â€ś Address: Potsdamer StraĂźe 84 / 10785 Berlin / Germany â€ž
Having a December birthday is a bit of a pain for several reasons. One is that when you want to go out for a birthday meal the restaurants have switched to a Christmas set menu and tend to be full of screaming office girls and lecherous bosses. On our first evening in Berlin we had a restaurant in mind but when we got there it was closed for a private party. We walked and walked up Potsdamer Strasse and just when we thought we might have to settle for a stand up dinner of currywurst we discovered 'Dalmacija'. As a lover of all things Balkan I knew it was fate. My adopted home, Slovenia, includes lots of Balkan dishes in its cuisine and it had been three long months since my last cevapcici: I had to eat there.
Dalmacija is a very welcoming and homely restaurant with only minor nods to Croatia in the decoration in the shape of landscape pictures and the odd piece of ceramics. It's your typical, slightly dated, central European restaurant that remains popular on the basis of the quality of the food served up and the friendliness of the staff. It was a busy Friday evening but there were still tables available so we were able to get in without a reservation. There's no standing on ceremony, if there's a table available you take it and needn't wait to be seated. We were offered a menu in English but managed fine with a German one partly because we were familiar with the Balkan specialities already.
The menu choices lean heavily towards meat though there were some fish dishes and enough meat free items to make up a reasonable meal. After a little deliberation we were ready and a charming waiter (most likely the owner, I'd say) (with a wonderfully Balkan moustache) came to take down our order of cevapcici (the name means 'little kebabs', they are little sausages of spicy minced meat) and raznjici (skewers of pork). I asked for ajvar (a spicy relish, made from red peppers and aubergines) to go with my cevapcici, a request which seemed to impress our waiter (who also indulged my very suspect Croatian). Starving by this point, we opted to have them with fries and rice respectively and we shared a mixed salad which came, as is usual in Balkan countries, almost immediately (we always force ourselves not to demolish the salad before the main course comes which I think makes waiters worry that we don't like it).
Himself ordered a JubilĂ¤umspils while I went for a bottled beer, Croatian Karlovacko priced at Euro2.90 and Euro2.30 respectively the drinks were agood price for a restaurant, I thought.
Although it was a quite a busy evening, with people continuing to arrive well after 10.00pm, we didn't have to wait very long for our food. Cevapcici is not a dish that can be presented very beautifully but a plate of cevapcici looks delicious however you present it and I couldn't wait to tuck into mine. It was served very authentically with a pile of chopped raw onion and and a little dish of ajvar. There were seven little cevapcici and they were obviously handmade (in a few despicable places in Slovenia they use readymade ones - shame on them). There were loads of fries so I was pleased I had ordered seven cevapcici instead of ten which is usual (only a few places state on the menu that you can order five, seven or ten, though many will serve you less if you ask them). These ones were not too spicy and had a lovely flavour from the grill. The raznjici were good too; three skewers of lovely tender pork grilled to perfection. The rice was also good, white long grained rice that had that naughty taste only butter can give.
With the cevapcici priced at Euro9.40 and the raznjici Euro9.50 the food cost a lot more than we would normally pay in Croatia, Slovenia or any of the Balkan countries but, then, we were in Berlin where we should expect to pay more. For a shade more than Euro24 for drinks and food this wasn't a bad price for a hearty dinner in a major European capital and we very much enjoyed our meal.
This is a cosy, comfortable local restaurant that people seem to visit time and time again because they know that the food is good and the welcome is warm. It may not be the most stylish restaurant in Berlin but I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it if you happen to be in this part of Berlin.
Nearest stations are:
KurfĂĽrstenstrasse - U1
Mendelssohn-Bartholdy-Park - U2