City Guide: Berlin

Discover the red thread of minimal intervention that runs through Berlin’s most exciting spaces both old and new.

Over Berlin Design Week, FRAMA traveled to the city for a collaboration with the concept space Voostore—and to explore Berlin through its myriad of areas that combine the energy of new growth with an essential commitment to preservation. Whether in regard to wine, architecture, music, or food, “minimal intervention” was a red thread through the energy of the city. 

Travel through the city’s spaces old and new, from vibrant spaces for regional cooking and conceptual exhibition; to traditional bath houses and relics of social housing blocks that became architectural icons. 

In tandem with these sites, the sounds of a city are always essential to its identity—but particularly in the case of Berlin, no recommendation would be complete without an audio companion. To parallel the FRAMA guide, Berlin-based DJ and musician Adam Port has created a playlist to soundtrack the city. Find his selections on Spotify and Apple Music.


1. Eat and Drink


A vegan restaurant run by chef-owner Jana Raabensteinova that is a beautiful introduction to some of the most exciting aspects of Berlin’s food scene today—unpretentious, generous dishes, and an incredible pastry program (this one vegan, on top of it all). Ideally, have a seat outside or near the café’s big windows. If the weather is overcast, the row of Verner Panton’s hanging flowerpot pendant lights will brighten the space just enough.

Paris Bar

An unparalleled gathering for Berlin’s art world, run by artist Michel Würthle until he passed away in 2023. A cultural outpost and see-and-be-seen dining room with a devoted crowd, complete with an awe-inspiring art collection on its walls (a self-portrait by Sarah Lucas, to give one example) that began in 1979. The bar is uniquely-Berlin in spite of its name, and an essential stop in the city.

Joseph-Roth-Diele Gaststätte

Joseph Roth Diele is another common meeting spot for artists and gallery staff in the city—but a much less raucous than Paris Bar. A classic bistro aesthetic serving traditional German dishes on its menu.

A playful take on diner culture crossed with Japanese cooking—leading to chicken Katsu and a shirley temple sitting comfortably on the menu next to one another. Unlike anywhere else in the city and as such has garnered quite a buzz.

Acid Café

Acid Café has a cult-like following within the coffee and café community. And for good reason! Their beautiful space is filled with FRAMA design and warm accents like wood-paneled walls and impressive vintage speakers. Every element is considered to the fullest, which makes the space equally worth visiting for its design as for its pastries and coffee.

Albatross Bakery

A charming bakery with bread and pastries using only sustainable ingredients, which results in incredibly flavorful results. Try the crème brûlée pastry for something sweet, or bring home one of their house-made loaves like sesame or apricot walnut.

Alt Berliner Wirtshaus Henne

A no-nonsense menu that includes the best fried chicken in Berlin. 

893 Ryotei

A very unassuming but delicious Japanese favorite—look out for the neon sign to know where to enter.

Bar Sway

Bar Sway describes itself appropriately with three words: wine, snacks, songs. Founded in part by Music from Memory label-founder Jamie Tiller, the bar is set up so that sound and musical selection adds another thoughtful element to the space (which has a remarkable wine list and a beautiful menu meant for sharing, too).

Chungking Noodles
Hand-pulled noodles in a no-frills setting where Sichuan cooking is on full display and the provenance of each ingredient is a top priority.

Trio may be the best example of the current mood in Berlin’s dining scene. Simple dishes that are recognizably German without being categorically traditional—they are brought up to date with fresh ingredients and an incredible wine list. The dining room manages to be of-its-location while fitting squarely into the wine bar scene internationally. Any diner may be tempted to become a regular.

A buzzing former-cabaret turned ultimate-bistro. The dining room of La Belle Epoque, which is originally from 1920, is filled with the warm glow of fabric-covered lighting and chatter from the social gathering place of the city on any given evening. An ideal place for large groups and several martinis.

Möbel Olfe

A queer bar known for its music and guest DJ’s and pop-ups who take over the space on the first Monday of every month—inclusivity in its truest sense. 

2. Shop

A FRAMA collaborator that barely needs an introduction. Voostore and Voospace make up a concept store and gallery that is singularly curated and presents the most welcoming interior—and exterior, with the addition of their beautiful courtyard to gather in when the weather allows.

