Kebabs have long suffered from a reputation as the 4am feed of the drunk and desperate. This stigma should be not be accepted too hastily. The basis for a kebab, as pieces of meat, fish, or vegetables roasted spit and served in a pita bread or wrap, leaves open plenty of room for culinary experimentation, and by no means precludes the potential for fresh ingredients or quality produce. As we will see, there is a wealth of variety available in the city, which, far from requiring the lowered standards of intoxication to be deemed acceptable, stand in their own right as very desirable fast food options.
Zaytoon (Temple Bar, Camden St, Swords, Ranelagh)
Zaytoon has been established as a pilgrimage for anyone in Dublin interested in good kebabs, having championed fresh ingredients and Persian cooking techniques from the start. This may be the primary reason for its ever-increasing popularity, which has seen the restaurant expand into a growing number of locations. Even if it is priced relatively highly among its competitors, with a regular chicken kebab meal with chips and a drink costing €11, the quality offered in Zaytoon still sets it apart.
Istanbel Kebab House (Lower Liffey St)
Nestled amongst a variety of late night food restaurants, Istanbel Kebab House doesn’t really stand out all that much at first glance. Faded pictures advertising the huge range of food offered (including pizzas, curries, kebabs and more) doesn’t do all that much to raise hopes, and neither does the somewhat cramped and aged interior as you step inside. Some of these doubting thoughts might be drowned out by loud pop music, as a Youtube playlist plays ceaselessly from a large TV that dominates the room. Either way, after you order, these concerns will very quickly dissipate. You have a choice for your kebab to be plated or wrapped, and if you go with plated you will be brought out a very nice array of vegetables and meat served with flatbread and dips. Go for the meal with chips and a drink and it will cost about €10 for a very satisfying meal. As an aside, don’t get confused with Istanbul Kebab House across the road, which offers a student discount, but isn’t quite as nice from my experience.
“If the aim of this list was to show that kebabs are more than just fatty meats held together by phosphates and wedged into some bread, then The Shawarma Company would be a shining example to prove that”
The Shawarma Company (Dame St)
If a clean, refined kebab is what you’re after, then this fairly new spot is for you. One need only take a look at this middle-eastern restaurant to see that it’s setting itself apart with its sharper, tidier aesthetic which reflects the fresh and authentic ingredients it uses. If the aim of this list was to show that kebabs are more than just fatty meats held together by phosphates and wedged into some bread, then The Shawarma Company would be a shining example to prove that. For me personally, however, I have a soft spot for all things greasy, and so found myself a little under-satisfied by the offerings here. Nonetheless, I couldn’t fault its quality, and am sure many people would be very happy with what it’s serving. At €7 for a chicken kebab wrap, it is also clearly pricing quite fairly for its higher quality products.
New Curry & Grill (Dolphin’s Barn)
This one’s a little out of the way, but as it’s only a short bus ride from college, and just because I like it a lot, I’m including it anyway. Like Istanbel Kebab House, you may have some initial concerns which must be overcome before getting to your meal. The design of the place is pretty basic, and as you step inside it can be very hot. It may seem that whoever is serving you might be in a sweating match with the rotisserie chickens next to them, but it is the source of this heat that makes this such a great place for kebabs. For each kebab ordered, fresh dough is rolled out and placed into a tandoori oven where it is cooked at a very high heat for a very short time. While this is being done, chicken is stripped from the spit and then pan-fried. Toppings and sauces do not disappoint either, and the resulting meal is very sizeable, tasty and affordable, setting you back only €6. Despite the hot working conditions, I have also found the staff here to be quite friendly, which is a nice positive in any meal ordering situation.
“But what I am going to tell you is that it does kebabs in the city centre for €3.50, which is a feat worthy of commendation in and of itself”
Turkish Kebab House (Parnell St)
I am not going to lie and tell you that Turkish Kebab House is changing up the kebab game for the entire world. But what I am going to tell you is that it does kebabs in the city centre for €3.50, which is a feat worthy of commendation in and of itself. Not only that, but in my opinion, the kebabs on offer are pretty nice. Somewhat of an outlier on a street filled with Chinese restaurants, Turkish Kebab House has the appearance of a pretty standard and small chipper-type place, with just four stools by the window for seating. Spend any time here though, and you can see that it has a pretty dedicated customer base, and for good reason. It has good offers served to you by friendly staff, and even if the kebabs aren’t all that clean or game-changing, they are still pretty good.