Café Botanico

German-Italian garden-to-table restaurant with its own Permaculture garden in Berlin-Neukölln 


Thursday 9th of May: we are open for dinner from 17:00. No lunch  

Opening hours:

Tuesday to Sunday 17:00- 23:00 (dinner)

We are also open on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 12:00 for a small lunch, coffee and cake. You may also visit the Permaculture garden at that time

Reservations online via
 https://cafebotanicoberlin.jimdofree.com/

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Groups & events

We can accommodate up to 40 guests for Christmas parties, team events, business dinners, weddings and family celebrations. Please enquire via [email protected]  

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Permaculture & wild herb garden tours

on the first Sunday of the month at 16:00 (usually in German, unless specified)
The walk takes place in all weather conditions, so bring an umbrella and a coat. If it's too bad, we will only go outside shortly and watch pictures about the transformation of the garden in 2012 instead. 
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 For news from the kitchen and garden, we recommend our newsletter and Instagram profile:
https://www.instagram.com/cafebotanico/

Kitchen


"Perhaps Berlin’s only real farm-to-table restaurant
https://www.exberliner.com/food/best-restaurants-in-neukolln/ 

"Sustainable, seasonal and local food doesn’t get much better than this."
Cee Cee

"Great food, friendly service 

Lovely staff, lovely atmosphere and the food is always outstanding. I'm always so impressed every time I come here (and so are the people I bring)."


Nicole, visit on 14 January 2023

Menu (please check on the German side if not updated here)

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Starters

Botanico wild herb salad (vegan)......................................... 10 €
portion of wild herbs from the garden, served with olive oil, salt ans bread, optionally with cheese + €4 or Parma ham + €6

Burrata, with gremolata and some herbs from the garden…..……………..12,00 €
~ with fried capers & anchovies + 3 €

Carciofo, steamed artichoke (vegan)......................... 15,00 €
with lemon dressing, gremolata and vegan mayo 

Vegan tapa of the day, garnished vegetable of the season …….………..7,00 €
with edible herbs and flowers from the garden
~ 3 tapas on one plate: 20 € 


Salumeria....................................................................... 12 €
classic Italian antipasti with prosciutto, salami and cheese
~ large portion for two people:  22 €


Mains

Pasta olio, aglio e peperoncino (vegan)........................ 10,50 €

Pasta with olive oil, garlic and  chili pepper

 

Pasta ripiena alle erbe ........... 12,50 €
stuffed pasta with fresh seasonal garden herbs and melted butter & cheese or olive oil  

Pasta all'Amatriciana.....15,50 €
classic pasta dish from Roma with Guanciale ham and tomato sauce

Pasta alla Ligure………. 17,00 €
fresh pasta with basil pesto, baby potatoes, green beans & black garlic  


Risotto di stagione (vegetarian). .......................... 16,00 €
Risotto with butter, parmesan cheese and seasonal ingredients
 

Polenta Botanica……...18,00 €
(gluten-free & vegan) 


Wild boar peposo with polenta and vegetables.............. 25,00 €
braised in a savoury red wine sauce; we obtain the meat from a hunter in Brandenburg 


Children's pasta with tomato sauce & parmesan... 6,50 €


Desserts

Vegan coconut panna cotta.................................................. 7 €

with compote and Botanico garnish


Torta Caprese...................................................................... 7 €

Juicy chocolate cake from the island of Capri, with icing sugar and Botanico garnish


Tiramisu in a glass............................................................. 7 €


Green Almonds with cheese............................ 12 €
Pickled green almonds, with soft cheese, Sicilian bergamot jam and pink pepper

 

The Botanico herbs


The herbs, edible flowers and wild vegetables come exclusively from our Permaculture garden in the back. Since 2012 we have been cultivating here approximately 200 species of edible plants. We let them spread and grow naturally, like in a forest or on a meadow. Our gardeners are foraging leave by leave and flower by flower on a daily basis and bring a selection to the kitchen which is based on sustainable harvesting principles, ecological diversity and last but not least, taste and beauty. 


If you want to know which plants we are using at the moment, ask your waiters, and they will give you the seasonal selection of plant cards. Feel free to have a walk into the garden and try to recognise the plants that you’ve just had on your plate. However, do not pick anything in the garden! Some of the plants there can be poisonous! 


