Meaty Sandwiches at German Doner Kebab

German Doner Kebab
: 246 Queen Street West, Toronto

German Doner Kebab is a German chain with locations around the world that specializes in — surprise, surprise — doner kebab.

They have a few things on the menu, though it all revolves around the doner kebab, which is meat that’s cooked on a vertical rotating spit, shawarma-style.  They serve chicken, beef, or a mix of both.

I ordered the Original German Doner Kebab, which features a whole bunch of meat (chicken and beef, in my case), veggies and sauce on what they call toasted sesame waffle bread.

German Doner Kebab

It’s tasty enough, though the way the sandwich was constructed meant that there was a ton of meat on the bottom, veggies in the middle, and sauce on top.  I tried my best to alternate bites between the three sections so I’d get a variety of flavours, but it was basically impossible to get a mouthful with all three components.

The sandwich comes as it comes, so I wasn’t told anything about the sauces or any of the toppings, but according to the website they have three sauces: signature spicy sauce, signature garlic sauce, and signature yogurt sauce.  I wish it were spicier, but otherwise the sauces were quite tasty: they were sweet, garlicky, and a little bit tangy.  They would have done a great job of balancing out the saltiness of the meat, but unfortunately there was a voluminous layer of veggies between the meat and the sauce, so I didn’t get any mouthfuls with both.

German Doner Kebab

Because yeah, the meat was very salty.  The level of seasoning was so intense that it entirely overwhelmed the flavour of the meat; I tried a bunch on its own (as you can see from the picture, a decent amount had tumbled out of the sandwich before they even brought it to me), and none of it particularly tasted like chicken or beef — it just tasted like generic, salty meat.  I literally couldn’t tell any of it apart.  They might have accidentally given me one or the other instead of a mix, but the fact that I couldn’t figure out what any of it was supposed to be is… odd.

Still, it was tasty enough; there were no off or gamy flavours here, so it certainly wasn’t unpleasant to eat.  That’s not to mention the bread, which was nicely toasted, with a satisfying exterior crunch and fluffy interior that (mostly) held together despite how messy the sandwich was.

It’s hard to wholeheartedly recommend this place when Otto’s Berlin Doner is serving a very similar sandwich that’s much, much better.  But if you’re in the area and you’re looking for a hearty, quick meal, you could definitely do worse.

A Top Notch Sandwich at Otto’s Berlin Doner

Otto's Berlin DonerLocation: 256 Augusta Avenue, Toronto

I tried Otto’s Berlin Doner around when it first opened and quite enjoyed it; I’m happy to report that not only has the place not missed a step, I think they’ve actually gotten better.  I just had the veal and lamb doner, and I was pretty blown away by how good it was.

Otto's Berlin Doner

Every element works so well — it’s got that great bread, which is delightfully crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, and it’s got the perfect balance between tasty meat and fresh veggies, with the sauces all complementing it so well.

You can choose between garlic, yogurt, and hot sauce — or you can do what I did and get all three, which is definitely what you should do because it’s a very tasty combo (the hot sauce isn’t hot at all, but it’s hard to complain when it’s all this tasty).

Otto's Berlin Doner

But it’s the veal and lamb that really makes the sandwich sing.  It’s super tender, with a great meaty flavour from the lamb and a punch of rosemary-tinged herbiness.  And it’s absolutely crammed with the crispy bits that make a sandwich like this so addictive.

I mean, look at this picture.  Look at the crispy bits.  That’s a thing of beauty.

Otto's Berlin Doner

You can also add feta cheese and/or fries to your sandwich for a buck a piece, and again, you should definitely do that.  The fries add more delightful savoury crispiness, and the feta brings creamy pops of saltiness that really rounds out the sandwich.

Kebab 49: Still Great

Kebab 49Location: 5308 Dundas Street West, Etobicoke

I’ve actually already written about Kebab 49, so I’m going to keep this post brief.  That was a couple of years ago, and the place is still chugging along, serving some of the best doner in the city.

Yes: Kebab 49 is still great.  On this particular visit I got the durum wrap with lamb and veal (durum is a Turkish flatbread; Kebab 49 makes it in-house in their wood-burning oven, and it’s chewy and fresh and amazing).

Kebab 49

The lamb and veal doner is outstanding.  A lot of shawarama/doner tends to be a bit dry, but not here — there’s just enough fat mixed in to keep things from drying out.  It’s perfectly seasoned, and the distinctive lamby flavour really shines through.

But the best part are all the crispy bits from where the rotating stack of meat has come into contact with the fire.  This is how you know you’re dealing with a place that knows what’s what.  Way too many restaurants start carving too soon, and you end up with sad, soggy meat.  Not Kebab 49.  You can’t really tell from the photo, but there were delicious crispy bits interspersed throughout the entire wrap.  It was glorious.