Overall Döner Score: 6.5/10
Notes: 5 is the baseline in this rating system. That means anything above 5 is above average and everything below is below average.
Big ratings upset: After going back to both Imren and Tekbir in the same week, I've determined that Tekbir is simply better. Both have their strengths, but Imren serves Berlin's most divisive kebab—you love it or you hate it—whereas Tekbir seems to be almost universally loved. The Döner at Tekbir has less of an ability to polarize due its less prominent lamb flavor and more thoughtfully executed sauces.
Kottbusser Damm 1, 10967 Berlin (Kreuzberg/Neukölln)
I desperately wish I could give Ustam Döner a higher rating. For one, their staff is great—the guys who served me were total characters—and their bread, which is baked in house throughout the day and more closely resembles a classic pita than your standard Döner Fladenbrot, is really exceptional. The unfortunate reality, however, is that, other than its charismatic staff and freshly baked bread, Ustam does not stand out from its many, many nearby competitors in any notable way. Like most of the Dönerläden in Berlin, they use a fattier, more highly processed #Dönerstack and their sauces are sweet and mayo based. One could certainly get the impression that these guys have been baking bread a lot longer than they’ve been stuffing them full of Dönerfleisch.
That said, I will choose the Dönerbude with friendly staff and fresh bread over the other guy any day of the week.