Global Gayborhoods: Berlin

Some cities, like Tokyo dazzle. Others, like Delhi sweep you through their cultural undercurrents until you surface back home, gasping and delighted. Berlin, more than any, seduces -- and there is a massive queer ex-pat community to prove it!

BY Nikko Lancek-Inagaki

July 03 2008 12:00 AM ET

Tips: Ich Bin Ein Berliner

After JFK famously misspoke these words in West
Berlin in 1963, the rumor goes, calling himself a
local jelly donut instead of saying "I am a Berliner"
(Ich bin Berliner), this phrase has become something of a
city joke. That said, there is great food in Berlin, even if
travelers have to wade past the
potatoes-and-cream-laden local cuisine to get there.

A staple in the
city's diet, the Imbiss (roughly, fast street food)
serves up clean, tasty, inexpensive and, thanks to sizeable
Turkish and African immigrant populations, diverse
treats all day and night. Fresh, meal-sized döner
kebabs, pizza, currywurst, and Chinese food can be found
on any corner for less than 5 euros.

For a special
treat, try Nil (Grünbergerstrasse 52; 2-4
euros), which serves up Sudanese falafel and grilled
chicken sandwiches laden with fried cheese or dripping
with a fresh peanut sauce that is deceptively light
for its body.

A few blocks away
along Oranienstrasse (one block above the Kottbusser
Tor metro stop), Sunday brunch pulls everyone onto sidewalk
cafés for multi-course cheese and meat platters
and deep Milchkaffees (like a latte), filling the
Kreuzberg street with French, English, Spain, Italian,
and German chatter until well past 4 p.m.

For the
thoroughly unique experience of eating blind, try the
upscale Unsicht-bar (Gormannstrasse 14;
030-24-34-25-00; Closed Mondays, Tuesdays; 40 euros+).
Order from six set menus that list impressions, riddles, and
metaphors like "recipe of a wheat produce passed down by
Japanese monks" or go for the Surprise Menu before
dining in pitch darkness with enhanced other senses.
You'll discover what you ate after paying the bill.
Reservations recommended.

Tags: Travel

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