Food in Berlin: District Một

Filling the pot: frog.
Filling the pot: frog.

When it comes to restaurant-launches in Mitte these days, many of the new joints feature a way more styled interior than one is used to from the past years, when it’s been enough to create a living room-like atmosphere. A pioneer of this have always been the restaurateurs behind the Vietnamese restaurant group of Si An Trà Café, Chén Chè Tea House and Chi Sing restaurant and they’ve proven their tendency for innovative and creative interior design once again with their newest place called District Mot. It’s located in the former space of Chi Sing, which has been closed to be entirely restyled to resemble a Vietnamese street food parlor, complete with colorful plastic stools, plastic baskets with spicy sauces and toilet paper as napkin suspenders on each table. While it definitely earns points for creativity and effort, the food has received mixed reviews, tending towards the negative with some of my friends. Until I received a message from Carson Chan, in which he was beyond excited about this addition to the Mitte food scene.

The sour mango salad, a favorite of mine.
The sour mango salad, a favorite of mine.

He literally went there days and days in a row, sometimes having a day’s lunch as well as dinner and raved about their offerings. I generally trust his judgement, and him saying he’s kinda obsessed with their menu, especially the fermented shrimp sauce served to the pork noodles, obviously this place has more on offer than just a fancy interior. We went there on a Thursday evening and the place was quite filled. Only open for a couple of weeks, Carson told me they already replaced the low stools and tables for “normal” height ones, since not enough customers seemed to be fine with eating their food close to the ground.

Grilled ricepaper filled with egg.
Grilled ricepaper filled with egg.

The menu is exciting, to say the least. They offer the safe options like summer rolls, spring rolls and a number of Phở Bò variations with either half-done beef, well-done brisket, beef balls or a mysterious special (Ɖặc biệt) for a Euro more than the rest (9,50 Euros). But then the specials take over, with grilled chicken feet being one of the more common ones. The menu mainly features small dishes around 5 Euros with such delicacies as stir fried frog with lemongrass and red pepper, eel stewed in coconut milk with glass noodles and mushroom, deep fried pork legs or deep-fried silkworm with butter. The latter was still too much for Carson though, if one of you ever tries it, don’t forget to send me a review!

Beef in vine leaf
Beef in vine leaf

And then there are the dishes for more than one person, like the whole steamed chicken with beer and rice congee soup (25 Euros), or the fish hot pot, served with loads of greens and very fresh looking fish pieces. One will certainly need more than one visit to pay the whole menu tribute, but we tried at least by ordering several of the small dishes, with me sticking with the vegetarian options like a very nice and fresh sour mango salad, the summer rolls and fried rice paper with egg. While the summer rolls were not very outstanding, the salad and the rice paper were surprising in taste and crunch and I can certainly recommend both. Carson went for the frog, already a favorite of his, and the beef in vine leafs.

A slightly too oily dish: instant noodles with vegetables. But they added some pickled baby lotus something, delicious.
A slightly too oily dish: instant noodles with vegetables. But they added some pickled baby lotus something, delicious.

District Mot aims high in terms of authenticity and being regardless of any food-conventions Asian food has suffered from too long in Europe. And I highly appreciate that and think it should be rewarded. There are still some struggles, like inconsistencies in the service. The menu could surely use some more guidance from the waiters. The more familiar Vietnamese dishes don’t necessarily exceed (but also don’t fail) the quality of other joints, and the desserts we chose of the very vast dessert menu were not our taste. Nevertheless, you should go and try it yourself, and if it’s only to finally cross frog or silk worms off your to-eat-list.

District Một
Rosenthalerstraße 62
10119 Berlin Mitte

view on map

Subway: Rosenthaler Platz
+49 30 20089284
email
visit website

Opening Hours:
daily from 12:00

Comments

also leave a comment
  1. Gintare on

    Reply

    I went there yesterday… I must admit that the interior looks pretty cool and the menu is different from all the other Vietnamese places, which is good. However, they really lack vegetarian options and their food is super greasy…my papaya salad was literally swimming in fish sauce vinaigrette and my boyfriends’ spring rolls were marinating in oil. We were both unwell during the entire afternoon, burping fat as we walked along :) This place is original and has potential, however they must polish their menu and cooking style.

