Anthony Bourdain in Berlin: 10 Spots Where Tony Ate
It’s hard to understate the significant role that Berlin has played in European history and culture. Throughout most of the 20th century, it was a city divided by political pressure, but somehow managed to emerge and thrive as one of the most artistic capitals in a continent with many contenders. As one might expect, it was impossible for Anthony Bourdain not to comment on the role of art in Berlin’s history and present expression, while sampling its food and meeting its people.
Anthony Bourdain visited Berlin twice: in episode 2 of season 4 of No Reservations, and again in episode 6 of season 11 of Parts Unknown. This latter episode was particularly significant in Bourdain’s life (and death), as you’ll read below. These are his only two on-screen visits to the German capital, though he may have visited other times that weren’t filmed or shared publicly.
If you’re planning a trip to Berlin – or already on the ground in Germany – and want to eat at the same places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Berlin, you’ve come to the right place. Below you’ll find a list of all the restaurants Tony visited in Berlin, including those which are now closed; wherever possible, I’ve also included the dishes he ate, so you can enjoy those too if they are still on the menu and appetizing to you.
Want to watch the episodes where Anthony Bourdain visits Berlin?
The No Reservations episode is available on Hulu and Apple TV; the Parts Unknown episode is available on Amazon and Apple TV.
Where Anthony Bourdain Ate in Berlin
Before jumping into the list of places Bourdain visited in Berlin and all he ate, I find it helpful to start with a map – especially in a city like Berlin that you might want to explore more beyond just eating your way across the city. Use the map below to see each of the places Anthony Bourdain ate in Berlin, and use it to plan the rest of your trip, sights you want to see, and where to stay.
Ready to sink your teeth into the details of Bourdain’s two visits to Berlin? Read on!
No Reservations (2007)
Anthony Bourdain’s first visit to Berlin happened roughly halfway through filming No Reservations; the episode aired in early 2008 so was likely filmed the previous year. During the episode, Tony spends time exploring the history and cultural significance of the German capital, as well as one of its most defining characteristics: the food.
Berliner Prater Garten
Where better to start your exploration of German cuisine than at traditional restaurant, as Bourdain did. His first stop during the No Reservations episode was Berliner Prater Garten, which claims to be Berlin’s oldest and most beautiful beer garden.
While the competition is undoubtedly stiff for the latter claim, it’s hard to argue as we watch Tony enjoy a meal of veal schnitzel with potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, meatballs, asparagus, and Arme Ritter, a German variant of French toast. Oh, and he of course enjoys German beer with it all too.
I was delighted to watch and see I visited one of the same places that Anthony Bourdain did, during my own visit to Berlin five years later (though I didn’t know it when planning my trip). Currywurst is one of my personal favorite foods, and everyone told me there’s one must-visit place in Berlin: Konnopke’s Imbiss, the one under the train tracks.
Tony visits this same location, enjoying currywurst with pommes and beer; this is an essential Berlin food experience especially if you’re looking for an affordable meal.
Never one to miss an opportunity to explore delis and markets, Bourdain also makes a trip to Berlin’s renowned Rogacki. This deli was established in 1928, and survived the many chapters of Berlin’s history in the nearly century since they opened; today you can find many of the same dishes Tony tried.
In particular, he enjoyed the white asparagus with sauce, pork head cheese, blutvurst (blood sausage, a Tony fave) and liverwurst with potatoes, smoked, pickled, and fried fish with potatoes, and raw smoked ham. If they have these options on the menu during your visit, they’re great options to try.
Next, Anthony Bourdain traces another part of Berlin’s culinary scene: the heavy influence of Turkish culture due to the many Turkish immigrants who have settled in the city over the centuries. To best show this off, he heads to Hasir Kreutzberg, the birthplace of the doner kebab – a distinctly German dish that you can now find in almost every major city (certainly across Europe and North America, if not the world).
While there, he samples a number of Turkish dishes: traditional doner with tomato sauce and sumac, shish kebab, marinated kebab, vegetables, breads, and yogurts.
Lastly, Tony rounds out his first visit to Berlin with a meal at Bräustüberl Weihenstephan, another famous Berlin beer garden. (I almost wrote “bier garten” because when you start writing about German food and drink, it’s hard not to switch into the German spelling!) There he tries several other traditional dishes he hadn’t showcased yet, including eisbein (another favorite dish he tries again on his return trip for Parts Unknown), goulash, cabbage, and sauerkraut with Bautzner mustard.
Parts Unknown (2017)
It’s hard to watch the Berlin episode of Parts Unknown; it was the first episode that aired after Tony died, just two days later (June 10, 2018). In fact, the episode comes with a warning/opener/tribute from CNN’s Anderson Cooper explaining why the network decided to air the episode so soon after his death.
That said, it is still an example of the great work Bourdain was producing at the end of his life. Filmed roughly a decade after his first visit, this Berlin episode continues to highlight what makes German food special (and one of my favorite cuisines, if that matters at all) and what else the city has to offer.
The first stop on Bourdain’s Berlin itinerary is Fleisherei Domke, a butchery and casual dining spot that serves traditional German food. There, Tony enjoys pork schnitzel with brown gravy as well as meatballs which Bourdain calls “boulèt.” (I’m not actually sure why he uses this term, as it typically refers to Haitian style fried meatballs; instead I would call them Frikadellen, the German term for the same appetizer.)
Next up, Tony heads to Michelberger, which is a hotel that also has a renowned restaurant. While most hotel restaurants tend to cater to higher-end dining, Michelberger remains both casual and chic – but also offers a nice menu of German dishes without pretense. (Kind of perfect for Bourdain, then!)
While there, he enjoys sausage made of chicken and pig’s feet with sage, served with smoked mashed potatoes and apples, as well as braised beef shoulder with root vegetables, potatoes, horseradish, and kale.
Unfortunately, the next stop on Bourdain’s food tour of Berlin is now closed; the restaurant Grosz seems to have closed in 2019, so not a pandemic casualty – but also not long after Bourdain’s visit. While there, he enjoys a nice dinner with local artists and historians discussing the legacy of 1920s Berlin and creative freedom in Berlin. Their dishes weren’t mentioned, so perhaps that works out that the restaurant has closed since I can’t recommend what to order anyway.
Continuing his trend of showcasing great spots for casual German dining, Tony next heads to Zum Schusterjungen. This restaurant is known for its schnitzel and pork knuckle which is – coincidentally – exactly what Bourdain orders. In particular, he has the schnitzel with potatoes and the Eisbein with sauerkraut and potatoes. (If you didn’t catch that earlier, e is a Bourdain fave, so be sure to seek it out at some point, even if not here.)
Last but not least, Bourdain has one unusual dining experience that combines the art, culture, and cuisine that run as themes through the episode. He visits Lichtblick-Kino (“Ray of Light Cinema”) with Billy Wagner, sommelier and co-owner of Nobelhart & Schmutzig, a multi-course dining establishment.
While watching Metropolis at a midnight screening, the two nosh on currywurst and doner kebab, paired with top-notch wines. I’m not sure this is something guests can replicate now, as most theaters don’t allow food and fancy wine tastings during screenings – but you may at least want to take in a film here during your visit to Berlin.
Berlin Food Tours to Try
As Anthony Bourdain visited many places in Berlin during his two visits, you might find it easier to take a food tour and sample the dishes he enjoyed without stuffing yourself. Here are some Berlin food tours that seem to embody Tony’s approach to trying new foods without falling into the tourist traps.
Have any other questions about the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Berlin? Let me know in the comments below!