Döner is an old Turkish speciality, minced meat grilled on a BBQ, thin sliced and served with salad. In Berlin it was modified and packed in a pide bread and added with tasty sauces.
In the 70ties the Döner got modified by Gastarbeiter, who were starting their own Business. A role model was the Gyros pita of Athener Grill, which was served for 1 DM since the mid 60ties on Berlins Boulevard, the Kurfürstendamm. Next door Signore Franco Francucci opened the first 1 DM Pizza place in Berlin. His son operates opposite the old place a classy ristorante with excellent pizza (“Francucci”).
The second generation guest workers (Gastarbeiter) put the meat together with the salad in a pide (flat turkish bread, best comes from HAK bakery in Berlin Wedding) and and added three different sauces: a) Jogurt, b) Knoblauch (Garlic) or c) Spicy or d) any combination of a,b,c. Or no sauce. If you have a date afterwards, better order “ohne Zwiebeln” (without onions) and no garlic sauce!
The quality is very different. There are 1,99 € Döner. I would avoid them after all the Döner meat scandals (google “Gammelfleisch”). As a rule: a good Döner costs 4 € and more. There are basically two types of Döner: Chicken and meat. Meat is mostly calf. I have not seen lamb since centuries. Sometimes it is mixed, but nowadays rare. Chicken döner is a newer invention and supposed to be healthier. But the taste! 🙁
Real Döner is meat and not chicken.
On the photo you see Mustafas Vegetable Döner. A very popular joint, always long waiting times, but with chicken. They invented the Gemüse Döner by adding cooked vegetables. 4,30 € in standard version.
Where is the best Döner? Ask 10 Berliners and you get 20 answers.
Our opinion: Turkish Discount (nowadays called XL Döner) at Sophie-Charlotten-Platz U-Bahn (Schloßstrasse/Horstweg) is the best. People from all Berlin come to have their Döner. I drink fresh Ayran (1,50 €), salty, with it. very friendly owner and nice staff. Always busy here. Ask for extra french fries inside (it’s for free)!
Max&Moritz at Wilmersdorfer Strasse (near TK Maxx) is also okay. Terras behind Mall of Berlin is far tastier than the ones in the food court of Mall of Berlin, but their staff is not always friendly.
Döner is eaten by every class. Even snobs eat Döner. But be careful! You might spoil your outfit.
Meanwhile you’ll find “German” Döner everywhere in the world. I saw it in Tokyo or Dubai. But the taste was not the same.
The other most popular Berlin fast food is Currywurst.