Over the years, there has been a surge in the popularity of Indian food in the city. Tourists and locals are drawn to its many restaurants for experiences ranging from trendy and modern to typically traditional.
Take a look at four restaurants making their mark on the restaurant scene in the German capital for completely different and unique reasons:
Calcutta: Berlin's oldest Indian restaurant
Opened in 1964, Calcutta has been around for more than 50 years in Berlin. Located in a quaint neighborhood of Charlottenburg in Berlin, Calcutta can be easy to miss unless one is intentionally looking for it. The small entrance door opens into a yellow themed restaurant with hand painted walls, a wooden ceiling and the enveloping fragrance of delicious Indian cooking. It ranks as one of the best restaurants in the city for no-hype authentic Indian food. The dishes most frequently asked for are palak paneer (spinach gravy with homemade cottage cheese), rogan josh (a lamb specialty from Kashmir) and butter chicken (grilled chicken breast filet in tomato cream sauce). The kitchen serves nine different types of naan (Indian bread) ranging from the basic plain naan to the elaborate keema naan (a minced meat stuffed bread). Needless to say, Calcutta is well-known for its tandoori food.
Chutnify: Coolest kid on the block
The young and trendy restaurant Chutnify is not your typical indian restaurant. Serving original Southern Indian street food, it makes a strong statement about Indian culture by incorporating modernity and fashion in its design and appearance. Inspired by her love of color and patterns, restaurant owner Aparna Auror, who has worked for 20 years in fashion, breathes life into the place with a pop of hues and freshness. Her aim is to show a different side of India and as she explains, "India is not all about poverty and yoga. There is so much more to India. That is what we want to try and show people." The specialty of the kitchen is the dosa. It is a thin savory pancake made with fermented rice which is served with different kinds of fillings and chutneys - a spicey condiment of Indian origin. The dosa is available in vegetarian and non vegetarian improvisations at both the branches of Chutnify in Berlin in the hipper districts of Kreuzkölln and Prenzlauer Berg. Highly recommended apart from the dosa is the refreshing mango lassi, tangy samosa chickpea chaat and assorted thalis, all of which are popular among the international guests at Chutnify.
Amrit: Biggest player on the field
If a tourist in the city is looking for Indian food, he will most likely than not end up in one of the Amrit restaurants. With four branches located across the city from Kreuzberg in the east to Schöneberg in the west and two branches in Mitte, it seems like the name of this restaurant chain pops up everywhere. Big in size and elaborately decorated with fountains, umbrellas, marble statues and other Indian elements, a traditional ambiance is created for the guests. Their extensive menu focuses on mainly Northern Indian cuisine with a few dishes from the south of India. With the happy hour cocktails and daily changing menus, Amrit caters to everyone's needs. Since opening their first branch in 1996, the two brothers Bitu and Bunty Bans have come a long way in the restaurant business in the city, firmly establishing their brand as a strong contender for Indian food in Berlin. The popularity of Amrit can be awarded to consistently good food and the whole rounded typical Indian experience they offer.
India Club: Newest addition to the game
This recently opened restaurant, located in the touristic epicenter of Berlin near Brandenburg Gate, is redefining fancy Indian dining in the city. It serves delicious North Indian food prepared under the supervision of Manish Bahukhani, celebrity Indian chef from New Delhi. Although the menu is limited, it is created with exquisite taste and achieves the ideal balance of its dishes. The restaurant is gaining quite a reputation for business meals and events, courtesy of the food as well as the elegant interiors. With hues of pink, yellow, turquoise, green and purple, India Club is colorful yet chic. The dark mahogany wood floors, chandeliers and comfortable leather seating with floral cushions create an understated ambience. This minimalistic theme is well incorporated in the cutlery, crockery as well the stylish uniforms of the staff, providing a very pleasing overall effect. When a special occasion calls for a gastronomic delight, this is the place to be.