A Travellerspoint blog

The Untitled Kebab Stand

Where is the best Kebab in Berlin?

sunny 24 °C
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Berlin: the city of many wonderful and unforgettable adventures.
Berlin derives its uniqueness in diversity; something which has eluded many other well-established major European cities. As much as I would love to talk about Berlin and all its joys, the point of this blog is food. The food I'm going to discuss in this post is probably one of my favourite things to eat IN THE WORLD!

Some background information is needed to understand the full picture. For those of us who do not know, Berlin has a very large Turkish population. The German government encouraged the immigration of Turkish people after the WWII because Berlin had lost many inhabitants during the war. I'm not entirely sure why Turkey was targeted, but thank the food gods it was! As stated in my previous posts, I obviously have a soft spot for Turkish food. It tickles my tongue in a way that no other food can. The reason I brought up Berlin's Turkish population is because I want you to understand the gravity when I say that there are many eating establishments in the city that claim to have the best doner kebab. I LOVE doner kebabs. And after being in Berlin, no kebabs from my home town taste nearly as good. Actually no kebabs anywhere else in the world (minus Turkey, duh!) have ever lived up to this high standard.

Most of the best kebab shops are in a neighbourhood called Kreuzberg, a.k.a. the Turkish Quarter. The popular ones that people (or the internet) will tell you about go by the names of:

  • Mustafa's Gemüsekebab
  • Rosenthaler Grill & Schlemmerbuffet
  • All in one Doner
  • Tadim Döner

So if you do go to Berlin, you can give these all a try and compare them to MY favourite doner kebab shop.
This shop (I only just learned from Googling it) goes by the name of "Florya Imbis". It's run by a friendly Turkish man (unknown name) who's English is a struggle. By the end of my stay in Berlin we were very good at gesturing to each other and made decent conversation, I'd say. This guy was the only man I ever saw working here, and I passed the little stand everyday on my way to work.

His stand is very non-descript and sits right beside a Kaiser's grocery store. The address of the Kaiser's is Annenstraße 2 10179 Berlin, and is closest to the Heinrich-Heine Straße U-bahn station.

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Meal: Lunch, Supper, Snack-time, or anytime!

Döner Kebab im Brot

  • veggies - white onions, parsley, pickled red cabbage, lettuce, tomato, pickles shredded cheese
  • sauces - hot (scharf), garlic, tahini, yogurt
  • doner meat - beef

The Critique

One of the biggest components that makes this kebab great is the type of bread (brot, in german) that holds all the fillings. It's NOT a wrap, which is the most popular, and only option available in any of Canadian and Australian Doner shops I've been to. The bread tastes like its made by little old Turkish women in some bakery (probably because it is). It's essentially a non-heavy, soft bun that is in the shape of a quarter circle. You can't leave your kebab for too long, otherwise the sauces make the bread soggy.
The fillings themselves aren't too unique for Berlin. I'll warn you, once you have pickled red cabbage in your kebab, you won't want anything else.
The secret to Florya Imbis's Döner im Brot is its sauces. They are rich with taste, complimenting each other, the meat and the veggies! The other thing that made this kebab special is that the guy grills the döner meat after shaving off the spit, giving the meat a little crispiness to it (I understand that may sound like a strange description, but I ensure you it was delicious).

SO in my opinion (as little as its worth), this is the best 'Döner Kebab im Brot' in Berlin. For food explorers, this fits that unknown, random, "hole-in-the-wall" food joint that is worth hunting down.

Posted by forkintheroad 11:58 Archived in Germany Tagged berlin kebab kreuzberg doner florya_imbis annen_strasse Comments (0)

ҪINARLAR PIZZA

Restaurant in the Kaş Market

sunny 22 °C
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After an easy day of Scuba diving, we wanted some lunch. The Kaş Market area is one of the smallest, and best markets I went to in Turkey. The cobbled streets are twisty and curve around the stores in maze-like fashion. There is a wide variety of shops, from boutique shoe stores to the expected carpet and kilim vendors. They all eagerly give you a cup of tea if you decide to walk into their store, as is Turkish custom. I had a cup of Turkish black tea as I watched Michael get sucked in and buy a kilim (a style of local rug) from a well practiced sales man. The market place is right beside the bay, allowing for beautiful ocean views from restaurant patios. Its tough not to fall in love with this quaint little town.

Unfortunately (but not that unfortunately) we decided to eat at Ҫinarlar Pizza, which is a restaurant we found tucked away in the maze, out of sight of the walkways and ocean. When we started surveying the restaurants, we weren't impressed that the ocean-view was the main draw to the bay-side restaurants. They didn't really sell us on their menus, so we decided to find a hole in the wall that was going to be ecstatic to see some tourists.

