Grammy winner Paul van Dyk is not only one of the world’s greatest DJs (the public voted him so two years running), he’s also a die-hard Berliner who grew up in the East and now calls the Mitte district home. The artist, who has also contributed to several film and video game soundtracks, shares some of his favorite spots in the city, as well as why Berlin ist so wunderbar.
How would you describe Berlin?
Berlin is a city that has everything. You can go to a three-star restaurant or just the diner around the corner. You can have it all. That’s in all areas. You can have off-the-beaten-path theater all the way to the opera house. I think this is what makes Berlin so special. And there’s a lot of green space and outdoors activities when the weather is nice.
Where’s one of your favorite places to eat when you’re back in Berlin?
I like Saigon Green. The chicken soup is outstanding. It’s one of the best in the world. I’m a soup fanatic, and that one’s so fresh that the vegetables are still crunchy when you bite into them. We sometimes drive all the way from Mitte just for this soup.
What would you say is the most underrated restaurant in Berlin?
A really good place called Tipica. It’s a Mexican restaurant and I love Mexican food. It’s as close as it gets to Mexican food outside the U.S. or Mexico. The tacos al pastor are wonderful.
And you like to cook. Where do you like to get your produce?
You can get really fresh fish at Frische Paradies.
What is some new music you’re excited about?
The new Editors album. It’s actually surprisingly more electronic than I expected, but in a cool way.
What is your favorite Berlin club?
One thing I’ve learned throughout my career is that there's no such thing as the best club, because you can go somewhere on Friday and it’s cool, and you come back on Saturday and it’s really s---. It all depends on the music and the DJ, and if the door people are nice to you and the barkeepers are friendly.
What are some of your favorite cities?
I like New York because it’s extremely vibrant. But after three or four days, I’m almost overwhelmed. What I like about L.A. is that if Harajuku style from Toyko everything there. It’s the variety that makes it: the Pergamon Museum, the Altes Museum, and so on. I have to say I’ve never managed to make it to the German History Museum. I would like to see their take on East Germany. Sometimes historians take a somewhat comical view, and it was not comedy for the people that lived there.
Any advice for those visiting Berlin?
It’s the greatest place in the world if you spend your time with the right people. It can also be the most miserable place in the world if you spend it with the wrong people. So make sure you come with your best friends.