Seeking to immerse in Berlin through culinary delights? Ever wondered how local eateries match up against ALF (no, that term is NOT outdated) standards? REALLY need a reason to leave your bedroom for the first time in two weeks? Look no further! Here is a list of places not-too-far from the residence hall that pack a flavorful punch:

Pho Noodlebar (Adalbertstraße 9)

Nothing beats the impending doom of winter quite like a hot n’ savory bowl of pho. This noodle bar opened its second set of doors after wild success at its Mitte location. The menu boasts meaty steamed dumplings, tangy papaya salads, and a variety of heart-warming noodle soups ⁠— all designed to aromatically charm you off of the street and into the restaurant. 

It’s located just eight minutes down Adalbertstraße and right next to The Visit coffee shop in case you’d like to grab a bite after studying.

What I ordered:

  • Mr. and Mrs. Pho, 9 – Pho Bo noodle soup, thinly-sliced raw beef steak, flank steak, fatty brisket and herbs
  • Sweet Bangkok Salad, €6 – Green mango, chili, soybean sprouts, onions, peanuts, and herbs (Options: +King Prawns, +Duck, or +Organic-Tofu)
Mr. and Mrs. Pho from Pho Noodlebar. Photo by Audrey Warters.
Sweet Bangkok Salad from Pho Noodlebar. Photo by Audrey Warters.

Vegan/Vegetarian Options: Yes, many!

Honest Ratings:

  • #sourcequality: 3.75. The pho, though filled with tender pieces of meat and crisp herbs, seemed to air on the lighter side of flavor. As a person who tends to enjoy bold tastes, I couldn’t help but want a little bit more from this noodle soup. However, the contrasting flavor profiles of the Sweet Bangkok Salad seemed to perfectly complement what was missing from the pho. Rich in green mango, chili, and onions, the savory experience of the Sweet Bangkok truly brought this meal home. 
  • #professionalism: 4.5. The atmosphere of the restaurant and attentiveness of the waitstaff makes this the perfect hipster-date-night spot. If you’re a fan of industrial vibes, leafy plants, and rustic wooden decor, check this place out. When the food reaches the table, you’ll be amazed by the complementary colors of each dish and the clean-cut presentation of the meal. 

Opinion: All in all, loved dining here ⁠— so much so that I visited the original location in Mitte to compare flavors/experiences. Both spots were jam-packed with people indulging in Pho’s mouthwatering noodle soups and other ambrosial delights. If you’re looking to stay closer to home, the Adalbertstraße location is a solid meal-move. If you’d like to up your pho game, I personally found the Mitte location to be well worth the additional trip. 

Mundvoll (Waldemarstrasse 48)

Mundvoll translates to “mouthful” ⁠— an accurate description of their delectable brunch platters and heartily roasted coffee. If you’re feeling a Sunday brunch with your favorite people, look no further than this must-visit spot. 

What I ordered:

  • Vegan Brunch Platter, €9 – Assorted vegetables, bread, and dips
Vegan Brunch Platter from Mundvoll, featuring Linh Phuong being adorable. Photo by Audrey Warters.

Vegan/Vegetarian Options: Countless. This place is a haven.

Honest Ratings:

  • #sourcequality: 4. Mundvoll prides itself in using fresh, seasonal ingredients for all of their tasty dishes. I was wildly impressed by the size of their breakfast platters, as well as the intentional design of the ⁠— having tons of small items on one big plate truly pushes you to slow down and enjoy your food. Scrumptious. 
  • #confidence: 5. The second time I visited this place, I forgot my card and had to return home to snag it. Upon return, the waiter looked me dead in the eyes and said, “Get your shit together, this is Berlin.” Bold and true. 

Opinion: You know those films that romanticize Europe as “sitting at an outdoor cafe, sipping black coffee, chain-smoking cigarettes, and trash-talking Americans?” No? Well, this place combines that oddly specific schema of an entire continent with artfully-crafted avocado toasts and zesty pastas. It’s the essence of Breakfast at Tiffany’s and classy conversations. Check it out!

Sudanesischer Imbiss (Adalbertstraße 86)

This place is the God-tier of all potentially regrettable decisions. As a rational, wise, and health-oriented human being who obviously cares about what she puts in her body, I have eaten here at least three times per week since we’ve arrived in Berlin.

Sudanesischer Imbiss serves deep fried falafel sandwiches doused in a home-made peanut sauce that makes heaven’s angels sing. Are you thinking to yourself, “Nothing about that sounds entirely healthy, especially if you’ve basically been eating Falafel Magali for…every meal?” If so, cut the judgment ⁠— you came here for an honest food review, not diet advice.

What I have ordered way too many times:

  • Falafel Magali, 3- Crispy falafel, sweet potato fries (inside the sandwich), lettuce, onions, cucumber, angel-singing peanut sauce, chili oil
Falafel Magali from Sudanesischer Imbiss. Photo by Audrey Warters.

Honest Ratings:

  • #sourcequality: 5. Remember the SF days of spending €3 on a sandwich and feeling full, energized, and ready to hit the ground running? Absolutely not, because nothing in SF was as cheap, properly-sized, or delectable as Sudanesischer Imbiss. Everything here is fresh, filling, fantastic, and won’t break the bank. 
  • #emotionalpersuasion: 5. Have you ever cried real tears from food that touched your soul? Not to be dramatic or anything, but the crunch of the falafel paired with the sweet n’ spicy mixture of sauces really gets the waterworks going. The guys who put these sandwiches together are also some of the friendliest people on the planet, making it THAT much better to walk into the shop and binge eat my guiltiest (okay, not that guilty) pleasure. We’re totally not on a first name basis or anything. 

Opinion: If you’re looking for a place to go after you’ve accidentally used an extension because assignment deadlines are at 12:00AM instead of literally ONE minute earlier, this is the spot to self-loathe and consume delicious sandwiches. It’s open until odd hours of the night, although you might find yours truly sitting in the back at all hours of the day.