Barcomi’s Deli - Mitte

The courtyard pictured above is the main reason to go to Barcomi’s.  Its quiet, hidden location is a relief after the bustling streets and crowded cafes of Hackescher Markt.  Not that Barcomi’s suffers from lack of custom.  The place is packed all week and all day long.  Probably something to do with Barcomi’s being a Berlin institution - the Kreuzberg branch opened 16 years ago!

Cynthia Barcomi could be a contender for the woman of the decade award; she has two cafes, four children and 3 books to her name.  As a mother of one, that rarely manages to see through even the most basic tasks I am duly impressed by Cynthia’s overachievement.

Cynthia get’s my vote - but what about Barcomi’s?

I wasn’t at all surprised to find out that Cynthia is originally from Seattle - the birth place of Starbucks.  Barcomi’s is like an idealized version of Starbucks, the coffee is better with a descent foam, the bagels are home-made and the cheesecake hasn’t shriveled up in the glass vitrine.  There is table service and polite English speaking waiters in floor length black aprons punch your order into their PDAs.

The PDAs turned me off, they were on the irritating side of efficient.  As was one waiter’s insistence that we could not sit at the outside tables with our coffee because it was in a takeaway cup, we patiently explained that we ordered our coffee to go because there were no free tables but on our way out, one had become available.  No exceptions to the rule!  There was a bench in the other courtyard we might find comfortable - we were told.  Sheesh!  Talk about rigid!

I guess that it.  The bagels are nice, the coffee’s good and the court-yard is just great but it’s all a bit corporate and inflexible.  Which on the one hand is good because there is a certain professionalism and standard but on the other hand…  It’s the difference between perfectly descent store-bought, cellophane-wrapped cookies and slightly wonky, still warm home - made ones.

When I am in the area and I want a coffee in a picturesque surrounding I will visit Barcomi’s or I might go for a younger fresher concept like The Barn (post on this place soon but you can read about it on Slow Travel Berlin).

Read more about Cynthia Barcomi on Slow Travel Berlin and in an interview with Business Week.

Bergmann Strasse 21
D-10961 Berlin
Mon - Fri 08.00 - 21.00 clock
Sat - Sun & holidays 09.00 - 21.00 clockPhone:  030 / 694 81 38

2 Responses to Barcomi’s Deli - Mitte

  1. vanessathecakemaker says:

    I’ve only been to this branch once but it was at an off peak time which meant no problem getting a table. Funnily, I have no recollection of PDAs which would irritate me too but remember decent service. We went for the New York cheesecake which I loved and latte macchiato, although it was served with sparkling tap water which didn’t improve the taste of the coffee. I think I’m impressed, like you, by Cynthia’s achievements and like the café but it’s probably too efficient to claim a special place in my heart.

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