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The Local’s meaty vegan guide to Berlin

Germany has a reputation as a meat loving country and, in Berlin, that seems to be true of its vegan population. In the German capital there are many eateries - from candlelit cafes to greasy fast food joints - serving up tasty Vleich, or vegetarian Fleisch (meat). Some have been known to convert even the most devout omnivores.

The Local's meaty vegan guide to Berlin
Vöner. Photo: DPA

Vöner

The giant rotating wheel of smoked goodness in the heart of Friedrichshain looks suspiciously like a Döner. Yet it's actually a tempting slab of Tempeh, shaved off and placed in a big Brot in the same fashion as its meaty twin. This Vöner, an abbreviation for Vegetarian döner, also comes complete with the usual salad filling and your choice of sauce. We must say the peanut sauce is an excellent choice. Still not fulfilled by this fake meat? Try the veggie Currywurst, a tofu dog topped with a sweet and savoury sauce.

Website

Address: Boxhagener Straße 56 (Friedrichshain)

Der vegetarische Metzger

A vegetarian butcher shop sounds like the ultimate oxymoron. But Der vegetarische Metzger is a Kreuzberg institution devoted to the best Vleisch possible. Open since 1962 – long before the formation of Berlin’s hipster vegan scene – the Metzger also serves up pre-cooked hits like cheeseless chili cheese fries, burgers and shawarmas with vegan dressing.

Website

Address: Bergmannstraße 1 (Kreuzberg)

Fish-free tuna on sale at the Photo: DPA

Burrito Baby Berlin

This aptly named Mexican joint in Neukölln carries a selection as large as the size of its burritos of veggie-friendly fare. Try the scrumptious “Vegan hit” which includes Soja Schnitzel and Cashew Creme. The “BBQ” with black beans and tofu is another top pick for anyone craving Mexican made healthy.

Website

Address: Pflügerstraße 11 (Neukölln)

Yoyo Foodworld

After a first glance at this menu with names such as Chicken Schnitzel Burger and Bavarian wrap, it would be difficult to tell that it’s 100 percent vegan. Yet all the traditional fast food dishes at Yoyo Foodworld are exactly that. There is even a selection of traditional German dishes, such as the Käsespätzle made with a soy cheese substitute. Calling itself the “first vegan fast food restaurant in Germany,” Yoyo is just a stone's throw from Boxhagener Platz. 

Website

Address: Gärtnerstraße 27 (Friedrichshain)

Sfizy

The first vegan pizza place in all of Europe, this kitschy kitchen decked in 70s decor serves not only gourmet pizzas but also every Italian-themed item you can imagine, from over-fired thin crusted delights to lasagne with vegan cheese and a meat-flavoured tomato sauce. Even omnivores will be impressed with the tasty cheeseless choices.

Website

Address: Treptower Straße 95 (Neukölln)

Pizzare

If you still have a cheesy craving after Sfizy, this casual pizza place off the trendy Eberswalder Strasse is a good way to get your fix. They have an extensive menu with some fancy favourites such as a slice with Shiitake mushrooms, caramelized onions and of course vegan mozzarella cheese. There is even a lasagne with “Bechamel sauce” and a creamy tiramisu.

Address: Eberswalder Straße 21 (Prenzlauer Berg)

Chay Viet

In the mood for traditional scrumptious dumplings minus the typical meaty interior? The charming Chay Viet on Brunnenstraße offers a wide selection of veggie tofu Eintöpfe (stews) which will please omnivores and veggies alike. They also offer the Vietnamese national dish Cha La Lot made veggie: marinated tofu is wrapped into betel leaves and fresh salad.

Address: Brunnenstraße 164 (Mitte)

Momos

From the outside this hole in the wall does not seem too spectacular. Inspired by Nepalese momos, this cafe on Chauseestraße serves an array of vegetarian dumplings with strange but satisfying ingredients such as spinach or pumpkin and chickpeas. They also have a selection of dessert dumplings such as walnut chocolate brownies.

Website

Address: Chausseestraße 2

Vegetarian Schnitzel, anyone? Photo: DPA

Cookies Cream

This is perhaps not the name you might expect of an all-vegan restaurant, and that's not the only confusing thing about this eatery.

Finding this place seems like some sort of an initiation ceremony – you have to weave through a courtyard just off Friedrichstraße trying to find a tiny name on a doorbell. Then you wander up a dark stairway to a surprisingly fancy restaurant that serves up a seasonal rotating menu of the finest of vegan tastes.

Website

Address: Behrenstraße 55 (Mitte)

Kopps

A classy classic in Mitte, this candle-lit restaurant serves up a creative rotating menu of meatless fare from local farms. If you stop by during their sunnier hours, try the all-you-can-eat vegan buffet, which is available both Saturday and Sunday until 4 pm, and offers traditional treats done sans dairy, such as a tasty tofu scramble and Belgian waffles.

Website

Address: Linienstraße 94 (Mitte)

Lucky Leek

One of the few vegan restaurants to land in the famed Michelin Guide, this posh Prenzlauer Berg bistro operates under the auspices of star chef Josita Hartanto. The fine five-course menus will include treats such as mushroom risotto with “feta” and beetroot carpaccio with marinated eggplant, red onions and dill sour cream if you're keen on something particularly fancy.

