Ah, kebabs. They really do it all—best 3am decision ever, a carb overload to get you through the working day or (in our opinion) the food that travels *best* with UberEats. No chance of things sliding around and getting cold here, thank you. The thing with kebabs though, is that having a bad one is like a betrayal from a close friend. We’ve put together the list of the best kebabs in Melbourne, purely to save you from kebab disappointment.
BTW, souvlakis, gyros, pitas…it’s all the same isn’t it? (Don't even think of @ing us). The more the merrier we say. Here's where to get the best in Melbourne.
Lambs On Malvern
There’s a couple of these ‘Lambs on’ venues kicking around (Richmond, Chapel, Brunswick, etc) but Lambs on Malvern really takes the cake. Their decors is a bit much—bright red walls plastered over with photos of countless happy customers. But hey, it definitely gets you in the kebab-y mood. Just focus on the giant lamb spit behind the counter. Pillowy soft bred, smoky juicy meat (go on, get the double meat) and generous amounts of garlic sauce. Always a winner.
If you’re driving past the Caltex on Springvale Rd and happen to see a crowd of cars and people, it’s not some fancy, invite-only event. It’s just the weekly crowd at Glenny Kebabs. A humble kebab station that pulls massive crowds for it’s HSP and glorious, glorious kebabs. You can pick up nearly all these for a sweet tenner, which means you might as well get two (we won’t tell). They’ve got veganised mock meat too, so those trying to stay away from the real thing can still get their meaty, glutinous fix.
Zeus Street Greek
Heading into souva territory now, but these guys are so good that we just had to. They’ve got a pita menu with something for everyone, but we like the Tzimmy Lamb classic: lamb, tomato, tzatziki, onion, paprika & chips. The ingredients here are fresh, crisp and the pitas are packed full. Our (veeeeery non-regular kebab) picks would have to be the soft shell crab with rocket, mint, caper dill aioli and fennel slaw. For veggies, you’re going to have a crackin’ great time with the halloumi, olive tapenade and caramelised onions.
Collingwood & Windsor
Let’s just preface: this is the Melburnian *cool* kebab. It’s like, a kebab x1000. Don’t eat all day, so you’re ready to properly tackle and devour one of these babies. We’re obsessed with pretty much the entire menu: the Dirty South with fried chicken, pickled onion, lettuce and aioli, or the coconut-fried beef brisket with rendang curry mayo and carrot slaw. Veggies, the (sometimes) bland falafel you can face at regular kebab places is no more. Try their flaxseed falafel with cucumber, hummus, garlic yoghurt, mint and pickled onion. Add cheese.
A tiny, tucked-away kebab shop that can rock a party to rival the best bars in the CBD, especially once everyone starts shuffling in after their night out. You can get a regular or a jumbo—come on, we both know you’re getting the jumbo—with lamb, chicken or a mix of the two, or a falafel kebab. It’s the perfect midnight fix. Piping hot, garlicky and enough meat to make you bloated in the morning.
Think you can handle two in one night? Yeah you can. We believe in you. CBD Kebabs has one of the best kebab reputations in the game. The prices are pretty good too, just $8.00 for a kebab. Their HSP gets a lot of hype, but you really can’t go wrong with the kebabs. Customisable, lots of add-ons to choose from, and the core kebab stealing the show (as it should be). Thinly sliced tender meat, copious amounts of sauce, crisp onions, all wrapped tightly in a hot bread blanket.
Meat In The Middle
This one’s a wee bit fancier then some others on the list. Not so fancy you’d do a client lunch here, but it closes reasonably early for a kebab shop, and we’d say coming in soppingly sloppy drunk is probably not heavily recommended. You can count on the food here though: Greek style souvas, crammed full of juicy meat and veggies. We’d recommend the Asian-inspired Kingsway—chargrilled pork, apple slaw, barbeque sauce and chilli. De-lish.
Melbourne Kebab Station
Unassuming, simple and straight to the point, as all great kebab places should be. You want a great kebab and you get one, no extra bells and whistles. The meat is fresh, the bread is chewy and warm and the dips (espesh the hummus!!!) are out of this world good. Even if you’re a South-sider, we’d say a kebab like this is worth the drive. One more thing: these guys don't skimp. Average kebab weight seems to be in the region of 1kg.
Hawthorn Grill & Kebab House
Slightly spruced compared to most kebab joints (you could definitely sit down and have a nice meal here), Hawthorn Grill & Kebab House is a perfect late-night spot for a kebab that hits the spot. They’ve got the holy trio: lamb, chicken and mixed, plus a couple more that are a tiny bit fancier. But nothing that strays too far from the Turkish classic. You can get grilled shish, or else an adana or kofte kebab, all wrapped in a warm, pillowy pita bread. Yom.
If you’re wanting some sort of degustation-level gourmet experience, this isn’t the place for you. This is the place for after a hard day at work, or a sweat sesh on the town. They’re open to ridiculous (ridiculously convenient, that is) hours—5am Thursday to Saturday. They have the classics, and the classics only: lamb, chicken and mixed. But boy, they do 'em well. Choose between pide or Turkish bread, meat straight off the spit, and a hummus that goes down a treat.
Dubbed ‘Best in the West’ these kebabs come from a humble yet bustling food truck front. Swing by on your way home and dig into one of their masterpieces—hot, toasted bread with moist and juicy meat. Pro tip: if you’re wanting something a bit adventurous, add in the pickled jalapenos and the hot sauce. This one ain't for amateurs.
‘Ere we go, Melbourne foodies. If you think you’re a bit too high class to a dirty 2am kebab run, try out one of these souvlakis for size. You can’t really go wrong with Gazi’s menu—we’re talking beetroot falafel with horseradish yoghurt, a teriyaki pork belly (DROOL) with white miso mayo and crispy prawn with cocktail sauce. It’s like if you sent a kebab into a beauty salon. Our fave is still the soft shelled crab kebab. It comes with Japenese mint, coriander and honey. We’ll have five, thanks.
Footscray Kebab House
Another contender for Melbourne's best in the West. You're not a 'Scray local if you haven't ended up here after a night on the sauce. And speaking of sauce, the cacik (tzatziki) is one of the best we've tried anywhere, and the housemade chilli is also nothing to sniff at. Go the Shish Kebab, bump it up to a large, and never look back. The team usually whack on an extra helping of Turkish bread ('sif you needed more carbs).
Bread just slowing you down? You need an HSP pronto. Here's where to get Melbourne's best.
Image credit: Jenna Fahey-White