Where is the Best Shawarma in the World?
shawarma near Damascus University, Syria
Our Shawarma article has gotten so much press that we've expanded it to include our reader's choice award for the best shawarma in the world. Our list from readers over the years is below. Send us your pick (and pictures!) to "go.mideast at yahoo dot com" - We won't post your full name or email address or share it with anyone in the world.
also visit our shawarma recipe page--> which now has a video from Jordan
Arizona Tawooks in Scottsdale is outstanding for the US, and has a full menu. It's a sit down restaurant, but it's closed on Sundays and Mondays. Jeff
If for some odd reason you get trapped in the oasis that is
If you're in Fresno, CA, I think a place called The Broilers makes the best! There are two locations that I know of, both in North Fresno.
- Melinda, Fresno - CA
Los Angeles -
In the USA I’ve found an authentic tasting shawarma in an Armenian chain restaurant called Zankou Chicken. If you are in the Los Angeles, CA area (including Anaheim), please stop by and get you some of their excellent food, they’ve got a few branches in the city. Their website is http://www.zankouchicken.com/. These are the best shawarmas you'll eat in the States, maybe in the world, hands down.
Redwood City -
I have a shawarma place to recommend in Redwood City, CA (south of SF): Tarboosh
Palm Beach Gardens -
IF IN SOUTH FLORIDA, PALM BEACH GARDENS, A NEW SMALL PLACE CALLED MEDITERRANEAN RESTAURANT IN HOME DEPOT PLAZA SERVES UP SOME AUTHENTIC LEBANESE FARE. THE SHAWARMA IS LAMB AND VERY TASTY, TOPPED WITH THE USUAL ONION AND TOMATO, LETTUCE, AND CUCUMBERS. THEY WILL GIVE YOU TAHINI OR TZASIKI AND PICKLED TURNIPS ON THE SIDE. THE LAFA'S ARE DELICIOUS...- Rob
I'm a zankou chicken fanatic but now that I live in North Dakota, I don't get shawarma much. On a recent visit to Minneapolis, I found _fantastic_ shwarma at Holy Land Grocery & Deli. The address and info are on their website: http://holylandnet.com/
They also sell very good fresh Injera, containers of Berbere (NE african pepper & spice mix, good for Wot), fresh pitas, dolmas, lebni and many other items that are otherwise hard to find at decent prices, if at all, here in the middle of the continent.
Down here in the small southern town of Jackson, Tennessee, I just had the pleasure of discovering a taste sensation other than our cherished pork BBQ. Out of curiosity, i visited a new business, the Al Houda Market,located on Hollywood Drive.The owner convinced me to try a "Mediterranean sandwich", (which of course turned out to be a shawarma )and it was one of the best things I have ever tasted. No tomatoes but beef, onions, mint, garlic sauce and various sundry ingredients of which my redneck palate has no clue of what they were. I doubt anyone reading this website plans on looking for shawarmas in west Tennessee, but if traveling on Interstate 40 and you have a craving for a top notch shawarma, take Exit 79 and go east approx 5 miles..... Hugh H.
Check out the Phoenicia Bakery & Deli for their chicken or lamb/beef shawarmas, good stuff. Avoid their meat bread, falafel (blandist falafel I ever ate!), and roast chicken sandwich.
In Dallas , Texas , Al Amir on Greenville Ave. has awesome shawarma. Ask for their (perfectly) grilled vegetables instead of the rice/vermicelli and it’s a meal to die for. The chicken is in nice small pieces (my preference), very manageable, and not dry. YUM! All while watching belly dancers – what more could you ask for?
Dunes Mediterranean Grill in Irving, TX has wonderful chicken shawarma as well as other wonderful traditional dishes (their gyro meat is incredible too!). And, with every dinner plate you get hot tea and a dessert (usually honey cake or baklava to diefor!). The prices can't be beat for this mouth watering menu. If you are in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, definitely stop by! - Anjie
1. One reader recommends the Mediterranean Kitchen in Bellevue, Seattle, USA.
103 Bellevue Way NE
Bellevue, Washington 98004
2. Here is another alternative, just a block from Mediterranean Kitchen. (I know the addresses look nothing alike, but it really is just a few hundred yards away.)
