The great Berlin döner hunt is on! Berlin offers many, many delicious foodie delectables, including Turkish döner kebabs. Thanks to the city’s sizable Turkish population, it is easy to find some Turkish cuisine to satisfy your growling stomach (or to just grow your stomach).
Döner is one particular Turkish dish that seems to have developed its own cult following. Who doesn’t love greasy meat that’s been roasting vertically for hours? Vegetarians, maybe vegans. And that’s about it. Most love döner because it’s cheap, delicious, and satisfying. Everyone I’ve spoken to who has visited Berlin has a favorite joint. One name that kept coming up in conversations is Mustafa’s in the Kreuzberg neighborhood, next to the Meringdamm U-bahn stop. The establishment itself is so small, you could easily miss it. The lines that snake up the block, however, are unmistakable. I arrived a bit before the lunch rush, so I only had a 20-minute wait. One option for queue-time amusement, Mustafa’s website is highly amusing.
By the time I got to the front of the line, the wafting scent of roasting chicken and vegetables had been taunting me for the past 10 minutes. I was hungry!
The döner was filled to overflowing. Crispy strips of roast chicken, roasted potatoes, roasted peppers, sauces, salad, and feta cheese all joined together cocoon of the fluffy-on-the-inside, crispy-on-the-outside bread. Because there is such high turnover, everything is fresh, and it shows. The roasted potatoes in particular—genius. Just when the assault of flavor from sauces and meats started to overwhelm you, there was that bite of potato to give the palate a warm, slightly crispy, comforting break. And the fluff-to-crunch ratio was practically perfect. The salad, bread crust, and meat edges were crunchy, but the soft potatoes, vegetables, and bread interior kept things from exploding in all directions with every bite. It was just enough food for me, which means it probably wasn’t enough. I will be back for more.
And for you classical music fans—literally across the street is the cemetery where composer Felix Mendelssohn and his sister, composer/pianist Fanny Mendelssohn, were laid to rest, along with several other local notable musical figures.