The 13 Best Kebabs To Try In Berlin

For those of you that are uninitiated, there are a few things to know about döner culture. While you may associate kebab with meat served on skewers, in Germany, the term can be used to define several styles of dishes that are cooked on an upright rotisserie grill. There is döner teller (plates), which are trays of sliced meat with various salads, sauces, and sides. You have dürüm kebab or (dürüm döner), which is meat and toppings dressed burrito fashion in a flatbread or tortilla-like roll. And there's the döner kebab, wherein paper-thin pieces of shaved beef, chicken, veal, or lamb are sandwiched into crisp flatbread with salad and dressing. 

The other thing to know about döner kebab is that no matter what Germans tell you, they didn't completely invent it. The dish's roots can be traced to Turkey — its name comes from the Turkish word dönmek, which means "to turn," a direct translation of the cooking style used to prepare these unique meals. Regardless of its origins, Germany is called the kebab capital of the world by many. 

Döner is especially popular in the nation's capital — pre-pandemic estimates once listed some 4,000 kebab shops in Berlin alone. So, while it's never exactly hard to find a bite of Germany's preferred fast food across the city, it's easy to spend money and time on an experience that doesn't satisfy. That's why we've narrowed down Berlin's best kebabs — and yes, our list includes both classic meat along with strictly veggie options.  

Truffel Delüks at Kebap with Attitude

Kebap with Attitude isn't a regular döner shop; it's a cool döner shop. The Scheunenviertel-based location is more than just a fast-food stand, offering full-service digs and a menu that holds up to the "new wave döner kebab" it promises. One example of this dedication to conceiving out-of-the-box doners is the Truffel Delüks.

Everything we tried at KWA hits, but the Truffel Delüks is a prolifically distinct kebab. Yes, the shaved beef is moist, well-seasoned, and grounding. But it's the otherworldly combination of textures and flavors that really sends it. Roasted potatoes and pomegranates are crispy, sour, and earthy. Verdant salad and snappy asparagus are abundant. And the pungent umami of truffle is dealt with in two ways; shaved on top and whipped into a brilliant aiöli. The kebab is so opulent you might look for it in the lunchbox of some techie heading to the moon. The final product is more approachable, balanced, and humble in flavors.

Chicken gemüse kebab at Mustafa's

In German, gemüse means "vegetables," and although you may think you're coming to a kebab spot for the meat, at gemüse shops like Mustafa's, it's the produce that especially stands out. A pile of meat on warm bread needs something cleansing, and that's what Mustafa's does well. Order the chicken gemüse; you'll find red onion so fresh it could sustain Stanley Yelnats III. No need to worry about the bite, either. The allium is neutralized by a clean, crisp salad and briny sprinkle of feta and dill. 

We can continue waxing about the vegetables, but that's not to say the sliced chicken (gemüse shops normally serve poultry) anchoring this snack is a slouchy bird. Though it lacked bark on our visit, the meat was super juicy and decently seasoned. Considering the complete chicken and veggie package, this kebab truly shines.  

Veal döner at Rosenthaler Grill & Schlemmerbuffet

Although we found it by mistake, Rosenthaler Grill & Schlemmerbuffet will be a destination spot for any future trips to Berlin, one where we might find ourselves out late and hungry. The welcoming service you'll find inside the shop, which claims a sizeable corner by Rosenthaler Platz U-Bahn station, begets a reputation. Towering mountains of various multicolored cabbage varieties and tomatoes grow sky-high.

The folks working the counter at Rosenthaler's can be as nice as they come, but the type of companionship that this veal kebab provides makes things feel a shade illicit. The flame-licked meat is drippingly tender and freshly shaved for each meal. The pocketed inside and crusted edges of the döner yielded rapturous results. Having this sandwich tastefully complemented by a simple line-up of vegetables resulted in a fast food snack that didn't feel too heavy going down. 

Lamb dürüm at Imren Grill

Imren Grill is a small, local Berlin chain and an excellent choice when you know what your favorites are and need a quick bite without a side of adventure. Each location is halal and sells a wide range of Turkish dishes and fast foods, from burgers and pizzas to linsensuppe (lentil) soup. However, it's the lamb kebab you've come for, and you can take it any way you like.

In spite of being the largest operation on our roundup, one little thing makes eating at Imren Grill more time-honored. Often, you'll see kebab cones on the Berlin streets that are topped with tomatoes, peppers, onion, or garlic. The vegetables cook and drip into the meat as it spins. In Turkey, the traditional way of cooking döner kebab involves another addition to the cone top: a fat cap. 