10204 Main St
Their shawarma is non-traditional, in that it is not carved off the spit to order. But the food, overall, including shawarma, is wonderful and inexpensive.
3. Hey, I'm from Seattle and I noticed your section on good shawarma near Seattle. The best shawarma I have ever had, hands down, (I've been all over the world as well), can be found in Seattle's U District. It's a place called Aladdin Grocery on "The Ave" (University Way). They also serve many other Middle Eastern delicacies including hummus (also the best I've had), dolma, baklava, and much more.
Calgary, Alberta -
I regularly eat at a small Lebanese restaurant in Calgary, Alberta called the Donair Place. The owner there makes the Shawarmas himself and they are to die for. I am quite thoroughly addicted.
The best schawarma in Ontario, Canada is Montfort Mediterranean Cuisine with two restaurants one in Oakville, Ontario, and the second in Hamilton, Ontario. http://www.montfortrestaurants.com/. Excellent schawarma!
Vancouver, British Columbia -
Hi there, I just visited your schwarma website and had to put in a mention of Falafel King, Falafel House and Falafel Maison in Vancouver, Canada. This is some of the best schwarma I have ever had, having previously sampled in Cairo, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. They are three Lebanese family-run restaurants scattered through Downtown Vancouver.They serve both beef or chicken but the chicken schwarma is particularly brilliant. You can have it rolled in a pita with hummous, tahini, hot sauce, tomato or as the "plate" with hummous, pita bread, tabbouleh and the chicken (or beef) on a bed of rice. They are very generous and I find that a schwarma plate can last me two lunches for about C$6.00.The falafel is great too. It is a cash-only establishment, so come prepared. - Robert
Winnipeg, Manitoba -
I love your website, and had this testimonial to offer for your web page featuring shawarma restaurants all over: After living in Saudi Arabia for my entire childhood, shawarma running through my veins, I found myself worried that I'd never against taste an exceptional shawarma in the middle of Canada. Much to my delite, I found Shawarma Time - www.shawarmatime.ca - located right in central Winnipeg. Featuring both beef and chicken shawarmas as well as any other middel eastern food you might imagine, Shawarma Time is now a regular stop for me when I need a taste of home. Complimented by fresh Zatar right out of an imported Lebanese oven, it's the ultimate meal.-> Brock
automatic cafeteria - abu dhabi
Zambia:Ndola - The best shawarma in the world can be found in a little known town in a little known country in Southern Africa. In Ndola, Zambia there is a small takeaway amusingly called Country Fried Chicken. Although it is owned by Indians, they make the best Shawarmas I have ever tasted. Chicken, with lettuce and tomato and (this is the clincher) french fries. All of this slathered in the most pungent and delicious garlic sauce ever created. Honestly, four hours later, and the stench of your belch can still knock out a small child. So if you're ever in the neighbourhood, have one for me, I'm very far from my favourite food in the world right now.
- K, from Ohio
Belgium The best shawarma I had in Belgium was at Sharif's in the city of Bree, in the Limburg province. Try the "Leif de shoatal" if you are really hungry, it's for two people and features shawarma, lamb fillets, and chicken served over a flame to keep it all warm.
U get really good shwarma at the Baba Grill just off Rembrantplein in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. There are many good shwarma restaurants around Amsterdam but this one was very good, they even let us have a good smoke lol...
automatic shawarma - abu dhabi
Asia (including most of the Middle East)
New Delhi -
Just read your Shawarma section and thought that I would tell you about the New Friends Colony Community Market in New Delhi where there are 2 small restaurants serving Shawarma. Besides being as wonderful as you say they are - the restaurants provide a delicious sauce or paste which makes the Shawarmas even more tasty - the fillings are quite sufficient to make them into generous rolls and the two little places are always crowded - whatever time one visits them.
Cock n Bull (Pakistan)
Ok now this is SOME unique stuff! They make it in an unslit khubz bread and the bread is a little larger in size. They add in a lot of spices (not hot spices) and instead of tahina or thoom, they use a special yoghurt... Greek Yoghurt I think). It very similar to a Gyro, but of course Pakistanized with the spices. They also have a special variation of it, with cheese added, which is also a very very unique thing in a shawerma.
