When someone asks about our recent vacation to Berlin, the first thing I share is how inspirationally green the German capital city is. From the children and adults of all ages riding bicycles (undaunted by the 50 degree weather and rain), to the plethora of “Bio” (organic) produce and markets, to the energy efficient architecture straight out of Dwell magazine, healthy living and sustainability are embedded in the city’s DNA. It’s easy to be healthy in Berlin since fresh juice bars line the streets, some bars stock kombucha next to their top shelf alcohol (no joke!), and organic skincare lines such as Dr. Hauschka and Weleda are at the local apothecary.
While you explore Berlin’s scorching hot street art, check out its architectural wonders, or walk in the steps of its powerful history, I’ve included some of our favorite places for healthy, green snacks and meals. A vacation without healthy and delicious food seems more like work travel to me, and it’s easy in Berlin to stumble upon affordable, fresh, organic food. Whether your diet tends to be more vegan, vegetarian, or healthier meat eating, there’s something for everyone’s palette. A caution to aspirational vegans visiting Berlin: the plethora of delicious German bakeries is extremely tempting!
Cookies Cream - If one of our favorite NY vegetarian restaurants, Dirt Candy, were to have a soul sister in Berlin, it would undoubtedly be Cookies Cream. There’s a hipster chic vibe in this vegetarian restaurant, tucked away in a remote alley in Mitte, behind the Grand Westin Hotel. We splurged on the $32 euro vegetarian prix-fixe menu, although it’s possible to order a la carte as well. Cookies’ creative spin on my porcini mushroom appetizer consisted of two mushroom soups followed by mushroom ravioli. The parmesan dumplings and pumpkin gnocchi entrees were also delicious. Be sure to check out Cookies’ website (to navigate, you click the 'dots" on the model's backs) for a glimpse into their Williamsburg-meets-Berlin vibe and so that you don’t get lost en route to your reservation. google map
Supergood - Supergood is a brilliant concept, which combines the convenience of fast-er food with fresh and organic ingredients. Open for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, Supergood is the perfect place to grab a snack or enjoy a quick, healthy and affordable meal. After hours of walking around the city, we re-charged over polenta fries, a strawberry juice and some organic coffee. Supergood: Please consider a franchise in Manhattan to meet all of my fast-and-healthy lunch needs! google map
Witty’s Organic Food - Currywurst is to Berlin as croissants are to Paris. So when in Berlin, if you are going to have a currywurst fix, it might as well be organic. We checked out the stand outside the KaDaWe department store. My husband devoured his currywurst and I loved the organic fries. I did, however, commit a cultural faux-pas by requesting the fries with mustard! google map
Soluna brot und Ol - We didn’t think twice about making a pilgrimage to the southern part of the Kreuzberg neighborhood to check out the bread that has been called the best by the New York Times (yes, even across the pond, the NY Times review has merit and is the only review on Soluna’s window). The intimate bakery that alchemizes aged flour in a huge clay oven (think wood-burning pizza oven) is not to be missed. Luckily, they have smaller portions as well, so that you can sample several of their specialties without having to commit to just one pastry. The pear tart was our favorite. google map
Kollwitzplatz Market - While strolling around the Park Slope (lots of strollers) of Berlin, Prenzlauer Berg, we stumbled upon an amazing eco-market. You can find anything from bio pretzel croissants, to organic produce, to meals for take-away, to natural beauty products. Between the jojoba oil and lavender soaps, it’s a natural beauty girl’s dream. Many of the vendors bring their goods to markets on fuel efficient food trucks (it makes me think twice about the origins of the current booming food truck trend!). The market is open every Thursday and Saturday. google map
Newton Bar - OK, this one is a little bit of stretch. After falling in love with the photography in the Helmut Newton Foundation earlier in the day, we couldn’t pass up an opportunity to hit up the Newton Bar, which has life-size images of naked models in Louboutin heels (quintessential Helmut). Newton Bar makes our healthy and green guide because in this chic bar, kombucha is among the other “mind movers” on the menu. google map
Alpenstueck - We were on a mission to discover the best apple strudel in Berlin, and after extensive sampling, we awarded the Golden Bear to Alpenstueck. The sleek restaurant (designed by a local design firm) uses local and fresh ingredients. Given the international flavor of Berlin, it’s easy to enjoy amazing meals in the city without even trying any German cuisine. So, we were thrilled to discover this Southern German restaurant. There are plenty of hearty options for meat-eaters, and vegetarians can enjoy the Bavarian crème ravioli, filled with spinach. There’s an Alpenstueck bakery across the street that also cooks with fresh, local ingredients, and is a great spot for a morning pastry or light lunch. google map
Foodorama - Cooking exclusively with organic ingredients? Check. Carbon-neutral restaurant? Check. Donations to re-forestation projects in India? Check. For food just as good as the company’s mission, go to Foodorama in Kreuzberg. google map
Monsieur Vuong - Just steps away from the chic shopping of Mulackstr, which includes Flippa K, APC, and some Berlin designers, is the casual, but bustling Vietnamese restaurant, Monsieur Vuong. Monsieur Vuong’s strawberry juice, served with a hint of lime and a basil leaf in a wine glass, is the perfect aperitif before a healthy soup or salad. Our juice test was just as extensive as our strudel sampling, and Monsieur Vuong’s was Berlin’s finest. You can re-charge from the weather over a soothing vegetable (or meat!) soup. google map
image of Soluna via NYTimes, Monsieur Vuong via CoffeeTravails