Food, Fashion, and Beyond: Chef Tim Raue's Guide to Berlin

The Michelin-starred chef reveals his favorite restaurants and watering holes.

Renowned chef Tim Raue is one of Berlin’s brightest culinary stars. Born and raised in the Kreuzberg neighborhood, Raue quickly rose in the ranks of the city’s restaurant scene, earning four Michelin stars along the way. Today, he heads four famed restaurants across Berlin: the self-named Tim Raue, with two Michelin stars; Sra Bua, specializing in Thai and Japanese cuisine; La Soupe Populaire, a trendy spot for updated German classics; and studio TIM RAUE, the newest addition to his culinary empire.

How does one become a star chef in Berlin?

By working only with the best ingredients and the best, most motivated people—and getting enough people to come eat, of course.

The chef's table at studio TIM RAUE in Prenzlauer Berg.

Your culinary style is influenced by Asian cuisine. Are there any restaurants in Berlin that have particularly inspired you?

I really like going out to eat, especially Thai and Chinese food. However, I mostly get my inspiration from fashion, colors, textures, and art. It’s not as simple as seeing a picture of a cucumber and then creating some kind of cucumber dish—rather, the inspiration strikes when I’m not thinking about cooking. I try to assume the mindset of an artist when I go into the kitchen, to see things from a totally new perspective and create dishes from there.

Where is your favorite place for a great breakfast?

The brot&butter café (Hardenbergstr. 4-5) in Charlottenburg has croissants that are out of this world. One of these, topped thickly with butter and some well-aged Portuguese ham, is sure to start my day with a smile.

Which spots do you consider a must for Berlin visitors?

The exhibitions at the Neue Nationalgalerie, such as the past Gerhard Richter retrospective and the MoMA in Berlin exhibition (in 2004), have always inspired me.

Berlin's Neue Nationalgalerie (© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, photo by Maximilian Meisse)

Where do you go for a delicious piece of cake?

I have fond childhood memories of visiting the grand cake counter at the KaDeWe department store. As a young boy, I would just gape in awe at this magnificent paradise. My favorite today is The Mascot, a cake of hazelnut buttercream and meringue. In the summer, I prefer an ice cream cake with raspberry and vanilla.

What’s a good spot for a sunny day?

On summer weekends, I like going to Preußenpark, where Thai families gather to cook traditional street food. It feels like you’re sitting in a park in Bangkok.

Where do you like to shop?

I like Andreas Murkudis in Potsdamer Straße and Departmentstore Quartier 206 in Friedrichstraße. Both have a very original selection of fashion. KaDeWe has become a shoe mecca and has six floors full of interesting items as well. My shirts are custom made by the tailors at Maßatelier Fasan in Charlottenburg.

What’s your favorite place for a cocktail?

Le Croco Bleu, the neighbor to our restaurant La Soupe Populaire in the Bötzow Brauerei building, where they have rum in original bottles from the 1960s. You sit on New York barstools in a former machine room and get served by bartender Gregor Scholl in the grand manner of a real gentleman.

Le Croco Bleu, sister bar to Tim Raue's La Soupe Populaire

And for nightlife?

I usually spend my nights in bed because my priority is always cooking, my true passion. But when I do go out, I go to Cordobar (Große Hamburger Str. 32). The owner, Willi, plays the role of DJ, the wine list is truly grand, and you can have great conversations and experience true wine culture until the early morning hours.