If you want to taste plants in the garden, we are offering culinary  garden tours with herbs tasting every first Sunday of the month.       





Wines

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Sparkling 

Cava J&N Brut Eco

Julia Navinès, Penedes, Catalogna.


Bitches Brew

Jürgen Leiner, Pfalz, Germany. Natural wine.


White                            

Grillo, Arridu
Sicily, Valdibella.


Il Lugana                                 

Lago di Garda, Pasini.

Pecorino, Giocheremo con i Fiori
Abruzzen, Torre dei Beati.


Chardonnay “Le Jade”  

Le Costíères de Pomerols, Roussillon. 


Orange 

Quinto Quarto Sivi
Friaul, Franco Terpin. Natural wine.


Rosé 

Grenache, Rosato 

Sardinia, Olianas. Organic. 


Rot

Negroamaro

Apulien, Hisoteleray. Vegan and organic.

Cannonau di Sardegna

Sardinia, Olianas. Organic.

Tragolaro Tinto 

Alicante,Vinessens. Natural wine.


Clos Fantine tradition

Faugères, Olivier Andrieu. Natural wine. 




Rosé 

Grenache, Rosato 

Sardinia, Olianas. Organic. 


Red

Negroamaro

Apulia, Hisoteleray. Organic.

Cannonau di Sardegna

Sardinia, Olianas. Organic.


Products

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Local and seasonal products are very important to us. Our famous wild herbs harvested fresh from our own organic garden are used in many of our dishes, homemade lemonades and teas, but are best known as Berlin's freshest, healthiest and most unusual wild herb salad.

What we do not produce ourselves, we choose with an eye on quality and sustainability. We are especially fond of our collaboration with shepherdess Viola Timm, who shepherds her free roaming flock just minutes from Berlin. Seasonally we also obtain game and wild boar from hunter Norbert Voss from the Havelland Nature Park. Both treat nature with the respect that connects us.

We purchase special organic legumes from our partner cooperative Cicchetti in Umbria, including old varieties such as the wild pea Roveja and flat peas. Also from Umbria comes our legendary air-dried ham and salami from Ciliani in Norcia.
Even if we pour pure wine: it is not always filtered, but organic and carefully selected such as the Libera Terra wine cultivated on land freed from the Mafia.

Our claim to act locally or to offer organic quality, connects us with our suppliers such as Kønigliche Backstube, Oval Espresso, Berliner Berg Brewery, the vegan PlantAge Cooperative and Prinzessinnengärten.
The industrious bees of Michael Brey produce honey in our garden and in the immediate vicinity.

Garden

"... you enter Alice's Wonderland through the back door."
Boris Lauser

"Anyone who thinks urban gardening one step further will find a system in permaculture in which nature lets its magic be carried out with as little human intervention as possible. To experience this ancient method, the best thing to do is to go to Café Botanico."
Visit Berlin

Botanico Garden

All delicacies from the garden are used fresh in the Botanico kitchen. We harvest fruit and vegetables depending on the season and aromatic wild herbs nearly all year round.

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When permaculture gardener and Botanico founder Martin Höfft entered the overgrown allotment garden in Neukölln in 2012, he found the perfect site for Cafe Botanico. On 1000 sqm, old vegetables, fruits and wild plants are grown in close-to-nature cultivation based on the model of permaculture.

From 2012 to 2020, the garden was the only urban garden in Berlin to be certified organic. Since the 2020 lockdown, certification has been waived for cost reasons. Instead, guests can see for themselves and visit the garden free of charge during opening hours and linger at small tables. There are also regular wild herb tours and workshops.

Permaculture


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The concept of Permaculture was created by the Australian Bill Mollison in the 1970s as a form of sustainable farming and lifestyle: "permanent agriculture". The concepts and methods include ecological, economic and social aspects alike and offer instructions on how to sustainably optimise our living space in all these areas. It is not about maximizing short-term earnings, but about continuously improving the living conditions of all those involved and their descendants. Central aspects are soil fertility and biodiversity. 
 