Plain shawerma: 80 rps.
Directions: Contact: 5740568, 0300-8417552, 0300-4011127
can somebody guide me to a Camel meat Shawerma in the UAE? I've heard you get it in Saudia, and its supposed to be awesome. I am on a mission to try all kinds of shawermas in the world, so help me out! :D- Asim
The best shawarma in the Philippines is at Food Channel, it’s a beef shawarma with lots of vegetables and cheese and french fries... their garlic sauce is the best. It has 4 stores that I know of and went to already in Metro Manila.
If you like dry and grilled shawarma (which I don't recommend) is Mister Kabab. They have dry meat and not much great for a garlic sauce but they say it’s great.
There are a lot of other great shawarmas in the Philippines. One there would be outside a grocery store, Glori's, which the seller puts cheese sauce instead of grated cheese in the shawarma which is great. They said one also that's called Ababa is great and 168 in Divisoria.
from Betsy and Jim, Jiddah, Saudi Arabia:
Several years ago, my sister and I decided to test the Schawarma field throughout the city of Jiddah. Our friend Ashraf from Pakistan was on hand to cast a deciding vote should we have a tie and usually we dragged along a couple of other hungry travelers. We went to street vendors, back alley family stalls, and restaurants over a three week period.
We had some great schawarma and we had some that were a lot less so. We sampled both chicken and lamb, but stayed away from the goat and camel.
Our unanimous first choice was the chicken schawarma from the Yldizlar Restaurant near the Corniche. A very close second was the family cart at the entrance to the old city, the Balad. Both were generous, well marinated, great mixed seasonings with none overwhelming it all, excellent choices ot toppings and sauces, fresh flat bread, and typically a bit sloppy yummy jewels.
UAE in General
This is not a ranking, since I believe Shawermas should not be ranked as each shawera is unique in its own way. But these three are worth mentioning:
1. Arbi Chicken (UAE)
This is essentially getting to be known as Arabic Shawerma in the UAE. The bread is not Khubz, its a thinner bread, which is first smeared with special turkish Thoom (oh the restaurant is mainly run by Turkish people). Then the meat is wrapped with the bread. You have an option of a big or a small shawerma. The big shawerma is whats called an Arabic Shawerma, its about one foot in size. Ok back to the recipe. The wrap is then dipped slightly into the meat drippings on the bottom of the tray and laid on a flag grill and a wooden weight is put on top to put pressure on the entire wrap. This process kind of toasts the bread, and you end up with a shawerma which is crispy on the outside and soft and yummy on the inside.
Since the big shawerma is so big, you have option of cutting it down, but I prefer to have it uncut.
Big ups! The shop is open 24 hours! I think it only closes a bit for the Fajr and Maghrib prayers. It doesn't even close, basically they put on a new meat rack for the shawera at those times so it takes sometime for it to start cooking.
Downside: Don't give up on this shawerma if once or twice it doesn't taste so good. Sometimes... Sometimes they've made a salty version of this shawerma, which kind of spoils the taste... Only sometimes, so try again another time.
2. Al Farouj Al Taazij (UAE)
Ok many people should know this chain of restaurants in the UAE. They have this special shawerma called Mexicy Shawerma. Its made in spicy Tahina which is red in color. Its not spicy that will make your mouth burn, but its just got that flavor that makes it a lot different. The shawerma is really small in size though.
Directions: It's quite visible smack on Muraqabat street in Dubai or King Faisal Street in Sharjah. I've seen some other shops too, I think theres one in Abu Hail too. Its a famous chain, a little searching and you'll find plenty of options
Price: 5 dh. (it might be 6 dh now, I've heard).
Abu Dhabi/Dubai -
The most reliable and delicious shawarmas are at the Automatic restaurant, a Lebanese run chain operating in the UAE since the 1970s. Though you may have to search for a "cafeteria" branch as their restaurants might not have shawarma.
I just got back from vacation in Dubai We stumbled upon the best shawarma I've ever had at the Al Ijaza Cafeteria on Jumeirah Road, not far from the Mercado Mall. In our hunt for shawarma we initially went to Automatic, only to be disappointed. The restaurant in Jumeirah does not have sandwiches!! Too low class for this high brow part of town.
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