Ҫinarlar Pizza has a cozy, private, and outdoor, eating atmosphere. Our waiter was friendly and spoke good English.
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Meal: Lunch

Starter

  • Turkish style pita bread served with a dill yogurt sauce and a tomato pepper sauce

Main

  • Lahmacun - (Turkish-style pizza) vegetarian, with mushrooms, peppers, onion and cheese
  • Kofta, with rice, chips and salad

The Critique

This was one of my favourite appetizers in Turkey, and is popular throughout the country. A puffed-up, flaky-thin bread topped with sesame seeds. In other restaurants the entire piece of bread is one big puff ball. The texture of the bread was perfect with the two sauces. The dill yogurt sauce was similar to tzatziki sauce, but with dill instead of basil (guten Geschmack!) The tomato sauce reminded me of a mix between salsa and bruschetta. It's thick, and has a light flavour with a little bit of a hot-spiciness. Definitely far from over-whelming though. Of the two, the dill sauce was definitely my favourite.
Turkish Pita bread

Turkish Pita bread

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Lahmacun can be translated to Turkish Pizza. We decided to try something other than fish while we were on the coast (blasphemy, I know). The Lahmucan was like pizza with out tomato pizza sauce, made in a long, thin-crust boat shape. You can't see it in the picture, but the ends of the pizza were tapered off like a ship's bow. I think usually there is a meat topping on it, but I am a big fan of vegetarian pizzas. We could have also ordered Lahmucan with tomato-pizza sauce, but those don't usually have cheese on them... and I love cheese too much to do that. Lucky for me, this pizza had ALL THE CHEESE! *Drool* It's hard not to give that much cheese 5/5. All the toppings were fresh and the cheese was either Mozzarella or some close tasty relative. Definitely recommend getting some Lahmacun while in Turkey. However, in Istanbul it probably won't be as good, unless you don't mind spending 20 Lyra (10 CAD), which is actually more expensive in Turkey on a tight traveler's budget.

Lahmacun (Tukish Pizza)

Lahmacun (Tukish Pizza)

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Main dish numero dos (Michael's pick) was Kofta, also-known-as Turkish meatballs. These are greasy, moist, and super flavourful. They make North American meatballs seem like stale, rubber balls. This restaurant served some of the best kofta over our entire stay in Turkey (and we ate A LOT of kofta). One might think, 'How do they make them so delicious and succulent?' and I will think, 'oh the delicious power of greasy, animal fat'. The rice and salad do a really good job of cutting some of that grease down though. However, I don't know what those potato chips are doing there...
I actually really enjoyed the rice (and it is the same at many places we ate). It was a mix of white rice and some other sort of grain. I don't know if it was just a different kind of rice, but it holds a really good flavour, so it isn't just for adding colour.

Kofta

Kofta

I would say all-in-all this meal earned 8.5 yum points out of 10.

Posted by forkintheroad 06:07 Archived in Turkey Tagged food turkey kas vegetarian meatballs kofta lahmucan Comments (0)

MELTEM PANSION

Our Guesthouse, Kaş

14 °C
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One of my favourite destinations in Turkey was Kaş. We went there to go scuba diving. We had paid a random guy 40 Lyra to take us there in his car. Definitely one of the scariest car experiences I have EVER had... but then again who doesn't like to pass another car while going around a blind corner on a seaside cliff?
Our nice driver dropped us off directly at our guesthouse's front steps. Almost right away we got in a long conversation with our host, Ibraham, about driving around Turkey. He was very knowledgeable and was definitely the best tourist information we got while in Turkey. After his advice he asked us what we were doing for supper, because he just happened to be having a BBQ that night at the Pansion. What's that? A home cooked turkish meal at a roof top dining spot? I guess so...

Before supper we checked out the cute town of Kaş. I would definitely go back to Kaş, if/when I go back to Turkey, but I also love small adorable seaside towns. Back at the pansion, there were a collective of guests gathered to share in our amazing hosts' meal. Fatih (one of the pansion workers) was working at the grill, while three Singaporean girls were giggling at his method of fanning the coals (he was using a hair dryer as a fan). We sat down at the table as they put the food out. We were given a choice of beef, chicken or fish... but HELLO! We were right next to the Mediterranean Sea! There was no choice: FISH! The meal was fantastic, with everyone sitting around a big long table making merry!