A permaculture garden is an ecosystem that is in operation all year round and for as many years as possible. Cultivated plants are not removed immediately after harvesting or replaced with new ones. The aim is to create a living space that is largely self-regulating - using given resources and minimal interventions a sustainable balance can be maintained. The space between the individual plantings should be covered all year round with intermittent crops, weeds or biomass (a mulch cover made from dead plant material) and thus protected. The soil is only worked on the surface and if possible not dug up. Some crops remain in the soil after harvesting and continue to multiply through root runners or self-sowing. Plucked weeds remain in the bed so that the rotting biomass can enrich the soil.
 
Whichever plants are grown depends on personal preferences, but one must also be prepared to be surprised by nature. If you take the time to observe your own successes and failures, you will find that some plant species grow best if you leave them alone, for example wild rocket. Others need a lot of care and attention, for example tomatoes. A permaculture gardener always tries to develop a harmonious balance between the individual plants, his own skills and preferences as well as those of his fellow gardeners. Each permaculture garden is therefore a unique symbiosis between humans and nature. After some time, this cultivation method is more sustainable than all other known cultivation systems because the ecosystem is so replicated and enriched instead of being exhausted.

For fertilization we use compost and plant manure from nettle, comfrey, cabbage leaves, yaw, horsetail and other plant remains. In addition, we selectively use horn shavings for heavily draining crops, bentonite to improve the sandy soil and if necessary, lime to regulate the pH value.

 

Chemical pesticides, even those approved for organic farming, are not used. Due to the mixed culture, pests and diseases only occur on individual plants and generally do no greater damage. Numerous natural enemies of feeding pests live in the natural garden. Spraying the leaves with plant manure can also strengthen plant health and thus the natural defenses of the plants.

In Conversation

An interview with Botanico founder and permaculture gardener Martin Höfft.


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What values ​​does Café Botanico want to convey?
There are different levels here: In the political sense, the Café Botanico is about transition or, as some sociologists call it, transformation design ... that is, how we can help shape the transition to a more sustainable society. The way there leads us not only to the political level, but also to everyday life, especially to our own. We think it is important that we do not overwhelm our fellow human beings or ourselves with expectations and goals that are too high and that we do not presume to have found the only right way here. We welcome everyone: not only convinced ecologists, vegans and super-foodies, but also their parents, friends or business partners; and of course walking customers from the neighborhood or the neighbor who just wants to have a good coffee. And not because it is organic and fair, but because it tastes and its enjoyment increases well-being. Conceptually, it is about local production cycles, circular economy, ecological cultivation, healthy eating - but first of all it is about making our guests feel comfortable with us; that they like it and that they do not have to go home with a guilty conscience, on the contrary, that they feel pleasantly satisfied and satisfied; and maybe inspired. Because we make an offer here, namely to deal with natural ingredients and to get to know the diversity of living nature in the form of edible natural plants. I personally believe that this brings me back on the road to a more sustainable society that you can only protect and maintain what you know and have learned to appreciate. The diversity and richness of the flora, the "botany" plays a key role here. Hence "Café Botanico". Our guests can get to know plants that they know from their front garden, parks, forest walks or from the tree in front of their house. But here you can touch them and taste them; and you can experience them lovingly prepared on your plate for simple meals.
 
What does farm-to-table mean?
Farm-to-table or garden-to-table means that products come more or less directly from the farm or from the garden to the plate. Without over wholesale markets and intermediaries to be anonymized; and if possible without long delivery routes. Some of our ingredients come directly from our own permaculture garden; This is a so-called forest garden, which we have created based on a natural ecosystem and in which we collect a large number of different wild herbs, vegetables and fruits for the kitchen every day. We try to source the purchased ingredients directly from agricultural producers.

How do you manage to act sustainably and where do you get the purchased ingredients from?
The ingredients that we bring from the garden to the table can hardly be produced more sustainably: all work steps from sowing to planting, cultivation, plant care, harvesting, cleaning, preparation and ultimately for consumption can be found on site, here at our Café Botanico, instead. Leftovers, surpluses and waste are carefully composted so that no waste is created. On the contrary: what is not eaten remains in the ecological cycle of the garden and provides nutrients for the following generations of plants. We make sure that soil fertility and biodiversity within the system increase every year, instead of decreasing over time as in many other production processes, even in organic farming this can decrease over time.
   