  2. Tinka on

    Reply

    I haven´t tried it yet but it seems that most of the eateries in Mitte etal are more aiming at the tourists, offering stylish interior, so they can rave about it or are drawn to it because of that, but they are lacking in quality. But then again, tourists hardly come back again. I´d rather have a place less stylish with the emphasis on good food at a nice price. Many of these eateries are definitely overpiced. But then again… who are they aiming at?

    1. Mary on

      Hey, I am generally of the same opinion when it comes to over-styling, but in this case you should go to eat there instead of judging by the cover/interior. It seriously has some ambitious chefs in the kitchen, although not everything works out as of yet, I highly appreciate a unique approach to food.

  3. olli on

    Reply

    I’m looking forward to trying this, but I must comment that there seems to be a never ending plethora of vietnamese food in Berlin. I would really love some more variety (while I appreciate that as you mentioned the dishes here are not so typical). But within 3 minutes walk are 2 other very good vietnamese options to this.

  4. Deniz on

    Reply

    Pretty original venue. You have to try it. I know nothing similar to compare District mot in Berlin. Pretty unique and the food was delicious! but true more guideance from the waiters would be apprichiated.

  5. Steve Molloy on

    Reply

    I went there recently with some friends and I had a great time. The interior is more ‘fun’ than stylish, put me in a really good mood, and the food was very good, (four stars out of five). Lots of fresh herbs and good textures. I agree that they use too much fat.
    However, unlike other stylish joints it doesn’t feel precious or overdone, just a lot of charming details. I really reminded me of Vietnam, I can never get enough of that. The night I was there there were Vietnamese teens strumming the guitar and softly singing Boyzone ballads while the sun was setting over the Rosenthaler strasse, and while the prices are a little high, you’re paying for the convenient location and the special atmosphere.

  6. derek freeman on

    Reply

    I must say I think this place is horrible. Low quality, boring food, and those plastic stools. I’d rather never eat again!

  7. Danny Lee on

    Reply

    We have been eating there today. The interior is interesting and definitely creative and worth a look. The food was a bit dissapointing. I always try the Pho Bo first in a vietnamese restaurant to see how much care a restaurant takes with simple food (the equivalent of the italian simple tomato sauce). The Pho Bo tasted boring (made by a non vietnamenße??) without the typical cinnamon etc., which gives it the special taste. I needed lots of extra soja etc to give it somehow a taste. A pitty! my friends fried rice however was very tasty.

  8. Sherlait on

    Reply

    Wandering in Mitte a lot, I always wanted to try this place. The interior is colorful and joyful but the food quite boring/disappointing. They didn’t have the must of Vietnamese food, the Bo Bun! On top of that the service was terrible not to mention that they charge the glass of tap water 1,80 e.

    1. Celine on

      You must be talking about the ‘Bun Bo Hue’ which is a dish that the Chi Sing used to have as it was a Hue Kitchen but you’ve got to know that is north and south vietnamese cuisine that are very different from one another. And about the Pho… well I can tell you that all the cooks their are viet, but you may have caught one of the cooks on a bad day. Ha and in Berlin will often cost more than beer :)

    2. Celine on

      lol the pho part was from another comment I read.

  9. john on

    Reply

    My girlfriend and I had a pretty underwhelming experience here. The interior is a little garish to my taste, the food was overpriced and pretty average except for the tofu which was delicious. And terrible music and non-descript service to boot..

  10. phero on

    Reply

    its beef in betel leafs, not wine leafs :)

  11. xristina on

    Reply

    i hated it! im sorry!
    bad quality bad food and i love vietnamese food..

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.