Hello fellow chowhounds.Yesterday I became a fan of this board after going to the Imren Döner Imbiss in Boppstraße. I had never heard of the place until I read about it here, and I have lived in Berlin for many years. I went with a friend who is a born Berliner, and he had also never heard of Imren. Looking in from the outside, we were not too optimistic, it's a small room and doesn't look much different than a hundred other Döner shops, but from the first bite we were both believers.Basically, almost every Döner tastes about the same in Berlin, but Imren spices their meat quite differently, and it was indeed delicious.Tastewise, I found it closer to the Lebanese beef schawarma than to the Döner we have in Berlin, and that is much to my liking.
So now I would like to make a few suggestions of my own. I am definitely not a gourmet, but I do know a fair number of Imbisses in various parts of town, so here are some favorites in various categories.
First of all, this being Berlin: currywurst. This is offered in hundreds or thousands of places, and it is usually mediocre, sometimes bad. Personally, I don't much like the famous Konnopke, I just don't think the food is anything special, likewise the often mentioned Curry 36 on Mehringdamm. You go to Curry 36 more for the clever banter of the people who work there, or to hang out with the cool after- theatre crowd that congregates there every evening. But on the other hand, the place is always packed, so maybe I'm alone with my opinion. But now, my personal recommendation(drum roll, please...): Petri's Imbiss in the Marheinikehalle in Kreuzberg:
The Markheinikehalle is itself something of a food destination. The Berlin market halls are a relict of former times, long before there were supermarkets someone came up with the idea of moving the open air markets into warehouse type buiildings in various parts of the city. A few have survived, and the most successful of them is the Marheinikehalle. After becoming somewhat run down and pokey in the last decade or two, it received a major facelift in 2007, and a good one at that. It is now quite airy and bright, and the collection of stalls is now very much oriented toward the young urban crowd. There are all sorts of organic food,bakers, fruit stands and there is an aisle of somewhat upscale imbisses with a nice selection of inexpensive food. Anyway, one of them is Petri's, and they offer a selection of Berliner specialties at better quality than you will find elsewhere: the currywurst, Boulette (meatballs- be sure to get the "hausgemachte Boulette") Eierkuchen, Senfeier (yuck, eggs in mustard sauce) etc etc. They have managed to retain their old fashioned Berliner charm in the face of all those hoards of yuppies who have invaded the Markthalle, and they are inexpensive; we're talking about meals for three or four Euros here. You will also find an Italian imbiss with tasty Italian sandwiches made on flatbread, a good Greek imbiss(the gyros sandwich for €2.50 is very good, and would be my personal pick for the best food value anywhere in Berlin), a pretty good Thai imbiss, a French croissant and coffee place, a seriously lousy Lebanese schawarma stand, and a few others.
On the topic of Schawarma, I have made something of a project of testing as many Lebanese imbisses as possible, and I have pretty much come to the conclusion that the best of the lot is Maroush in Adalbertstraße:
This Imbiss is almost always good, and is very popular with the student crowd. I always have the schawarma, but apparently everything else is also recommendable, especially the falafel.They have a lot of turnover so things are fresh, and they never use the microwave. Portions are generous, and everything they make tastes great.
Right aross the street from them is a restaurant that makes the best Gözleme in Berlin, I forget the name, it used to be Cafe Bellona. Gözleme are normally pretty bad, but this place always makes them fresh, they even roll out the dough right before your eyes and the results are pleasing.The fillings are ground meat, spinach and cheese, or potato Two doors down is Hasir, which was my first choice for Döner until yesterday, and around the corner is a good pizza by the slice place(for once, run by Italians).There is also a good inexpensive Vietnamese restaurant, meals run about 7-8 Euros, and some good Turkish bakers.
My second choice for Schawarma would probably be Adonis at Torstraße 132 near Rosenthaler Platz; it was opened a year or two ago by one of the people from Maroush, and is similar in terms of price and quality. Third place would go to "Orientalischer Imbiss" on Mehringdamm just below Bergmannstraße; they have a more earthy charm but the food is good.
Further west, on Uhlandstraße about 50 meters from Kurfürstendamm is Taormina, a perennial favorite for pizza by the slice and Italian fast food. This is old school pizza, none of your Rucola and fancy ingredients, but if you want a good slice of old fashioned Salami pizza on the cheap, by all means go here. This place is somehow well known among backpacking American student tourists; its fame is well deserved.
For asian in Berlin, the rule of thumb is: forget about the Chinese food, it is 99% lousy. The Thais are usually but not always better; the best inexpensive one I know is Pagode, across the street from the Marheinikehalle;
The best are the Vietnamese, I like Mr Hai:
though it isn't that inexpensive.
For inexpensive Sushi I like Ishin's lunchtime specials,
The branch in Charlottenstraße is best.You can get a complete Sushi lunch for 5 or 6 Euros.
I will post again when I thnk of more. I hope this helps someone.