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Gülsoy Fast Food December 11, 2009

Posted by Steven Bartus in Quick Eats, Turkish Cuisine.
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Sakarya Cad. is a mecca for fast food lovers in Ankara. This bustling pedestrianized boulevard in the heart of Kızılay contains a plethora of quick eats, offerings diverse Turkish favorites such as balık ekmek, lamacun and kumpir. The most popular, though, is without question the döner kebab, Turkey’s most famous contribution to world cuisine. Across the globe, the ubiquitous sight of meat cooking on a vertical spit is a fixture of city life.

It is only a minor exaggeration to suggest that there are approximately 2.56 döner shops per capita in Ankara. On Sakarya alone, there are dozens of establishments making this cheap and tasty kebab. The best is Gülsoy Fast Food, located at the intersection with Bayındır Sk. (Google Maps).

You might ask what separates one döner kebab from the next as it isn’t exactly a complicated dish to prepare. But in my experience (which after fourteen months in Turkey probably numbers over a hundred) there are clear differences. Freshness is chief among them. The rotating nature of döner lends itself to being overcooked; meat is allowed spin all day, becoming drier and drier with each turn. Many shops also buy sub-par meat in order to save on cost. Other places keep their bread or lavaş past its shelf life or use a lackluster garnish of old lettuce and onion.

Gülsoy tends to avoid these pitfalls and is noteworthy not only for its freshness, but also for its use of better ingredients. Soslu döner is a common variation of the dish in Ankara, where iskender tomato sauce is added to the kebab to tastefully increase moisture. But Gülsoy has something better: a herb-based version that adds flavor without excessive liquid. Together, these factors make for the best dürüm on Sakarya and have made me a regular customer whenever I’m in the area.

Like most fast food stops in Kızılay, Gülsoy is very cheap. A delicious tavuk döner costs a mere 3TL ($2 at 1.50TL/$), although this week for an unknown reason they were selling at the ludicrously low price of 2TL ($1.33). The kokoreç is noteworthy as well and is priced at 2.50TL ($1.67) for a çeyrek (quarter) serving.

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Comments»

1. Süha’nın Yeri « Eating Ankara - June 24, 2010

[…] döner, of course, is better than others. In a previous post, I profiled Gülsoy, my favorite cheap-and-quick eatery on Sakarya Cad. They tend to make a good product that is […]

2. Edwin van den berg - January 11, 2012

Hi Steven,

An update:
I was in the neighborhood, so decided to try this place for doner. Unfortunately it was far below average. The service was terrible as well. Even though we went around lunch time, nobody was checking the doner stand. The chef also took his time to cut the meat, chatting with the staff, working very slow. Perhaps they were good in 2009, but not in 2012. For consistency I recommend Cici Piknik in Kumrular or simply Hosta which is located at the same street as Gulsoy.


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