Imren Grill takes that custom to the house. As the stack of lamb meat spins, tallow melts from top to bottom, continually basting the cone low-and-slow, inside and out. Then, along comes someone with a knife. Lamb is shaved into a pile of friable edges and delicate insides, pieces that will make the base of your sandwich. It's the perfect method to highlight the pastoral flavors of the meat, and it goes perfectly with a touch of lemon and tangy sauce. The Imren doctrine is the only kind of trickle-down theory we are willing to discuss from here on out. 

Chicken gemüse döner at Rüyam Döner Berlin

Our first experience at Rüyam started with several words you can't stand to hear after a long night out: "Your order will be about 45 minutes. Is that okay?" At that point, you have two decisions: remain incredulous and walk away, or try and figure out what's so good it keeps everyone waiting. We suggest sticking around to enjoy what might be the best döner kebab in all of Berlin. (We suggest grabbing a cup of complimentary Turkish tea or a beer from next door to help pass the time.)

What makes Rüyam so special? Midnight isn't a time you'd expect your döner shop to have spit-roasted meat that still has that "we just opened" type of fresh — but Rüyam does. The chicken is so moist it's just a few hot hours from melting into stock. The garlic sauce is turned up a notch. As a gemüse kebab shop, the vegetables do more than provide filler; they are a fundamental collaborator in this standard but extraordinary kebab.

And, once again, the bread creates a mind-bending impact. Rüyam's bread has an outer crust with sesame seeds studded into the bake, fragrancing in earthy, warm notes. 

Mixed meat and cheese döner at Teras

Cheese is a funny thing in Germany. Although it doesn't get as much credit as, say, a certain specific neighboring country that has a certain specific reputation for cheese, Deutschland produces a lot. Grocery stores are full of interesting selections, many of which derive from Bavaria. It's common in fast food, like burgers (obviously), yet cheese isn't what we would classify as a regular topping available at kebab stands. Teras, fortunately, has a special menu spot just for one of our favorite food groups. 

Berlin döner kebabs offer a juicy contradiction. Loaded with the contents of a full salad bar, kebab may include carrots or herbs, red cabbage, cucumber, grilled corn, lettuce, tomato, thin slivers of white onion — basically, enough to assure yourself that what you're eating is nutritious. The show-stopper at Teras doesn't do any favors in that department. The meat tastes artisan, with flavor that is deeply nuanced from allium aromatics embedded on top of the cone. It's the melted cheese topping we come for, though. It adds a salty layer that reminds you this is considered junk food. So? We'll take some french fries folded into that as well.

Veal döner at Pamfilya

There are a lot of questions about whether or not veal is okay to eat, but many of the arguments are based on exercises of personal ethics. That said, we don't recommend showing up for döner kebab at Brüsseler-based Pamfilya if you're still working out the answers to your food philosophy. The options here are veal, veal, or veal. If you have no qualms about it, give the Pamfilya kebab a try. The milky tenderness and slight minerality you expect from veal are present in all of the dishes.

If you want to taste the nuances of veal, you need to be aware to ask for a light dressing here. The garlic sauce that goes along with Pamfilya's döner is zesty in a big way and can easily overpower. Instead, rely on getting more juiciness from extra tomatoes, which add just the right acid pop. It's a careful balance here — especially when Pamfilya has been known to leave a little more room in the wrap than other shops — but you can always order double meat if you want to be sure you've got it all.   

Vegan döner at Vöner

Meat lovers may argue with us here, but you can call it a kebab without it being animal-based. Is cereal a soup? See, all of this is made up. Any debaters can begin their speech, and when they're done, we'll still be here at Vöner, eating.

There's a reason why a common order for gemüse kebabs, without chicken and loaded with roasted veggies and mixed salads, are common in Berlin. It's a city often regarded as Europe's vegan capital. 100% vegan restaurant Vöner shifts the veggie kebab game beyond a normal cabbage-tomato-lettuce wrap and even takes it a falafel further than many other shops in the city. It does so simply by cutting crispy bits of kebab-esque pieces that remove the bulbousness of other plant-based substitutes. The texture is important.

That's not to say that the meat replacement at Vöner is especially different from other shops across town in terms of the components. It's just a simple staple done well. The light brown crust hides a cakey, brightly spiced chickpea meal. Every time the deep-fried bits threaten to feel too much, you get a hit of rejuvenating cucumber. Sometimes, you are shocked awake by a pocket of red garlic-chili sauce that's been gobbed into a bread cave. Though it may not contain meat, Vöner's döner kebab is Berlin's most fun.

