Petaluma: Real Doner (Gyro) is destination worthy ... amazing great
Thanks to this tip from audacious, I tried the real wonderful Real Doner today.
Audacious wrote in that link "food was absolutely DELICIOUS ... I had the chicken gyro wrap which was insanely good the rice was mouth-watering and the salad was zesty ... really i recommend it for sureee"
Oddly enough this week I did a doner kabob crawl. I half-jokingly think it was food fate. The first two I tried gave me a benchmark to measure a good doner kabob and recognize true greatness.
This was a huge wrap in a flatbread that was crispy a bit in spots from a brief grilling. It lovinging wrapped generous deeply beefy meat, pickled red cabbage, chopped tomatoes, a bit of chopped lettuce, a wonderful sauce. There were layers of flavor ... a little garlic here and there.
To make this even more amazing it came with pickled sides where as much thought went into the presentation as the taste ... thinly sliced marinated white onlions flecked with lovely green herbs, were next to the pickled red cabbage beautifully topped with white feta and completing the trio was a yellow pepperoni.
All this wonderfullness ... $5.50
I don't have a poker face. That usually works against me because people know instantly when I'm displeased. However, in restaurants it sometimes works for me when I know a look of bliss lights it up.
The chef knew I was really digging his food and sent me out a complimentary hummus ... something I would never order myself because at best I tolerate it and at worst I despise it.
This was a whole different category and came with the most wonderful, pillowy bread with white and black seeds on top. Another beautiful presentation with a delicious black olive in the center and red and green herbs and spices sprinkled on top with a touch of golden olive oil.
The Turkish coffee in a lovely china cup with red poppies on it was terrific. The lady at the counter asked how sweet I wanted it and read my mind about exactly what would be perfect for my taste. Just lovely.
I'll post the menu in the first reply. They have been open a week.
It is a deli set-up with a refrigerated case with salads that is topped with wonderful pastries. There is a cooler in back with bottled beverages. There are some counter seats, about 10 tables and a few outdoor tables.
Real Doner (Gyro
)307 F St, Petaluma, CA 94952
Menu ... from my notes some of which I can't read my own writing so forgive the spelling more than usual.
Hatay potato salad
Ezu Gelin soup
Wraps and plates
Lamb & beef gyro
Grilled kofte kabobs
There were some combos of the above as well.
Also the refrigerated case has some items not on the menu on the wall such as meatballs and chicken salad.
Pistachio "fistkili" baklava
Sutlak (rice pudding)
Those lamb shish kabobs were a thing of beauty. Prices are low ranging from about $5.50 to a high of $12.99 for a combo plate.
Wow...this place sounds like the real deal! It surprises me there aren't more European style doner places in the US.
I went here today for lunch after reading this post. I think overall this is a pretty good restaurant. I went with the #15 (Beef and Lamb gyro wrap). The gyro meat definitely tastes more like beef than lamb. I thought the meat was well seasoned but a tad overdone for my tastes. I am used to gyro meat being a little more moist. The sauce they put in the gyro wrap is outstanding. I also though the piece of feta on the side was very good and adding a side of it in the wrap would take it to another level.
The people working were extremely friendly and the price ($5.50) was nice on the wallet. I would like to come back and try the chicken.
I gave A La Turca a try
I will say that the house-baked pide was the best I've had. It could be a timing thing too since I got there at opening and they were just pulling it out of the oven. I didn't care for the meat though. If you like that style of meat, you might give Turkish Kitchen in Berkeley a try. The lamb there is a whole lot more flavorful. The pita is good, but not as good as at A La Turka.
Don't get over to Burlingame much, but I'll put MediterraneanKebab on my to-try list when I'm in the area.
I went there today and also had the #15 (Beef and Lamb gyro wrap). The only thing on the side was one small pepper. The gyro/doner was really good, though.
I'm also wondering what rworange ordered when she reported above that her $5.50 wrap came with "pickled sides where as much thought went into the presentation as the taste ... thinly sliced marinated white onlions flecked with lovely green herbs, were next to the pickled red cabbage beautifully topped with white feta and completing the trio was a yellow pepperoni". I had none of that except the yellow pepperoni.
re: Mick Ruthven
At that point I was doing a comparison to the beef doner I had at Cyprus earlier in the week. So I just said 'beef doner wrap'. I have since given that up at other places going for the lamb/beef gyro. Maybe because I just had beef, they gave me a few extra sides?
You have to realize how clueless I am with Middle Eastern food. While the name of the restaurnt is Real Doner ... the menu lists everything as gyros ... so I wasn't sure if that was the same thing at that point and ordered the wrap exactly as it was listed at Cyprus in Berkeley.
Could you explain how a doner could be made with just beef for you? There are only two cones, one is chicken and the other is beef and lamb. I didn't inspect it, but typically the beef and lamb slices would be interleaved on the stack. Then when the meat is cut along the vertical axis, both will be shaved off.
re: Melanie Wong
Don't know. I didn't look closely at the meat,but it didn't seem as packed down or evenly shaped like the cones. It was also a little thicker than on the cones.
- they just selected the beef slices for me
- didn't understand and gave me both ... in which case the lamb didn't taste different than beef
At that point I was still clueless about this whole thing and trying to do a comparison to Cyprus which was only beef. In fact, Kronos sells beef-only versions
Given the similarity to Eden where the lamb/beef taste is distinctive, it could have been they did pick out just the beef for me. Turkish Kitchen also had distinctive beef/lamb flavors. I didn't ask there because I knew there was just the combo available.
I would hope that RD is not using Kronos munched up meat cones and is assembling them in-house! "pininex" described the döner as tasting more of beef than lamb, so it could be that the proportion of lamb is minimal and doesn't come through in the taste. If the slices are interleaved and not made of ground meat, it's near impossible to separate them.
Thanks for the review. I can fondly remember the Doners that my fiance and I had in Berlin 2 years ago at 9am, after having stayed up all night, partying first at the Staatsoper, and then at various clubs in Berlin until, again, 9am. There's really nothing better after a full day of drinking, is there?
Trouble is... how to get to the doner place without a DUI???
Ah ... if you live in SF, as I'm going to repeat, there's Eden's Restaurant. It is the brother of the owner of Real Doner. The style is very similar and they are open on Fri-Sat until 2 am. Located just off Union Square on Geary and Jones, they are open until 2am on Fri-Sat ... drink away and take that cab home. Here's the report again