When In Rome…How To Beat A Turkish Street Food Craving

The first thing we saw as our airport shuttle bus pulled to the side of the road to deposit us ‘somewhere in Rome’ was the Istanbul Doner & Kebab eatery. As we’d just flown in from Istanbul, it was an amusing coincidence – and very tempting.

The night before, we had been in Istanbul and had had a meet up with some other bloggers. Naturally, this meeting took place in a bar and, despite telling ourselves we would ‘just have a couple because we don’t want to be ill while travelling tomorrow,’ we had soon polished off a few more than a couple.

Turkish Food - Istanbul Doner & Kebab, Rome

We may have been in Italy but Turkey was still with us

Waking up the following morning wasn’t great. Suffering from motion sickness means I don’t particularly enjoy flying – so it didn’t help that I already felt sick before we’d even set foot on the plane. Heavy sighs were all I could do as the bus weaved it’s way through heavy traffic on the way to Istanbul’s Sabiha Gökçen Airport. The sighs increased as the plane soared from side to side, giving a beautiful aerial view of Istanbul and there was nothing left to do but to order a medicinal beer.

By the time the shuttle bus dropped us off outside Rome Termini, Rome’s mind-bogglingly huge, central railway station, we were no more than a bit tired and lost. That, we could cope with. We were also starving so, first things first, before we embarked on the quest to locate our hotel, we needed to eat.

All that stood between us and Istanbul Doner & Kebab was the busy main road. Could we really travel to one of the world’s great capitals – capital of a country famous for its cuisine – and allow our first meal to be döner kebab, the famous street food of Turkey? We were tempted. ‘Ohhh, they do Iskender Kebab,’ Barry groaned. ‘I could murder an Iskender Kebab right now.’

Tempting as it was, we just couldn’t do it. We trundled off with our backpacks and fell into the first trattoria we came across. When in Rome…

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  1. How great to have a meet-up…and esp over kebabs!

  2. . . surprised you could stomach any of the foreign muck!

  3. @ Belinda: The meet-up was great, thanks. Not over kebabs, though. We went for those later. 🙂

    @ Alan: All the food we ate was fantastic. A highlight of the trip to Italy.

  4. Anne Mackle says

    Hi I’ve just found this site . We go to Turkey on holiday every year ,this Sept we’re going to Kayakoy where we’ve not been we will be visiting Fethyiie and reading all your advice. Also will be staying in Dalyan and Kalkan where we’ve been before. Enjoy Italy.

  5. Glad to hear you decided against the döner after all that!! I bet you would have been disappointed if you had had it..

  6. @ Cassam: Hi, welcome and glad you found us. Hope you found what you were looking for. 🙂 We REALLY hope you enjoy Kayaköy. Such a special place.

    @ A Seasonal Cook in Turkey: Of course. 🙂 The main part of our travels is the food. Italian all the way while we were there. 🙂

  7. I am looking forward to 5 weeks in Italy just for the food alone!

  8. This is hilarious! We also saw several doner kebab shops in Rome and in Naples. They are everywhere in the world….except in Nebraska…at least from what I know. 😉

    It was a pleasure and a fun time to meet you two at last at our blogger meet-up in Istanbul! I hope we get back down to Fethiye one of these days so you can show us around there. Cheers!

  9. @ Bellini: 5 weeks would be lovely although I don’t think my waistline would agree with that. 🙂

    @ Joy: No doner kebab shops in Nebraska?? They need to get that sorted. 🙂 Great to meet you, too and yes, get yourself back down to Fethiye. 🙂

  10. There are a few different kebab places in Rome, but nothing beats the traditional Italian cuisine when in Rome!

  11. @ SoloMate Travel: Well, as we were in one of the food capitals of the world, we resisted the Turkish food and stuck to Italian. Would have been rude not to. 🙂

  12. Very interesting that you encountered a doner kebab in Rome after visiting Istanbul 🙂 I myself ,I’m Turkish(from Istanbul) but I was born in Sweden and I’m planning to go to Rome this spring.So its nice to see some tips of Turkish restaurants although I like different cousines too as well as Italian but I want to try Turkish cuisine (not only kebab) during my stay in Rome of course:) I hope you enjoyed your stay in Rome
    @SoloMate Travel: it’s true that the Italian cuisine is rich and globally famous but I would like to add something that the “kebab” food is just a fastfood of Turkey. The real traditional Turkish cuisine is really huge,rich and delicious if you know and have tasted! Turkish food is not based on kebab 🙂

  13. by the way, you have stated “one of the world’s great capitals – capital of a country famous for its cuisine” and compared this with the doner kebap fastfood like the turkish couisine is based on kebap 🙂 The world only knows about the famous Italian cuisine but this is unfortunately our own lack that we havent introduced our cuisine to the world.But the global food gourmets have a knowledge of the Turkish cuisine or those who are expierenced with a good general knowledge.

    • Not at all, Hannah. We know the true variety of Turkish cuisine – we were just saying that this was a kebap place that we saw…and we did really fancy eating a kebap – even though we resisted. Turkish cuisine should be more famous than it is – lot of bloggers (like us, too) do their best to promote it but a more general world awareness would be great. 🙂 Italy and other nations have exported their cuisine and we’d love to see the same for Turkish cuisine. 🙂

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