The stories of the Döner’s creation are as varied as the snacks themselves. What we know is that the Döner Kebap was most likely not invented in Germany—as the common story in Germany goes—and the Döner kebaps sold in Berlin differ a lot from what you’ll find in Turkey. However, what these two have in common is the Yaprak kebab, which translates to "leaf kebab, sliced doner", a now-widespread term for a traditional Döner kebap made from sliced—not minced—meat. So, as a rule of thumb, you want to look for skewers with visible layers of meat and somebody cutting with a knife, not a machine. This list is a guide to the very best Döner restaurants in Berlin, presented without any type of ranking.
Mustafa’s Gemüse Kebap
Mehringdamm 32, 10961 Berlin.
The most famous Döner shop in all of Berlin. Today, you’ll have to stand in line for 30-60 minutes for one of their Döners. The place is in every Berlin guidebook on the planet, which means locals unfortunately hardly ever visit the shop, making the audience 95% tourists. In terms of quality, I rank it as one of the better chicken gemüse Döners (Yaprak chicken döner is served with salad, tomatoes, onions, sauce, fried vegetables, crumbled cheese and lemon juice in a pide bread) but there are plenty of fish in the sea that you don’t need to wait for.
Mustafa Demir’s Retro Kebap
Warschauer Str. 27A, 10243 Berlin
Mustafa has spread his wings across nearly all of Berlin’s inner city. Close to our numa Kater, The newest restaurant by Döner legend Mustafa Demir opened its doors just a few houses down from his main Chicken Döner shop on Warschauer Straße. The Yaprak veal skewer at the new location is arguably one of the best Döners in Berlin. Thick slices of crispy and juicy beef, packaged with fried vegetables and potatoes, fresh herbs, crumbled white cheese and a squeeze of lemon. Regardless of how you eat it, the meat itself is a winner and future category leader.
Otto-Suhr-Allee 19, 10585 Berlin
One of the few Berlin shops with a dedicated Döner master in charge of the skewer. Yalcin Yilmaz became famous for his friendly attitude, toy lightsaber, and attention to detail while selling his Chicken Gemüse Döner. Rüya’s original location is on Hauptstrasse in Schöneberg—not too far from our numa Drift. Today, you’ll find him in Charlottenburg on Ernst Reuter Platz, serving arguably one of the best Chicken Döners in Berlin.
(Insider tip: Rüya is not to be mistaken for Rüyam, which is actually a chain developed by the former landlord of the first Rüya location in Schöneberg and essentially just a copy of the original).
Adalbertstrasse 98, 10999 Berlin.
Also known as the Döner emperor of Kotti, this classic vendor resides at Kottbusser Tor, the very heart of Turkish Kreuzberg. They serve a classic and lean Yaprak Beef Döner using white veal.
While the meat quality at Tadim isn’t exceptional in any way and ordering it without sauces sets you up for a fairly dry experience, Tadim remains a very solid option for a classic Berlin-style Döner.
Skalitzer Str. 23, 10999 Berlin
Pursuing a style that’s pretty much identical to Imren, Tekbir in Kreuzberg has been selling hand-stacked Yaprak beef since 1979 in its tiny shop on Skalitzer Strasse.The meat at Tekbir is arguably juicier than many and your chances of getting a good döner at this shop are exponentially higher. A great and iconic place that deserves a lot more attention.
Go forth, eat kebaps and don’t settle for less.