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Who make's the best shawarma? I love chickpea but am looking for other great alternatives.

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  1. Mr Broadway, 37th b'way
    Pita Pocket University and 12th
    Olympic Pita 38th 5/6

    1. I have tried them all and Mr. Broadway is the best in the city, by far; end of discussion.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Benjamin68

        Mr. Broadway's salad selection leaves a LOT to be desired.

      2. i just had a great shwarma sandwich at alfanoose on maiden lane. it was delicious.

        1. I love Mamoun's, especially at 4 in the morning :)

          1. I went back to Olympic Pita last night just to double-check my initial impression. Sorry, but the turkey-lamb shawarma was dried out and severely underseasoned. They had three meat-filled skewers going, but they weren't doing the volume to justify that many, hence, the meat on all of them was crusty and dried out. Moreover, the counter guy gave me attitude when I asked for a pita sandwich-size portion wihtout the pita (not exactly an unheard of request), and the woman at the cash register was on the phone taking a delivery order for what seemed like ten minutes. I told a waittress, "You guys need to find a better system. You can't expect people to wait ten minutes to place an order, especially when you've got four guys behind the food counter doing nothing." In short, it's a dud.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Benjamin68

              You have bad luck because the schwarma drips with juices every time I've ordered it. I have no idea what a "pita sandwich size portion without the pita" means. Have you ever tried ordering that from Ezra at Azuri? I'd love to see his reaction...

            2. Bereket Bereket Bereket. (Orchard and Houston) I swear I'm a cheerleader for this place. The best! (But you'll have to ask for a doner kebab there.)

              3 Replies
              1. re: ballulah

                Have you tried Taksim yet? (2nd Av. between 5th and 6th)

                1. re: Pan

                  I haven't, I will have to add it to my list!

                  1. re: Pan

                    I liked Taksim - my personal favorite for Turkish is Akdeniz in Midtown I think - but Taksim was very good. Service was a little odd about rushing us, even though the place was not full and we ordered a lot of food.

                2. I've been eating shwarma forever, lived in israel for two years, and IMHO chickpea is best I've had in the city. So stop looking and go back.
                  Honorary mention: Azuri Cafe

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: abu applesauce

                    Please, Chickpea can't hold a candle to Azuri.

                  2. Is the doner made there? Or, do they use one of those disgusting frozen blocks that a lot of places buy.

                    1. I just noticed Pan's comment on Taksim's doner. For doner, Taksim is the best I've had. They just opened a new location on Second Ave., bet. 5th & 6th Street, and, get this, it's BYO, and will allow patrons to BYO with no corkage even after they get their license. My business partner went for dinner the other night and the check was $50 for four. The meze (taramasalata, artichokes, and borek) are can't-miss items as are the doner and whole fish. The portions are large so I would get five meze, two entrees, then bring a white and a red, and you've got yourself a perfect dinner for four.

                      As for Azuri, I think Ezra does a great small falafel plate, but his shawarma is meek.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: Benjamin68

                        Does taksim do doner with the red cabbage and yoghurt sauce? I've been really, really disappointed with the "doners" people recommend in NYC.

                        PS: There is nothing about Ezra that is "meek."

                        1. re: a_and_w

                          That's pretty much Berlin style doner (with the cabbage). I get to Cologne at least once a month and salivate on my way to the hotel while waiting to get my doner fix :)

                          The only place I know of in Manhattan that has Berlin style kebaps (with cabbage on pide bread) is Kebap G on 2nd Ave near 94th. They're not as good as I get in Germany, but it's only place over here I can find with pide and cabbage.

                          Word of caution, it's small a joint and I recommend you eat in (on a stool) or get it to go. I've ordered delivery 2 times. The first time it took 2 hours because they wrote down my address incorrectly. The second time (last week), I was told it would take 30-45 minutes. After 1:15, I called to ask where my food was. The guy on the phone said "Oh F***! We got so busy I forgot to send out your order." Needless to say, I told him to forget it.


                          1. re: TipsyMcStagger

                            Yeah, Kebap G is the only place I've found, too. I wish they would open a branch downtown.

                            1. re: a_and_w

                              i worship berlin style doner with the cabbage, and i've found a place here that has it: ali baba on 34th between 3rd and 2nd. it's terrific, with the red cabbage on pide bread. at dinner time they put it on a different type of roll (similar to a portuguese roll i think) but at lunch it's on pide.

                              1. re: jon

                                I had no idea they served a doner sandwich -- thanks for the tip, Jon!

                      2. The doner at Ali Baba is very good, but a whisper below Taksim's. As an aside, I'm baffled that the management at Ali Baba insists upon putting a coat rack smack in the middle of the front window, which I think is so foolish because passers-by can't see all the people inside enjoying themselves. Moreover, it's just plain unsightly.

                        1. For chicken shwarma, my new favorite is Kosher Deluxe on 47th btw. 5th & 6th... and they have a salad bar with all sorts of pickled veggies that comes with the sandwich.

                          Check out the pics at http://midtownlunch.com/blog/2006/12/...

                          1. Interesting, I've never been to Kosher Deluxe, but a friend of mine often brings home a bucket of fried chicken from this place and it rocks--maybe this place is a hidden gem

                            1. nobody mentioned jerusalem on 104 and bway very up town like mamoun but much better this place has been there for over 20 years.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: pieman

                                I used to love Jerusalem when I lived in that area. I had an Israeli boyfriend who insisted that they made the best falafel in NYC...haven't had the doner kebab there, though.

