The garlic sauce, the French fries, the succulent meat wrapped in Arabic bread – we just love a good shawarma. Here’s where you can get your fix.
Here are five spots in the city where you can get your hands on one.
With locations across downtown Abu Dhabi, it’s easy to understand why this chain is so popular once you try the food. The shawarma, available in spicy, meat or normal, is consistently good and is expertly made by the staff who make preparing and wrapping the fast food look easy. We recommend the spicy chicken version, which comes with a deep hum from the garlic sauce, moreish salty fries, crunchy pickles and succulent spiced red chicken. AED 7. Off 10th Street, opposite Al Badar Exchange, Al Zahiyah. Daily 8am-3am. Contact: 600 500 502, zahratlebnan.com
It’s a relative newcomer on the shawarma scene but Meshwari has already forged a reputation for serving great food. Choose your vessel – Arabic bread, a pocket or saj – then opt for a chicken or meat filling – our favourite combination is the chicken pocket. Satisfying enough that you only need one, the sandwich is filled with a generous portion of slow-cooked meat, salty pickles and a healthy dollop of garlic sauce. AED 12. Khalifa bin Zayed Street, Al Markaziyah. Daily 7am-midnight. Contact:02 304 8143, facebook.com/meshwarieatery
Al Akkawi Star Cafeteria
Every time we visit Al Akkawi Star Cafeteria, we leave with a smile. As you walk through the door of the cosy restaurant, you’re greeted with some hot food so you can nibble on falafel and arayes while deciding on how many of the shawarmas you have space for. Try the chicken shawarma: The wrap is packed with the perfect balance of freshly cooked chicken, punchy garlic sauce and fries. AED 6. Opposite Hamdan Centre, Al Markaziyah. Daily 7am-midnight. Contact: 02 622 2367
Al Ibrahimi Restaurant
It’s not easy to stay in business for over 30 years with so many competitors ready to steal the limelight but Al Ibrahimi Restaurant has been a favourite for decades. The restaurant offers Pakistani, Arab and Chinese dishes but it’s the shawarma that keeps us coming back. Served fresh, the chicken shawarma comes packed with crunchy pickles, soft fries, powerful garlic sauce and juicy chicken – what else could you want from a shawarma? AED 6. Zayed the First Street, near Holiday Inn Abu Dhabi Downtown. Daily 11.30am-12.30am. Contact: 02 634 6258, alibrahimirestaurant.com
This city-wide chain has several outlets, but our favourite branch is in Khalidiyah where you can grab a bite to eat and take a stroll along the Corniche. We like to stick with the classic here – especially since the bread is baked in-house. The beef shawarma is up there with the best in the city and is packed full of juicy meat, soft grilled tomato and red onion. For an extra AED 2 you can add meat or hummus to your meal. AED 10.50. Behind Corniche Residence Towers, Al Khalidiyah. Daily 10am-1am. Contact:
02 650 5576, facebook.com/shishshawerma
WORDS Colin Armstrong