What would you do if you owned a bar that stood empty during the morning, while you recover from last night’s hangover? In the case of Lagari, the answer is: rent it out to people who are serving what some might claim is the hottest American Brunch in town. So hot, that you can now get it on weekdays as well (10:00-16:00).

 The California Breakfast Slam is the local answer for American expats with a craving for brunch that tastes like home. And by “home” we mean “California-Style” – with a delicate and blessed Mexican influence. Amongst the brunches you can find fluffy pancakes, black beans and eggs on a tortilla, eggs Benedict (or Florentine, if you’re a veggie) and more.

The location itself is mundane and irrelevant. On a nice sunny day everyone is sitting outside, on the traffic island. It seems like ages ago now, but when we visited there it was a hot day. Too hot for Berlin, and believe it or not – there were not enough parasols to shade all the tables. You couldn’t fit a Brötchen between the brunch-eners: youngsters, expats and locals. But nothing was gonna stand in our way of enjoying the enormous portions. We fell head-over-heals for the pancakes, bitched about the heat for a while, and sat there for quite a while before we were able to stand up. It was filling.

The city is crawling with expats (as we know from being ones ourselves), so reservations for groups of more than 4 people are highly recommended during the weekends.

 The bottom line: For hungry California lovers, who are not shy of some black beans.

 The plate test: couldn’t finish. We were out numbered.

 Price: 8-10, not including drinks.

 Soundtrack: of the street. Pleasant multi-lingual chatter.

 Kids: why not? Sitting in the street.

 Pets: why not? Sitting in the street.

 Crowd: locals and visitors who know why they’re coming

California Breakfast Slam (at Lagari)

 Pflügerstrasse 19, Neukolln-Kreuzberg

 Email for reservations: cabslam@gmail.com

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Ho America!

Everything in Nalu diner screams America: Two big spaces with white walls, covered in pictures and posters of american icons, such as Steely Dan; Booths with red leather-like upholstery; Tables with pictures of all the U.S. Presidents; And in the background, american ‘70 and ‘80 music, such as Steely Dan. A soundtrack that gets you dreaming about the big road-trip you’re gonna take, scorching the wide open highways of America in a convertible.

Our breakfast also screamed America. No brunch on the menu per se, but a few breakfast deals that would qualify. Two of us went for the veggie and the third one took the direct approach – straight for the pancakes. The veggie breakfast had a choice of eggs, 2 pancakes and hash browns. After all, it’s not like America to worry hungry stomaches with anything green or fresh. The eggs were standard, the pancakes fatty and round and the hash browns slightly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The black coffee, re-filled by the waiter just like you’d expect, was surprisingly good compared to its American counterpart. More than anything, there was much of everything.

Just do yourselves a favor and don’t use the junk wannabe-maple sauce on the table. Ask the waiter for REAL maple sauce. They have it, but charge extra for it.

The plate test: neither was empty. Torn pancakes and egg leftovers

Music: wonderful (Steely Dan was joined by Van Morrison, Rod Stewart, Billy Joel and the Boss)

Crowd: young and unified. The presence of only one child was noted

Price: reasonable. Mostly around 8-9 Euro

Breakfasts: array of combos which include eggs, pancakes, hash browns and bacon

The bottom line: Okish +, for Americana lovers

NALU DINER

http://nalu-diner.com

Dunckerstraße 80a, Berlin

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