Spicy dürüm at Fugger Imbiss

Fugger Imbiss is a neighborhood place, and fast foods like döner are in the name. No, really, an imbiss is a type of snack bar, and this particular one is literally on Fuggerstrasse — or Fugger Street. It's a corner that is considered a hub for the LGBTQ+ community, and the bar fits right in as a part of it all. Some reviewers have been picky about the service there, but we wonder if those customers just didn't pass the vibe check. Everyone we met at Fugger Imbiss had a welcoming expression.

Don't let the kind eyes or cool blue and white sign of Fugger Imbiss trick you — the key to this shop is to go for something spicy. A squirt of the viscous red sauce grants your döner kebab a delightfully spicy dressing good for whatever you fill in your flatbread with. It's a little bit tart, lip-tingling, and punches up on the herbal spiciness. Yes, we're recommending coming here for the sauce alone. Order whatever sort of dish you prefer. But just in case, you should know that the rotisserie chicken doesn't miss.

Chicken gemüse döner at Nefis Gemüse Kebap

There's a science to making good kebab and an art to nailing gemüse. Peak freshness from all the components is a must, and only when that's put at the center of the operation can cooks ride their sizzling cone of poultry into the stratosphere. Trays of roasted vegetables (zucchini, corn, carrots) also help to fuel the trip. At Nefis, everything is prepared for lift-off — and the kebab is the size of a rocket.

To be fair, what first won us over about Nefis was the close proximity to our accommodations, inexpensive price, and later working hours compared to many other shops on the block. Only after we tried Nefis did the truth of this place hit us. It's special. Shoestring shreds of shaved chicken bulge out of pillowy round flatbread. The massive and succulent portion sizes aren't only reserved for chicken. This is gemüse, where plant foods get respect, too. There are piles and piles of garden tomatoes, snappy cucumbers, and sour cabbage slaw that colors the mixture. For some plant-based smoke, add those grilled veggies. Maybe even skip the chicken — these veggies are worth it. 

Halloumi dürüm at Nur Gemüse Kebab

For non-vegetarians, when you walk into a corner store and see a kebab cone rotating, sizzling, wafting toward you with the gentle velocity of a merry-go-round, it can be challenging to think of plant-based options first. So, we'll say this as clearly as possible: If you come to Nur's gemüse kebab stand specifically for a meat-based meal, you are depriving yourself of the chance to try an excellent vegetable sandwich.

Not only do the aroma and flavor of Nur's grilled peppers and carrots take on deep and smokey flavors, but they're also joined by an array of complementary notes. Creamy feta, herbaceous dill, sharp onion, acidic lemon. Most significantly: halloumi, fried in its golden glory. The thin cheese strips have a satisfying crunch that yields a soft, squeaky center. The effect is to create a similar toothiness in the vegetable snack as what meat would provide. It works for Nur's. We suggest going with the dürüm wrap since the crustier the bread gets, the harder it becomes to enjoy the textural playtime that is halloumi. A thin, burrito-like roll is primo for maximum squeaking.

Beef döner at Hisar Fresh Foods

After something as inventive as a halloumi kebab (or one with truffle mushrooms), you might be wondering what is so special about a standard beef döner. To answer that, we turn to a certified Berlin classic, Hisar Fresh Food. The business has been around and selling its kebabs since 1986, three years before the Berlin Wall fell. Its position at the junction of past and future Berlin comes to a head with Hisar's tried and true cooking method. Slow-cooked beef grilled upright over hours and hours creates a firm outer crust that flakes off and reveals moist, flavor-infused meat on the inside. 

Beef (read: not veal or pork) kebabs are not the most commonly available meat at kebab shops, so a trip to Hisar's comes with a bit of novelty in that regard. The business serves its döner on Turkish pide bread, which is an egg-washed loaf studded with fragrant sesame seeds. The traditional touch changes this from a fast food lunch to an impactful experience with multicultural roots. 

Iskender teller at Doyum

Not to turn this into a confessional, but we don't often go for the kebab teller plates. There are reasons; we won't tell them all, but we can confirm it has something to do with all-consuming thoughts about bread. This is why we love an iskender. It meets you in the middle. Iskender is a dish of layers. Flaky piles of lamb meat are sheared over top of Turkish pide bread. The meat is topped with a hot-temperature tomato sauce, though the flavors and seasonings will vary. Still, every version will offer a taste of Turkish flavors.

Doyum does a remarkable iskender kebab. Grilled tomatoes and peppers are key ingredients used to douse the meat in acidic, salty drippings of a vegetal sauce which is served steaming hot. You can replace the bread with French fries for a gluten-free experience. Yogurt is plopped alongside the pile; a tangy complement scooped like water from a cool bath. Doyum's delightfully hot Iskender touches all the realms of flavor and stands out among Berlin döner kebabs.