Updated: Apr 30
Overall Döner Score: 7.5/10
Notes: 5 is the baseline in this rating system. That means anything above 5 is above average and everything below is below average.
Ratings Adjustment: Restaurant Pamfilya has been upgraded from a 6 to a 7
Greifswalder Str. 32, 10405 Berlin (Prenzlauer Berg)
I was turned onto Meraba by my friend, Furkan, a reader from Turkey who has long been on the hunt for proper Turkish kebab in Berlin. Thanks again for the recommendation, Furkan.
Like Restaurant Pamfilya and Imren Grill, Meraba falls into a special category of Döner shops that use 100% beef to produce Döner that lean toward authentically Turkish— from what I am told— and absolutely pummel the competition in terms of quality. This is not lost on the fine folks of Meraba, who have gone so far as to include their meat supplier’s name on their sign, which reads Meraba Neuland. I would be selling them short, however, if I didn’t mention that Neuland is, at least on the surface, aggressively committed to wellbeing of its animals, a cause I can definitely get behind!
Meraba sells both chicken and beef Döner and offer the classic fried veggies— the namesake of the Gemüse Kebab— for both options. In an equally offbeat move, they served the beef Döner in the sandwich bread typically used for Gemüse Kebab, with sauces that, too, are normally used in Gemüse Kebab. As this was my first time at Meraba, I cannot confirm whether or not this is their standard M.O. or a temporary arrangement in response to Corona, but, either way, I am definitely not complaining.
I opted for my usual, sans fried veggies, but swapped Kräuter for Sesam sauce. Despite my previous praises, the meat itself left a lot to be desired. In contrast to, say, Imren’s meat, which marinates for 24 hours and has a strong, distinct flavor that is accentuated by the lamb fat they lay atop their #Dönerstack, the meat here seriously lacks flavor. Even if one were to look at it in isolation, it seemed to be weakly or fully unseasoned meat that leaned heavily on the sauces. That said, it worked on some level and the quality I mentioned earlier certainly did not go unnoticed by this Dönnoisseur. The outcome was a well-balanced, fresh Döner kebab that I would be eager to try again in Post-Corona times.
Ultimately, Meraba holds up better than Pamfilya, but not as well as Imren— hardly a fair comparison. It is a very solid Döner joint, with a diverse range of options at a price point only slightly higher (5€) than that of other Döner shops around the city. In my opinion, it’s worth the extra euro.