From its grandiose East German architecture to its rows of reinvigorated streets, the iconic scenery of Frankfurter Tor is an inviting spot for any lover of food, fun and refined surroundings. Soviet builders, squatting artists and startup gurus have all made their mark on this corner of town — and it's only getting more and more exciting.

Chum and Friends

A taste of the far-flung

via Website

Very few Vietnamese spots have as much variety as this one. Chum and Friends is an industrial-chic eatery with food and drinks that taste as delectable as they look. Smooth soups and some of the most creative cocktails in town make this quaint little corner a neighborhood favorite.
Where: Niederbarnimstraße 17, 10247 Berlin
When: Mon.-Thurs., noon-11 p.m.; Fri., noon-midnight; Sat. & Sun., 1 p.m.-midnight
More info: 030 22358920;


Shakespeare and Sons

Coffee and culture

via Facebook

Great literature is one of those things that can only get better with Fine Bagels and interesting events on the premises, which is the idea behind this independent bookstore. Offering a collection of books in both English and French from all conceivable eras and genres is no easy task. Spend a little time over at Shakespeare and Sons, however, and you’ll find yourself feeling like all the world’s a book and we are all, happily, readers.
Where: Warschauerstraße 74, 10243 Berlin
When: Mon.-Sat., 9 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.-8 p.m. (Fine Bagels, daily, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.)
More info: 030 46796332;


Santa Maria Eastside

For some sizzle

via Facebook

The third pillar in one of the city’s greatest gastronomic success stories, Santa Maria Eastside is where your myths about Mexican food in Germany go to die. Authentic spices and ingredients are accompanied by tasty tacos and what is perhaps Berlin’s best burrito. Drawing inspiration from Mexico City’s street-food scene (which means it's open late), Santa Maria Eastside is yet another spot where deliciousness comes with colorful cocktails.
Where: Krossener Straße 18, 10245 Berlin
When: Mon.-Thurs., 5 p.m.-3 a.m.; Fri.-Sun., 11:30 a.m.-3 a.m.
More info: 030 29360555;


Galerie Kuchling

An artist’s paradise

via Facebook. "Zum Umfallen schön" - Eduard Bigas, Sequences

As children of the GDR, the Kuchling brothers remember a time when art in Germany was sometimes censored. But that hardly deterred them from starting Galerie Kuchling, one of Berlin’s most pleasant spaces to absorb contemporary artworks. The new location just opened its doors this year, and already international artists have set a high standard in its halls.
Where: Karl-Marx-Allee 123, 10243 Berlin
When: Tues.-Fri., 2-7 p.m.; Sat. & Sun., noon-7 p.m.
More info: 030 12085265;


Il Ritrovo

Pizza punk rockers

Pizza and punk rock collide at this one-of-a-kind spot for alternative imagery and out-of-this-world Italian-style pizza. Il Ritrovo is where to take a big group for crisp pilsners and pizzas with fresh sauce and pleasantly thin crust. In this lively corner of town, the energy is high and the food is flavorful.
Where: Gabriel-Max-Straße 2, 10245 Berlin
When: Daily, noon-midnight
More Info: 030 29364130


Süß War Gestern

Delightfully under the radar

We can’t talk about the area around Friedrichshain without mentioning a place that’s spinning sultry techno. Süß War Gestern is an after-hours bar with just the right combo of modernist mayhem and contemporary creativity. Skilled local DJs and an intricately lit dance floor create an exciting ecosystem for music-loving locals and in-the-know travelers alike.
Where: Wühlischstraße 43, 10245 Berlin
When: Mon.-Sat., 7 p.m.-5 a.m.
More Info: 017 624412940; Facebook

By Jesse Van Mouwerik

Berlin-based illustrator and columnist Jesse Van Mouwerik is an avid fan of art, whisky sours and being alive. When the aliens land, he will draw them a picture.