Berlin On Fire

I spent a few days in Berlin last week during my holiday to coincide with Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. I hadn’t been there in ten years and was amazed by the amount of growth that has taken place and is currently underway. Culturally and architecturally, the city is on fire and definitely worth checking out! Harper’s Bazaar is launching its German Edition this fall so I hit the pre-launch party at the fabulous Villa von der Heydt in Tiergarten. We had dinner after the party at the ‘see and be seen’ restaurant Grill Royal on the bank of River Spree in trendy Mitte. Packed full of actors, fashionistas and artists, this hotspot served food that was as incredible as the atmosphere. The last night we had dinner at Bandol sur Mer – the polar opposite of Grill Royal. It was once a kebab stand and is now a restaurant with approximately 20 tables outside and inside, next door to a grocery store in Mitte. Low key t-shirt and jeans place with high brow cuisine and an impressive wine list. With only two seatings per night, it’s by reservation only. The architectural mix of ultra modern with what remains of the imposing pre-war relics is absolutely incredible. Pritzker Prize winning architect, Norman Foster completed the renovation of  the Reichstag building in 1999 creating the famous modernist dome atop – a must see. I enjoyed lunch at Käfer, the restaurant at the top, and marveled at his masterpiece as well as the amount of new construction seen from this perspective across east Berlin. Since the Reichstag is a working government building they will ask for your passport information, name and birthdate at the time you make a reservation – a little fast track secret to experience the building and avoid the lines of tourists. -Joe

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