What constitutes the perfect beef burger?
Is it all about the quality of the meat, or the way in which it is cooked? Are people’s opinions swayed by how soft or toasted the bun is? Does it simply come down to the unadulterated joy one feels when sampling an extraordinary sauce?
A topic of hot debate around kitchen and restaurant tables all across the United Kingdom, burgers are also a massive talking point in one of Europe’s biggest culinary hotspots: Berlin.
Following on from our search for the tastiest burgers in three of Berlin’s most vibrant neighbourhoods – Prenzlauer Berg, Schöneberg and Kreuzberg – this article aims to shed a light on the best burger restaurants in Berlin’s most independent and alternative district: Friedrichshain.
Friedrichshain – Berlin’s bohemian neighbourhood
Anyone who has visited Berlin before will undoubtedly know that Friedrichshain is home to some of the city’s most iconic attractions. From the colourful artwork adorning an old section of the Berlin Wall at the East Side Gallery, to some of Europe’s coolest and most unconventional nightclubs (here’s looking at you, Berghain), Friedrichshain is a district with a well-defined rebellious streak.
The creative flair of Friedrichshain has also had a major influence on the area’s food scene. There’s a wide array of international restaurants and reliable late-night haunts dotted across the district. For this piece, we’ve selected four Friedrichshain burger joints that we think are great spots in which to enjoy a feast in the East!
Firstly, it is important to note that searching for BurgerAMT on Google is not exactly an easy task. What can be described as a very modest introduction to the German language, the word ‘burgeramt’ roughly translates to ‘citizen office’ in English. So in order to not get lost down a rabbit hole of bureaucratic websites, we suggest adding ‘burger’ or the restaurant’s address of ‘Krossener Strasse’ to your search.
Superbly located on Friedrichshain’s leafy Boxhagener Platz, BurgerAMT is a Berlin restaurant with a big reputation. As the eatery’s chief marketing officer Tan Erbas outlined to me on my recent visit, the concept of BurgerAMT is essentially a tale of two passions – delicious food, and a love for hip-hop culture. Erbas added, “ From the beginning, we have given the burger the attention and respect it deserves.”
A visually-appealing restaurant, BurgerAMT’s interior design pays homage to hip-hop’s status as an artistic movement. A collage of pop culture posters (everything from James Bond and Jaws to 8 Mile and Wu-Tang Clan) adorns the establishment’s entire ceiling, whilst a projector beside the bar area routinely screens short films on subjects including the history of graffiti art.
BurgerAMT’s imaginative menu is also a sight to behold, with something on offer for both meat eaters and vegetarians. After careful consideration, I opted for the Bacon Guacamole burger (€8.20) with a side of sweet potato fries. With the avocado serving as a trusty sidekick to a well-cooked patty, the overall dining experience was choreographed to perfection. What’s more, in a slightly unexpected turn of events, the waiting staff also presented me with a fortune cookie at the end of the meal – every little thing helps I guess.
From a good hip-hop soundtrack playing in the background (we’re talking Sheck Wes, music from Cardi B’s Grammy award-winning album Invasion of Privacy, plus some all-time classics), to the opportunity to purchase your very own merchandise, BurgerAMT is a culinary institution that – in the words of Erbas – “sees itself as the ‘Hard Rap Cafe’ of the city’s gastronomic scene”. A popular venue with a loyal following, it might be best to reserve a table in advance before arriving.
Address: BurgerAMT, Krossener Straße 21-22, 10245 Berlin
Opening Hours: Sunday – Thursday from 12:00pm to 12:00am; Friday and Saturday from 12:00pm to 1:00am
Public Transport Links: Three-minute walk from Wismarplatz stop (tram M21 and buses 21, N40, and 240) and Wühlischstraße/Gärtnerstraße tram stop (M13)
A hidden gem in north Friedrichshain, Rembrandt-Burger is a restaurant with an eye-catching interior. Paintings – including a comical take on Rembrandt’s The Syndics – hang on the eatery’s walls alongside a Dutch bicycle, and diners also having the option to peruse a number of books while the kitchen staff get to work whipping up a feast. As well as burgers, this Dutch-inspired restaurant also serves up some authentic delicacies from the Netherlands – a fact which will please anyone who has ever tried bitterballen or kaassoufflé.
