Zaddy's by Kaplan
Overall Döner Score: 6/10
Notes: 5 is the baseline in this rating system. That means anything above 5 is above average and everything below is below average.
Zaddy's Zoom: Joachimsthaler Str. 3, 10623 Berlin (Charlottenburg)
Zaddy's: Tauentzienstraße 13, 10789 Berlin (Charlottenburg)
I will keep this short and sweet.
When I first got to Berlin and started on my quest for the best— I hereby dub #quest4thebest a thing— Döner in Berlin, my research pointed me to Zaddy’s and suggested that it was some kind of Döner haven for non-vegan hipsters. I added it to my list with the label “trendy Döner” and ended up there a short 10 months later.
Here is the skinny on Zaddy’s:
It is owned and operated by Kap-Lan Döner, one of Germany’s largest Döner manufacturers. Millionaire owner, Remzi Kaplan, is considered to be Germany’s Döner king, and has served Döner to German Chancellor, Angela Merkel and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The suggestion that Zaddy’s is a trendy hipster hangout seems to have been based on the restaurant’s admittedly strong branding efforts. One of walls is adorned with comic book style drawings and pictures of the food, giving it a distinctly Taco Bell Cantina* vibe.
Like Taco Bell Cantina, Zaddy’s offers a unique spin on the quesadilla in the form of the Zadylla— a quesadilla filled with Döner meat. A butchering of thousands of years of rich culinary tradition? Perhaps. But I’d try it…
The meat at Zaddy's is your fattier, pre-formed variety that, pre-cooked, is uniformly grayish-brown. Tasty enough, to be certain, but virtually identical to much of the competition (see bullet point 1). They have a few more sauce options on deck than what you might expect to find at your neighborhood Döner spot, yet hardly any sauce made it onto my sandwich. Toppings here were standard but the bread, which more closely resembled a baguette than the typical Fladenbrot, was coated generously with sesame seeds, the nuttiness of which added a bit of nuance to an otherwise monotone kebab. Interestingly, they also offer a vollkorn Brot. You know… for the health-conscious Döner consumer...
Though Zaddy’s has clearly invested heavily in its brand, its Döner really leaves a lot to be desired. It scores a few points with additions such as a wider than normal selection of sauces and heavily sesame-seeded bread, but ultimately falls short.
*For the uninitiated, Taco Bell Cantina is a spin off brand of Taco Bell, a popular fast food chain in the US that serves Mexican-inspired dishes, and was created to appeal to millennials. Taco Bell Cantina stores tend to be newer and nicer than your standard Taco Bell restaurants and often feature exactly the type of hipster branding seen on the wall of Zaddy’s. They also serve alcohol.