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A couple of days in Berlin

a
ankergl Jun 24, 2012 06:25 AM

Hi to all!

Last week I spent some days in Berlin, mostly in Prenzlauer Berg.
Thanks to the information found in this board, I had some nice meals and can totally recommend the following:
- YamYam for affordable korean cuisine
- Yumcha Heroes for chinese dumplings
- Bonanza Coffee in Oderberger Straße for amazing coffee
- No Fire No Glory in Rykestrasse has also good coffee.

I also found a relatively new Israeli diner, Sababa, in Kastanienallee 50/51, with good hummus, even though the pita bread is not up to Middle-Eastern standards!

Lastly, can anybody reccomend good and cheap Vietnamese food in the Prenzlauer Berg area for my next trip?

Thanks!

  1. m
    minyming Nov 10, 2012 02:01 AM

    Thanks for the asian food suggestions, here in in other threads. Since I live in Charlottenburg I've sampled more of the western Berlin offerings, and I have some suggestions I have not seen before on this forum that I think are outstanding:

    Heno Heno (Kantstr 65) - A total gem of a place. You can tell it is special just from outside, with the funny scarecrow menu woman. Tastefully decorated hole in the wall (you have to use the bathroom of a neighboring shop) with superb music selection. There are just a handful of items on the menu, but they do them well. I come here all the time for the Henonade (homemade ginger lemonade) and vegetarian rice bowl - spinach and wakame perfectly seasoned with some shredded carrot and radish, topped with a soft poached egg and gomasio. My only complaint is their udon noodles are from dried noodles, not the thick fleshy fresh ones, but this is a small thing. Go.

    Samakki Talad Thai (Kaiser-Friedrich-Straße 41) - my favorite for Thai, it is not classy, but resembles a series of street carts side by side. They do hot dishes with rice, salads, stir-fry noodles and noodle soups, as well as thai iced tea/coffee, fresh limeade, and other drinks. All dishes are 5 euro. The papaya salad, glass noodle salad, and bamboo salad were amazing and what I would expect if I was in Thailand instead.

    Arirang (Seestraße 106) - great affordable Korean food. They have BBQ and hot pot, bibimbap, soon tofu stew, and more. Everyone gets a platter of complimentary appetizers of kimchis, marinated sprouts, and delicious grilled potatoes with a sweet thick sauce. Personal favorites are always the kimchi pancake and soon tofu stew (without the seafood).

    Mabuhay (Köthener Str. 28) - Great Indonesian food near Mendelsohn-Bartholdy Park U-bahn next to the Lidl. Went there with friends with a deep appreciation for Indonesian food and they loved it. Unexpected shrimp paste in one of the otherwise veg dishes, but I suspect for most of you that is not a problem. I could not stop eating the chili sauce that came with a shrimp dish, just chili sauce and rice.

    Already mentioned by linguafood, I absolutely love Wok Show (best veg dumplings I've ever had, worth getting even if you are an omnivore), and and Tian-fu. Also like Good friends, Peking Ente (while touristing with dad), and Selig, a northern Chinese place on Kantstr who specialize in homemade noodles.

    I'm also looking for an outstanding Vietnamese place. For those of you in west Berlin I can recommend Viet-frisch (Kantstr 83) or Viet'S (Wilmersdorfer Str 105). I've been to Monsieur Vuong and Onkle Ho's and they are good, but I'm looking for something more special. Has anyone else noticed that at least a handful of Vietnamese places with different names serve the same menu? I've been to at least three places in Berlin: Saigon Today on Wilmersdorfer Str, Hamy Cafe on Hasenheide, and Van Hoa on Stargarder Str. Not saying it is wrong, they serve good product, but I'm just curious how large this net of samey Vietnamese restaurants is.

    Like Arirang in Wedding, I wonder if some of the neighborhoods on the outskirts hold some culinary treasures. I have a good feeling about southwest Berlin, but haven't explored it much. Anyone know better?

