Imbiss in German means snack, but it is also a general term for a small food stand or street food shop. There are thousands of these small shops around Berlin and they sell every possible variation of street food. They serve the German classic currywurst, but also pizzas, burgers, falafels, kebabs, hot dog, Vietnamese food, Indian food and in some cases even Russian soups. The options are endless. Imbisses are usually small unpretentious places which do not put emphasis on appearance but on the quality of the food. High-quality ingredients, exotic flavours and a relaxed atmosphere is the essence of an imbiss. Each imbiss in many cases has a small seating area inside used during winter. During summer, people just stand outside for a quick lunch or dinner, and of course a glass of beer. Also throughout the city (and especially at the train stations) there many food stalls, kiosks and canteens that serve excellent street food along with coffee or beer.
It’s impossible to imagine Berlin life without street food. Berliners love imbisses and it is an important part of their daily lives. Before and after work or during their lunch time, they will flock to these small places for a quick bite, which they prefer from other restaurants. It is not a coincidence that currywurst and doner kebab both originate from Berlin. Currywurst’s success began at a Berlin kiosk. It is fried sausage (with and without casing) cut into slices and served with a ketchup-curry powder sauce, mayonnaise and fries. Today, you can eat it at countless takeaway shops throughout the city. Doner kebab is also a Berlin original. A Turkish immigrant invented it here during the 1970s. Today you could buy the combination of juicy grilled meat, fresh salad and spicy sauce in a flat bread on almost every street corner.
It is impossible to mention in an article all the worth-visiting imbisses in Berlin. It is something you should find out yourself if you are visiting Berlin. A safe choice would be one with a long queue of locals waiting outside. However, here are the top five we visited during our stay in Berlin :
Curry 36 (Mehringdamm 36, 10961 Berlin) : This is a Berlin institution. The legendary snack bar has been serving for more than 30 years the classic currywurst. Loved by locals, tourists and celebrities this is the place to taste authentic Berlin street food.
Konnopke’s Imbiss (Schönhauser Allee 44 B, 10435 Berlin) : Another classic place for currywurst and sausages. It has a history dating back to the 1930s and is also said to have been the first snack bar to sell currywurst in East Berlin in the 1960s.
Mustafa’s Gemüse Kebap (Mehringdamm 3210961 Berlin) : Just metres from Curry 36, this place is considered to serve the best kebabs in Berlin. It was founded in 2006 and is arguably the most popular street food and late night meal in Berlin. In addition to the classic doner, it also serves excellent chicken and vegetable kebabs.
W-der Imbiss (Kastanienallee 49 10119 Berlin) : The snack bar W-Der Imbiss in the middle of Berlin is the best place for fans of the Indian cuisine. Apart from a handful of dishes of Indian curries or buddha bowls, you will also taste special combinations on the menu, such as the Naan pizzas.
Garda Pizza (Crellestraße 48, Berlin) : The places in Berlin to eat pizza are numerous. However in Garda Pizza you could taste perfect focaccia Romana, which is pizza sliced into rectangular portions with thick crispy crust. Popular tastes are rucola and tomato, tuna and onion, and marinara.
No visit in Berlin is complete without a visit to a genuine imbiss. Make your choice, mingle with the locals and enjoy an authentic experience in Berlin.