Muret la Barba, Winebar and Bistro, Mitte

After having lunch with my friend Katie at Muret la Barba the other day, I’ve decided she should definitely have a Berlin restaurant blog.  She eats out about 3 times as much as I do and is always trying new places.  She’s already been to Hartweizen on Torstrasse (her verdict, good, a lot of game dishes).  Restaurant 3 (which I had never even heard of but of course the New York Times had already written about in 2009 for chrissakes!).  And she’s been to Das Lokal  or Kantine which was featured in Cee Cee‘s 24th newsletter.
When she suggested a long over due lunch, I said “Let’s go to Muret la Barba.”

“Don’t tell me you still haven’t eaten there!” she teased.

As a matter of fact, I hadn’t.  I don’t know what I’ve been eating lately?  (Oh yes, I do!  The large krakow sausages, straight off the grill with jagged blackened pieces covering one side and an obscene amount of mustard at the Christmas Market behind Galeria.  It’s a Polish sausage and Polish sausages, IMHO, RULE.  They’re firm fleshed, dry, smoky, spicy, with an extraordinary snap to the skin, you need to give it a really good tug before it breaks off.  I’m particular to a stand directly behind Galeria, exiting through the make up and bag department.  They only sell two things; a bratwurst - €2.50 and the Krakow - €3.50.  Confession? As I write this I am plotting one last trip to the Krakow stand before I fly of to Miami on the 27th).
Back to Muret la Barba.  It’s one of Katie’s lunch places, she always get’s the homemade ravioli (whatever the filling) and a salad.  I followed her cue and did the same.  Out came 5 large square ravioli, the size of my entire hand, filled with ricotta and greens, sitting in about 150g of Parmesan flavoured butter (€7.50).  We shared a salad of beetroot, apple, cracked wheat and lettuce - something I could imagine making for myself at home, the freshness of which cut through the richness of the ravioli.

A delicious homemade ravioli lunch for €7.50? Perfect.  More than that however, I’m totally seduced by the vibe of MLB.  It takes leave from the typical Italian places around here, which feel contrived, the available Italians working within, turning up their Italianess to pander to the locals who seem as addicted to all things Mediterranean as they are to the sun.  Instead they keep things simple with a few unexpected bits, each one telling me a story, like:

  • It’s called Muret la Barba but the sign on the front simply states ‘wein’ with a faded red ‘m’ over the door. (Understated confidence)
  • The chalk board menu (keeping it simple, making themselves happy)
  • That the older woman womanning the till that took my order spoke to me in German, English and Italian - all at once and assumed I could switch between the three as effortlessly as she (mwa mwa! Diversity, I love you!  And also, she acts like an owner, and having an owner on the scene usually means better food, better service because they have a vested interest.).
  • The same woman dyes her hair Sophia Lauren red and wears a man’s vintage Submarine Rolex.  (Classy)
  • Even though you give your order at the till and finish off by paying there on your way out.  She wouldn’t hear of us paying when we gave our order “What if you want coffee?” she asked.  (Personality, interaction).
  • The electronic or possibly an iPad listing the menu in the window, over their certificate of operation.  (Totally incongruous with the low tech feeling of the place and therefore - quirky, who doesn’t love quirky?).
  • That every table seems to be speaking a different European language (eating at Muret makes me feel like I am in Milan or Barcelona).

Muret la Barba

Rosenthaler Strasse 61
10119 Mitte
T. 030 28097212

4 Responses to Muret la Barba, Winebar and Bistro, Mitte

  1. joshuafagans says:

    Looks wonderful. Your life always seems so much more glamorous than mine!

  2. Ha Ha, blogs can be deceiving…

  3. Dan Gildoni says:

    HI, I am traveling with my wife to Berlin for the first time, as you well know, people like us (Foodies) can’t take a chances when eating is involved,
    I just found out your blog on Google but I don’t really know where to start.
    Could you please point out a few MUST places in berlin - places to eat and food stores.
    I can offer in return an unforgettable list/toure if you ever find yourself in Tel Aviv, Israel

    Thank you very much
    Happy New Year
    Dan Gildoni

    • The best food store is the KaDeWe, the top two floors. Although I recommend eating at one of the kiosks on the lower floor, better value, better food. Rogacki is a must (limited opening hours though), an original deli, 110 years old, very old fashioned - the food is heavy but you go more for the vibe I think and the smoked fish.
      Aqua is a 3 Michelin star restaurant in the Ritz in Wolfsburg (home of VW), you can get there by ICE high speed train in under an hour. It is exceptional food. In Berlin, Reinstoff received its second star and is pretty good value, the food and interior is modern. Or there is Tim Raue - who used to be the chef at MA & UMA in the Adlon Kempinski.
      I also like Bandol sur Mer, solid French food, though the restaurant is tiny, the size of a shoebox or you could try the newly opened sister restaurant 3 minutes sur mer.
      If you want something totally different, try Kushinoya a Japanese place that does only fried food (on a stick). Novel, good service and surprisingly not that heavy.
      Two great delis are Nazuna, a Japanese Bento box place in a former butchers shop or Meierei an Alpine deli (a must is the beef soup with the dumpling).
      That’s a good start I think. Enjoy your visit to Berlin.

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