We've tried and tested the very best kebabs that London has to offer. Whether you're looking for grilled meat across town meant for more than just soaking up booze or you're after a traditional taste of Anatolia in Green Lanes, Dalston and beyond, let this list guide you. Have we missed your favourite meaty treat? Tell us in the comment box below.
The best kebabs in London
Venue says: “Mega offer! Get free four bottles of Budweiser beer when you spend £30 (minimum of two people).”
Recommended dish: Adana lamb kebab
Trendy Dalstonites now join the Turkish families that have been dining here for years, and prices have crept up, but 19 Numara remains good value. It’s particularly strong on kebabs, from a classic ‘sis’ (shish) to the ‘full mixed kebab’, a huge platter (including quail) to feed two or three.
Recommended dish: Lamb shish kebab
Antepliler (which also has a younger, smarter sibling on Islington’s Upper Street) serves adventurous cooking from the Silk Route. The sogon kebab is a case in point: meatballs served with pomegranate sauce and grilled shallots, with a crisp salad and traditional Turkish pide bread.
Recommended dish: The chicken shawarma
A cut above your typical kebab joint, this cash-only hole-in-the-wall uses prime meat from Smithfield market. Our warm chicken shawarma, was moist and with nicely charred edges, and the addition of tangy, chilli-spiked taramasalata (recommended as a side) improved the overall dish. Judging by the long weekday queues snaking out of the door, the locals think it’s worth it.
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. In spite of this joint’s 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.
Recommended dish: Lamb köfte kebab
The original branch of this Turkish charcoal grill may have basic décor, but it still scores big for its generous portions of good quality meat, sold at low prices. The exceptional beyti (spicy minced lamb) and shish (marinated lamb chunks) are skewered, char-grilled, and served with an oversized salad and warm leavened bread.
Recommended dish: Lamb kebab
On a small side street off the Edgware Road, this tiny Persian hole-in-the-wall specialises in the char-grilled koobideh style of kebabs, where minced and seasoned lamb or chicken is moulded like a long sausage down the length of the skewer. Factor in the terrific just-cooked flatbreads and verdant salads packed with herbs, and you’ll forgive the cramped, basic surroundings.
Venue says: “Our winter menu is out with delicious stews, soups and regional dishes!”
Recommended dish: Lamb koobideh kebab
Though there are plenty of rich, homely stews at this Persian restaurant, the tender kebabs are no means poor cousins. Head for the likes of lamb koobideh kebabs (minced, seasoned meat, fashioned around a skewer) or the chello joojeh kebab – a small whole marinated chicken (the joojeh in the name), all with grilled tomatoes and fluffy rice.
Recommended dish: lamb shish kebab
Huge portions make this Kentish town kebab joint rather popular. We liked the tender chunks of char-grilled meat in the lamb shish kebabs best; salad fillings are varied and well-dressed. There’s an equally good range of sauces, including a fiery chilli.
Recommended dish: The lamb shish kebab
A long way from the Turkish heartlands of Green Lanes and Dalston, Marmaris nonetheless delivers some top-quality Anatolian-style grills in south-west London. Although primarily a takeaway (with a choice of breads wraps), you can also eat in; there’s a small licensed restaurant inside.
Recommended dish: Chicken shish kebab
It may not have good looks or charming service, but no matter: it’s the high standards and reasonable prices here that keep the regulars happy. Chicken shish kebabs come perfectly chargrilled, but we’d also recommend the large iskender kebab: Tad’s take on this traditional dish is to use slices of lamb döner meat, which are topped with cold yoghurt and hot tomato sauce.
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Anatolian cooking is the focus at this restaurant and bar up in Cockfosters. That means a mix of Turkish, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes, with a white-hot charcoal grill doing much of the work. The menu ranges from hummus, shakshuka, taramasalata and pan-fried lamb's liver with red onions, parsley and cumin to lamb chops, chicken shish and fillet of lamb cooked on the coals, octopus cooked in a Bertha grill and a variety of pide baked in a stone oven. Desserts include passion fruit crème brûlèe, chocolate and beetroot brownies, ice cream shakes and baked alaska, here made with Ferrero Rocher ice cream. The wine list offers a good mix of old and new world options, with a few bottles from Turkey in there too. Nine are available by the glass.
Venue says: “Skewd revisits authentic Anatolian cooking methods and adds an explosive burst of flavours.”