On our recent visit to Berlin (now very possibly my favourite city on earth), we stumbled onto a really great beer hall in the district of Prenzlauer Berg. Entry is under a huge sign announcing PRATERGARTEN in gaudy red bulbs. It shone at us like a beacon in the drizzle of a cold November night and welcomed us in, past a big empty space which is no doubt full to bursting with people enjoying beers after work in the warmer months.
On further inspection, we’d really hit the jackpot here – Prater Garten has been in existence since 1837 and is incredibly popular, ranking well on trip advisor and busy all summer long.
We walked into the long almost chalet style building and were surprised to see that the inside was pretty old-fashioned and very traditional. At 6 pm it was already filling up as we took a seat at the bar and ordered a couple of beers. You know I always need to take a look at the menu when I visit anywhere new and we soon realised this was where we wanted to be for dinner. The menu echoed the modern styling we’d seen outside but the dishes themselves were hearty, traditional German fair.
We moved across to the dining area, surrounded by German families, couples and groups of friends, some sat on the long benches around the edges, some up on a small cabaret stage and others on smaller tables like ours, on the main floor. There were plenty of staff on and they were all really helpful, especially given our extremely stilted German! Fortunately for us, everyone seems to speak English.
Dave opted for Gansbraten: crispy roast goose with creamed spinach and red cabbage, potato dumplings, a baked apple and lingonberry sauce. I had Kasseler Ham: with malt beer sauce, mash and sauerkraut. Before I even start to talk about how good the ham and the goose were, I have to stop and congratulate these guys on their mash. Oh wow, that mash was good. Some of the best mash of my life (and there’s been a lot!). The ham was cut into a thick slice with a gorgeous almost caramelised toffee crust along the top. It was smoked and melt in the mouth delicious. The goose was a leg and part of a breast – complete with crispy skin. We gnawed every last bit of meat off the leg bone between us.
This was the second place we’d encountered dumplings and as per the first, they were wrapped around a savoury piece of something in the centre which I can’t put my finger on. Was it some kind of seasoning cube? The dumplings I personally find a little stodgy but then German food is all about comfort – it feels like good cold weather grub and when those dumplings are doused in lovely gravy, they are still very tasty.
For pud, we shared an Apfelstrudel, we had to really didn’t we? For the blog. It was a hearty slice, taken from a big homemade strudel (oh how I’d love to see the whole thing) and was sat in a bowl of delicious vanilla cream. We gobbled it up quick smart before finishing our beers and starting the well-needed walk home.
My advice for anyone wanting to eat here – prebook! We only just managed to grab a table and the place was packed by the time we left at around 7:30-8pm. Also, they only accept cash so make sure you’re well stocked up. Our bill came to 62 euros for two mains, one pudding and 4 drinks.
Find Prater Gaststätte & Garten on Kastanienallee 7-9 in the district of Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin. They are also online here.
*We paid for our own meal and all my opinions are my own – oh and Dave’s, I guess he can have a say too*