Update 2013 – Sadly, this branch has closed. Check their website for locations.
I have a thing for food shops. Small, big, I’m not fussy. I can find something of merit anywhere.
Obviously, every country has their own style and foods they specialise in. In the UK, supermarkets are full of ready meals in various states of readiness from plunk it in the microwave and heat until it goes ping to pre-chopped vegetables that pander to buyers that want to “cook” and eat “healthily” but can’t be bothered to do it properly. German supermarkets have a fair selection of fruit and vegetables, a mind numbing array of yogurt, potatoes I don’t recognise at all, a lot of bread and heaps of pork. I was trying to find minced lamb at Rewe the other day. Ha! No way, not even frozen! And fish? Nope. Ok, you can get frozen fish, usually breadcrumbed or maybe some salmon but I prefer my fish fresh, good canned fish or not at all.
Mitte Meer is a place I like to go to when I want to take a break from all things German. It’s nothing fancy, just a cash and carry. But it’s an Aladdin’s cave of all things Mediterranean. Good stuff too! They stock Oritz tuna for 2/3 of the price Brindisa sold it in the UK.
You can pick up whole legs of Jamon. I know. Wasn’t I just going on about how I was porked out? Well yes. But imagine what a show stopper party centerpiece that would be?
There are 5kg tins of olives, bottles of caramel, coffee, wine, frozen oranges stuffed with ice cream, plenty of frozen meats and what looks like the entire De Cecco pasta range. In addition to that, there are two cold rooms you ought to check out . One has cheeses, fresh fruit, hams, cured meats and even freshly pre-pared taramosalata. The other is the fish counter.
Fresh fish in Mitte! Can you believe it?
They often play upbeat Spanish salsa music and none of the staff look at me funny when I dance through the aisles with little L. Probably because they do it too!
The people who work there tend to be Spanish and no matter how grey or miserable it is outside, they are always friendly and smile. And they never check my pram or bag for stolen goods, which I find a welcome change from the German supermarkets!
Besides being able to find Mediterranean goods, an outing to Mitte Meer always leaves me feeling better. Like I have been on a mini-break.
My stash for the day included two tins of canned tomatoes, chorizo, salami, Parmesan, filled pasta, anchovies and Scarmoza (all for €21). Oh and a jar of butter beans which I intend to toss in a salad with some thinly shaved fennel and orange segments, the way Stephen used to do it at Melrose and Morgan.
I’ve only visited the Mitte branch, behind the Hamburger Bahnhof where the Sara Wiener restaurant is located.
On a side note, the Hamburger Bahnhof is presently home to the odd installation of live reindeer that can eat magic mushrooms without getting stoned and the keepers who drink the urine, so they can get stoned. Haven’t seen it, heard it smells.
If you are still up for a bit of exploring after the Hamburger Bahnhof and Mitte Meer, then continue on behind the cash and carry warehouse and there you will find about 5 independent galleries that usually have free entry and interesting art and there is also this odd wooden building that looks like it fell out of the sky from a Swedish version of The Wizard of Oz.
Mitte Meer IN MITTE HAS CLOSED DOWN
Invalidenstr. 50 /51
10557 Berlin, Mitte
030 / 39 80 163
Mo.-Sa. 9.00 – 20.00
10625 Berlin, Charlottenburg