Like all food writers, I enjoy the freedom to choose what I review. After all, Berlin has thousands of potential eating places so it has to be my choice – good or bad.
But my editor (also known as my re-writer, spellchecker, and grammar person), who is 1,000 kilometres away in London, has been after me to go to a restaurant where people sit down. He says that I spend too much time eating street food.
I don't think he is too concerned about my health but he wants me to write about where someone takes your order, and brings your food, pampers you a bit and creates a relaxing experience.
This is not typically my style of dining. I tend to be a grab and go kind of guy. But it's nice to sit down, relax, and have someone else do all the work!
So, with a friend in town, I went to a grown up restaurant with wine and napkins and everything.
It was The Winery, a place I pass every day on the Berlin Secret Food tour. I have purchased wine there many times but now it was time for serious eating.
Despite the English-sounding name, this is Italian. And it's wonderful value.
It features a very cool vibe, wine barrels, candles and a waiter who actually IS the owner of the place.
We got good wine advice and settled on a bottle for €12. It was a seriously delicious Southern Italian wine at a good value.
I chose the Antipasta platter (€7) to start with while my friend Danny went for a very large mozzarella and tomato platter with fresh basil and oil.
My plate had salami, prosciutto, roast peppers, cheeses....and more. It was a meal in itself and half of it went home with me.
Then the most simple of main courses. One pasta carbonara and one pesto. Both were done in the simple uncomplicated Italian style that convinced me someone's grandmother was in the kitchen.
I peeked in (food writer nosiness) and she was maybe in her 50's not quite a grandmother but a true Italian chef.
The only foul of the evening was was an awful DJ who in the middle of the meal bumped up the volume to an untenable level. A meet-up group trying to have German conversation had to YELL!!!! in order to be heard.
Without the awful music it would have been a perfect meal.
With wine, the bill came to under €20 per person. And you can't spend much more unless you go very expensive on the wine list!
Frankfurter Tor 7 10243 Berlin Germany 0049 30 64432349
No payment cards
Nearest U-Bahn Frankfurter Tor