You know this feeling, when the days get shorter, the temperatures sink and the rain gets heavier, and you’ve had a crazy day at work and feel that certain Berlin winter depression slowly lurking for you. And then you know what’s helping: a heart-warming Japanese noodle soup from Mitte’s best Ramen place: Cocolo. Just once you arrive you’ll realize, that you’ll have to get in line to get a seat. The tiny place at Gipsstraße 3 is usually crowded minutes after opening at 6pm and people line the street despite temperatures being well below zero. And then you worry how much your mood will drop while waiting and how many soups you’ll need to have to push it to a bearable level. But Berliners, fret no more! Cocolo Ramen opened a second location during the summer in Kreuzberg, which is not only remarkably bigger but also offers lunch. Winter is saved.
In case you have no idea what I’m talking about, let me explain: Cocolo Ramen is the best place in Berlin for delicious, fresh noodles in a tasty broth, topped with meat or vegetables, eggs and wakame, and it is my personal favorite mood-enhancer in the dark season. I’ve never written about it, because Oliver, the owner, asked me not to when I approached him about two years ago, since already back then it was difficult to get a seat spontaneously in the tiny noodle shop. Alas, I might have been the only one following his request, and Cocolo Ramen at Gipsstraße has appeared in every guide and on every website about Berlin you can find. Don’t get me wrong, it earned every recommendation, praise and fame, but that also means considerable waiting time for soup nowadays. (And many times just deciding to get food somewhere else.)
With the recently opened Kreuzberg location the space problem is solved, though. And not only is it more spacious, the team also added a lunch menu with a variety of Dons (7 Euros including a Miso soup, a side and a drink) and an additional soup with smoked chicken. And then there’s also an extended starter menu with sweet pork belly (Kakuni), Kimchi, spinach and so much more. Does that excite you? It’s making me, at least, very happy.
Now, there’s no more problem to recommend Cocolo Ramen to everyone you know and their friends, it’s a one-of-a-kind institution so originally Japanese and yet so very local and true Berlin.