Our list of favorite Berlin cheap eats under €5 is easy on your budget and includes high-quality, flavorful and hearty meals. These include Middle Eastern, Turkish, German, Italian and Asian dishes from a variety of different neighborhoods. So as you explore where to eat in Berlin, you get a sense of the city’s diversity in addition to getting to know the local food scene.
During our time in Berlin we’ve lived in Kreuzberg and in Neukölln neighborhoods, smack in middle of what our visiting friends deemed “little Turkey.” Food was fresh, accessible, brimming with flavor and typically served by folks who took pride in their cuisine, interest in us as human beings, and great pleasure in serving up an experience.
For more of our Berlin foodie recommendations check out our favorite neighborhood meals under €10.
Update August 2020: This article was first published in October 2010 and republished in August 2020 with updates to restaurants, dishes and prices.
Our Favorite 10 Cheap Eats in Berlin
1. Azzam Restaurant: Delicious Middle Eastern Food
We discovered this simple self-service Labanese-style (although owned by a Palestinian) restaurant by riding our bikes past it repeatedly and noticing it was always full of people, no matter what time of day. We thought: there must be good reason for those crowds. There was.
Azzam quickly became a favorite eating spot of ours in Berlin, one that we love taking friends to and sharing a bunch of different dishes together so we can all enjoy different tastes. Everyone always comes away with some variation of: “that food was delicious, and I can’t believe how inexpensive it was.” No doubt some of the highest quality food for the money in the city. Two people can easily stuff themselves with delicious treats for under €5.
What to eat: The falafel and halloumi cheese plate (around €4.50) is a classic that everyone loves (we think Azzam has some of the best falafel in the city). Musabaha (an addictive warm whole chickpea dip) or hummus bowl for around €4. Manakeesh flatbread covered in za’atar (a spice blend including thyme and sesame seeds) or cheese with a subtle fragrance of nutmeg. Fatteh is the ultimate comfort food at around €4.50. Everything comes with a boat of fresh vegetables, olives, and herbs plus a bag of pita bread.
Azzam can get busy around meal times so consider visiting during an off-time or if you come during prime hours just enjoy the buzz of the place and a cup of tea for free from their samovar.
2. Mustafa’s: Gemüse (Vegetable) Kebab
You’ll know you’re close when you spot the long line snaking down the street on Mehringdamm. This is not your typical Berlin kebab. Instead of meat, a spindle of chicken and roasted vegetables is carved up and served with a fabulous mélange of potatoes, sweet potatoes, salad, a feta-type cheese and sauce. If you’re vegetarian, you can also go for the pure veg option. We usually opted for the durum (flat bread) döner with chicken for around €4 which is hearty enough feeds the two of us.
Mustafa is a food stand, meaning that it doesn’t have any seating of its own so you’ll need to grab your kebab and eat it on the street. Given the popularity of Mustafa’s it’s worth planning your visit during off-hours to avoid the long line.
Address: Mustafa’s Gemüse Kebab, Mehringdamm 32 (Kreuzberg)
3. Gel Gör Inegöl Köfteci: Köfte Sandwiches & Turkish Food
Köfte usually means herbed minced lamb meatballs, but Gel Gör does it with a twist by using veal instead. And the result is astronomically good. They charcoal grill the meat just tender; the aroma and taste are both unforgettable. Next up, the bread: perfectly fresh, soft, then (blow my mind) dabbed and toasted on the charcoal grill. The whole thing is topped with salad greens, red onions, arugula (rucola) and mint.
Sauces are also standout: spicy red pepper sauce, garlic yogurt, and a yellow herb sauce. Go for all three. Have them top the whole thing with a dash of sumac and some red pepper flakes (for spice lovers) and your taste buds will go insane.
I’m told the proper way to down a Gel Gör köfte baguette is to drink it with ayran (drinkable Turkish yogurt). However, Gel Gör offers a formidable beer selection featuring prices only a few dimes over prices at a bottle shop.
What to eat: Köfte baguette (3.00€); even bigger köfte spezial (4.50€). Meatatarians take the plunge with the köfte plate.
Address: Gel Gör Inegöl Köfteci, Kottbusser Damm 80 (Neukölln). Open 24 hours.
