We all know (if you don't, then pretend you know) that Berlin's Turkish community is a very large one and it introduced this typical Turkish dish -with some variants to suit European taste- to the point that it's now a 2.5 billion Euros business in Germany alone.
Call it kebab, gyros or tacos al pastor, I'm a big fan of vertical roasting street food. So almost everywhere I go, I'm in for it. Up to now, the best kebab I had ever tasted was (forgive me, Istanbul) in Copenhagen, in the tiny Shawarma Grill House on Strøget. Until Berlin...
Last time I was in Berlin, I focused on the touristy things to do and just had schweinshaxe and sausages to eat, but this time I did my research. After a 90% of the blogs, forums, websites, etc. I lurked on told me that Mustafa's Gemüse Kebap was the place to go for the best kebab in town (and, presumably, the world) I decided to give it a shot.
Everyone talked about the one-hour queues in the cold or rain to get a kebab but I thought they were exagerating, I mean, who waits in line for that long? We did! and not for one but almost two hours! At some point I even thought that maybe it was all a big hoax and the kebab was not even that good but it was just famous (as other tourist traps or over-rated restaurants) but I'm so glad we waited!
Here's how it went: we were in Berlin with a group of other 7 friends and we arrived at Mustafa's street stand in Kreuzberg on a luckily-not-rainy Saturday afternoon, hungry and a bit tired after all the sightseeing. When we saw the 50 people queue we thought twice (the other option was the equally famous Currywurst place - Curry 36 - in the same block which had the same queue length) but still decided to give it a shot. After some minutes some of us went in the neighboring bar to use the bathroom... and came back with a cold beer. This was the begining of a fun afternoon, the bar people told us that we could go in and eat our kebab inside (as long as we were drinking), so we took turns and while a part of us were in the line, the other part would stay in the bar having a beer, watching the soccer game and keeping the table. After almost 2 hours and several beers the kebab finally arrived. And it was amazing!
Mustafa's kebab is made from chicken (opposed to Copenhagen's Shawarma Grill lamb), it has 3 different sauces, salad, peppers, onion, feta cheese, lemon juice and other ingredients which combined give it the greatest of flavors.
A dürüm was enough for 1 hungry medium-sized person but, since you're there and you've made it through the hour long queue, perhaps you should consider ordering a second one to share, just in case. I would definitely queue here again for a delicious kebab, but I would go with a group so we could take turns between the line and the bar, and I would check the weather forecast before going, it surely wouldn't be funny to queue under the rain.
Mustafa's Gemüse Kebap (their website is cool)
Mehringdamm, 32 (just outside the Ubahn station of Mehringdamm)
Vogt's Bier Express (the bar which let us eat in)Mehringdamm 32/34 - 10961 Berlin
Note: for some months there was another Mustafa stand in Mitte (more precisely, by Monbijou park on Oranienburger Strasse) but unfortunately it has closed so the only place you should queue at is this one in Kreuzberg.