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Fish on the Grill

Meal: Supper

Starter

  • Green Salad dressed in Olive Oil - typical style (no cheese this time)
  • White Bread with plain butter

Main

  • Turkish Potato Salad
  • Rice
  • French Fries
  • Grilled Fresh Fish ,white meat, garnished with a mushroom, onion, tomato and Turkish spinach

The Critique

The appetizer was light, satisfying and not too-filling (if you don't stuff yourself with bread) and unremarkable.
I think this fish was the best fish I had in Turkey. Having a whole fish to myself was a challenge. Not only is a whole fish a large portion size, but the fish had probably had a bit too much to eat itself. The skin was fried to a crisp, and the bones and fins were still on it. So I got to practise my de-boning method again. Ibraham put some home-made greasy garlic sauce on my fish (delicious without saying) and I helped myself to the sides. I enjoyed the potato salad (and I am quite picky with potato salads). The chunks of potato were cut into small cubes, and the sauce was very creamy. This is a typical Turkish side dish. The garnishes were kind of just there on the plate, and really had nothing to add to the meal which gave the french fries some friends, I guess. Greasy and lightly salted, these chips weren't too bad by themselves. Avoid eating them with the fish though. Completely ruins the fresh taste of the meat.

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This meal was made better with the excellent company we had. An older Australian couple, a young Aussie lad, and those three Singaporean girls. There's nothing like meeting strangers on your travels, sharing your knowledge and whatever else. It's funny that we didn't learn any of their names. I definitely recommend this place because of the company, the hosts, the food and the view (Check out that moon!).

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Posted by forkintheroad 02:11 Archived in Turkey Tagged kas Comments (0)

ҪITIR Restaurant

Fish Market, Fethiye

sunny 21 °C
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THE FISH MARKET

The fish market in Fethiye is definitely a cool place to eat. It's not everyday you get to go buy your own fish and then immediately hand it to the chef of a restaurant to be cooked. It reminded me a little of BYOW restaurants, except it was BYOF. Humour me at my attempt to give a rough picture: there is a circle of fish/seafood stands in the centre of this courtyard. They all have generally the same fish, and are all relatively the same price, so the best part is all the vendors vying for your business and haggling with them. The restaurants make of the walls of the courtyard. You can technically take your fish to anyone of these restaurants, however, you will probably get servers or owners chasing after you as you walk around the circle. Each restaurant has a particular fish stand that they are in cahoots with, so they will try to make you buy fish from a certain stand, and then bring it to their restaurant. Everyone is trying to cut you a deal, so don't be afraid to practise your bargaining skills!

Fresh Fish

Fresh Fish

Ҫɪtɪr Restaurant was the one that caught Michael and I, but at the end of the day its the fish that makes the meal. Ҫɪtɪr was the one right next to the west entrance of the market, and the owner jumped in front of us before we even had a chance to look around. There were lots of tourists eating at the market. For some reason, certain restaurants were much more popular than others. I couldn't really contribute that to the food being better, so the sales people just must have been better at trapping people at their restaurant. We browsed the restaurant prices and menus, but they pretty much all served the same, with little variation in price. The man from Ҫɪtɪr however offered us a pretty good deal. We were the only ones who were eating at his restaurant, so that might have had something to do with it. Also something that should be noted is that appetizers are generally included at many Turkish restaurants. Maybe its because its Turkish custom? I never found out, as you shouldn't question a good thing.
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Meal: Lunch
Starter:

  • Fresh green salad dressed in olive oil, garnished with lemon and parsley
  • Cheese - this cheese was similar to Parmesan but not so hard, and much stronger tasting. Meant for the salad.
  • White bread with garlic, dill cheesy butter

Main

  • French Fries with ketchup and mayo
  • Mediterranean Sea Bass - grilled, not de-boned or de-finned.

The Critique
The starter was a big portion for the two of us. It was a giant plate of green lettuce mixed with tomato, cucumber and purple cabbage. The freshness of the salad was delicious, and the olive oil brought everything together. However, the cherry on top was definitely the cheese. Since there wasn't any spices or saltiness to the salad, the cheese added a rich flavour to the freshness of the vegetables. The contrast really mixes well on the pallet. The bread was fresh and light with a great texture, very typical of turkish bread. The butter, however, was the most interesting butter we had on our whole trip. It had cheese folded into it, similar to the kind of cheese that was on the salad.
Another thing to note is that bread always always comes with a meal in any Turkish restaurant. I should mention its always delicious.
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The Cheese

Michael and I got half the fish each. My skills at de-boning aren't the best, but I managed. The fish was delicious! The skin was grilled to a crisp, and the meat was tender and succulent! No spices were used; the fish was left to its natural flavours. This was the beginning of our high fish intake on the coast of Turkey. Brain food and a blood thinner in one! Seeing as I am from Calgary (land-locked) Alberta I never tired of fresh fish everyday.

The negative: The chips were nice and soft but did not compliment the meal at all. It was definitely the odd man out. We found out later that Turkish people started serving chips with fish to please all the British people that came over. However, those were probably some of the better chips that we ate while in Turkey.

"What? Where are the chips for my fish? This restaurant isn't very good... I should complain to the tour guide"
- overheard on a tour from an old British lady

Mediterranean Sea Bass

Mediterranean Sea Bass

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Posted by forkintheroad 03:22 Archived in Turkey Tagged food fish market turkey fethiye Comments (0)

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