After jostling my way past a crowd of hungry diners, I went ahead and ordered the Old Amsterdam Burger (€10.50) with cheddar and gouda cheese, and some added bacon for good measure. A very hands-on affair, this is a burger that needs to be tackled the old-fashioned way. In fact, one could say it is the kind of main course that once you pick it up, you’re going to have to tuck it away in one (or two) fell swoop(s).
Having previously lived in the Netherlands for three years, I was delighted to see my burger served with a side of traditional Dutch fries. The burger itself was also a roaring success, with the sauces in particular packing a welcome punch.
A popular restaurant with a cosy and inviting atmosphere, tables at Rembrandt-Burger are often at a premium. However, for those looking for a little taste of the Netherlands within the urban environs of Friedrichshain, Rembrandt-Burger is a must.
Address: Rembrandt-Burger, Richard-Sorge-Straße 21, 10249 Berlin
Opening Hours: Daily from 12:00pm to 10:00pm
Public Transport Links: Five-minute walk from Bersarinplatz stop (M10 tram and 21 bus) and Weberwiese station (U-Bahn U5, and buses 347 and N5)
Open since December 2016, BBB Berlin has a location that is the envy of its peers, just steps away from Ostkreuz, one of Berlin’s busiest public transport junctions. Indeed, as general manager Bar alluded to when I visited the restaurant, one of BBB’s biggest unique selling points is its address on Sonntagstraße; “With a large park situated opposite our restaurant, in the summertime we like to turn up the music, create an al fresco space, and give guests a true Berlin dining experience.”
The restaurant itself is bright with a sleek interior and there is also a real neighbourhood feel about the place. There’s a wonderful mix of clientele ranging from office and construction workers looking for a good feed, to old friends catching up for a chat over a cup of coffee or a cocktail.
Part of a wider family of Israeli restaurants, BBB is predominantly focused on serving burgers. When asked why steaks aren’t on the menu, Bar and one of the co-owners Moshe explained to me that “it is better to specialise in 1-2 dishes, than cover a number of international cuisines without mastering any.”
With veggie and vegan options available, every diner’s palate is catered for at BBB Berlin. I ordered the Latino Burger (€10.90) with avocado, a fried egg, spicy salsa and chipotle aioli. Served with a smile, the meat was sensational, the salsa was on point, and as the saying goes, everything’s better with a fried egg on top. With its prominent location, friendly hospitality and a menu filled with mouthwatering dishes, BBB Berlin is a restaurant that ticks every box.
Address: BBB Berlin, Sonntagstraße 1, 10245 Berlin
Opening Hours: Monday – Thursday from 12:00pm to 11:00pm; Friday from 12:00pm to 12:00am; Saturday from 1:00pm to 12:00am; Sunday from 1:00pm to 11:00pm
Public Transport Links: Two-minute walk from Ostkreuz station (multiple bus, S-Bahn and regional train connections)
An article on where to find the best burgers in Friedrichshain wouldn’t be complete without mentioning a restaurant on one of the district’s most popular avenues: Simon-Dach-Straße.
A tree-lined street brimming with apartment buildings, lively bars and late-night kiosks, Simon-Dach-Straße is also home to a number of established local restaurants with 5 Places being one of them.
5 Places itself is a relatively intimate venue, with seating available for approximately 10-15 diners. A no-frills restaurant with an endearing character, ordering at 5 Places is done at the counter and in a fast-paced fashion.
On my most recent outing, I ordered the Cheese & Bacon burger (€5.70) which was delicious, with a succulent beef patty and a delectable BBQ sauce making every last bite one to savour. In fact, the whole meal was fantastic value, and there are also good vegan and veggie options available.
For a straightforward dining out experience in Berlin with no pretence or arrogance, head on down to 5 Places – you won’t be disappointed.
Address: 5 Places, Simon-Dach-Straße 30, 10245 Berlin
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday from 11:30am to 10:00pm; Saturday and Sunday from 12:00pm to 10:00pm
Public Transport Links: Two-minute walk from Simplonstraße and Libauer Straße tram stops (M13)