With small sleepy eyes, we joined the mass of the Hampton hotel guests at the breakfast buffet. The breakfast is complete, but nothing special. The hotel location is located literally next to the metro rail. But with the windows closed, you don’t hear anything. The room is fine. The bathroom door is a sliding door made of non-transparant glass. Not very handy when you are travelling with friends. The service is average. The hotel area is pretty nice though. I am more of a “small hotel person”, but I still think this hotel earns an 7.5 out of 10.
We had no action plan for today, but we needed some coffee. Besides, we were curious about the underground atmosphere of the Friedrichshain area. This neighbourhood consists of a combination of anarchy, graffiti, art, history (the Berlin wall), modern business buildings and nightlife. Here you can also find the famous club Berghain. We decided not to go there, but we loved to walk around in this area. Then we found coffee bar Karvana.
Everything looks and feels very loungy in here. They also serve lunch, pastries and sell good chocolate. The coffee is fine and the red fruit pie is great. Our sleepy eyes were gone and we were warmed up to resist the cold November temperature. This friendly coffee spot is worth a 7 out of 10.
Just a 5 minute walk further, we arrived at Boxhagener Platz. There was the Saturday food market with vegetables, mobile coffee corners, meat, yoghurt bar, tasty sausages and all sorts of organic food. We had a delicious detox smoothie from the “Funk you” booth. I love markets and this one is very good.
We continued our search for coffee. On the internet, I found “Bonanza Coffee Heroes“. We took the subway (U-bahn) to Alexanderplatz and walked towards this coffee bar. But we ended up in a nice shopping area around Weinmeisterstrasse. I couldn’t resist and bought a nice T-shirt. The Danish brand “Wood Wood” has a new fan.
Bonanza Coffee Heroes
It was time for our last coffee stop of today. It’s really small inside, but there is a terrace outside that must be packed during summer. We had high expectations, but we were a bit disappointed about the coffee. We had a cappuccino and a cafe latte. The coffee was not strong enough for my taste and it tasted somewhat…sour. However, these guys know the barista art, and they even roast their own beans. I bought a bag of self-roasted beans from Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia. I hope these beans taste good at home. I rate this place with a 7.5 out of 10.
Almost next door, there is Cafe Ostfee. We entered a world of toy heroes, second hand furniture and tasty waffel burgers with salmon (this may seem a weird combination, but it tastes great). It is a relaxing self-service hangout with friendly people. We discovered that the entire neighbourhood (Oderberger Strasse and side streets) are packed with cozy bars, restaurants and a beer garden. Our rating of Ostfee: 7.5.
For our dinner, we chose restaurant Belmondo, a traditional French restaurant with delicious dishes. We had scallops, filet mignon and the best fish soup (bouillabaise) I have ever had. The wines are good too. The service is a little arrogant, but helpful. We were glad that we had made a reservation, because it was fully booked that evening. Happy and satisfied, we rate this French treasure, with an 8.5 out of 10.
The final touch.
We finished our first full day in Berlin with tasty rum cocktails in Bar Hefner, near our hotel. It is a small, retro style bar packed with a mixed public, mostly well dressed. The atmosphere is relaxed and the cocktails are great. Definitely worth an 8 out of 10