Coming to Berlin and never eating doner kebab is blasphemy. Seriously, we just can’t condone it. These Turkish pseudo-sandwiches packed with juicy meat sliced from a vertical rotisserie are a gluttonous late night institution -- and let’s face it, way better at liberating a hangover than currywurst will ever be. Seeing as the city is covered in more kebab shops than you can shake a skewer at, we decided to put together a few of the very best:
Let’s start with Berlin’s busiest kebab stand, where a pocket of Turkish delight costs only €2.90 (and up to an hour of waiting in line). Mustafa’s cult following includes tourists and locals alike for a few good reasons -- crispy chicken, fresh feta, and a secret ingredient we’re still trying to figure out. Consider queuing here at least once a rite of passage for most Berliners.
K’UPS is hailed by a lot of locals as the smart alternative to Mustafa’s -- located conveniently on Kastanienallee with indoor seating and much shorter wait times. Kebabs come prepared by proper bread-meat-sauce ratio, and are available in the traditional choices of lamb or chicken and grilled veggies.
Kreuzberg (& other locations)
Don’t let this grill house’s chain status fool you; it’s a local institution. In fact, the founder claimed to have invented the Berlin doner in his day (although there’s a couple guys who’ve said that). Hasir is one of the nicer, sit-down Turkish restaurants in the city, and besides doner, they also serve thick, delicious soups and grilled meats.
A doner is nothing without its condiments, and the selection is usually limited to the holy trifecta of hot, garlic, and herb. That’s what makes NUR’s stand so wonderful, not only do they serve traditional sauces but also unconventional ones like curry, avocado, and yoghurt. Slathered onto high-grade chicken, the sauces are nothing short of a religious experience.
There are countless doner kebab joints around Kottbusser Tor, but Kottiwood is definitely a standout. Besides having a name that’s impossible to mispronounce, this place is known for a balanced doner full of chicken, grilled veggies, and cheese. Service is friendly, which deserves kudos considering the many patrons that surely end up here after spending a day at the bar.
Also directly in front of Kotti, Tadim’s a kebab spot you’d likely get recommended by a local Turk. The flatbread is light, fresh, and homemade, nestling up the gratifying proportions of meat and fixings. The restaurant’s also well known for its Turkish pizzas, which are kind of like the doner’s skinny cousin -- minced doner meat on a thin bread, rolled up with all the regular condiments.
Neukölln (& other locations)
Imren Grill is another chain that does some of Berlin’s best (if not the best) doner meat. It’s marinated, seasoned, and packed onto the rotating skewer in-house (which surprisingly, isn’t as common as you’d think). Apparently, the secret is flavoring the beef with lamb fat, although there’s also a rumor that it’s tenderized in milk.
Trust Berlin to have a vegan option for everything -- yes, even doner kebabs. Walk into Vöner, and you’ll still see a rotating kebab, albeit made of mixed seitan, veggies, and soy meal instead of meat. Despite this, doners come with classic trimmings like iceberg salad and tomatoes, and also not-so-classic side orders like vegan cheese fries.
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1. Mustafa’s Gemüse KebapMehringdamm 32-34, Berlin
2. K'ups Gemüse KebapKastanienallee 102, Berlin
3. Hasir RestaurantOranienburger Str. 4, Berlin
4. NUR Gemüse Kebap60 Hermannstraße, Berlin
5. KottiwoodReichenberger Str. 175, Berlin
6. Tadim DönerAdalbertstraße 98, Berlin
7. Imren GrillBoppstr. 10, Berlin
8. Vöner22 Lenbachstraße, Berlin
You might have to wait in line for awhile to get a kebab from this tiny street-side stand, but once you take the first bite, you'll understand why you did. Kebabs here are loaded with crispy chicken, fresh feta, and a secret ingredient that, undoubtedly, sets this place apart.
There are plenty of places to get done kebabs in Berlin, but K'ups is by far the best. Locals love the place because of their short wait times, indoor seating, and perfect meat-to-sauce ratio for all of their kebabs.
Hasir Restaurant may be a chain restaurant, but as far as locals are concerned, it is a local hot spot. This sit-down Turkish restaurant serves up some great meals, but our favorite is their doner kebab, which is well known around Berlin.
Locals love getting their done kebabs from Nur Gemüse Kebap for many reasons. For one thing, they are absolutely delicious. But mostly, people love the wide array of conditional and unconditional condiments available here to customize their doner kebabs.
There are quite a few places around Kottsbusser Tor to get a doner kebab, but Kottiwood is the by far the best. Here you'll find friendly servers and plenty of hungry locals looking for food after a night at the local bars.
There are plenty of reasons why people love visiting Tadim. For one thing, they serve up some of the best done kebabs in Berlin. However, locals are huge fans of their Turkish pizzas, which need to be eaten to be believed.
This Kreuzberg institution serves döner up the way they’re supposed to be -- with real lamb instead of meat paste, fresher veggies, and more flavorful sauces. This is döner done right.
If you are a dedicated vegan but still want to experience a delicious doner kebab, look no further than Vöner. Whether you want soy meat or vegetables, there are plenty of options here for you to choose from, along with other vegan options.