Insider tips are everywhere these days, so many it seems that they really can't be that "insider". Lists of must-haves, secret finds, best of and so on. Real insider tips are something that I cherish, and over the years I have been treated to many of these authentic experiences that I would have otherwise walked right by. On a recent visit to Berlin I was treated to another special moment. This one included at times some intense cigar smoke, but I'd go back in a heartbeat. Maybe even light one up!
Lutter & Wegner's Weinhandlung, wine shop, at the beautiful Gendarmenmarkt was just behind a small doorway on the Charlottenstrasse. There since 1811, I found amazing food, great wines and label inspiration that could last for hours. The menu had traditional dishes prepared with a simplicity that made for an experience that was just right. The place was small and immense at the same time. Although it is part of a much larger restaurant that can't be missed around the corner, this little piece of heaven is still a special find.
Sitting in a place that has been there for 200 years, and yet not experiencing history in an "oh this is really old, and has been here forever" kind of way, but as this is perfect right now is the secret. The waiter, not overly friendly (no surprise, it is Europe), was a no-nonsense expert who shared what he knew with confident passion. In the end we had a delicious lunch, perfect portions, paired with a delicious Austrian Zweigelt, in a beautiful setting. Like the wine label above, modern, simple and clear, "Ursprung", translation, "Origin". It was grounding, just what we need more of in our times. Insider tip, order the Tafelspitz or the Wiener Schnitzel
Lutter & Wegner got it then and gets it now.