Get your fill of substantial German fare at Zur Letzten Instanz (Waisenstrasse 14-16; +49-30-242-5528; ZurLetztenInstanz.de; ac;12-15). Berlin's oldest restaurant, established in 1621, serves up a limited but tasty selection of traditional Berlin fare. German leaders have accompanied a succession of heads of state here to sample specialties such as Eisbein. This old East eatery is overlooked by tourists in otherwise often overcrowded Mitte. Luminaries who have graced its tables and toasted themselves by the stove include Mikhail Gorbachev, Gerhard Schroder, Jacques Chirac, and, allegedly, Napoleon.
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For the thoroughly unique experience of eating blind, try the upscale unsicht-Bar (Gormannstrasse 14; 030-24-34-25-00; closed Mondays and Tuesdays; Unsicht-Bar-Berlin.de; ac;40+). 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.
Conveniently close to Kreuzberg's nightlife is the intriguing -- or perhaps perplexing -- dinner option Abendmahl (Muskauer Strasse 9; +49-30-612-5170; Abendmahl-Berlin.de; ac;10-18), which translates as "Last Supper." Providing imaginative vegetarian and fish concoctions in a kitschy religious atmosphere, the menu is laden with madly named meals such as the vegetarian Kissing Like a Wild Dog (seitan) and News From the Moon (trick chicken and shiitake in mango chili). Desserts include a Transvestite Dessert and a chocolate-and-rum fruit ashtray. It's one of either the most amusing or most insane restaurants in the city.
Cafe Orange (Oranienburger Strasse 32; +49-30-283-85-242; ac;8-15) in Kreuzberg is a good stop for informal but well-executed German and Mediterranean cuisine. Crowds flock for the vast portions served at Amrit (Oranienstrasse 202-3; +49-30-612-5550; Amrit.de; ac;12-23), one of the best Indian restaurants in Berlin. Food, service, and prices are good so reserve your table in advance. Join the eclectic mix of exuberant Berliners who take over tables in order to devour delicious East Indian dishes.
For those requiring more substantial -- or savory -- sustenance, stylish SUMO (Bergmannstrasse 89; +49-30-6900-4963; S-U-M-O.com; ac;7-10) is just round the corner on colorful Bergmannstrasse. Second-hand clothes stores, eclectic junk outlets, bookstores, and funky gift emporiums line the street. SUMO, a haven of Ikea minimalism with cool decor, matching sounds, and delicious modern Japanese fare such as crispy duck on spicy curry, lurks calmly amidst the street's color, characters, and chaos.