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London’s best restaurants for kebabs

Whether you're after traditional Anatolian or something snacky for the way home – here's our guide to London's best kebabs

Berenjak
By Time Out London Food & Drink |
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February 2019: We’ve added three eateries that put a deliciously different spin on the kebab theme: in Soho, there’s Berenjak (a hip Persian hangout with modern ways) and Le Bab, which does posh open kebabs served on flatbread like Danish smørrebrød. Elsewhere, vegan döner kebabs have hit the street, courtesy of What the Pitta! in Camden, Shoreditch and Croydon.

Kebabs, whether they’re enjoyed on the way home from a night out, or in a buzzy restaurant dishing out Turkish cuisine, are one of life’s great joys. We've tried and tested the very best of these meaty treats that London has to offer – here’s a list of our favourites.

The best kebabs in London

Antepliler_crredit_RobGreig.jpg
Rob Greig
Restaurants, Turkish

Antepliler

icon-location-pin Harringay

Recommended dish: Chargrilled lamb shish kebab

Comprising three different set-ups behind four shopfronts, Antepliler is part restaurant, part café and part pâtisserie (check out its baklavas and homemade ice creams). Adventurous cooking from the Silk Route is the attraction – witness the sogan kebab (skewered minced lamb koftes served with pomegranate sauce and grilled shallots, alongside a crisp salad and traditional Turkish pide bread).

Restaurants, Middle Eastern

Berenjak

icon-location-pin Soho

Recommended dish: Mixed meat shawarma on fries

A boho-chic Persian hangout from the people behind Bao and Hoppers, lively Berenjak does a good line in kebabs among its more upmarket, modernist offerings. Take a punt on the chunks of chilli-marinated lamb rump or the minced goat shoulder seasoned with onion and black pepper. Best of all, staff are eager to please and the bill won’t kill.

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Restaurants, Turkish

Cirrik 19 Numara Bos

icon-location-pin Dalston

Recommended dish: Adana lamb kebab with yoghurt sauce

The hipster’s ocakbasi of choice in Dalston, Cirrik has a way with the Turkish classics. There’s charcoal-grilled bread for dunking into meze dips and thin-based yet fluffy pide, but this place is particularly strong on kebabs – from a classic sis (shish) to the full mixed kebab, a huge platter (including quail) designed to feed four people. There are offshoots in Stoke Newington, Hackney and Tottenham.

Restaurants, Street food

Kebab Kid

icon-location-pin Parsons Green

Recommended dish: Chicken shawarma

A cut above your typical kebab joint, this cash-only hole in the wall uses prime meat from Smithfield market. Chicken shawarma is the house speciality (it also does a lamb version): ours was moist and nicely charred, while the addition of tangy, chilli-spiked taramasalata gave the whole dish some extra oomph. Judging by the queues snaking out of the door, the locals think it’s worth it.

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Restaurants, Indian

Lahore Kebab House

icon-location-pin Whitechapel

Recommended dish: Single kebab skewer (chicken or lamb)

This consistently reliable Whitechapel canteen deals in full-flavoured Punjabi street food, from snacks and curries to the eponymous meat on a stick. Despite the moniker, there are only two kebabs on offer – one seekh (a sausage of seasoned, finely minced lamb on a skewer) and a classic chicken kebab: both are excellent.

Restaurants, Lebanese

Le Bab

icon-location-pin Soho

Recommended dish: Falafel kebab with almond houmous, grilled cauliflower, golden raisins and pickled cauliflower stem

It had to happen, didn’t it? We’ve had gourmet burgers, gourmet hot dogs and gourmet fried chicken. Now it's the kebab's turn. Le Bab’s versions are decidedly posh, served open and painstakingly arranged over thin, house-made flatbread – a bit like Scandinavian smørrebrød. It almost seems a pity to roll them up. Fillings change seasonally, with preserved and fermented ingredients adding to the Nordic vibe.

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Restaurants, Turkish

Mangal 1

icon-location-pin Shacklewell

Recommended dish: Lamb köfte kebab

East London’s most famous ocakbasi has been around for more than 20 years, but this kebab king still lures in passers-by with its enticing smells. Meat is the main event here, so hold out for the succulent cubes of grilled lamb in the insuperable cop sis kebab, or the garlicky lusciousness of the minced chicken beyti served with an oversized salad and warm leavened bread.

Patogh_creditMichelle Grant_12.jpg
© Michelle Grant
Restaurants, Iranian

Patogh

icon-location-pin Marylebone

Recommended dish: Lamb kebab

On a small side street off the Edgware Road, this tiny Persian hole in the wall specialises in chargrilled koobideh-style kebabs – minced and seasoned (halal) lamb or chicken moulded like a long sausage down the length of the skewer. Factor in some terrific just-cooked flatbreads and verdant salads packed with herbs, and you’ll forgive the cramped, basic surroundings.

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Restaurants, Iranian

Sufi

icon-location-pin Shepherd's Bush

Recommended dish: Lamb koobideh kebab

Though plenty of rich, homely stews are on offer at this Persian restaurant, its tender skewered meats are by no means poor cousins. Make a beeline for the lamb koobideh kebab or the chelo joojeh kebab – a small, whole marinated chicken (the joojeh in the name) served with grilled tomatoes and fluffy rice.

Restaurants, Indian

Tayyabs

icon-location-pin Whitechapel

Recommended dish: Lamb seekh kebab (starter)

Tayyabs’s cult following shows no sign of abating and the ‘stack ’em high’ mantra applies to everything at this iconic Punjabi canteen, from the spicy lamb chops and tandoori naan to the seekh kebabs. These packages of seasoned ground lamb are worth the visit alone. It’s BYO, so bulk-buy your beers before you arrive.

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Restaurants, Vegan

What The Pitta!

icon-location-pin Camden Town

Recommended dish: Vegan döner

It was only a matter of time before kebabs got the vegan treatment, and this flagship branch of What the Pitta! is custom-built for trend-conscious Camden. Nuggets of marinated soya (that’s the ‘meat’) are packed into thin, floury home-baked flatbread with crunchy salad, soya yoghurt, tzatziki and houmous. The whole thing looks and tastes almost healthy! There are outlets in Boxpark Shoreditch, Boxpark Croydon and Brighton.

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