    4 Replies
    1. re: minyming
      linguafood Nov 10, 2012 08:38 AM

      Wow, what a great list of places!!! You're right, most of the discussion here tends to focus on the 'trendier' areas like Mitte, P'berg, Schöneberg and Neukölln.

      I'm especially curious about the Thai place you mention. Have you had a chance to experience the awesomeness that is the Thai-Wiese in Preussenpark every weekend (if the weather is nice)? Thai families gather in the park with their mortars & pestles, deep-frying equipment, camping grills, pots & pans and start cooking away. There is a soup lady whose art transported me back to Bangkok. Most dishes are around 5€, and it's likely the best Thai food I had in Berlin (or outside Thailand, even).

      Now that it's November, this may not be going on so much anymore... but come spring/summer, you must check it out.

      For Vietnamese... have you considered venturing out to the far east: Lichtenberg? The Don Xuan center hosts a market where I believe they also sell food.

      I myself haven't been too impressed with the Viet food in Berlin. Si An is very nice, a more modern take, but I've yet to find a really good phô.

      1. re: linguafood
        m
        minyming Nov 11, 2012 02:07 PM

        Hello linguafood! I've only tried to go to the Thai-Wiese once, when it was already getting late and starting to close down, but I loved the vibe, and got a tasty thai tea. I'll have to go again.

        I have gone out east to the Don Xuan once, when I first arrived. So big and colorful, and I very happily got a coconut milk tapioca thingie dessert. But it's quite a long haul and I haven't been since. There must be some hidden place somewhere in Berlin. But, I was mainly asking now since my German class and I will go to dinner for Vietnamese food, and I wanted to take this opportunity to find something new. But usually, I go for Thai or Japanese myself. But, I do remember when I lived in LA going to a huge food court in a remote suburb and being amazed, realizing that my exposure to Vietnamese cuisine was so so small, and it still is. :)

        Happy eating!

      2. re: minyming
        taiga Nov 12, 2012 10:44 AM

        Great report. I am often in Moabit near Turmstrasse and Birkenstrasse Ubahn stations. There are all kinds of simple cool little joints which have tasty things, often pan Middle-Eastern. These hoods get little tourism and little respect.

        1. re: taiga
          m
          minyming Nov 20, 2012 02:25 AM

          Hello taiga! True, but I have to say, it makes me feel more of an adventurer to find great eats in these less traversed corners of Berlin, and it makes the beautiful places I do find all the more special. If I do find something more in further explorations will try to post on chowhound, maybe on a new thread, and I hope others will too.

      3. Elster Jun 27, 2012 03:04 PM

        Well if we're just looking for awesome and unusual culinary experiences I think Sigirya in Friedrichshain can't be beat. The best Sri Lankan curries I've had, and I have been to Sri Lanka. V. unusual to find a decent curry anywhere in Berlin, too :)

        1 Reply
        1. re: Elster
          taiga Aug 3, 2012 08:02 PM

          I tried Sirigiya and enjoyed it. Much better than the usual creamy curry.

        2. Elster Jun 25, 2012 03:24 PM

          Have you ever been to Susuru? It's sort of around the corner in Mitte near the Babylon cinema and while it's not Vietnamese, the noodles are really really fantastic and they do a killer ginger iced tea if you're looking for something summery and asian. I also cannot recommend Papaya in Friedrichshain enough for all kinds of asian food - in particular the curries, oh man... So jealous you're going there!

          6 Replies
          1. re: Elster
            a
            ankergl Jun 26, 2012 10:19 AM

            I didn't have the chance to try Susuru yet, but for noodles (ramen) I can recommend Cocolo on Gipsstrasse.

            1. re: ankergl
              linguafood Jun 26, 2012 11:40 AM

              Second Cocolo.

            2. re: Elster
              s
              S_B_Russell Jun 26, 2012 10:43 AM

              Agreed, Susuru is great for Japanese noodles in soup.