4. Tadim Lahmacun: Turkish Pizzas and Other Specialties
Lahmacun (Turkish pizza) at its best. A friend who visited likened lahmacun to the Turkish version of a burrito. But it’s much more than that. Lahmacun is a rolled, thin flatbread dough topped with an herbed ground meat and baked until crispy. Ask the guys to top it with salad (tomato, flat parsley, onion, lettuce), some hot or yogurt sauce and a bit of sumac, a squeeze of lemon; they roll it up a la burrito. You can also try it with döner meat inside, but we are fans of the lahmacun alone.
Call us purists. Turkish pizza purists.
What to eat: Lahmacun (Turkish pizza) with salad (1.70€) or salad and sauce (2.00€).
Address: Tadim Lahmacun, Adalbertstrasse 98, Kreuzberg.
5. Maroush: Lebanese Food
Tasty, accessible Lebanese food. Excellent falafel sandwiches stuffed with freshly fried falafel balls, salad and a surprisingly hefty dose of tahini (sesame sauce). Chicken shawarma sandwiches are chock-full of chicken and feature a tuck of French fries. Sounds odd, but the combo works oh so well. The final touch on both sandwiches: the stuffed pita is “sealed” in a sandwich press.
Open late and usually packed.
What to eat: Chicken shawarma or falafel sandwich (€3.50-€5)
Address: Maroush, Adalbertstrasse 98, Kreuzberg.
6a. Tekbir Döner: Best Döner Kebab, Part 1
Like all good things, by word of mouth, friend of a friend. A tip from an Indian guy in Kreuzberg who had himself been tipped off by a Turkish neighbor. This is how all great döner scavenger hunts begin.
Although the meat on the spindle may look sketchy: rougher, darker than other döner huts, don’t fear. Tekbir’s meat spindle is stacked with cut veal instead of processed or pressed lamb döner meat. As a result, the texture is very much real meat, like cut steak in a steak-and-cheese. And the taste is the stuff of beautiful, sweet mystery. Maybe some allspice, cinnamon or nutmeg. In any case, it’s elegant. The yogurt sauce is tart, as if it’s straight ayran, rather than sweetened yogurt or mayonnaise you might find lurking elsewhere.
The whole package is rolled in a Turkish style lavash-like flatbread called a durum.
Best of all, Tekbir is the real deal, real neighborhood, and everyone working and eating there is extraordinarily friendly. They served us free Turkish tea during each visit. It doesn’t get much better than that.
What to eat: Durum döner, 3.50€.
Address: Tekbir Döner, Skalitzer Straße 23, Kreuzberg
6b. Doyum Grillhaus Döner: Best Döner Kebab, Part 2
It’s always a good sign when a Turkish restaurant is packed with Turkish people round-the-clock. We ordered a simple durum döner where the meat (lamb) is spot on, piled plentifully and topped with lots of fresh salad. Great sauce with a roasted chili taste. The adana kebab (pictured above) looked pretty nice, too. Next time.
Although we opted for a quick kebab to go, this is a proper Turkish restaurant with a delicious looking menu and full seated area.
What to eat: Durum döner (3.50€).
Address: Doyum Grillhaus, Admiralstraße 37-38, Kreuzberg
7. Pazzi X Pizza: Authentic Italian Pizza
Finding cheap pizza by the slice in Berlin is easy. However, finding really good, high quality pizza by the slice in Berlin is rare. That’s where Pazzi X Pizza just a few blocks away form Tempelhofer Feld in Neukölln comes in. Its authentic Italian thin crust pizzas (the owners are from southern Italy) with high quality Italian toppings will please the pickiest of pizza snobs (I count myself as part of that group). The standard piece (bigger than a regular pizza slice) costs €2.50-€3.00, depending upon the toppings. One is usually enough, but if you’re really hungry then get two.
There is always a large selection of different red sauce or white pizza options, all with high quality Italian toppings. This changes all the time so you’ll always find something new. You can either eat there with tables inside and outside. Or, take your slices with you to eat as a picnic at Tempelhofer Feld.
What to eat: Some of our favorite pizzas include cime di rapa (Italian greens) with salsiccia (Italian sausage with fennel), cherry tomatoes with ricotta cheese and rucola, roasted eggplant, and prosciutto with ricotta . The classic margarita (tomato sauce with mozzarella) is always a good bet.
Address: Pazzi X Pizza, Herrfurthstr. 8 (Neukölln)
8. Hamy: Southeast Asian Food
Supposedly Vietnamese, but when a place is serving red curry, I’d say it’s Thai. Let’s split the difference and call it Southeast Asian fusion or Berlin’s version of Vietnamese meets Thai meets cole slaw. Red curry is tasty, features enough spice (as in, they didn’t cheap out on the curry paste). And the fresh vegetables and nuts on top are a nice touch.
