I was lucky enough to try two of the best while I was there.
My first stop was Durumzade in the district of Beyoglu. Open all night, it is a popular haunt with Istanbullians on their way home from a big night out.
Durumzade only offers four types of kebab meat (which was a common description for a beef and lamb mix), chicken, lamb and kidney. Chicken wings are your only option if you don't fancy a kebab.
We started with the meat, chicken and lamb kebabs. Usually served whole the waiters kindly cut them up for us so that we could share.
The BBQ meats were wrapped in a thin lavash that had been flavoured with a red pepper and chilli spice mix. Sumac flavoured onions and fresh tomato complete the wrap. The meat kebab was the clear winner. The kebab was juicy and flavoured with spices, it packed more punch than the other two we tried.
Unable to stop at one kebab each, and spying the next door table eating a kebab plate, we ordered another meat kebab and some chicken wings. The kebab plate came served with grilled chillis, sumac onions and a tomato salad on the side.
The 'meat' again eclipsed all else. Despite the kebab plate having essentially the same ingredients I prefered the wrap. There is something primal about eating meat wrapped in bread.
Kalyoncu Kulluk Cad. 26/A
My second kebab was at Bereket Doner which I disovered courtesy of the Istanbul Eats Walking Tour I went on while I was in Istanbul.
Bereket serves a doner unlike any other. Every day the own makes a fresh doner by layering lamb, lamb fat, pepper, tomato and spices. A process which takes two hours. The result is a colourful kebab, far removed from the factory produced kebabs you see elsewhere.
Bread from a local bakery is quickly toasted against the element and then the cut side is pressed against the kebab to soak up some of the gorgeous juices.
The kebab is served simply with just the addition of some fresh onion and tomato. I loved the soft and slightly chewy bread. I found the kebab was over powered by the raw onions, but once I'd pulled them out the kebab was fantastic. Moist and light from the mix of meat and vegetables.
Check out the colourful layers of the kebab.
I couldn't resist a sprinkle of the chilli and isot mix that was on our table for the second half of my kebab. I was a little heavy handed, but the extra smoke and punch was a welcome addition.
Cnr Haci Kadin Cd & San Beyazit Cd
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