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Restaurants and cafés in Neukölln

The restaurants and cafés the locals don’t want you to know about...

© David Clack

Before hitting Neukölln's best shops, galleries or bars, get yourself a caffeine hit. Located right next to Tempelhof, the Schillerkiez – a residential grid based around the leafy Schillerpromenade – is where you'll find Neukölln's best cafés. Most don't open for breakfast, meaning neatly presented café-slash-gallery Pappelreihe (Kienitzerstrasse 109, +49 176 3419 6020) is left to look after the early morning trade; head here for exquisite coffees, pastries and a hangover-friendly soundtrack of low-energy reggae music.

For more substantial sustenance, Schiller Bar (Herrfurthstrase 7, +49 172 9824 427), located just around the corner, serves its hearty breakfasts well into the afternoon. Try the 'Bologna' eggs, which come scrambled with sun-dried tomato, bacon and a side of salad – just the job for easing back into reality after a busy night on the sauce.

The epicentre of Neukölln's dining scene, meanwhile, lies to the north-east. As well as numerous decent-but-samey Turkish spots, Karl Marx Strasse is also where you'll find some excellent sushi, at Steel Shark (Karl-Marx-Strasse 13, +49 30 6298 3503). The tuna and salmon-topped fare isn't exactly adventurous, but the fish is fresh and exceptionally cheap, with lunch-sized maki sets starting at €3,50.

Continue up to Hermannplatz U-Bahn station and, suddenly, you're spoilt for choice. Well worth a try is Berlin Burger International (Pannierstrasse 5, +49 178 5407 409), a word-of-mouth phenomenon that's wooed the taste buds of every foodie blogger in the city. The meaty concoctions are simple, with an emphasis on fresh ingredients but, with outdoor seating limited (and indoor seating non-existent), you may have to settle for perching on a kerb and eating off of your knees – trickier than it sounds when you've got a sandwich the thickness of a dictionary to deal with.

Or, head around the corner onto Wesertrasse where you'll find the delightfully basic-looking Sahara (Reuterstrasse 56, +49 30 4738 4090) – one of Berlin's oddly numerous Sudanese restaurants. The 'Sahara Special' plate costs just €6 and consists of grilled meat, falafel, halloumi, fried potato and salad, all drizzled in an outrageously tangy peanut sauce. Presentation is low on the list of priorities and space extremely limited, but don't panic if the small seating area is full, since the €2.50 takeaway sandwiches are every bit as good.

For something a touch more refined (and with yet more hipster credentials) try Sauvage (Pflügerstrasse 25, +49 30 5316 7547) – Berlin's sole pioneer of 'paleolithic cuisine'. Based on what it claims is the 'world's healthiest diet', dishes are prepared in line with the eating habits of our knuckle-dragging, cave-dwelling ancestors, meaning meat, fish and veg are all 100 per cent organic and sustainably sourced, while grains, sugars and processed ingredients – no matter how small – are outlawed. The 'hunter gatherer' antipasti platter is a good place to start, while low-carb mains of grilled meat and fish show how much of a difference properly sourced produce can really make.

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