When Zinos (Adam Bousdoukos, Head-On) hires a gourmet chef for his struggling Hamburg restaurant, it only serves to drive away his low-life regulars. Meanwhile, Zinos' girlfriend, Nadine, has moved to Shanghai to take a reporting job. A new hip clientele helps bring the restaurant back, but Zinos' heart still needs fixing, so he flies to China, leaving Soul Kitchen in the hands of his criminal brother, Illias (Moritz Bleibtreu, Run Lola Run). Bad move: Illias gambles the eatery away and Nadine has a new lover. But the brothers have a chance to repair the damage if they can stop arguing and work as a team. Directed by the acclaimed Fatih Akin (Head-On, The Edge of Heaven), the hilarious and heartfelt SOUL KITCHEN, set to an infectious soul and funk soundtrack, won two prizes at the Venice Film Festival.
Moritz Bleibtreu,Adam Bousdoukos,Anna Bederke,Pheline Roggan,Lukas Gregorowicz,Birol Ünel
They serve frozen pizza, fish burgers with potato salad, Hawaiian hamburgers, and macaroni and cheese. Soul Kitchen in Hamburg-Wilhelmsburg isn't exactly famous for its fine cuisine, but the neighborhood regulars love the food that the German-Greek Zinos (Adam Bousdoukos) throws into his deep fryer, not to mention the great music. Soul, funk and rembetiko fill the air in the old warehouse that Zinos shares with the old boat builder Sokrates (Demir Gokgol). Zinos has his hands full with his restaurant and ends up arriving too late to his girlfriend Nadine's (Pheline Roggan) farewell party. Nadine, a cool beauty from a good family is off to Shanghai to work as a correspondent for a major newspaper and is celebrating with her family in a high-class restaurant at the Elbe River.
There, Zinos witnesses how the restaurant owner (Peter Lohmeyer) fires his eccentric chef (Birol Unel) because he refuses to make a warm gazpacho. "You're selling what can't be sold: love, sex and the soul!" Shayn cries out as he leaves the restaurant. Zinos is impressed. When he throws out his back trying to heave the dishwasher on his own, Zinos hires Shayn as the new cook, but that's when his problems start. Although Shayn makes excellent food, the regulars boycott the new gourmet chef because they want their old junk food back. Now the only people loafing about Soul Kitchen are Zinos's brother Illias (Moritz Bleibtreu) who is out on parole, and his two shady buddies (Cem Akin, Marc Hosemann).
Zinos starts to feel the pressure weigh down on him from all sides: Nadine wants him to move to Shanghai with her. The woman from the tax office (Catrin Striebeck) confiscates the stereo system and the health inspector (Jan Fedder) is threatening to close down the place. Yet despite his terrible back problems, under no circumstances does Zinos want to give up his restaurant. So he turns down an offer from real-estate shark Neumann (Wotan Wilke Mohring) to sell the place.
Then the tide turns: a dance school opens up next door. The new guests love Shayn's food and they party to the sound of his waiter Lutz's (Lucas Gregorowicz) rock band. Zinos' brother Illias falls in love with the waitress Lucia (Anna Bederke). He gets his criminal friends to steal a stereo system so he can impress her with his DJ skills. Word of the changes at Soul Kitchen gets around quickly. Within just a few weeks, the place becomes the hottest spot in town, and guests begin to storm Zinos' hip hangout. Now he can afford to renovate the kitchen and pay back his back taxes.
However, Zinos has a hard time enjoying all this success because his long-distance relationship is threatening to fall apart. Suddenly, Nadine no longer wants him to come to Shanghai. He decides to go to China anyway to find out where he stands with Nadine. He considers selling Soul Kitchen to Neumann, but when he finds out that the buyer would only tear it down, Zinos decides to sign over the whole place to his brother Illias. His goodbye party at Soul Kitchen turns into an orgy after Shayn mixes too much of a powerful aphrodisiac into the dessert.
Illias appears to be having an uneventful first night as the new manager of Soul Kitchen, hanging out with his buddies, smoking, drinking and betting pocket change in a poker game. Then suddenly, Neumann enters the restaurant. At first, he just wants to drink a beer, but then he joins the poker round. The stakes get higher, the hours pass and Illias is winning one hand after another. That is until the tide turns once again...