Dining at Berlin's Hidden Gems

In the 20 years since the fall of the wall, Berlin has turned from a town where eating was best avoided to one of Europe's culinary capitals.

Berlin's newest food trend, however, is the rise of cheap, divey restaurants as an unlikely backdrop for delicious food. Themroc, a grungy hole in the wall, has a few mismatched tables and worn-out sofas huddled around a small open kitchen that turns out one delectable dish per night (no substitutions, please), such as osso buco with fresh gremolata. In the immigrant-heavy Kreuzberg district, Schlesisch Blau offers German comfort food like sauerbraten (rich beef braised in a sweet dark sauce) in a living-room-like setting.

G wie Goulash serves nothing but its namesake dish, alternately made from veal, venison, or horse. Some of these restaurants have no signs and no marketing—not to evoke a secret, in-crowd supper club (that would be so 1990s) but just to keep things simple. That grungy and low-key can be high trend is nothing new in Berlin, where being poor and having fun have always gone hand in hand.