Travel the busy streets of almost any city in Western Europe, and you will find vendors selling street food that rivals many fine local restaurants. A favorite for most former backpackers is the Doner Kabob. I have eaten variations of this street treat, which is similar to a gyro, in England, Germany, Scandinavia and beyond, but have had trouble finding quality Doners in the Twin Cities. The Black Sea Restaurant in St. Paul has fortunately put an end to my stateside search.
The Black Sea is a small, hole-in-the-wall Turkish spot on Snelling Avenue, right across the street from Hamline University. Hamline students and locals flock here for succulent Doner Kabobs made with tender, aromatic lamb and tangy, refreshing cucumber sauce. The pitas used here for doners, falafel sandwiches, and other delicious dishes are soft, fresh, and substantial. Pair any of their freshly made sandwiches with a serving of crispy, spiced fries, and you have a fantastic, filling meal at student (or backpacker) friendly prices.
To make the deal even sweeter, the owners of this popular gem are also the full-time cook and server. Every time you come into the Black Sea, they will personally see to it that your food and your experience are exceptional.