Sunflower Hostel, Helsingforser Str. 17 ( 44 04 42 50). Ul: Warschauer Str. Turn right out of the station and take your first left coming off the bridge; hug the river for 5min. Airy, relaxed feel. The staff is a trove of insider knowledge. Internet ‚1.50 per 15min. Reception 24hr. Dorms ‚13-15; singles ‚35; doubles ‚45; triples ‚57; quads ‚68.
Odyssee, Grunberger Str. 23 (29 00 00 81). U5 to Frankfurter Tor or Ul to Warschauer Str. A rarity: hip AND spotless. Someone sinks a lot of money into this place, but at ‚13 a night, it isn’t you. Bar open until dawn. 24hr. reception. Dorms ‚13; doubles ‚45, with shower ‚52; triples ‚57; quads ‚68.
Lette’m Sleep Hostel, Lettestr. 7 (44 73 36 23). U2: Eberswalder Str. Follow the trail of graffiti to the spray-painted gangsta bear on the door. Lette’m Sleep isn’t just tucked between the bars and cafes on Helmholtzpl. with its street-level common room and laid back staff, it practically is one. Kitchen facilities. Sheets ‚3 in dorms. Free Internet. Dorms ‚15-16; doubles ‚48; triples ‚57. Lower prices for longer stays.
Alcatraz, Schonhauserallee 133 (48 49 68 15). U2: Eberswalder Str. The main building has small, graffitied rooms, while the second features airy dorms in an old German brewery. Free bike loan. Kitchen facilities. Internet ‚3 per hr. Reception 24hr. Dorms ‚13; singles from ‚40; doubles from ‚44; triples from ‚59; quads from ‚74.
Food in Berlin is less German than it is cosmopolitan; the ethnic food is terrific thanks to Turkish, Indian, Italian, and Thai immigrants. During the early summer, expect an onslaught of Spargel (asparagus). Berlin’s dearest culinary tradition, however, is breakfast, a gloriously civilized institution served well into the afternoon in cafes. Relax over a Milchkaffee, a bowl of coffee with foamed milk.
Typical Berlin street food is Turkish. Their Imbiji stands are a late-night lifeline; many are open 24 hours. The Doner Kebap shaved roast lamb or chicken stuffed into toasted flatbread and topped with vegetables has cornered the fast-food market, with falafel running a close second. Quality Indian and Italian eateries also abound, and of course the city has its share of Currywurst and bratwurst.
Aldi, Plus, Edeka, and Penny Markt are the cheapest supermarket chains, followed by the pricier Bolle, Kaiser’s, and Reichelt. Supermarkets are usually open M-F 9am-6pm and Sa 9am-4pm, though some are open as late as 8pm on weekdays. Bahnhof Zoo’s open-air market fires up Saturday mornings on Winter-feldtpl. but almost every neighborhood has one. For cheap veggies and huge wheels of Fladenbrot, hit the Turkish market, in Kreuzberg along Maybachufer on the Landwehrkanal, every Friday. Take U8 to Schdnleinstr.