Di An Di is a loud restaurant. On an average night here, you’ll see families eating in one corner, a group of Dutch tourists in another, and lots of date nights, all with an open kitchen in the background. But if you listen closely, you’ll hear a similar iteration of the same thing being said at every table around you. “Holy sh*t, this is good.”
From the day Di An Di opened, this Vietnamese spot in the middle of Greenpoint has been packed. That alone would have made Di An Di a rarity a few years ago, when convincing someone to travel to this notoriously-inconvenient neighborhood was like asking them to meet you for dinner in Terminal 2 at JFK. But now, Greenpoint is simply a place where everyone wants to hang out. And they all want to be at Di An Di.
Walk into Di An Di, and besides a line of people waiting at the host stand, you’ll see a lot of plants, a lot of pastel pink, and a lot of Scandinavian-looking furniture. And you might think, that’s why everyone’s here. It looks cool.
And sure, it’s a very attractive place, and plants never hurt. But the real draw here is the incredible food. The menu covers a spectrum of Vietnamese cooking, with traditional dishes on one end, original Di An Di inventions on the other, and a lot of classics with a twist in the middle. There are bánh xèo-wrapped summer rolls stuffed with grilled pork, turmeric catfish that comes to your table in a sizzling cast iron skillet, and a shredded chicken salad that’s very quietly waiting for the moment when everyone realizes it’s one of the best things here. And the Pho Thin, packed with perfectly-cooked noodles, brisket, and scallions, and topped with an egg yolk, is one of our favorite bowls of soup in the city.
If you’re coming here by yourself, you can sit at the bar, order a cocktail or sake and any of the soups, and walk out with a better worldview than you had 45 minutes earlier. But the best way to experience this restaurant is to come with people and order a lot. You won’t have to spend a crazy amount of money to fill every inch of your table, so that there’s barely enough room for the carousel of homemade sauces you can try with every dish. And that’s exactly what you should be doing here.
So yeah, Di An Di is going to be loud, and probably also crowded. If that’s a problem for you, make a reservation, and if it’s not, use this opportunity to wait things out at one of the great bars nearby. Once you’re seated, it’ll be worth whatever commute or amount of patience it took you to get here. And, in addition to the tables around you, make sure you listen to the specials. You’re going to want to order those too.
Grilled pork and herbs, wrapped up in turmeric bánh xèo, with a slightly sweet, slightly sour sauce for dipping. Super fresh, but also super satisfying.
On a menu this big, with so many exciting-looking things, a cold shredded chicken salad may not jump out at you. So just imagine us jumping up and down and telling you to order this. It’s one of our favorite things here.
More of that light-yet-addictive thing happening here. The rice paper and green mango make this refreshing, and the homemade beef jerky, peanuts, and shrimp floss make it a thing that will disappear quickly from your table.
There are two Vietnamese “pizzas” on the menu, with grilled crispy rice crust and chili sauce, that come to your table with fancy gold scissors for cutting assistance. We prefer the vegetarian one with mushrooms over the one with pork and shrimp, but they are both great things for the table.
Kind of like eating sweet and spicy wings. Except, you know, they’re pig instead of chicken and tail instead of wing.
Lightly-fried noodles with super-tender beef. This is perfect for sharing with a group.
Di An Di has plenty of vegetarian and vegan options that you will want whether you’re vegetarian/vegan or not. Like this giant eggplant that’s been split open, grilled, and topped with lots of crispy things.
If you don’t order this, you’re going to be full of jealousy and regret when you see this sizzling, smoking cast iron pan coming to someone else’s table. This is a happy restaurant. And those are sad feelings.
This started out as a special, but it won a full-time place on the menu. It comes with rice noodles and herbs, as well as grilled pork patties and pork belly sitting in a very tasty sauce. It’s on you to make your own ideal bites with a bit of everything.
You will feel like an extremely lucky person to be eating any of the six bowls of phở at Di An Di. But this is the one we keep coming back to. It’s packed with tender brisket, noodles, and at least two large handfuls of scallions, along with an egg yolk on top, and could easily be shared amongst four people. We’d recommend you hoard as much of it for yourself as you can.
If you’re looking for a spicy, richer soup, this is your order. The noodles are a bit thicker, if that’s another thing that might tip your decision towards this instead of the phở.
If “funky” is an adjective you use to describe things you like, you will enjoy this. It’s a chicken and fish broth, with huge pieces of fresh-tasting, perfectly-cooked catfish, wide noodles, and chili paste. This is super different from all the other options on the menu, and a great one to get in the mix if you’re ordering multiple soups. You should be ordering multiple soups.