Word of Mouth: From Oma’s kitchen to The Last Frontier

Located in Mountain View, West Berlin is serving delicious German and Bavarian fare that could rival what your Oma “(grandmother” in German) used to make. On a street with an abundance of restaurants from around the world, West Berlin completes your global food conquest on Mountain View Drive.

West Berlin, nestled on the intersection of Mountain View Dr. and N Park St. Photo credit: Joey Carreon

An obvious nod to the side of Berlin allied with America, the British and the French during the Cold War, West Berlin is where Hawaiian owner Bill Hoopai would serve in the Air Force before coming to Alaska, according to an article by Zack Fields in the Anchorage Press. This is where Hoopai would fall in love with German cuisine and ultimately behoove him to open up West Berlin on Mountain View near beloved Hawaiian restaurant, Hula Hands, which Hoopai also owns.

The authenticity of the cuisine at West Berlin speaks for itself — so well, in fact, that those nostalgic for the rich food and culture of Deutschland will feel right at home. Upon entering, you are greeted with an open, rustic interior with an aroma of sausages and hand-crafted pretzels. Wooden tables, reminiscent of those found in German biergartens, are arranged neatly with chairs to match. Imported German beer steins, flags bearing family crests, and German beer posters adorn the walls and shelves of West Berlin. In a cooler, over a dozen bottled and canned German beers are displayed; on another wall, several German and Austrian beers on tap with their respective tap handles.

west berlin
Jagerschnitzel, rotkohl (stewed, fermented red cabbage) and spaetzle (egg noodles) Photo credit: Joey Carreon

The menu is short and sweet, printed on one sheet of laminated paper. On the menu, some of the German names can be hard to pronounce, so detailed descriptions of each dish are present below each item. Featured on the menu are several popular German dishes: schnitzel (breaded cutlets), homemade pretzels, sandwiches served on pretzel bread, several homemade German side dishes and various entrees.

Being a frequent patron of West Berlin, I knew that their schnitzels are the most popular dinner item. I chose their pork jagerschnitzel ($13) and a half-liter of their Ayinger Oktoberfest Marzen ($7), which was a part of their rotating tap collection. Being a marzen, the Oktoberfest was medium-bodied, lightly malty, yet crisp with a subtle orange hue. Promptly, my jagerschnitzel arrived: a tenderized, juicy pork cutlet breaded and fried to golden-brown perfection. Drizzled on top of the jagerschnitzel was a rich, deep brown gravy with mushrooms. On the side, spaetzle (German egg noodles) and a mound of stewed, red cabbage. The schnitzel was crisp, and it was complimented nicely by the salty, brown gravy and the tartness of the red cabbage. The sides at West Berlin are homemade, too—their red cabbage was sweet, tart, and warming due to their use of allspice. It was truly the perfect complement to a breaded piece of meat doused in gravy.

For lighter fare, West Berlin also offers lunch specials such as: different sausage dishes and sandwiches served on pretzels. However, it’s apparent that West Berlin’s ace is their schnitzel.

West Berlin offers a variety of German beverages, including pints of Stiegl Grapefruit Radler. Photo credit: Joey Carreon

The only thing more warming than the food was the presence of the staff. From the moment I entered to the moment I finished my meal, they were accommodating, helpful and willing to answer any questions I had. While finishing my meal, I could not help but notice patrons, presumably first-timers, complimenting the staff on food well-done and telling them that they’d see them next time.

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West Berlin, modestly tucked away on Mountain View Drive, is a gem that remains one of Anchorage’s best kept secrets. Whether one is familiar with German cuisine or not, West Berlin boasts simple, quality food that brings the best of German cooking to our neck of the woods.