Website

Address: Kollwitzstraße 54 (Prenzlauer Berg)

Chaostheorie

For some tasty finger futter as you grab a drink, the cosy Chaostheorie bar offers a selection that includes double cheese nachos and double chocolate cake. Even their creamy cocktails such as the salted caramel and blueberry cheesecake “Freakshakes” are made without milk. The bar is also known for its regular livestyle events, including a weekly Vegan Singles Night, should you be looking to meet your meatless match.

Website

Address: Schliemannstraße 15 (Prenzlauer Berg)

Alaska

In southern Europe, it’s often the norm to receive a free bite when you order a drink. A Spanish bar in the heart of Reuterkiez, Alaska brings the phenomenon up north, with a twist. All of their free tapas are 100 percent vegan, including the eggless tortilla, vegan camembert cheese and ‘patatas bravas’ or traditional pieces of potato with vegan aioli. They even offer a Churros Sunday if you’re a fan of the traditional deep fried pastry stick dipped in chocolate.

Address: Reuterstraße 85 (Neukölln)

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BERLIN

EXPLAINED: Berlin’s latest Covid rules

In response to rapidly rising Covid-19 infection rates, the Berlin Senate has introduced stricter rules, which came into force on Saturday, November 27th. Here's what you need to know.

A sign in front of a waxing studio in Berlin indicates the rule of the 2G system
A sign in front of a waxing studio indicates the rule of the 2G system with access only for fully vaccinated people and those who can show proof of recovery from Covid-19 as restrictions tighten in Berlin. STEFANIE LOOS / AFP

The Senate agreed on the tougher restrictions on Tuesday, November 23rd with the goal of reducing contacts and mobility, according to State Secretary of Health Martin Matz (SPD).

He explained after the meeting that these measures should slow the increase in Covid-19 infection rates, which was important as “the situation had, unfortunately, deteriorated over the past weeks”, according to media reports.

READ ALSO: Tougher Covid measures needed to stop 100,000 more deaths, warns top German virologist

Essentially, the new rules exclude from much of public life anyone who cannot show proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid-19. You’ll find more details of how different sectors are affected below.

Shops
If you haven’t been vaccinated or recovered (2G – geimpft (vaccinated) or genesen (recovered)) from Covid-19, then you can only go into shops for essential supplies, i.e. food shopping in supermarkets or to drugstores and pharmacies.

Many – but not all – of the rules for shopping are the same as those passed in the neighbouring state of Brandenburg in order to avoid promoting ‘shopping tourism’ with different restrictions in different states.

Leisure
2G applies here, too, as well as the requirement to wear a mask with most places now no longer accepting a negative test for entry. Only minors are exempt from this requirement.

Sport, culture, clubs
Indoor sports halls will off-limits to anyone who hasn’t  been vaccinated or can’t show proof of recovery from Covid-19. 2G is also in force for cultural events, such as plays and concerts, where there’s also a requirement to wear a mask. 

In places where mask-wearing isn’t possible, such as dance clubs, then a negative test and social distancing are required (capacity is capped at 50 percent of the maximum).

Restaurants, bars, pubs (indoors)
You have to wear a mask in all of these places when you come in, leave or move around. You can only take your mask off while you’re sat down. 2G rules also apply here.

Hotels and other types of accommodation 
Restrictions are tougher here, too, with 2G now in force. This means that unvaccinated people can no longer get a room, even if they have a negative test.

Hairdressers
For close-contact services, such as hairdressers and beauticians, it’s up to the service providers themselves to decide whether they require customers to wear masks or a negative test.

Football matches and other large-scale events
Rules have changed here, too. From December 1st, capacity will be limited to 5,000 people plus 50 percent of the total potential stadium or arena capacity. And only those who’ve been vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 will be allowed in. Masks are also compulsory.

For the Olympic Stadium, this means capacity will be capped at 42,000 spectators and 16,000 for the Alte Försterei stadium. 

Transport
3G rules – ie vaccinated, recovered or a negative test – still apply on the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, trams and buses in Berlin. It was not possible to tighten restrictions, Matz said, as the regulations were issued at national level.

According to the German Act on the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases, people have to wear a surgical mask or an FFP2 mask  on public transport.

Christmas markets
The Senate currently has no plans to cancel the capital’s Christmas markets, some of which have been open since Monday. 

According to Matz, 2G rules apply and wearing a mask is compulsory.

Schools and day-care
Pupils will still have to take Covid tests three times a week and, in classes where there are at least two children who test positive in the rapid antigen tests, then tests should be carried out daily for a week.  

Unlike in Brandenburg, there are currently no plans to move away from face-to-face teaching. The child-friendly ‘lollipop’ Covid tests will be made compulsory in day-care centres and parents will be required to confirm that the tests have been carried out. Day-care staff have to document the results.

What about vaccination centres?
Berlin wants to expand these and set up new ones, according to Matz. A new vaccination centre should open in the Ring centre at the end of the week and 50 soldiers from the German army have been helping at the vaccination centre at the Exhibition Centre each day since last week.

The capacity in the new vaccination centre in the Lindencenter in Lichtenberg is expected to be doubled. There are also additional vaccination appointments so that people can get their jabs more quickly. Currently, all appointments are fully booked well into the new year.

 

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