Nobelhart & Schmutzig - Where Chefs Eat (and chat) in Berlin if they’re OK with having their phone taken off them at the door
You might think you’re at the wrong door on this busy street but inside there’s no mistake - everything about this modern German restaurant is stylish and slick, on the plate and off
We all know the scene. Just as you're seated at the restaurant table your dining companion pulls out their phone and plonks it on the table and you realise it's going to be one of those evenings when you're in competition with the entire internet for their attention.
But that doesn't happen at Nobelhart & Schmutzig in Berlin where part of the dining deal is that the phone is left at the door. It's done as much to discourage instagrammers as encourage good conversation but has the added effect of lending mystique to what is already a rather intriguing, hidden space.
According to the third edition of our phenomenally succcessful global food guide Where Chefs Eat Nobelhart & Schmutzig looks like nothing from the outside. "You’ll think you’re at the wrong door on this busy street," the guide says. But inside, there’s no mistake. According to Where Chefs Eat "everything about this acclaimed modern German restaurant is stylish and slick - on the plate and off.
"Billy Wagner, a sommelier-turned-restaurateur, and executive chef Micha Schäfer, “the workhorse of the kitchen”, created Nobelhart & Schmutzig. Their main message is one of pared-back simplicity: on offer is a short menu of “brutally local” seasonal ingredients (no pepper, no lemons, no chocolate, no tuna - if you can’t source it in Berlin, it’s not worth having), served in a seriously small space.
Writing in the new edition of Where Chefs Eat Florent Ladeyn, chef and founder of Bloempot in Lille, and Au Vert Mont in Boeschepe, describes Nobelhart & Schmutzig as "a UFO behind a glass storefront" on a busy shopping street.
"Customers eat at the bar round the kitchen, having left their phone and preconceptions in the cloakroom," Florent says. "The restaurant is run by Billy, a brilliant sommelier with a fiery temperament, a character to match his talent. Direct, frank, masculine, yet delicate too. The most important thing? It’s very good.”
Nobelhart & Schmutzig is just one of a staggering 7043 recommendations in the latest edition of our phenomenally successful global restaurant guide, Where Chefs Eat. While the colour of the cover has changed over the years, (the new one is a rather fetching radish colour), the idea behind the guide is exactly the same as it was when we published the very first edition of Where Chefs Eat back in 2012.
The premise is that the modern chef is a fantastic source of guaranteed good meal recommendations, from humble holes-in-the-wall - to the most luxurious places around - and every dining experience inbetween the two.
For this third edition, we sat 653 chefs down and asked them what they liked to eat where in the world - a huge undertaking that has resulted in those 7043 recommendations - a third more than in any previous guide.
So whether it’s just a late-night snack from a burger bar or an elaborate once-in-a-lifetime tasting menu experience with palette-pleasing, bank-balance-battering wines to match each course, you’ll find it in Where Chefs Eat.
570 destinations. 70 countries. Across six continents. It's no boast to say that this edition has the most wide-ranging and eclectic set of listings we’ve ever come up with.
We’re only focusing on one restaurant per city in our Phaidon.com series but the book contains countless recommendations in each city around the world. We’ve also launched an app for this third edition which features all the places in the book in an on the go format for when you’re out and about. Head into the store and snap up your guide to great eating now. And if you pre-order here you'll get the app free - but for a limited time only.