U-Bahn: Richard-Wagner Platz
My wonderful friends C and D happen to live in the Charlottenburg area of Berlin, only a few blocks from Rogacki, making them the luckiest people in the world. When we all first arrived in Berlin in 2008, a visit to Rogacki for lunch seemed super-special. Now C and D are decidedly blasé about their culinary good fortune: “Oh, hey babe, can you pick up some bread from Rogacki on your way home?” “Oh, hey babe, can you swing by Rogacki and get some of that sausage I like?” You would think they were talking about any old grocery store, not a national treasure.
So what’s the deal? Rogacki is straight-up German delicatessen heaven. Gorgeous baked goods, cheese, meat, and fresh fresh fish counters in the front, with heavenly prepared foods in the back of the store along with a cafeteria-style restaurant. We’re talking a serious stretch of pickled fish phantasmagoria here, people. One of my favorite Rogacki specialties is the pickled mackrel rolls stuffed with vegetables. While a ubiquitous Deutch treat, at other places the veggies are often limp and the mackrel too fishy. Never ever at Rogacki, where the fish is always tender and flakey and the veggies crunch like a perfect pickle:
The cafeteria is a huge draw. It seems like the crowd favorite is the killer deep fried battered white fish (halibut? cod? Mein Deutsch ist schlecht) served with a choice of one of three German-style potato salads (this means tart, salty malt vinegar is the binder, not mayonnaise). It’s an amazing plate of food, and like everything else it will set you back less than six euros:
Unfortunately, I never end up with more than a bite of the fish because when I’m at Rogacki, I’m going for the big guns:
That’s a straight-up divine plate of Blutwurst (blood sausage) and Leberwurst (liver sausage) nestled in a bed Sauerkraut and whipped potatoes. I have concocted untold number of lurid fantasies about this dish during my food porn time. As we walked to Rogacki during my visit to Berlin a few weeks ago, I was panicked and sweaty with anticipation of my treat. I could barely handle looking at the other parts of the store before ordering. The store was about to close (they don’t really do dinner) and for a minute it looked as though the Blutwurst had been put away. I almost cried. Fortunately, the kindly Rogacki employee understood that this wasn’t just a wurst, this was holding the addict back from their visit to the methadone clinic. My needs were accommodated, much to my abundant glee.
There’s few things that I would describe as a MUST-DO should you ever visit Berlin, but Rogacki is certainly one of them. The lovely, low-key neighborhood that surrounds it isn’t necessarily on many tourist itineraries, but you could make a lovely afternoon of lunch at Rogacki followed by a visit to the Schloss Charlottenburg or the Museum Berggruen. The largest castle in Berlin, the Schloss Charlottenburg is a great specimen of Baroque and Rococo style with sprawling grounds that are free to the public. The Museum Berggruen has one of the most dazzling collections of Modernist art in Europe, including a veritable clusterfuck of impressive Picassos. But, let’s be frank, with a belly full of the delights you’ll find at Rogacki, the rest of the day is just icing.
Details: Busy, busy all the time, but busy, busy, busy at lunchtime. I like to go in the late afternoon, but caveat emptor, when they run out, they run out (unless of course you start hyperventilating at the prospect of not eating Blutwurst, in which case accommodations might be made). Open Monday through Wednesday from 9-6, Thursday from 9-7, Friday from 8-7, and Saturday from 8-4. Don’t even think about visiting Berlin and not making a stop here. I’m talking to you, Ms. M.
Photos courtesy of C and D. Like M’s photography, I think this post is proof positive that a decent camera and an actual eye can go a lot further than my usual nonsense. You can follow C and D’s enviable life at D’s great blog 50 percent of my DNA. D’s got a lot to say about expat living and she does it with much more wit than I can ever muster. Bonus: you can see many pics of C and D’s sweet, smart, and funny kid B, my favorite child in the world bar none. I can only go to D’s blog so often, because it sends my ovaries into throbbing overdrive.