Andreas Murkudis
An expertly-curated boutique now with three locations, offering clothing by international labels that set the tone of the space, and furniture by local collaborators. On the design side of things, the Andreas Murkudis 81 location is particularly striking, as the interior pieces are displayed in a “proto-apartment,” fully furnished with what is available for purchase.

Juno Juno
A vintage boutique with a location in Gothenburg as well as Berlin, with one-of-a-kind clothing finds.

do you read me?!

By now, an institution both in the city of Berlin and in the world of independent publishing. Their selection can be counted upon to carry the most thoughtful and beautifully designed publications of the day.

Antiquariat Wiederhold
Antiquariat Wiederhold is a treasure-trove of used and rare books in the center of the city—known for its thematic window displays and timeless collection of fiction and poetry in several languages and beautifully preserved editions.

Hard Wax
A record-store-owner’s favorite record store, Hard Wax is a singular stop for electronic dance music from the world’s most exciting DJs and producers. The shop could be a second stop following Bar Sway, as they undoubtedly keep records from Music From Memory—the label founded by Jamie Tiller, co-founder of Sway—in stock.

Arkonaplatz Flohmarkt
A Sunday flea market that has been active since 1990, and manages to offer enviable vintage design, homewares, and books while rarely getting overcrowded.

3. Inspire

Dorotheenstadt James Turrell Lichtinstallation

One of artist James Turrell’s unmistakable light installations has been on view (though “on view” does little to describe the experience of one of Turrell’s works) in the chapel adjacent to the Dorotheenstadt Cemetery. Turrell had a hand in the interior architecture of the chapel itself, and designed the light program to coincide with the city’s sunset.

Boros Bunker

A private collection on view in a converted bunker—3000 square meters of exhibition space over five floors, which have formerly housed a prison, a storage facility and a techno club. Now open via guided tour for contemporary works including by artists such as Rirkrit Tiravanija, Olafur Eliasson, Sarah Lucas, and Ai Weiwei.

The Hansaviertel is the smallest district in the city, with some of the largest architectural history. After the area was destroyed during WWII, it was rebuilt as a social housing project by architects including Alvar Aalto, Walter Gropius, and Oscar Niemeyer.

Neue Nationalgalerie
Designed by architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and another museum that is somewhere to visit for its building as much as what it houses. Contemporary art in a historic building and a historic neighborhood is a combination that is particularly rich in Berlin, and this is one essential instance of it.

Braun-Sammlung Ettel Museum für Design

The Braun-Sammlung Ettel is something that must be experienced to be underwood—the museum is an archive of every design invention from Braun and Dieter Rams. Wander through the halls of record players, TV’s, calculators and shelving to see where so much of our domestic design language comes from today.

The Feuerle Collection

The Feuerle Collection is worth visiting for its architecture alone: the former telecommunications bunker was designed by British architect John Pawson with his signature minimal intervention. As for the collection, its primary exhibitions are of early Imperial Chinese stone and lacquer furniture, as well as Chinese sound and incense works.

Haus am Waldsee
A house that has been a venue for contemporary art since 1946—including architecture and sound art, and outdoor sculpture in its gardens. Notably, the Haus am Waldsee was showing Niki de Saint Phalle works as early as 1981, and exhibited Frida Kahlo in 1982.

Passage Kino
An unforgettable, 100-year old cinema hidden at the back of a courtyard in a beautifully preserved and updated space.

Stadtbad Neukölln
An incredibly elegant—and large—public bath with indoor and outdoor pools as well as a sauna.

4. Stay

Wilmina Hotel
A guest house that feels like a true escape from the city—and has done the unimaginable by creating a lush, social haven from what used to be a courthouse and women’s prison; doing so through remarkable landscaping and design, including lighting by Canadian studio Bocce. Opened in 2022, the rooms and apartments offer an immediate sense of calm for long or short stays.

Chateau Royal

A masterclass in designing for simplicity and ease: the Chateau Royal hotel maintains historic design details while updating its interiors for the ultimate in a comfortable stay.

Hotel Oderberger

A boutique hotel that is located in a 19th century public bathhouse designed by architect Ludwig Hoffmann. The hotel’s renovation maintained many original details, including the indoor pool upon entry.

SO/ Berlin Das Stue
A former Danish embassy building from the 1930s, which maintains some of the grand welcome of its previous role—and some of its design elements, including Danish furnishings like Arne Jacobsen’s Egg chairs in each room.


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