October 2, 2017 Chris


Always a great choice for a killer sandwich or brunch plate full of high-quality Italian produce, Barettino is an awesome spot located in Neukölln, just off the always-interesting Weserstrasse. Ideal for an afternoon Spritz or dinner as well, we decided to send a few questions to the owners Djamila and Maria to share a little more with you…

You opened Barettino in 2013. What did both of you do before opening and what roles do each of you play in the business today?

Maria and myself (Djamila) have been working in gastronomy since, well forever. Sometimes it was just to earn some money outside of school or studying, but also full time as a main job.
After a couple of years in Berlin we met each other in a tiny Italian coffee place and our friendship and energy started right away, which opened the doors for having our own business together.

We don’t have strict roles in the business actually, so we have the chance to make holidays and giving each other support when one is weak or not feeling well.

What were the biggest challenges in setting up the cafe?

The biggest challenge was having such little money for a big start. So we started with small ideas and grew things further with our success. 

Your focus is almost solely on Italian food – do you tend to be inspired by a particular  region of Italy in your cooking?

You are right –  although we prefer to say we are “almost Italian” 😉

We don’t focus on one particular region no, and try to not be another of those typical Italian restaurants in Berlin that ONLY does Italian food. And you can find a lot of untypical things for an Italian bar in Barettino – for example our breakfast plates and some dishes are influenced by all of the different cultures of people working at our place.

You’re renowned for superb quality ingredients, how do you find and source them?

We ate ourselves through every Italian supermarket in Berlin to find the right products, and that involved eating a LOT of Cornetti (an Italian cousin of the French Croissant).

For us it is also very important to sell the best quality we can find for a fair price our customers will appreciate. When we first started, our customers didn’t expect such good  quality and were quite surprised by it 😉

What is the most popular item on the menu and what are your favourites?
Well, we think our breakfast plates are invincible,  but I (Djamila) could die for our Ragú (Bolognese). And Maria loves Panone della madonna (which in Italian means ‘fantastic’) with avocado and eggs.

What made you decide to open up in Neukölln rather than another area?

We’ve both lived in this exact area for so many years. Our friends and my daughter’s school and other things in the close surrounding of Barettino made it an obvious choice for us to open up here.

How do you feel the neighborhood has changed since you first set up in Reuterstr.?
Everything is still not as fancy as in other parts of Berlin and so we feel very pleased to have been, and still be part of, the development of our Kiez.
You can see Neukölln changing very quickly… but it will never be Mitte here 😉

What advice would you give to someone interested in setting up a café in Berlin?

Be UNIQUE and do it with love!

 Where do you both like to eat, drink and relax in Berlin?
Djamila: I love to cook for friends – so at home is my favourite place to eat and drink!
I can relax best in nature and need to leave the city whenever it is possible..
Maria: I cannot relax!
Berlin means a lot to different people for different reasons. Complete the following sentence “For us, Berlin is….”
… freedoom.
As you can see from the photos, Barettino are serious about good food! Pop down for a brunch next time you’re in the area and you’ll surely be as impressed as we always are every time we go!
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