The classic dishes in Berlin – no make that, in all of Germany – all contain meat: Currywurst (spicy sausage), Schnitzel (boneless meat, thinned with a meat tenderizer, coated with flour, beaten eggs and breadcrumbs, and then fried), and Döner (Turkish dish made of meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie). Time for me as a vegetarian to see if it's possible to enjoy a yummy, healthy meal in Berlin and even the classic German dishes without any meat.
Vegetarian Döner at Vöner
Döner is one of the classic dishes in Germany. It can be bought in many places at various times of the day, either as lunch, snack, or midnight craving after a night in the pub. In the Friedrichshain district is a place called Vöner that is specialised in vegetarian and vegan food. All reviews I came across were raving about their speciality Vöner or vegetarian Döner. And they were right. It's a quaint little alternative “Imbiss” (a place where you can eat small meals and snacks).
Their Vöner is just like a real Döner: meaty, yummy and packed with heaps of veggies. The bread is a toasted version of a Turkish bread. The same goes for the Wagenburger (vegetarian hamburger with a vegetable patty).
Flammkuchen at Sleussenkrug
Sleusenkrug is an old-style outdoor restaurant Tiergarten’s main watergate. In the old days ,ships would stop at the watergate to get something to eat and drink. Nowadays families and locals go to Sleusenkrug to enjoy honest German and international dishes. Sleusenkrug caters towards both meat lovers and vegetarians.
We enjoyed an afternoon in the sun with a vegetarian Flammkuchen (German pizza with a super thin crust), a massive summer salad, and a vegetarian pasta (linguine with tomato sauce and feta balls). When visiting Sleuserkrug make sure you're there before the Fat Bike Tour arrives. They use it as a stop for early and late lunches, meaning that between at certain times the place is swamped with (American) tourists.
Vegetarian currywurst at Charlie's Beach
Can you name a dish that is more German than Currywurst? Schnitzel comes close but Currywurst is definitely the number one (snack) dish in Germany. In Berlin they serve it with a special Berlin curry sauce. Basically, it's a “Bratwurst” covered in curry sauce served with chips (fries for the American readers among you).
Nowadays many places serve a vegetarian version of Currywurst. The only reason we ordered ours near Checkpoint Charlie is that it was summer and little beach was created there. Perfect for a German lunch of (vegetarian) sausage and beer (Berlin Kindl lager).
As the taste of Currywurst is all in the sauce and the curry powder on top, you won't taste the difference between a vegetarian curry sausage and a real one. Really tasty. More info and how to get there.
Grilled vegetable wrap at Boussi Falafel
Boussi Falafel is located at the food court of Mall of Berlin is the biggest shopping centre in Berlin and is located near Pottsdammer Platz. It's the perfect place for shopaholics but also for foodies interested in simple, tasty dishes. Just forget about fast-food chains like McDonald's and go for Indian, Japanese, Vietnamese, or any of the other international cuisines.
We tried the grilled vegetable wrap. Simple and yummy food. Too bad, we only had room for a small snack as the falafel plates looked great. Maybe next time… Or as the Germans say: “Vielleicht das nächste mal”.
Risotto at RisOtto
RisOtto was a lovely small eatery in the Oranienburg district. As you may have guessed their speciality is the classic Italian dish: risotto. Also, known as the dish of death in cooking shows like Master Chef.
You can choose from several kinds of risotto, like Risotto with organic lemons & olives (an instant favourite). They have vegetarian and regular dishes. As you can see from the photo it looks yummy… And tastes amazing. We definitely plan to go back to RisOtto to try the other variations. Unfortunately, it's now permanently closed (2017). 🙁
Note: This blog post was posted between 2010 and 2015 when we were called DIY-OE. As we’re still happy with the quality, it was published again on our new blog Travel.Geek.NZ.