So my first ever food review, and of course it comes straight from Europe and involves food that you would often eat when you’re drunk. Yes, we’re talking about KEBABS (or “kebaps” as they are known in German)! Europeans are usually amused to find out that Americans very rarely have as many of these kebab/kebap stands, restaurants, shacks, food carts, etc. in and around our cities and nightclubs. But in places like Berlin, they are usually everywhere as far as the eye can see. Is it the higher Turkish and middle Eastern population in Europe? Do drunk Europeans just have different culinary tastes? Or are fat Americans just too obsessed with Mickey D’s and the Golden Arches to give anything else a chance? Who knows…But if you find yourself staring into one of these…
….then you are probably in a place like Berlin, Helsinki, Paris, etc.
Mustafa’s Gemüsekebap, located at the SW exit of the U-Bahn Mehringdamm stop in Berlin, has the dubious honor of being the best of the best. Day in, day out, night in, night out, hungry people in various states of drunkenness and sobriety queue up to partake in what is supposed to be a culinary masterpiece. When everybody and their mother can open a stand dedicated to a food that drunk people can appreciate, you know it’s gotta be something to mentioned as the best by various foodie websites, travel books, and local people from Berlin.
Okay, honestly? The line is a bit ridiculous. The first time I went there around 9 pm, I ended up waiting about 45 minutes. I had to pee so bad halfway through the line, that I begged a nice group of giggling German girls to save my spots so I could sneak into a bar and do my business and get back in time to not lose my spot. You should usually be able to get a kebab within about 5-10 minutes tops. So to wait 45 minutes for something as simple as a kebab takes a LOT of endurance. Even when I came back near that area in the daytime, around 2 pm, I STILL saw a huge 45-minute line.
But in my professional foodie opinion, Mustafa’s is really all that and a bag of chips. It’s ridonkulously mouth-watering, and has the perfect blend of well-seasoned yet not overcooked kebab meat, fresh vegetables, with some crispy potatoes or tater-tot look-a-likes to give it a real crunchy kick. Unlike a lot of kebab places where the meat is constantly sitting out and drying up, the line at Mustafa’s ensures your meat will be super tender and moist, with just the right amount of crunchy kebab skin goodness that you expect. You will remember it for a long long time, although you will probably remember it more if you are actually sober, and I DARE you to find a place in Berlin that actually has a better quality kebab than Mustafa’s.
On the plus side, prices are super cheap, ranging from 2.90 Euro for a simple doner kebab to 3.90 Euro for a more wrapped durum kebab. On the minus side, there is pretty much nowhere to eat except some stand-up tables, and the line is not a great place to take older tourists/parents who can’t stand long or kids who have ADHD or other impatience-related issues. Which in my experience is basically every kid I’ve ever met. Believe me, you will be eating your kebab so quickly, that you will likely be in danger of choking yourself on the size of the thing (That’s what SHE said…)
All in all, if you are hungry, drunk, drunk & hungry, or just want to see what all the fuss is about, AND you don’t mind taking 45 minutes or more out of your day, Mustafa’s Gemüsekebap is a must-eat when you drop by Berlin. Happy Gorging!
Mustafa’s Gemüsekebap – 4.5/5 Coconuts
Mehringdamm 32, Berlin, Germany
Located on the SW corner of the U6/U7 U-Bahn stop and the 140, M19, N6, N7, and N42 bus lines in central Berlin