Forget about Monsiour Vong, Si An is the place to go for vietnamese food in Berlin. The atmosphere is lovely, and far less crowded than the Mitte insiution. Here you'll find origami birds hanging from the walls, paper lanterns, and an incense scent that's actually bearable.
I absolutely love the vegetarian dumpling soup, while the original pho is superior as well. It's served with sides of aromatic herbs, lime, chili and sprouts. For an entree, try the banana salad! And don't forget one of those delicious shakes!
And oh, rumors have it: George Clooney eats here!
Si An is a very charming little Vietnamese restaurant tucked away on Rykestrasse with some lovely outdoor dining tables to watch all the folks of Prenzlberg strolling along...my colleague and I met here for an afternoon lunch meeting and it is quite nice inside, upscale without being too stuffy.
I had the Pho Bo (had not even had a drop of pho since my departure from the States and was jonesin'!) It was good, but I really wanted the pho broth to have a bit more kick, tasted a bit watery. At 7 euros each bowl, should be legit! (As you know, authentic pho in a divey shop will only run you a few euro/dollars, etc).
The fresh mint tea was a treat though (many mint leaves!) and the service quite good. This is a darling place and on my next visit to Berlin I'd surely pop back in for another whirl...just kick up that intensity on the pho! Germans can handle it.
*bring cash. (of course)
After hitting my own personal Rindfleisch und Kartoffeln limit, I was pleased to stumble across this lovely restaurant in the swinging Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood of Berlin.
I am not unfamiliar with good Vietnamese food, having traveled there and experienced great (and bad) quality in my hometown. Si An more than capably held it's own and offered a few nice surprises.
Chief among those was a pan fried fish filet appetizer that was cooked in lime sauce. Oddly, but very complementary, the fish sat on a bed of Kim Chee - not sure if the odd Korean cook has found work in the Si An kitchen. My wife (who ordered the fish) was particularly impressed with the Nuoc Cham, which had some nice shredded coconut in it. My Bun dish was excellent as well.
Service was prompt and friendly, as well as multi-lingual - our meal was a hybrid of German, Vietnamese and English; and the staff catered well to our children by offering the Gemuse-free version of Pho for which my daughter has developed an affinity.
It appeared that Si An has a sister coffee bar next door with some very appetizing looking desserts, as well as a breakfast option. Had we stayed in Prenzlauer Berg, we would have definitely tried that option (also getting a bit tired of the jam, cheese, coldcuts, egg and brot drill every morning).
I was here last night and the place was packed, though I cannot really fathom why as the food was pretty insipid. The restaurant's main claim to fame is that they don't use glutamate and that seems to be enough to fool a lot of people.
The decor is best described as contemporary bohemian or modernistic Asian taff. Strangers are forced to share largish tables, service is tolerable, the atmosphere is convivial and everybody else must have ordered something different from me because I really thought my beef noodles were bland and tasted a lot like boiled cardboard. Oh, and finding hairs in our food did not help my mood either.
However, my partners had vegetarian options which they liked and I have to agree that they do taste better (but they had excessive amounts of sugar, which I dislike). So maybe the secret is to order the vegetarian dishes - if you like your dishes a little sugary.
I should also mention that although the food is pretty cheap (I doubt that they can dare to charge more), the drinks are actually quite expensive. Maybe the cheap food's another attraction. Still, it was a buzzing sort of place and everybody (else) seemed to have had a good time, so I have to add an extra star for that. (Oops, I have to give at least one star anyway!)
Food is fresh but boring. It does not matter what you eat, most stuff taste the same with different levels of hotness. Try the Sticky Rice though - this is black rice with Mango and well worth th visit.
Cheap copy of the mothership-moneymakingmachine store M. Vuong in Mitte.
Nice styling though - and the vanilla candles in the toilets are cool.
You cannot reserve a table.
You cannot sit on your own table.
You cannot expect the waiters to be friendly.
The dog shit space in front of the shop is probably the most luxurious in town.
There seems to be a very split opinion about Sian. So I was especially curious what this place was going to be like and I have to say that my experience was entirely positive.
The food was very authentic, the service was friendly and the setting was pleasant. Maybe it depends on the day
After years of bemoaning the blandness of vegetarian pho, Si an's wantan chay was spectacularly tasty. It's an expensive choice for lunch given the plethora of 4-5-Euro Vietnamese restaurants in the city, but well worth it for an occasional treat. Also, this place smells crazy good.
The place is amazing. Don't want to say too much maybe Yelpers will believe me and the next time I have a very limited window pre show for dining I won't be able to get in.
The number of negative reviews of this place surprised me. I have been here about 4 times now and it was always been pleasant. I noticed comments about vegetarian fare above, I am a vegetarian so maybe that makes a difference. The service has always been kind of invisible to me, not overly friendly and not rude. Their teas and fruit drinks are very good, and the food good, and not the same thing that you get in every Asian restaurant in Berlin.
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