What to eat: Chicken red curry or daily lunch special (€4.50 – €6.00).
Address: Hamy, Hasenheide 10, Kreuzberg
9. Rogacki: Hearty German Food
The vastness and deli-liciousness of this place makes it worth a stop just to look and poke around. But to eat, try the huge hunks of whitefish, the sauerkraut or dive in for the wurst lunch special. “This is the food of freaks,” we were told by a Berliner eating lunch at the next table over. After some explanation, it became clearer: what we were eating – blutwurst (blood sausage) and leberwurst (liver sausage) is only eaten nowadays by enthusiasts. And freak tourists like us.
What to eat: Blutwurst and leberwurst with mashed potatoes and sauerkraut lunch special (4.50€). Break the budget and get a glass of white wine to cut the meat.
Address: Rogacki, Wilmersdorfer Straße 145 Charlottenburg
10. Requisite Berlin Currywurst
Do I think currywurst is the highest quality food going in Berlin? Um, no. But I know it’s in the hearts and on the minds of just about everyone visiting. So, here’s my take.
The “best currywurst” argument is a storm in a teacup, but if sausage served with a dusting of curry powder and ketchup sounds like your thing, then it’s time for currywurst. In truth and fairness, my best memories of currywurst date back to the early 2000s and in particular, a rain-soaked R.E.M. concert in 2004. But those days — and eating currywurst at every stop from Zoologischer Garten to Nollendorfplatz — are long since over.
These days, the “best currywurst” battle rages between two places: Curry 36 and Konnopke Imbiss. Although I favor Curry 36’s marginal generosity with their curry powder and their fries (with a dusting of red pepper powder), I appreciate the less firm sausage link from Konnopke Imbiss.
But like I said above: storm in a teacup.
What to eat: At Curry 36: two currywurst and French fries (4.50€). At Konnopke Imbiss: currywurst and French fries (4.00€).
Address: Curry 36, Mehringdamm 36, Kreuzberg. (If you are a group and want to smorgasbord it, get a gemüse kebab from Mustafa’s listed above). Konnopke Imbiss, Schönhauser Allee 44A, Prenzlauer Berg.
Honorable Mention: Türkenmarkt at Maybachufer
It’s no wonder that food in Berlin is so good, fresh and tasty. The produce coursing through all its markets is impressive. For a glimpse and taste, check out the Turkish outdoor market (Türkenmarkt) along Maybachufer and the canal in Kreuzberg. It’s open Tuesday and Friday afternoons from 12:00-6:30.
Just about everything is sold here, even open-air haircuts. In the food department: fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, spices, olives, nuts, cheese and an array of Turkish breads. And for a walk-away comfort food snack, try the gözleme from Chez Su (right side, on the way towards Neukölln) for around €2.
Gluten Free Eating in Berlin (and Germany)
If you have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance there’s good and bad news about gluten free eating in Berlin (and Germany in general). On the positive side, awareness about gluten free needs is rising in Berlin so quite a few restaurants offer gluten free alternatives. On the negative side, a lot of food in Berlin, especially street food, includes bread. It’s important to always be careful and ask questions.
To help you navigate food in Berlin and Germany so that you can eat local, but also gluten free and with confidence, check out this German Gluten Free Restaurant Card and Gluten Free Guide to Germany created by our friend, Jodi. The restaurant card explains in detail, using local food names and language, your needs as a strictly gluten free eater, including common problems regarding cross contamination, so that you get the meal you want and need. (Bonus: You can use it when you travel in any German speaking country like Austria or Switzerland.)
Jodi has celiac disease herself so she understands first-hand the importance of being able to communicate gluten free needs in detail and educate waiters and restaurants on what this means in practice. She created her series of Gluten Free Restaurant Cards in different languages to help celiac and gluten-free travelers eat local with confidence, and without communication problems or getting sick.
Note: These gluten free restaurant cards are not part of an affiliate plan or a way for us to make money. We are extremely fortunate that we can eat everything, but we’ve seen the challenges of others who are celiac or have food intolerances where every meal can potentially make them sick. These detailed gluten free cards were created to help prevent that from happening and make eating out fun and enjoyable when traveling.