in one dish like that: the schnitzel. Whether by the original recipe from Vienna or as part of an exciting new creation, in a fancy restaurant or as a takeaway sandwich – the schnitzel is breaded happiness, and is quite popular here in Berlin, too. Hipster trends like artisanal burgers and craft beer are proof that true classics have what it takes to become a hit, yet the Schnitzel was actually kind of cool before granny’s recipes were rediscovered by TV chefs. Here in germanophone Europe the breaded escalope is gastronomically speaking taken for granted. But precisely because you can find a schnitzel at every other corner it’s actually not all that easy to encounter a really good one. Luckily you have us, your ever-hungry friends from Industriepalast Hostel, and we’re delighted to announce that we sacrificed ourselves in order to eat our way through the capital’s schnitzel joint just to find the perfect schnitzel for every need for you. Ready for some food porn?
Berlin is not Vienna, sure. There is however a certain tradition of mostly fancy Austrian restaurants in Berlin. Usually you tend to find them in the “better” parts of town such as Charlottenburg or Mitte, but Jolesch managed to bring a piece of Vienna right into the alternative young borough of Wrangelkiez in Kreuzberg. The furnishing is modest yet elegant, the service is attentive, and whatever lands on your plate is mostly organic and locally grown – and most importantly: masterfully prepared. The menu offers a combination of traditional dishes like roast beef and soured boiled rump as well as more sophisticated creations like octopus on basil and kiwi. “Tante Jolesch” (“Auntie Jolesch”) is also a synonym for fantastic cakes in the tradition of Austrian confectioners – let the incredibly chocolaty Sacher torte speak for itself. All that would be enough to make a great restaurant, but then there is the original Viennese Schnitzel: delicately cut veal and a golden, crispy coating that sticks to the meat as if it was the most natural thing in the world – it is no surprise that one of Berlin’s leading food critics called this his “favorite schnitzel in town”. Quite surprisingly, prices are still more than reasonable: 18 € for the culinary delight, that’s a lot less than you will pay in other fancy restaurants. The insider’s tip however: go there at lunch time! There’s a three-course menu that includes the famous schnitzel at only 13.50 € – beat that.
| Restaurant Jolesch. Muskauer Str. 1 in Berlin Kreuzberg |
If you’re ever planning to start a discussion on whether you should be allowed to vary the original recipe of the Viennese schnitzel or not, think twice. Friendships have been lost over this. Schnitzel purists take every variation of their Wiener Schnitzel as a personal blasphemic insult, while others insist on exploring the manifold possibilities of the schnitzel universe. It seems about impossible to have one restaurant cover the entire spectrum of schnitzeling, yet there is one expert in town who’s up to the challenge: Schnitzelei in the unremarkable north of Charlottenburg. The name says it all, here on the banks of the Spree: German-Austrian traditional cuisine in a contemporary, erm, breading. The classic Viennese version is being accompanied by no less than eleven more or less traditional variations, like a turkey schnitzel or a lamb meat version. One rather exceptional option turns out to be a surprising delicacy: the vegetarian oyster mushroom schnitzel. This is your chance to convince your non-carnivorous friends to come along. Prices are reasonable with properly filled plates at around 17 €. Insider’s tip: Monday is schnitzel day! The Viennese schnitzel goes at a rate of 11,11 € then and the restaurant is packed with hungry foodies, so make sure to reserve your table beforehand.
| Schnitzelei. Röntgenstr. 7 in Berlin Charlottenburg |
Schnitzel to go
Craving a schnitzel but there is no time for a proper meal at a proper restaurant? Luckily, there’s an alternative: the schnitzel to go. And there is one joint in Berlin that is practically an institution of schnitzel-based fast food: Scheers Schnitzel on Warschauer Straße is popular among both locals and visitors because it is fast, tasty, and unbeatably low priced. The menu is anything but extensive, your thin escalope comes on a paper plate or a roll, accompanied by french fries, coleslaw, and a range of partly homemade sauces. If you’re more of an adventurous schnitzelist, you might want to try the chasseur version with mushroom-gravy sauce or a unique creation with chili con carne and cheese. Sure, this is not your fancy Austrian dinner restaurant, but among half-torn posters on the tagged walls the schnitzel is being freshly breaded and fried in plain view for you here under iconic Oberbaumbrücke. And you will pay no more than 5.- €. Make it two, I guess…
| Scheers Schnitzel. Warschauer Platz 18 in Berlin Friedrichshain |
The Veggie One
Yes, that’s a thing, too. Believe it or not, just because someone decides to live in an animal-friendly way does not mean that the schnitzelust will automatically disappear. There are numerous brands offering meatless soy- or seitan-based substitute products already, and in the trendy boroughs of the capital you won’t have a hard time finding a vegetarian or vegan food joint. One of the best is Yoyo Foodworld in Friedrichshain. A small restaurant with modest furnishing and loud indie music, they’ve been serving vegan burgers, pizza, and desserts since 2008. And also: vegan schnitzels. The ingredients are mostly local and organic, and so are the beverages they offer. Other than large parts of the very trendy vegan scene of Berlin prices are still considerably reasonable here, with the schnitzel menu consisting of the veggie escalope alongside french fries and salad sold at 4.90 €. Cruelty-free schnitzel love. Go for it.
| Yoyo Foodworld. Gärtnerstr. 27 in Berlin Friedrichshain |
Have you found the right schnitzel? Our team at Industriepalast Hostel Berlin is always happy to hear about your foodie experiences in the capital.
Bon appetite and long live the schnitzel,
is Berliner by choice and a passionate backpacker himself. As a receptionist he knows the real hostel life; as a blogger he's been writing for Industriepalast Hostel's Berlin blog since 2014.