The most beautiful period of the day to explore a place is during “the magical blue hour.” Fortunately, my first experience with Berlin just so happened to be during this time thanks to AirBerlin. From Fassbender & Rausch Chocolatiers we wandered into the adjacent Gendarmenmarkt Square where hundreds of Germans were working furiously to get their Christmas Market ready for its grand opening. The holiday spirit was definitely in the crisp, cool air!
Although I was still on a sugar high from our earlier chocolate tasting, I had worked up an appetite from all of the walking that we did. Across town, we met Lollie, our guide for the evening’s Berlinagenten: Gastro-Rallye private tour, which was sponsored by Visit Berlin. Lollie is an Australian who now calls Berlin her home. She came on a journalism assignment and then never left. Her knowledge and passion for the city was incredibly infectious.
The structure of the tour allowed for us to visit three very different restaurants over the course of one night, sampling several dishes in each restaurant before moving on to the next. I loved not knowing where we would be going and, aside from the food, I found that the element of surprise was my favorite part. The tour lasts 3-4 hours and is the perfect way to really absorb a lot what Berlin has to offer in a short amount of time.
Before we officially began, Lollie pointed out to us that secret clubs and bars are becoming immensely popular. I had no idea they even existed unless she pointed them out to us. On my next trip to Berlin I am determined to try a couple of them out for myself!
Recently, the capitol has developed a reputation in the culinary world for its innovative global cuisine. The first restaurant was an example of this. Mani Restaurant serves Mediterranean inspired meals with a strong Israeli influence. Each dish is an infusion of spices and flavors that work together to captivate the taste buds. This award-winning establishment offers an intimate setting and encourages diners to share what they order with everyone at their table.
Then it was on to Tucholsky Restaurant for our main course. This charming restaurant was designed to make you feel as though you have stepped into Berlin in the 1920’s. It serves classic German dishes and places strong emphasis on attentive and dedicated service both from the waitstaff and kitchen. There is a strong garden atmosphere that really comes alive during the warmer months.
Our final restaurant was my favorite of the tour and not because the dessert was unlike anything I have ever tasted before. Pauly Saal Restaurant is an exclusive, high end restaurant that is tucked away in a former Jewish school during World War II. I loved everything about this space from the jazz band to the unique menu offered to its incredible history.
My first gastro-tour was a success and I highly recommend it for foodie travelers as a way to sample different foods and to try places that you might not have found on your own, especially with the limited amount of time that comes with traveling. I was delighted that we did this on our first evening in Berlin, because it was an extraordinary way to see the city firsthand, as well as gain a local’s insight and knowledge.
You take such gorgeous photos, Andi! (I esp love the wine glass pic!) 🙂
Awww thank you for such an awesome compliment!!!
Andi, even though it’s now weeks past Christmas, I can’t stop looking at or thinking about Dresden during the “Weihnachten” part of the year. 🙂
Awww what an awesome compliment, thank you!!!
Gorgeous photos, Andi. You are so right about the ‘blue hour’. I’d love to sample the food at Mani, your pics are very appetizing!
Thank you so much! You must go to Mani, it’s awesome!!!
Overload! This all sounds so amazing. Omg Berlin in the 1920s!!! And all that food! Ugh…. what a trip! Love the idea of the magical blue hour too. x
Wow so synchronistic, I just EMAILED you! Love it!!! Berlin 1920s is amazing right? I was totally in heaven!
Those are some fabulous photos. Gendarmenmarkt Square is one of my favourite spots in Berlin. Along with its beauty its a great spot for people watching.
I agree, it’s one of my faves in Berlin as well! Thank you for your kind words re: my pics. 🙂
Great, vibrant pictures! I love all the gold stars on the buildings.
Thank you so much!
You captured the blue hour brilliantly, Andi. 🙂 And I love the sounds of the gastro tour. Delish!
Thank you sooo much!!! The tour was beyond delish!
Last time I was in Berlin it was still East Berlin and West Berlin 🙂
Wow has time changed!
Love the “magical blue hour,” especially in Europe!
Yes! It seems to be even more magical there. 🙂
Berlin has always been a city I have wanted to visit. I almost went a few years back, but I decided to focus on Prague and Poland and did not feel I had enough time for three countries in two weeks.I hope to make it there soon. Looks beautiful and the food looks great.
I hope you make it there soon, it’s quite a special place! I’ve never been to Prague or Poland though and would love to visit both places.