The döner kebab, one of Turkey's national dishes, has been around for over 250 years – and it in recent years, it has become the one of the most popular fast food staples in Germany.
Introduced to Berlin in the 1970s by Turkish immigrants, one of the city’s largest minority groups, you’ll find döner kebab in every German town today; but Döner capital is still Berlin, proud home to more than 1300 Doener stands (more than Istanbul), and the Turkish fare is an essential part of Berlin’s culinary scene.
Traditional Döner means lamb, but you’ll also find chicken or veal meat, carved thin from a rotating spit, packed in toasted Turkish bread and topped with salad, tomatoes, onions, and a sauce of your choice (yoghurt, spicy, and garlic). There are countless Döner stands all over Germany's capital, but here is a list of some of the most popular ones - whether you are craving a Döner for lunch or as a late-night snack.
Mustafas Gemüse Kebab is not only famous for its fresh vegetable and juicy chicken Döner kebabs, it’s also known for the fact that there is always a line in front of the stand. Döner fans from all over Berlin make the trek to Kreuzberg to try Mustafa's scrumptious Döner creations, which are topped with Feta cheese, fresh and fried vegetables, salad, and sauces. The location – on the side of busy and loud Mehringdamm, is far from picturesque, but the high quality of ingredients and the friendly service keeps foodies come back and the lines long, day and night (Mehringdamm 32, 10961 Berlin).
Legend has it that the Döner sandwich as we know it was born at this restaurant in Kreuzberg: In 1971, Mehmet Aygün put the döner meat and salad, which were served on a plate until then, in a baked flat bread and offered it as a snack to go. Today, Hasir is a popular sit-down restaurant in the bustling heart of Kreuzberg. Besides Döner Kebab, the menu offers traditional Turkish fare such as grilled lamb, stuffed wine leaves and hummus (Adalbertstr.10, 10999 Berlin).
Set at bustling Kottbuser Tor in Kreuzberg, this stand dishes up fresh pita pockets stuffed with high quality veal – hence the relatively “high” price of 3 euros per Döner. Another specialty of Tadim is its Duerum Döner, meat and salad rolled up in homemade and freshly baked dough. There is a small no-frills restaurant adjacent to the stand that offers Turkish delicacies such as Lahmacun, Boerek pastries, soups and Turkish desserts (Adalbertstraße 98, 10999 Berlin)
4. Grill am Rosenthaler Platz
A hotspot for travelers and night owls (it’s right across from the Circus Hostel
and Circus Hotel), this little restaurant in Mitte sells fresh Döner around the clock and is a great place for people watching. Although my last Döner here was a bit on the salty side, the quality is good and it’s the perfect stop for a late-night snack after partying (Torstraße 125, 10119 Berlin).
5. VönerDöner kebab goes vegetarian: The small hole-in-the-wall restaurant Vöner in Friedrichshain specializes in seitan kebabs; also on the menu are vegan burgers, soups, and organic fries (Boxhagener Str. 56, 10245 Berlin).