In contrast to the garden, the café is not certified organic. With the purchased ingredients, however, we make sure that at least one, possibly several of the following attributes apply: direct purchase from the producer (farm-to-table), regional / local, ecological, fair, artisanal production. So we get e.g. our legumes (flat peas, chickpeas, lentils, beans) from an organic farm in Umbria. Here we accept the transport by truck once or twice a year in order to maintain the personal trade relationship with our partner company, which produces great products in fantastic quality.
Otherwise, we openly admit that, for logistical and financial reasons, we cannot always use products that meet the above criteria. We also buy in the supermarket (Bio-Company, Rewe and Metro) or have them delivered by middlemen. These are compromises that we consciously accept and that we keep trying to discuss and shape. Ultimately, it is important to us that our food does not become too expensive and remains affordable for everyone. Here we try to find a balanced and coherent compromise and to offer the best possible quality at an affordable price, while integrating the highest possible proportion of sustainable products.

Nowadays, many people use finished products in everyday life. Even cooked with fresh and healthy ingredients is becoming less and less. How do you think awareness of the value of food and groceries could become more rooted in us?
I personally believe that it is not so good about the moral index finger and a guilty conscience ("how, do you eat meat?" Or "but that's completely unhealthy"), because about positive motivation: if we like it when we do enjoy something with joy, then we can also estimate the value of a meal. Eating healthy and natural should not be a waiver but an enrichment for life; Buying things from people you know and whose work you value creates more satisfaction than putting an anonymous product from the supermarket in the shopping cart. Cooking and eating in company is more fun than warming up a ready meal alone. That shouldn't mean that you can no longer eat ready meals - it means a lot more: if you know good food, you won't want to do without it; or in other words: anyone who has known and learned to love nature will also stand up for it and protect it.
On the other hand, politics must of course create framework conditions that make it easier for us to eat healthy and sustainable food. For example, products from non-species-appropriate animal husbandry, if not immediately prohibited, should at least not be made artificially cheaper through subsidies and certainly not be exported at dumping prices (Germany was the world's largest pork exporter in 2017; https://www.weltexporte.de /schweinefleisch-exporte[https://www.weltexporte.de/schweinefleisch-exporte/#Schweinefleisch]).
We are happy when guests come to us because of the good food and not because of their bad conscience - and when they then eat our wild herb salad and realize that it tastes better than any convenience salad from the supermarket shelf, no matter how well prepared. Simply because it is fresh and natural. And then we send the guests into the garden, where they can see the plants whose leaves and flowers they have just eaten. And when they say with their mouths open: that's nice here, and in the middle of the city ...! And then I like to tell you that much of it grows all by itself; you just have to take the time to get to know, use and love it. And let it grow. Can you imagine anything nicer?

For the first time at Café Botanico - what would you recommend?
Yes, our wild herb salad. It represents what naturally grows in the garden at each season. I would say that this is the freshest, tastiest and most diverse salad that you can get in Berlin - unless you know your way around and collect yourself. I would recommend our lamb, which we get directly from a Berlin sheep farm. The animals are in the pasture all year round (see photo below), and our cook conjures up delicacies from all parts, so the entire animal is used. If you do not like meat, we recommend pasta of all heirs with fresh herbs from the garden and a glass of wine or homemade kombucha. And then a piece of homemade cake with an espresso.

About us

Anyone who appreciates good quality food, is interested in permaculture, celebrates sustainability, likes to socialise with friends in a homely atmosphere and wants to visit an enchanted garden in the middle of the city will feel at home with us.

Conceptually we are concerned with local ecological production cycles, circular economy and healthy eating - but first and foremost we want our guests to feel good and enjoy a tasty meal.

Since Café Botanico was founded by permaculture gardener Martin Höfft and his father in law, who was an accomplished Italian chef, we hold our Italian connection very dear. All our produce from Umbria comes from cooperatives that we are personally acquainted with and whose production methods we appreciate.


In our certified organic garden everyone can look around and get to know the botanical diversity. Hence our name "Café Botanico".
You will find exotic and familiar plants that you know from forest walks, parks or even from the tree in front of your house. Here at Café Botanico you can touch them, taste them and experience them in lovingly prepared dishes, bursting with flavour.