Top 7 Best Döner Kebab Houses in Istanbul

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Döner kebab is a popular Turkish dish consisting of meat (typically beef, chicken, or lamb) that is cooked on a vertical rotisserie and served in a wrap or pita bread with vegetables and sometimes with sauces. Among its gastronomic wonders, the search for the Best Döner Kebab in Istanbul stands out. This article is your passport to an adventure, navigating through the bustling streets to find the most delectable döner.

The name “döner kebab” is derived from Turkish. “Döner” means “rotating” and refers to the way the meat is cooked on a vertical rotisserie, while “kebab” is a general term for dishes made with meat and vegetables grilled on a skewer. The dish originated in Turkey in the 19th century and has since become popular throughout the world.

First known picture of Döner by James Robertson in Turkey (1855)
The first known picture of Döner by James Robertson in Turkey (1855)

Istanbul is known for its döner kebab restaurants and is considered a hub of traditional Turkish cuisine. The city is famous for its delicious and authentic döner kebabs, which are made with high-quality ingredients and prepared with traditional techniques. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, you can find plenty of döner kebab restaurants in Istanbul offering a variety of flavors and styles to suit all tastes.

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Best Döner Kebab in Istanbul

From bustling street vendors to quaint eateries tucked away in narrow alleys, each locale boasts its unique take on this iconic dish. So, let us get started and discover the finest döner restaurants in Istanbul!

7. Tatar Salim

Location: Kadıköy

Tatar Salim is a renowned döner restaurant located in Kadiköy, the Asian side of Istanbul. Their original Location is in Atasehir but Kadiköy is the most convenient location for tourists.

This restaurant is one of the busiest döner joints in the city, known for its delicious döner by locals. If you’re in Istanbul and craving döner, take a ferry to Kadiköy and give Tatar Salim a try.

6. Dönerci Sadik Usta

Location: Fatih

Don’t be fooled by its modest exterior, Dönerci Ali Usta is a renowned döner restaurant in Istanbul attracting diners from all over the city. People travel to Fatih just to savor its delicious offerings. If you’re in the area, make sure to stop by and try their famous döner.

5. Dönerci Serkan Usta

Location: Beşiktaş

Experience the luxury of a great döner at Dönerci Serkan Usta, one of the best döner restaurants in Istanbul. Known as the go-to spot for celebrities, this upscale Building and Location offers a fine dining experience alongside its delicious döner.

Serkan Usta is a successful entrepreneur, rising from humble beginnings to reach the top, and his restaurant is a testament to his culinary talent. If you’re looking for a luxurious location to enjoy great döner, Serkan Usta is the place for you

Istanbul offers many food tours that are designed to let you taste as many dishes as possible. Booking a tour is a good idea as they receive high praise and are known for delivering excellent experiences. Also, these tours are organized by locals so they know what they are doing. I can recommend this tour which is highly rated and considered one of the best in Town:

With 10 stops along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to try a range of delicious bites at each location.

4. Dönerci Engin’in Yeri

Location: Beyoğlu

This modest döner restaurant in Beyoglu is popular amongst Istanbulites. You can see long queues daily. Vedat Milör, a famous food critic, highly recommends this destination.

Being in Beyoglu, you are likely to come across it at some point, so why not add it to your must-visit list you won’t regret?

3. Dönerci Şahin Usta

Location: Fatih

Dönerci Şahin Usta, a renowned restaurant known for its great döner since 1969, serves its döner kebab mostly until 3 PM. After that, they don’t serve it because the whole döner is already finished.

With long lines of customers, it’s a popular choice among both locals and tourists visiting the Grand Bazaar. With no seating area, you can only order your döner as a wrap (dürüm) or in bread. One of the rare places where waiting in a line pays off.

2. Bayramoğlu Döner

Location: Beykoz

Another great Döner Kebab House in the Asian side of Istanbul. Order a Döner kebab on a plate. It comes with various sides and thin flatbread (Lavas) will be provided. Don’t forget tea and dessert at the end. You can connect this food trip with a visit to Mihrabat korusu (Which is in the Top 10 Istanbuls Hidden Gems list).

1. Karadeniz Döner Asım Usta

Location: Besiktas

Karadeniz Döner is a popular döner kebab restaurant located in the central market of Besiktas. Known for its delicious döner, the restaurant sells out every day a few hours before closing. People are seen waiting in the picture to try the restaurant’s highly-regarded döner kebab. Karadeniz Döner is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2023 and continues to be a successful restaurant, thanks in part to its talented chef, Asim Usta.

In conclusion, Istanbul is a city rich in culinary culture, and döner kebab is a staple dish for locals and visitors. From traditional street vendors to high-end restaurants, there is a multitude of options to choose from. The seven döner restaurants mentioned in this blog post stand out for their unique takes on the dish and commitment to using the freshest ingredients.

Whether you’re looking for a quick bite or a sit-down meal, these restaurants are sure to deliver an unforgettable döner experience. So next time you’re in Istanbul, be sure to give one of these restaurants a try the best of what the city has to offer.

Map of Best Döner in Istanbul


The quest for the best döner in Istanbul is not just a gastronomic adventure but a cultural exploration. Istanbul’s culinary scene, deeply rooted in history, offers a blend of tradition and innovation that captivates every visitor.

So, get on this flavorful journey, savoring the layers of history, culture, and, of course, the delectable döner. You can visit any of the Döner Kebab Restaurants in this list and you will love it.

For a more immersive and in-depth experience, consider getting on an Istanbul food tour. This culinary adventure not only allows you to savor the exquisite flavors of döner but also provides the opportunity to indulge in a variety of other traditional delicacies.


What makes Istanbul’s döner unique?

Istanbul’s döner stands out due to its rich history, diverse flavors, and the skillful blend of traditional and contemporary culinary techniques.

Where can I find the best chicken döner in Istanbul?

For the best chicken döner, head to famous districts like Beyoglu, Besiktas, and Eminönü, where local eateries skillfully prepare this succulent dish.

Is there a vegetarian version of döner available in Istanbul?

Yes! Many eateries offer a delightful vegetarian twist to döner, featuring a medley of grilled vegetables and flavorful sauces. Considering that Döner is inherently meat-based, I don’t know if it makes sense to visit one of Istanbul’s premier döner kebab restaurants solely for the purpose of trying the vegetarian version.

Are there any 24/7 döner spots in Istanbul?

Yes, Istanbul never sleeps, and neither do some döner spots. Explore the city’s vibrant street food scene for round-the-clock döner delights.

What’s the significance of döner in Turkish culture?

Döner holds cultural significance as a culinary symbol, reflecting the rich tapestry of Turkish history and traditions.

Can I recreate Istanbul’s döner at home?

Certainly! You can find it in Supermarkets as deep-frozen Döner meat. While nothing beats the authenticity of Istanbul’s eateries, you can try recreating döner at home with the right spices and techniques.


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