Since a couple of months, I have taken up the tendency to roam my direct neighbourhood for fashionable food fixes. A couple of months ago, I essentially always jumped on my bicycle to ride off into the night – off to far away Friedrichshain or sensational Schöneberg. But these days I particularly enjoy a short walk in the sultry summer eve and stumble across a promising little restaurant. And since I live merely a stone’s throw away from the comfortable park am Falkplatz, I am quite a fan of this small and subtly hidden away corner of my neighbourhood.
And a couple of weeks ago, me and a collegue sat down at a small Vietnamese restaurant for a luscious strawberry caipi cocktail. The staff were so nice and friendly and the whole look of the place – especially inside – was so inviting that I decided to save this specific restaurant in my mental list of To-Do restaurants. And when I had a visitor, a couple of weeks later – I knew just the right restaurant for the evening and I dragged my companion to Onkel Ho.
On the corner of the Falkplatz park, right around the corner from the American burger restaurant the Bird, there are two small Asian restaurants. Onkel Ho is the second one, recognisable by the prettiest tables and benches outside and a big banana plant on the sidewalk. In the summer days you should definitely lounge outside, but do not forget to sneak a peak inside! Onkel Ho has a very authentic yet semi-luxerious vibe to its decoration. There are pretty tables and comfortable lounge areas, but also an very Vietnam seating corner where you sit perked up on pillows for some veritable Vietnam experiences.
Berlin has many Asian and Vietnemese eateries, as I pointed out before. I never seem to get tired of either of these foods and therefore I always enjoy eating in beautiful and atmospheric Asian restaurants. Some of them may be run of the mill stuff, sometimes sadly reminiscent of the Asia boxes you can buy at lonesome train stations. But I have done plenty of Asian feeding to know a good meal from a mediocre one. And I have to say: I adore Onkel Ho.
I ordered one of the day specials, a Pangasius filet with noodles, a minty sauce and the obvious vegetables. It was a warm day and one of the many nice soups on the standard menu did not particularly tempt me. My dinner companion chose another day special – a beef stew (goulash). I had never eaten here before, I was merely swept away by the nice cocktails, the free Krupuk shrimp crisps and the beautiful déco. But when the food came, I was everything but disappointed.
I received a large (and pretty, because yes, I am a lady and I notice pretty things) bowl with noodles, swimming with fresh veg in a collection of fresh herbs (half a mint garden, it looked like) and with pieces of grilled Pangasius draped on top. The smell was verführerisch (tempting) – it blew me away. The Pangasius was perfectly grilled – not too dry, not too ‚raw‘ – and had a subtle crispy jacket on. No jacket in any over-fried fish and chips way – you could still savour the taste of the fish, even though Pangasius in itself is a very subtle fish in flavour. The most amazing thing of this dish was its simplicity. There was no fake or dominant sauces or artificial flavours. Basically: it was nice noodles (not the fried ones) with fresh vegetables, a sauce that consisted of fresh koriander and fresh mint leaves and the grilled fish. Very basic, you might think: but it tasted sooo good! It was absolutely yummy.
Sadly, it was still quite hot and I could not finish off my entire plate. I considered taking some of the left over noodles home – that was how much I enjoyed it.
At Onkel Ho, you can eat a main dish for 5 to 7 euros and get scrumptious appetizers (Sommerollen, spring rolls and papaya salads) for 2 to 5 euros. They do amazing cocktails for 6 euros too, but there is also enough beer and wine to go around. It may not be the best restaurant in the entire world, but it is really good food for great prices, in a beautiful atmosphere and with great staff. You do not see such a good combo of greatness just every day.
What makes this restaurant fabulous?
- It is beautiful, on the inside and the outside. They even have a beautiful open kitchen so you can see what happens to your food.
- The food is fabulously fresh and with a sincere, honest flavour. Aka: yum!
- It is afforable! You can have a nice dinner here for less than ten euros, drinks included.
- The staff is friendly and polite. Never rude and always up for a cosy little chat (not in an annoying way).
What makes this restaurant less fabulous?
- Well, granted: the cocktails are pricey.
- And it is sad that the prettiest seating area is inside, when it is summer now!
Where to go?
[googleMap name=“Onkel Ho“ width=“400″ height=“400″ mousewheel=“false“ typecontrol=“false“ directions_to=“false“]Gleimstraße 11 10437 Berlin[/googleMap]