                              2. Tried the shawarma at Kosher Deluxe last night. Definitely not worth a special trip. Moreover, the place is seriously depressing looking. Interestingly, there are a lot of Indian employees working there and the shawarma had a distinctly turmeric-driven curry taste.

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: Benjamin68

                                  Isn't shawarma traditionally spiced with turmeric?

                                  1. re: a_and_w

                                    Yes, but it shouldn't dominate to the extent that it did; plus, it highlighted the fact that there weren't many other spices in play. My point is, they have a limited definition of the spicing that goes into shawarma.

                                    1. re: Benjamin68

                                      Point taken. Personally, however, I love that slightly curry taste, which may be why I like Azuri's shawarma. That reminds me, as much as I love Ezra's platters (totally agree re the small falafel) I think I actually prefer his pitas. Have you tried the shawarma sandwich or just the platter?

                                      1. re: a_and_w

                                        I tried the shawarma platter, but haven't been in lately. Is Ezra still as angry as ever?

                                  2. re: Benjamin68

                                    What about the pickled salad bar??? Pretty sweet...

                                  3. How about Yatagan on Macdougal? Get it spicy with a side of sour cherry juice.

                                    The best, however, would be during the Atlantic Antic in Brooklyn from Oriental Pastry.

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: Spoony Bard

                                      Gotta be honest, I'm not such a fan of Yatagan. Meat is very greasy and heavy, the bread is pita from a bag, the sauce has no kick, and they don't have the cabbage. Tastes more like a gyro to me...

                                      1. re: a_and_w

                                        All agreed, except the part about the hot sauce and the gyro. The red stuff on the counter is potent! It's funky, greasy, but I like it, smelly hands and all.

                                        Is the cabbage a Berlin contribution? I'll have to check out Kebap G and Ali Baba. And what exactly is pide bread?

                                        1. re: Spoony Bard

                                          Oops, I was referring to the white sauce -- I've never tried the red. The cabbage and the yoghurt sauce are the Berlin contributions so far as I'm aware. Pide bread is turkish-style pita bread -- similar but spongier than pita, if that makes any sense.

                                          1. re: a_and_w

                                            Oh wow! Off topic slightly, but thanks so much for the info about pita vs pide! I order from Rice on Lex for lunch a few times a week, and they serve the edamame hummus with the most delicious bread. It's like pita but spongier, and now I know!

                                      2. re: Spoony Bard

                                        sour cherry juice?! really?! i'm there, greasy, heavy, lacking-kick, gyro-like food aside. please just tell me it's not too sweet...

                                        1. re: rose water

                                          If I remember correctly it's sweet, but not too sweet. Definitely sour enough to cut the sandwich perfectly.

                                          Note that it's not fresh, but came from a bottle much like this one:


                                        1. chick pea has great hummus and fallafel

                                          therre shwarma sucks

                                          mamouns sharma is no#1

                                          1. I just noticed yesterday that Mendy's has shawarma on the menu. Has anyone tried it?

                                            1. Pick-a-Pita on 38th st, for spicy chicken schwarma

                                              1. I haven't found an all-lamb shawarma that compares with Olive Tree on MacDougal, but it's so popular there, and they cook a whole one fresh each time, that they're often out of it for hours at a time.


                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: Peter Cherches

                                                  Well, shawarma at Olive Tree is history. They replaced the shawarma & grill at the front of the restaurant with several small tables and they no longer serve shawarma.

                                                2. "Shawarma" and "Gyro" terms confuse me.

                                                  There's flat bread
                                                  There's a main filling (meat/falafel)
                                                  There's a salad
                                                  There's (a/some) sauce

                                                  Which of these elements varies greatly from Shawarma to Gyro?

                                                  I'm a rookie in this food category, but it looks like posters disgree more on the different types of dishes and less on which makes a single dish best.

                                                  And since Yummy Shawarmy on 7th Ave S. has great flat bread (they call it pita), I bet their Shawarmy is great (unless they fail greatly on one of the other elements).

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: NAtiveNewYorker

                                                    they are differnt because shawarma is shaved off a rotating skewer into little pieces and then put inside an israeli pita (i.e. the pita is cut open). the salad is usually no lettuce. there is humus.

                                                    gyro is bigger pieces of lamb, with a thicker style pita wrapped around it (i.e. not a pocket), and there is letter in the salad and yogurt sauce.

                                                    they are totally different.

                                                    1. re: chundi

                                                      Is that definitely true? I was under the impression that Gyro is the Greek term for Lamb Shawarma. (And the lamb is spiced differently) But it is still sliced in the same way (from a rotating spit) and put on pita with salad and sauce.

                                                      1. re: zGustibus

                                                        I don't believe chundi's description is accurate, and the salad and hummus would be red herrings, as would the type of pita used.

                                                  2. Mr. Broadway on a baguette and Jerusalem are pure heaven. Cinderella on 2nd Ave across from Stomp is really good too.

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: Sweatshirt Guy

                                                      Mr. Broadway's shawarma recipe deserves to be written up in Gourmet.

                                                      1. re: Benjamin68

                                                        Amen to that. I love the salad buffet tray set up there too. Cheesy maybe, but it works!

                                                        1. re: Sweatshirt Guy

                                                          The red cabbage slaw is surprisingly good too. As for everything else at the place, no comment.

                                                    2. another vote for azuri