              1. re: S_B_Russell
                taiga Jun 27, 2012 02:06 PM

                But authentic Japanese food in Berlin is more difficult to find than tasty Vietnamese food, which is everywhere as stated above, despite Linguafood's comment.

                1. re: taiga
                  linguafood Jun 27, 2012 02:24 PM

                  I never said it wasn't tasty, but I've yet to have a good phô anywhere in town. YMMV.

                  And there is a new "authentic" (really -- are we using that word?) Japanese place in Prenzlauer Berg, Ula. I've not been, so can't say anything about it.

                  1. re: linguafood
                    taiga Jun 27, 2012 02:37 PM

                    I'm using the word authentic; you don't see it as a factor. YMMV. Defensiveness aside, you said you are not a huge Viet food fan, but there are dozens of tasty Vietnamese places. Japanese, which I hold dear, is a different story in Berlin. Perhaps Ula will be a welcome addition.

            3. e
              elcapitano Jun 25, 2012 03:14 PM

              There's a few vietnamese restaurants near PZB on Kastanienallee, i used to eat there for lunch: nice pho and bun bo, not spectacular, probably not worth the special trip. My favourite Vietnamese snack place is Coco: http://www.co-co.net/. Their banh mi is really good!

              You really should hit kebabs during your time in Berlin though. Have you tried Ali Baba / Rosenthaler, which are both near PZB?

              I just wrote up my favourite kebab places in Berlin. hope this may be of help:
              http://capitanoche.blogspot.fr/2012/0...

              2 Replies
              1. re: elcapitano
                a
                ankergl Jun 26, 2012 10:15 AM

                Thanks, I will definitely check out your list, on previous occasions I ate amazing kebabs at Tekbir Doner in Kreuzberg.

                1. re: ankergl
                  linguafood Jun 26, 2012 10:21 AM

                  Interesting -- I've never been. But that's like saying I've never been to a particular hot dog cart in NYC.... so many of them, so little time '-)

              2. linguafood Jun 25, 2012 03:10 AM

                Well, there's *lots* of cheap Vietnamese food to be found, but it may not always be good.

                I've been to Si An on Rykestr, which I liked. You might also want to venture a bit further south to Mitte and check out Monsieur Vuong. Yes, it's popular, yes, it's touristy -- but it's also quite good.

                Just don't expect good phô, because that's proven to be quite elusive.

                http://bitchinberlin.wordpress.com

                4 Replies
                1. re: linguafood
                  a
                  ankergl Jun 25, 2012 09:32 AM

                  Thanks for your reply!
                  Are there better options for Vietnamese food in other Berlin districts?

                  1. re: ankergl
                    linguafood Jun 25, 2012 10:09 AM

                    Hmm. Not sure. I find them all to be rather interchangeable, but then I'm not a huge Viet food fan to begin with (Thai is much more down my alley). That said, I liked the asparagus salad at Si An -- a special they had a couple years ago during asparagus season.

                    Via He on Heimstr. (Kreuzberg/Bergmannkiez) gets consistently rave reviews for authenticity, but it wasn't my thang. Or try Chez Dang on Friedelstr. in Neukölln.

                    There's a year-old bânh mi place on Rosenthaler Str. in Mitte if that's what you're craving, it's pretty decent (if not like anything you could get in NYC. but yer not in NYC, so...).

                    Mamay on Schönhauser and Onkel Ho on Heimstr. seem to be popular on Yelp/Qype.

                    Hope this helps. Viet food is not a strength of Berlin by far.

                    1. re: ankergl
                      s
                      S_B_Russell Jun 25, 2012 11:06 AM

                      Hamy near Hermanplatz is a good option for Vietnamese - it's crazy cheap, but very tasty. Like Monsieur Vuong, there's only a 3 or 4 daily specials available.
                      http://hamycafe.com/

                      1. re: S_B_Russell
                        a
                        ankergl Jun 25, 2012 01:04 PM

                        Thanks to all for the suggestions!

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