Japanese food in Berlin comes usually in the form of Sushi, with endless variations – from raw to fried fish. “Sushi” is actually a bit of a stretch most times, but I’ve learned to accept it. But in the past years, more diversity of the Japanese cuisine has spread out across the city. Ramen soups are among the more popular and affordable choices.
For the last year and especially during the winter, Cocolo Ramen in Mitte was my feel-good place for a nice, cozy and comfortable dinner. The small restaurant, basically consisting of a traditional counter where you’re served straight from the chef, was always packed and sometimes you even had to wait in line in front of the door to get your shot at wonderful and perfect noodle soup.
Ramen soup is, apparently, the Currywurst of Japan. The taste varies from chef to chef, although the main components stay the same: it’s a noodle soup based on a meat-broth with a variety of toppings, usually pork meat. That rules out most vegetarians to go through the whole menu, and since I don’t eat pork and they don’t serve any of the non-pork toppings with the vegetarian Miso soup, I’ve never been as ecstatic as my peers about the flavors. To me, Cocolo’s Miso soup is basically an overpriced (although tasty) soup. The soup is hearty and filling, don’t underestimate it.
When they opened their franchise in Kreuzberg, I was happy anyway. Cocolo makes for a great first stop to start your night. The entrées are well selected and have some vegetarian (non-pork) options, too. And the matcha ice cream is just perfect as well.
The dishes are all hand-made from clay, a sweet little touch. Sitting at the counter you can see exactly what the chefs are doing and how, which adds to the atmosphere. The only downside to the restaurant are the fumes from the kitchen that will have you reek by the end of your stay.