The discriminating Michelin restaurant reviewers have spoken: for the 2014 issue of the culinary bible, 14 Berlin establishments were granted a total of 19 stars between them, placing the German capital firmly on the map with other European culinary destinations like London, Paris and Brussels.
Particularly celebrated in the latest Michelin crowning was Facil, the only Berlin location to be bumped up from one-star to two-star status. In a glass atrium of The Mandala Hotel and surrounded by a panorama of trees, diners can enjoy the much-lauded fruits of chef Michael Kempf’s labors. His precise culinary style masters the art of understated elegance, exploring local ingredients and German culinary traditions to preserve and enhance flavors.
Of the three new one-star additions to the Michelin ranks, Les Solistes by Pierre Gagnaire, 5 - cinco by Paco Pérez, and Pauly Saal, the latter was something of a surprise upstart. The restaurant opened in 2012 on the premises of a former Jewish school for girls, a creative-minded complex that also houses multiple art galleries and a Jewish-style deli. Pauly Saal is set in the school’s former gymnasium and retains the vaulted, spartan feel of the space, adding trendy décor touches like lush, dark-green velvet and taxidermied animals.
Perfectly complementing the elegant yet informal feel of Pauly Saal’s space is the German menu, which treads the delicate balance between rustic yet refined.
Diners can watch chef Siegfried Danler through a full-length window into the kitchen, in which hearty regional offerings like pig belly, wild duck, pike-perch, and ox from the Pomerania region north of Berlin are prepared with deft precision.
The beer-and-bratwurst stereotype is a thing of the past. Explore the expanding constellation of Berlin’s fine dining scene, and you won’t be disappointed.