The Kebab may have taken over much of the world as an alternative to other fast-food traditions with its exotic and fresh ingredients, yet in Chile the similar flavors of the Churrasco, the Lomito, and the Completo still seem to rule. It's time to serve up something different for those late night hunger attacks!
New multicultural dishes are often turning up in Santiago these days. Among them we have the Kebab. Despite the fact that the kebab is often fast food related, there are different variations that range like the Döner or the Shish, with different price ranges to suit both your taste buds and your financial mood.
In Santiago, the kebab is becoming more accepted, but in recent years it has really entered a stage where it is becoming more common in society. What makes the Döner kebab so important for many is for its function as a Fyllemat, a Swedish term, roughly translated into "food that one eats whilst drunk on a night out". Or in Chilean, comida para el bajón.
Istanbul (photo by André Rudstedt)
You may have wondered why the Kebab is spelled Kebap in many restaurants here in Santiago. Well, it is not a mistake but taken directly from the original Turkish spelling.
While the big hamburger chains are highly visible along the main streets of cities, the kebab restaurants take a bit more searching unless you already know where they are. Or you read this article. Here are some of the main kebab chains in Santiago.
Istanbul has three popular and well-attended locations. The chain is from Spain and they have tried to attract the Chilean market with typical national wares like avocado included in their menu. Their tablak is recommended, primarily for its size. The kebab is served with pita bread that is made from durum flour and resembles a wrap. The staff talk of their yoghurt sauce which consists both of yogurt and mayonnaise, a letdown.
Calle Hernando de Aguirre, 156 - Metro Tobalaba, Providencia, Santiago.
Calle Constitución, 140 - Bellavista - Providencia, Santiago.
Calle Doctor Manuel Barros Borgoño, 028, Plaza Felipe Dawes - Metro Manuel Montt - Providencia, Santiago.
+56 (2) 2352267
Pitas y Döner (photo by André Rudstedt)
This has existed for eight years and has two branches, in Providencia and Escuela Militar. A popular dish is their pitas, consisting of thin slices of beef, cheese and tomato, which is then baked. Included is a rich salad with a fine and tasty yoghurt sauce. Their döner is unfortunately served with flatbread.
Avenida Providencia 1457
Subcentro Metro Escuela Militar, Local 150, Santiago.
+56 (2) 2643200
Pitas y Döner
This is located in the commercial district, in the street entrance to a mall, close to the legendary empanada restaurant El Rapido. Pitas y Döner is a small place but a very popular lunch spot, with young people grafting in the kitchen. It has a self-service system, by filling in an order form with with various options such as sauces and vegetables.
Calle Bandera 322 - Santiago Centro.
+56 (2) 6966941
Very affordable and with several variants of the Döner, they constantly offer deals and huge portions. And with its central location, it makes for a perfect hangout as a comida para el Bajon. The downstairs of the restaurant shows a more decorative aspect.
Avenida Providencia 2320, Providencia Santiago.
+56 (2) 233 9746
Pita & Company
In a fresh space in Lastarria, this makes it onto our list mainly for their opening hours. They may not have the Döner but their specialty is the shawarma served with Taboon bread, a flatbread. Something not to be missed is their Lebanese coffee with cardamom.
Calle Merced 333 - Santiago Centro.
Kabab (photo by André Rudstedt)
It might seem bold to bring so many different flavors at once, but Jerusalem is taking the right direction with spices and flavors that are unknown to many here in Chile.
They serve Shawarma, so the pieces of meat are much thicker than a typical kebab.
Something to recommend is their giant kebab plate with lovely rice. Another very positive thing is their humus, which many have no doubt desperately looked for in Santiago.
Avenida Providencia 1331 - Metro Manuel Montt, Santiago.
This newly-opened restaurant shines with arabic ambience. Listening to the Palestinian staff talk to each other, without understanding a single word, will somehow make you feel at home. The amazing kebab contains everything a kebab should have, and brims with hummus and Middle Eastern flavors. The place also has an outdoor terrace leading into a small park. These components marks Kabab out as our standout preference. Highly recommended.
Calle Bandera 417, Santiago Centro.
The ingredients of the Döner Kebab
Introduced in the Kreuzberg district of Berlin by Turkish immigrants in the early seventies, a traditional Döner contains lamb, but beef is also common and even pork and chicken are sometimes used. The meat is mixed with the grease and spices and is compressed into a big lump which slowly roasts on a vertical rotating spit. Cut into thin slices by a peeling device, the meat is placed in bread with lettuce, onions, tomatoes, feferonis and sauces.