Mustafa’s Gemüse Kebap
No list about döners could be complete without mentioning Mustafa’s. With a line stretching 50 meters (often more) past this little kebab stand, there’s no denying that it has garnered something of a cult following since it first came on the scene. What made Mustafa’s special in the beginning is that their sandwiches featured seasoned chicken and veggies instead of lamb or beef. Aside from all the hype, the thing that makes this döner-quest worth the experience is that the guys behind the counter serve each one with care and a smile. This is despite the fact that they’ll literally be doing so another thousand times before the end of the day.
Typically when sampling dishes of a different cultural cuisine, a good rule of thumb is to find those who are native to it and see where they are eating. If we apply this technique to the döner kebab, it would mean identifying where it is that Berlin’s Turkish population favors for theirs. Invariably, you’ll wind up at Imren. Open for almost 20 years, what sets Imren apart is their dutiful attention to preparing the notoriously tender beef. They marinate this in milk and flavor with lamb fat. There are five locations spread throughout the city, so there’s no excuse for missing out.
Situated near the ever bustling – and sometimes hectic – Kottbusser Tor, let Tadim offer refuge from the crowds. This kebab shop specializes in döners made with veal seasoned with a secret blend of spices and accompanied with homemade sauces. Plus, the authentic durum bread is made fresh on-site, so it’s always phenomenally flavorful and crispy. Tadim is also famous for making other Turkish delicacies like homemade lahmacuns, which is akin to a Turkish pizza.
Tadim, Adalbertstraße 98, Berlin, Germany, +49 30 61609280
Today is what I called a cheat day – first kebab in about a year, but one of the best in town, at Kotti – well deserved, delicious #berlin #kreuzberg #kotti #kottbussertor #berlinlife #berlinstagram #berlinfood #germany #kebap #dinner #food #foodie #yummy #delicious #streetfood #goodlife #goodtimes #instagood
Balli Döner is situated near Tempelhof, making it an excellent spot to grab a snack after frolicking in the field. What sets this döner apart is its enormity, without skimping on quality, of course. About the size of a forearm, the Balli Döner features a fresh and light durum packed with tasty meat and salad. This is a fun place to come with a buddy who can help pick up any leftover slack, or for a solo trip to achieve those kummerspeck goals. Unlike many kebab stands, Balli also has a good amount of indoor seating.
K’Ups Gemüse Kebab
This döner has us venturing into the pretty district of Prenzlauer Berg for a kebab that many claim to rival Mustafa’s famed gemüse kebab. We’re talking about K’Ups Gemüse Kebab on Kastienallee. This hip kebab joint serves their delicious kebabs with seasoned, succulent chicken and the freshest veggies. In addition to the indoor accommodations and the considerable lack of wait time, K’Ups takes things to hip, new heights with its decor. Its interior features indoor seating made of up-cycled crates and wooden pallets.
In almost equal measure to its döner notoriety, Berlin is a well-established hub for vegans. Just about any dish you can think of, Berlin’s food scene has done it vegan, and döner kebabs are no exception. Vöner in Friedrichshain has this niche covered. The vegetarian and vegan kebabs are stuffed with roasted leeks, carrots, potatoes, onions, and celery and covered in special sauces. This is a yummy combo that could more than compensate for the lack of fleisch. Vöner also makes veg-friendly soups and sweets.
Vöner, Boxhagener Str. 56, Berlin, Germany, +49 30 99265423
Hisar is a kebab shop with an important socio-cultural history. Opened 30 years ago, this kebab joint is said to have united East and West Berliners in döner bliss after the fall of the wall. After tasting one of these döners, we can imagine why. These bad boys involve durum made to melt-in-your-mouth perfection, tender meat with crispy skin, and an array of veggies. Hisar has turned its success into an expansion. The original location now features a sit-down Turkish restaurant. It serves traditional recipes with love, in addition to the original kebab stand.
Hisar, Yorckstraße 49, Berlin, Germany, +49 30 2165125