German street food has made its way into Toronto’s Kensington market. Having opened this past summer and quickly placed in the #1 spot for best new cheap eats by blogTO, Otto’s offers döner kebab and German beer in a trendy, casual atmosphere.
The döner sandwich is based off of an originally Turkish dish made of meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie, which has been transformed into the most popular late-night snack in Berlin. At Otto’s the veal, lamb, chicken, halloumi, or gemüse (vegetables) fillings are held by a crispy panini-pressed flatbread (fladenbrot) and stuffed with lettuce, red cabbage, tomatoes, onions, cucumber and feta or fries (50 cents extra). Sweet and spicy sauces like creamy garlic aioli, yogurt sauce, and hot sauce are drizzled generously on top. At $6.95-8.95, the mammoth sandwiches are terrific value for the quality of ingredients you get.
For a less messy option, you can get the sandwich in box form on a bed of fries (or salad, or cous cous). Fries are skinny and crispy, reminiscent of a poutine with layers upon layers of meat and sauces.
The bratwurst pork sausage ($7.95) is well worth the visit. Sourced from Toronto butcher Olliffe, it’s served on fries, cut into slices and topped with their homemade tomato-curry sauce and garlic aioli. My favourite of the night, to my surprise, was the haloumi cheese which you can get in your sandwich, box, or on the side. Slices of it are fried for a golden crispiness to cover the outside, and inside it’s semi-firm, with a sharp taste: like a glorified cheese string for adults. To drink you’ve got nine German beers, three of which are on tap, cider, and three red and white wines.
Service could be better: the server who took my order when I visited seemed disinterested and impatient. Since the restaurant is take-out focused, the mediocrity doesn’t affect your experience too much, but it inevitably takes away from the positive vibes.
The décor is definitely enticing: white brick walls opposite an abstract mural, with splashes of yellow throughout. The overall look is minimalist with ‘Otto’, the nerdy looking, presumably German, hipster, standing out on their menu artwork. Terrariums, neon lights, and geometric art decorate the small room, which holds about six tables.
If you visit the bathroom, don’t be afraid to push the big buttons.
Otto’s Berlin Döner is a welcome addition to Kensington market, where international foods are adored and late night munchies are prevalent. The food is fresh, price is right, and it fulfills a need for German street food that you may not even have known you had.