Osseria

Restaurants, Vegetarian Prenzlauer Berg
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Today, east Berlin is full of decent restaurants, but 20 years ago there was nothing but meat and two veg. Restaurants came in three, state-certified categories, staff were taught to do things in the same grumpily state-certified way, dishes were bland and fresh vegetables scarce. It would be some feat to replicate the true culinary horror of those days, but Osseria is having a go. On a suitably gloomy corner in Weissensee, just north of Prenzlauer Berg, this GDR-themed restaurant is a clutter of products and memorabilia from the communist era - cameras, radios, books, record sleeves, banknotes. The menu also evokes the good old, bad old days, with dishes such as eisbein (pork knuckle), fillet of pork 'Hawaii' (with pineapple and nasty cheese) and, the standard communist-era vegetarian option, spinach with fried eggs and boiled potatoes. Most items reflect a traditional Germanness that survived in East Berlin while being displaced in the West by international cuisines. Hungarian goulash provides a rare cosmopolitan touch and you can wash it down with a glass of Vita-Cola, some sweet Rotkäppchen sparkling wine, or a kaffee 'komplett' (that is, with milk). Sadly, Osseria fails the authenticity test on multiple counts. The menu is long and varied and nicely printed rather than fuzzily produced on some antediluvian duplicating machine, most items on it are available when you order them, service is friendly, the cutlery is of normal heft rather than being made from some spookily light aluminium alloy, there's no shortage of fresh vegetables, and the food is still warm when you get it. For all its blandness, this food is of a quality that would only have been found in the best of GDR restaurants. Still, this is how it exists in the memory of the ageing East Berliners to whose 'ostalgia' this curious establishment exists to cater for. And, hey, there's a delivery service too.

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Venue name: Osseria
Contact:
Address: Langhansstrasse 103
Berlin

Opening hours: Open 11am-11pm daily

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