You can often find me at the Vietnamese restaurant Kotti Dang on Kottbusser Damm. The fragrant, colorful dishes from central Vietnam are delicious, homemade and fresh. The colorful neon light at the entrance showing a mountain of bowls piled on top of each other is appealing in itself (there’s another inside). When it’s crowded, you feel like you’re dining at a bustling market, in part because of the fake chickens in cages hanging from the ceiling. Diners are greeted at the entrance by the typical Than Tai (an altar to the “God of Wealth”) with offerings. Kotti Dang’s major strength is its large soups with rice noodles: Pho Dac Biet, or simply “P3,” a huge pho with tender beef and homemade meatballs, is one of their most popular dishes, accompanied by a bouquet of fresh herbs and fresh chili, limes and pickled onions – practically a side salad. You should definitely try Bò Kho, a spicy beef goulash with noodles, served with a pot of pandan leaf tea – perfect for late winter days. There are also 12 vegan dishes on the menu.
Owner Phuong Dang, who always wears colorful glitter nails, is the first to open in the morning and the last to close at night. Phuong, who has lived in Berlin since 2010, arrived with her husband and nothing but a backpack and has been running the restaurant since 2018. She enjoys being a hostess, and it shows. Her husband and other family members help out in the kitchen, but she is the charming face of the team. Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, she has also been helping refugees from Ukraine and letting them stay with her. Every other Tuesday, you should eat here and then walk to the Neues Off Kino, 10 minutes away, where they show East Asian films. Coupled with the great food at Kotti Dang, it makes for the perfect Tuesday night out.
Text: Hans Krestel / Photos: Robyn Steffen
Hans Krestel works in communications for cultural institutions. He is currently caught up in Berlinale fever, reviewing films as part of the reader jury for the Tagesspiegel newspaper.
Kotti Dang, Kottbusser Damm 73, 12047 Berlin–Neukölln; map