Berlin is home to the largest Turkish community outside of Turkey. In fact, more than 200,000 Berlin residents claim Turkish heritage making them the city’s largest ethnic minority. The Kreuzberg neighborhood in central Berlin, known as Little Istanbul, is home to many residents of Turkish ethnicity, including our server at the Ritz Carlton’s Brasserie Desbrosses http://ritzcarlton.com. It was she who suggested we visit the popular Turkish market on Maybachuferstrasse.
Tuesday morning we jumped on the Number 2 Ubahn line at Potsdamerplatz, changed at Alexanderplatz (a major transit hub) to the Number 8 line and took it to Schonleinstrasse. We walked a few short blocks on Schinkestrasse heading East towards the Landwehrkanal and Maybachuferstrasse—home of Berlin’s largest outdoor Turkish market.
Vendors set up shop from 11 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays and draw quite a diverse crowd from young mothers pushing their strollers to older residents in traditional garb to tourists looking for a quick bite from one of the many food stalls.
Merchants hawking fresh produce, baked goods, fresh fish, cheese, spices, flowers, clothing, toys, electronics, leather goods, table linens and a surprising amount of fabric and sewing notions line the approximate half-mile on Maybachuferstrasse.
Young people lounge along the canal enjoying impromptu musical performances by buskers while neighbors shop and chat. It’s a very lively scene.
We were very tempted by the delicious looking food on offer at the market but had been counseled to try lunch at Hasir, so we continued on.
Though we probably could have walked, we were really hungry so we got back on the Ubahn and took the Number 8 one stop to Kottbusser Tor. A quick walk northeast on Adalbertstrasse brought us to the heart of Kreuzberg’s Turkish neighborhood and Hasir, located at Adalbertstrasse 10.
The casual restaurant features traditional Turkish dishes with lamb dishes and kabobs playing a major role on the menu. The service was efficient but friendly and the meals were well priced. They also get quite a crowd here. Even past the typical lunch period, the restaurant was full.
After a delicious lunch we walked past several other eateries that were also part of the Hasir group including a Hasir Express.
We stopped into a local bakery and treated ourselves to some just baked baklava—delicious!
On our way back to the Ubahn, we took a detour at the Istanbul Supermarket—an enormous Turkish grocery fronted by fresh produce stands.
The market had everything from meats, cheeses, canned and packaged goods, to walls of teas and spices. I would have happily filled my shopping bag had we not been staying in a hotel on this trip. Perhaps next time!