I completely and utterly believe in the importance of trying out new cuisines and just generally treating yourself to some good food. So, whenever I venture off on a trip, asides from doing the usual tourist attractions, food plays a massive part in my trip planning. Something that has become somewhat of a ‘tradition’ is finding somewhere for an extra special, memorable dinner when I’m away, whether for the exquisite food, spectacular views or fine dining settings, it has to be a dinner that sets itself aside from every other place we’ve ate at during the trip. For every trip that I go on, I want to be able to say “remember that dinner at such and such”, and since developing this mentality I can undoubtedly say that there’s been many dinners like this during my travels over the years.
When in Berlin for my first ever Christmas market city break, my best friend and I wanted to go somewhere special for dinner so that we could make a little bit more effort and get a little bit more dressed up – which believe me, is hard in the middle of Winter. We had planned on doing one of Berlin’s most typical tourist attractions, the Berlin TV Tower (also known as the Berliner Fernsehturm), which in just under 40 seconds you can find yourself 203 metres from the ground, taking in a 360 degree view of Berlin once you’ve reached the top. This is a must see when visiting, however, what we had heard so little about was the restaurant situated above the observation deck, the Sphere Restaurant.
We had only actually came across this restaurant very last minute before our trip so didn’t have time to make any reservations via email or any other form of contact. For our trip we had purchased the Berlin WelcomeCard (All Inclusive), which gave us free entry to many attractions, including the Berlin TV Tower so we decided we would head to the Tower when we were in the area for the Christmas markets to enquire about a reservation, that way we could head to the observation deck and do dinner on the same night if permitted.
After dealing with someone who was really quite rude to say the least, our table was booked for dinner for the following evening (or so we thought). I would normally refrain from mentioning something negative, but the way the staff member spoke to us that night was pretty disappointing, and had we not of been as desperate to experience dinner here as we were then we would have probably left booking this and looked elsewhere. Turning up the following night, our booking didn’t actually exist despite our visit to arrange it the previous night, but luckily a VERY helpful and friendly member of staff sorted everything out for us, making a call to the restaurant and arranging a table for us. It turned out that the evening wasn’t going to be a complete disaster after all.We left our jackets in the cloakroom at the very bottom and headed up in the elevator to the observation deck, in a very short 40 seconds. You know when you’re on a flight that’s just taken off, and your ears sometimes go a little bit funny (or sensitive) due to the change in altitude, this is exactly what I experience when I go up any sort of tall building…the Burj Khalifa, the Eiffel Tower, and yes the Berlin TV Tower. Whilst my friend rushed to the edge for some well deserved pictures, I had to find my feet and attempt to adjust.
From the observation deck, you take the stairs to the Sphere Restaurant where you can either have an inside table or a window table (you actually now have to arrange this when making you’re booking online). We hadn’t been asked but luckily the table the waiter directed us to was a window table, with some absolutely incredible views of Berlin below us. The weather that night was crisp and clear, which was pure luck in comparison to other nights as we watched from below and could barely make out the tower due to it being eaten up by the clouds and rain. If not for the amazing view outside, the view inside was just as pleasing for the eyes, with plush leather chairs and lights in the ceiling that resemble stars (a very pretty proposal setting if you ask me)
One thing to remember when you are seated at your table is that the restaurant rotates. I think with all the excitement (pure panic more like!) at being so high I completely forgot about the fact the restaurant moves, so you are literally getting a 360 degree view of the Capital. Now, it goes very slowly but Holly with the sensitive ears can feel everything so it took me a few minutes to adjust, and the glass of wine that I so quickly ordered must have been some sort of assistance.
So the biggest reason for us being there… the food. I do believe the menu has changed since my visit but that doesn’t change the fact that the food is and was incredible. Regrettably we didn’t order a starter and just went straight for the mains, both ordering one of the menu’s popular dishes at the time…spaghetti in a pesto sauce with a prawn skewer perched on top. I can’t begin to explain how long we’ve been going on about this pasta for, but it’s been a long time and that brings me back to my point about finding memorable places. “Remember the food we had at the Berlin TV Tower“. Yes, yes I do. Quite frankly I will never forget it.
The whole set up was wonderful, there was a pianist playing so delicately in the background and every so often you would see him when the restaurant rotated back round to where he remained stationary. After the most delicious main, we knew we were ready for dessert. Alongside the desserts offered on the menu, there was also a selection of desserts on offer that evening and the waiter invited me to go and have a look at them for myself to see if anything caught my eye. Stepping onto non-rotating ground I stood for a good 10 seconds or more staring at the desserts, and when I finally decided I wanted the strawberry cheesecake, my table was nowhere to be seen and my friend was slowly but surely moving round somewhere – oh the laughs we had. If the pasta left a lasting impression then the cheesecake sure did too, another amazing course from the Sphere Restaurant and compliments to the chef.
What made this dinner so memorable wasn’t just the food, but the whole setting of the restaurant…the fact it was 203 metres above the ground, the fact it rotated, the lights in the ceiling that resembled stars, the pianist, and the overall service. Even after dinner was long finished, we sat for at least an hour chatting about life, what we were grateful for, memories, we didn’t want to leave but it was getting late and we didn’t want to outstay our welcome. If you are just as desperate as we were to stay, Bar 203 is situated at the observation deck below where you can sit back and enjoy a cocktail (or mocktail), which is exactly what we did until it closed at 11.30pm.
If you are ever in Berlin and looking for somewhere a little different or a little bit more memorable, whether romantically or for a family/friends dinner then this is the place to go. I’d happily hop on a cheap Ryanair flight back to Berlin for a dinner like this.