Elisabetta and Bachir are the owners of the Ataya Caffe, where their passion and love for food converge creating an original place at the centre of Prenzlauer Berg.
Stuffed ravioli, minestrone and garlic bread, home-made hummus and the so-called African bowl which consists of rice, joloff, mafè, yassa, typical Senegalese vegetables; those are only some of the specialities you could taste at Ataya Caffe, maybe the unique half Italian and half African in Germany.
This place is much more than a simple restaurant or café (breakfast and lunch are also served) and the owner’s main focus goes on the customers. “We want to put our clients at ease. Whether they’re having lunch or simply sipping a cappuccino, our customer must feel comfortable.” That’s what Elisabetta and Bachir tell us while sitting in their restaurant, trying to figure out where the idea of combining two different cuisines comes from. Quiet and peace, that’s what you will perceive entering the Ataya Caffe. This great atmosphere finds its basis in Bachir’s mantra: “Food, music and love have no boundaries and can get people together.”
In addition to the already mentioned specialties (it should be noted that ravioli are homemade), the menu ranges through baked-pasta, lasagne prepared with carasau bread, soups, cous cous and many other types of pasta. Many of the recipes – but not all – are vegan. Some (just like ravioli stuffed with ricotta) are only veggie. Those who want to have breakfast can enjoy smoothie, hot Italian chocolates, croissants, cappuccinos, cereal yogurt and everything a restaurant with a great attention to organic and quality can make you imagine.
About Elisabetta e Bachir
Elisabetta is a chef, naturopath specialised in alternative medicine from Sardinia whereas Bachir is a Senegalese musician, grown up in France. They first met in Cagliari while he was on tour then, after two years, they arrived in Berlin with their daughters and opened the Ataya Caffe. “Berlin attracted us for its up to date- multicultural soul which reminded us of our unusual relationship. That’s the reason why we decided to open a restaurant that was to be both Italian and African. We wanted to create an experimental cuisine focused on the quality and on a vast range of vegan dishes.” But how was Berliners’ reaction?
“Nothing is impossible if you stay true to yourself. We opened in the summer of 2016 and we’re gaining support, inch by inch. “The owners say, and they’re right. In fact their brunch (on the second Sunday of the month only) and lunch menu has been praised by the local press, Mit Vergnügen has placed Ataya Caffe second in a top 10 list on the best vegan breakfast in Berlin, while they were also mentioned by Exberliner due to the cosy and colourful atmosphere of the restaurant. It is a perfect place both for quiet seekers and for children. “We also try to arrange some journeys to Senegal so that people can get in touch with the Senegalese hospitality, food, culture and generosity.”
Where does the name Ataya come from?
“Ataya has a special meaning, it is the name of the tea ceremony in Segenal.” Tells Bachir speaking a fluent Italian: “It can be at any time of the day and basically everywhere. At home or in the streets, people gather for a ritual that can take up to three hours. The kettle is kept warm on a stove while the Chinese green tea remains infused until it gets a strong and bitter flavour. The ceremony is divided into three phases and the tea is poured into tiny glasses called kas. Then it is poured from one glass to another to create dense foam. The higher the foam, the better the tea. Fresh leaves and sugar are added slowly and each stage has its own particular meaning. Ataya, in fact, is a real encounter, a reason for spending time together, a ritual to which children also participate, patiently waiting for the third round: the blandest one. It seemed to be the most suitable name to represent us”. The Ataya offers this tea every second Sunday of the month along with a rich Italo-African vegan buffet brunch. A great chance to try all the specialities of a unique restaurant in Berlin.
Zelterstraße 6, 10439 Berlin
Mo-Sun: from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Translation edited by Maria Cristina Odierna