The history of this French restaurant in Berlin begins next door, where it originally opened as a delicatessen in 1830. In 1870 Borchardt’s services were summoned as official caterer to the crown. Suffering extensive damage during the war, the restaurant lay empty during GDR times and was reopened in 1991. Borchardt retains much of its exclusive appeal and is now considered one of the top see-and-be-seen restaurants in Berlin. Attitudes are relaxed; guests can dress head to toe in denim if they so desire and only risk offending the style aficionados. A perenially popular choice for actors, celebrities, politicians and business people, who whisper furtively in the plush red banquettes and intimate booths. During the summer months, red sofas are set up on the street as the beau monde move to the pavements. Original marble columns and an intricately tiled floor hint at the opulence of bygone days, while the mosaic of a Greek goddess behind the bar lay buried behind a brick wall for nine years (only eight of the stones are missing). Although the noise never dips below a din and service can be frustratingly rushed, the scene is energetic, the schnitzel and oysters legendary and even nobodies receive their fair share of Borchardt’s natural charm.