Thursday morning was for walking - to coffee, to shops, and along the Berlin Wall Memorial on Bernauer Strasse (which we'd both highly recommend, moreso than the East Side Gallery). My feet were ready to give way by the time Michael steered me to Maja's Deli.
This is an unpretentious cafe fitted out in sunny blues and yellows; almost anywhere you look you'll find a cartoon cow encouraging you to go vegan. The menu, handwritten on blackboards in German, offers sandwiches, salads and hot dishes like lasagne and quiche - all cheap, all vegan - while a counter full of cakes signals that you should save a little room for sweets. We had no problems communicating with the staff in English.
We settled on sandwiches. German bread is perfect for slathering spreads on - crusty on the outside, chewy and substantive in the middle, nutty and flavoursome all the way through - but comes across kinda heavy when doubled up as a proper sandwich. Still, there was plenty worth biting through to - fresh tomato and lettuce and, in one case, lightly fried still-squidgy tempeh (4.50€ ~ AU$5.60)
I liked our second sandwich even better - in this one the tempeh was replaced by thinly sliced, salty-fried smoked tofu (4.00€ ~ AU$5.00).
From the cake display, I picked out this berry cheesecake (2.90€ ~AU$3.60) to share. The portion was large, the price was small and it looked the ticket! Unfortunately the taste didn't match up, closer to a slab of firm tofu than tangy curd. If only I'd read some of the blog reviews below before our visit, I might have chosen differently!
It seems that savouries are Maja's strength - they're cheap and nourishing and definitely worth your euros if you're in the neighbourhood.
Again, almost all blog accounts of Maja's Deli appear to be written by visitors to Berlin! They're overwhelmingly positive about the savoury food though, like us, a few folks were disappointed by the desserts. Check out my friend does wicked vegan pastries (in German), MUFFIN TOPPED, Until We Eat Again!, Vegan Miam, Végétalien à Paris, Vegan Backpacker, Matikvadrat (in Swedish), In The Mood For Noodles, HERBIVORE FOX, The Urban Housewife (twice), love at first bite and Nimmersatt in Berlin.
Pappelallee 11, Berlin
savouries 3.80-6.50€ ~ AU$4.70-8.10, sweets 2.20-2.90€ ~AU$2.70-3.60
Accessibility: Tables outside Maja's Deli are small, well-spaced and I suspect a little rickety on uneven ground; inside tables are high and accompanied by backless stools (see top two photos). We ordered and paid at a high counter.
Berlin Wall Memorial grounds along Bernauer Strasse
Berlin's parks were full of Michael's favourite things-
dogs, public ping pong tables, and the public consumption of beer.