I mentioned Takeshii's a while back in my post on the Bohnenviertelfest, but I've been meaning to devote a full post to it for a while now. Finally the opportunity arose this past weekend when a friend of mine decided to host her birthday party there. Since Takeshii's is one of my neighborhood favorites, I couldn't turn her down.
We met for a late dinner outside the restaurant in the Bohnenviertel. The restaurant sits in a corner spot halfway between the Charlottenplatz and Rathaus U-bahn stations and up a flight of stairs. The interior is beautifully decorated with greenery and flowers all around, a stunning black bar, gold detailing in the ceiling and walls, and giant floor-to-ceiling photos of tattooed men that add just a bit of an edge to the space.
Unlike the previous times I've been to Takeshii's, on this occasion we were a large group of 12, so they seated us in the private dining area to the side of the bar. It was a fantastic space for our group! We had plenty of room to spread out, and we could be as loud as we wanted.
We started off with cocktails, of course. Takeshii's has an extensive cocktails list with over 25 original and traditional cocktails, plus another eight "mocktails" for the little ones and DDs. One of my favorite drinks from the list is the Thai Basil Smash made with gin, Thai basil, brown sugar, lime juice, and lemon juice. They usually make it quite strong, and it's on the more tart side of their drink menu. I also really like the Saigon Love, which is sweeter thanks to the generous swill of grenadine, plus apricot brandy, mango juice, lemon juice, lime juice, and vodka. Just note that sometimes the cocktails can take a few extra minutes to make depending on who is at the bar, though they're well worth it!.
For our appetizer, Matt and I decided to share the fried shrimp. The long, narrow shrimp come wrapped in rice paper wrappers and deep-fried, making them fresh, crispy, and delicious. In the past, I've also had the rice coconut cakes with crunchy shrimp crumble on top. They're also quite delicious and a bit different from the usual selection of appetizers in Vietnamese restaurants. Of course if you can't decide, then I would recommend the sampler platter. It's large, but it comes with a bit of everything including the shrimp, rice cakes, summer rolls, spring rolls, and fried wontons.
After drinks and appetizers, we were ready for our main meals. Matt decided to order the Pho. He's had both the beef and chicken pho, and enjoyed the soup both times. The broth is rich without being too salty, and comes with a generous helping of cilantro and chili paste on the side so that you can flavor it how you like. Takeshii's also makes some delicious rice dishes, which I usually end up getting. My favorites are the salmon filet in a hot clay pot with spicy ginger, tamarind, and tomato sauce; the barbecued pork steak in a honey marinade with cabbage, tomato, and cucumber; and the crispy duck in a curry coconut milk sauce with fresh pineapple, lychees, and vegetables.
Even though I love the rice dishes, I decided to try the summer rolls with beef and pork meatballs. I'd had the rolls with beef and peanuts in the past, and wanted to have the experience again. I say "experience" because for this entrée, they bring you out a tray with the rice paper rolls, noodles, lettuce, herbs, and sauces, and you wrap your own summer rolls. It's not for everyone, of course, but if you don't mind getting a little hands-on with your dinner, then it's a fun process. I really liked the meatballs, too, which were grilled, halved, and served on skewers. They had a lighter taste than the beef and peanuts thanks to the pork and added a nice warm crunch to my rolls. I can also report that a friend of mine ordered the summer rolls with fried tofu "á la Chef Mama" and said the flavor was delicious, making it a solid vegetarian option.
To drink, Takeshii's has a good selection of Asian beer including Saigon, Tiger, Singha, and Tsingtao beer from Asia. They also have a really good chardonnay from South Africa on the menu, though for this dinner I ended up with the Italian pinot grigio, which was a bit dryer. For dessert, I decided to have the Pink Lychee with Aperol, prosseco, lychee juice, lemon juice, and lime juice and enjoy my chance to drink one more delicious cocktail.
We've only ordered dessert once in the past that I can remember (caramelized bananas with vanilla ice cream -- yum!), and so we decided to go for it again this time to celebrate the occasion. Matt and I split the green tea ice cream and mochi cake, and I have to say, I think it was the creamiest, most flavorful green tea ice cream that I've had in Stuttgart!
The service was very good during this meal, per usual. Our waitress just happened to be studying English at one of the local universities, and was happy to practice with us as we had a good mix of nationalities at our table and English is our lingua franca. That said, the menu lists dishes in Vietnamese and then explains them in both German and English, so it's a good place to go if your German is limited. The only downside is that Takeshii's does not allow dogs, but I find that's a bit more common in Middle Eastern and Eastern restaurants in Germany.
Surprisingly, when we looked down at our watches at the end of our lovely meal, it was going on midnight and the staff where making hints (and later not so subtle hints) that it was time to go. We were enjoying ourselves so much that we lost track of the time! I can't stress enough how good the food and atmosphere is. I've found Takeshii's to be a great place to dine both in groups and on date nights, and the extensive cocktail list and cozy bar couches make it a nice place for drinks, as well.
You can find Takeshii's at Esslingerstrasse 12 the Bohnenviertal in the Mitte. The restaurant is open Monday to Thursday from 6 pm to 10 pm and until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. They are closed on Sundays.