I was invited to a “candle light dinner” at a döner restaurant called Onkel Ali. Curious thing! Döner is something you grab quickly and go. Candle light dinner, you say? I got to check that out.
I put myself on the road on a Saturday afternoon. So not a dinner this time. From outside, the place looked like a cute Westend cafe, with pillows by the window.
Inside was even cuter. Plants on the wall, wooden tables, cool lamps, it was not your regular döner place for sure.
And the story of the place is also very cute.
Ali was working in various döner restaurants and loving his job. But he always had to change location as the places he was working were closing or being sold. One day he lost his job again and was standing outside on the street with three of his regular customers. These three had an idea of opening a döner place themselves and letting Ali do his dream job. So they quickly made a plan, shared the responsibilities and opened the restaurant in one month after finding the location (of course finding the location was the hardest part, you know Munich housing market). Now one of them take care of the finances, the other one of marketing and the other one takes care of the legal matters. And Ali has time for taking care of the food and customers. It is a happy story.
So confirms Ali himself. I asked him how the business was going. He said “Çok şükür” (Thank god).
He added “Here in Germany if you work hard, you earn well. There is a job for everyone who wants to work. And good work gets awarded”.
Let’s come to the food. As I am a vegetarian, I ordered a falafel dürüm (wrap). Ali is the first place I saw that prepares the falafel balls fresh, right there at the spot before frying. In the meantime, my flat bread was being prepared freshly from the dough. I also watched a fancy show of the dough tossed in the air before it went in the oven. Once my bread was ready, my falafel and a lot of fresh salad went into it and my wrap was ready. It was so fulfilling, I could only eat the half of it. I washed it down with fresh home made ayran that was served in traditional copper cups. So classy!
My husband Fabio tried done durum and he was very happy with it. (He finished it all) We also tasted the pizza, I liked it and it passed the test of Fabio’s Italian taste buds.
As I went to take another Ayran I saw a customer chatting with Ali and asked what his favorite food was. He said “everything but the main thing that keeps me coming is Ali.”
Then a big family entered the place and started speaking with Ali. I said “wow, people are happy to talk to you.” He said that they came from Rotkreuzplatz where he was working before opening this place. His customers follow him everywhere, some of them even opened a place for him!
If you are curious to meet Ali and try his food, you can find his place right between Theresienwiese and U5 Schwanthalerhöhe. His address is: Onkel Ali, Alter Messeplatz 4.