La Stella Nera Berlin
I’m way behind on my list of new vegan places in Berlin, so I’ll start with the new collectively-run Italian restaurant, La Stella Nera.
That it’s collectively run is positive as it means that the people working there share in the ownership, the work and the income, too. After a scandal in Berlin involving accusations of shoddy worker treatment at another vegan place, it’s heartening to see somewhere like this.
But what of the food, I’m sure you’re asking! Well, perhaps the clearest indication of the quality is the fact that we couldn’t get in the first two times we went – it was just that busy. Now I’ve learned to phone ahead and reserve, especially on a weekend.
And there’s a reason it’s quickly become such a popular restaurant: the food is high quality. It’s all freshly made and it shows. The pizzas are cooked in a traditional wood-fired pizza oven (sit opposite the till and you can see inside as the pizzas are cooked) and there are also superb pasta dishes – again, the pasta is made on the premises.
There are two types of pizza offered – ‘blanco’ and ‘rosso’, Italian for white and red. I’m not a huge fan of the blanco pizzas, which come without tomato sauce. The toppings are still nice, but I need that tomato on there! Most of the pizzas have no cheese either, but there are a few on the menu which have cheese if you need it.
The pizza bases are light and fluffy, and baked to perfection. Drizzle with some oil and they’re excellent on their own. There are no wacky toppings or stuffed crust. The menu features traditional pizza with good-quality ingredients.
The pasta pictured here was truly excellent, by the way – I can’t remember the name of it (my Italian isn’t as good as my German), it was basically pasta with some posh mushrooms, yet despite the simplicity of the dish, it was sublime. We’re planning on going back to have another one.
And if you still have room after all that, there’s a range of desserts including tiramisu and affogato. I’m not normally a fan of coffee in desserts, but both of these rocked my fairtrade, sweatshop-free socks off.
Despite the high-quality of the food, the place is down-to-earth and easy going – it’s not somewhere you have to dress up for!
So if you’re coming to Berlin, that’s yet another place on your must-visit list. Just remember to phone ahead on a weekend.
Visit La Stella Nera online.