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Eat and Treats
by Mary Nyiri

Watching films all day can work up an appetite. Fortunately there are lots of places to indulge your innermost hunger, whether it is a quick muffin or a three course meal with fine wine. My American-style food favorites this year include:

Dunkin’ Donuts
With over twenty locations in Berlin, you can find fresh donuts on the way to your next film. The closest one to the Cinestar and Cinemaxx theaters is at the Sony Center on Potsdamer Strasse 2. Thirty different donuts including my favorite maple frosted taste just like they make them in the US. You can learn how to eat a donut hole from the Japanese film Rentaneko (Rent a Cat).

Tony Roma’s Berlin, Marlene-Dietrich-Platz  3
Unable to find time for lunch, I was ready for a big meal when an hour break finally came between evening films. Located across the street from the Berlinale Palast, I ate the best baby back ribs outside the U.S. The restaurant was fully reserved but since I was on my own, I took a table on the ground floor in the bar. The ribs were perfectly seasoned and moist, falling easily off the bone. The sides of cole slaw and beans were too much to finish. Service was excellent.

Meyerbeer Coffee am Potsdamer Platz, Eichhornstrasse 1
Just down the street from the Berlinale Palast movie theater is a small but comfortable coffee shop that serves all the popular coffees and offers delicious blueberry muffins. Lots of other snacks are on offer, like carrot cake bars, but one blueberry muffin and I had to have it each visit. Comfortable corner bank seat with lots of little tables or chairs at the window bar and friendly service.

If you want to splash out on a gourmet meal, a surprisingly wonderful restaurant is in the Hyatt Hotel. The Hyatt serves as the center for press activity including press conferences after films, press tickets, a room full of  free computers, and just about everything the media needs. Drinks at the bar are expensive but it’s a nice atmosphere. If you want to treat yourself, then try:

Restaurant Vox, Grand Hyatt Berlin, Marlene-Dietrich-Platz 2
The menu changes weekly at the restaurant but I was lucky to try the Caesar salad, about the best I have ever had. Large Romaine leaves were topped lightly with delicious dressing and shaved Parmesan; complemented by a “crouton” that was more of a toasted cracker with crispy bacon bits on top. It did not look as filling as it was. Then I had veal perfectly grilled with mixed vegetables and delightful seasonings. Although I was full, I had to try the chocolate variation for dessert but was rather disappointed in the wafer-thin brownie with various chocolate creams on top. The house red wine was quite good. Expensive, but sometimes we are worth it!

Quick meals and snacks can be found at Arkaden Berlin, Alter Potsdamer Strasse 7, a small shopping mall with a great grocery store in the basement. There you can find Nordsee for fish, a couple of bakery shops, sushi, Chinese and standard German fare.

With extra time you can travel by U-Bahn a bit further afield for shopping and great food in the same location. KaDeWe is an old-fashioned department store with a fascinating floor dedicated to indulgent foods. There is an American section but only if you are totally desperate. For example, Crisco costs 15 euros for a 5 lb can or a box of Pop Tarts costs 8 euros. The Canadian maple cookies at 7 euros a box were a comparative steal and I’ll bet you can’t eat just one! My favorite break though is to sit at the counter of Lenôtre for a coffee and L’Etoile – chocolate mousse cake topped with pure rich dark cocoa powder - to die for! It is always my last stop before the train back to Hamburg so I can take some back for family. If the weather is clear, the top floor has a glass-roofed cafeteria-style restaurant where you can choose ready-to-eat dishes or have fresh fish or other foods prepared while you wait. Nice views of Berlin in several directions.
Finally, if you have eaten enough but just need to treat yourself to some real relaxation, try the Liquidrom which is within easy walking distance from Potsdamer Platz at Möckernstrasse 10. Two hours of swimming, saunas and napping will cost 19,50 euros. The swimming pool is warm salt water set inside the darkened Kuppelhalle. Lights play along the walls and music is piped underwater so that you can just lie back, floating on the water, listening to music and watching the lights. A lovely bar offers snacks, fruity drinks, beer and wine. Massages are reasonably priced – and well worth it! After sitting in movie theatres all day, it is the perfect place to recuperate.