Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Chicago Area >
Apr 16, 2007 10:44 AM

Looking for good chicken shawarma...

...carved right off of the skewer...Any recommendations? Thank you!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Sultan's Market is good. One location on Clark in between Fullerton and Wrightwood where they carve off the skewer. The original location is at North and Hoyne, but for some reason I remember them not carving it off the skewer, but it more being like shish taouk where it is chunks of chicken. I may be wrong about that. Go to Clark to be safe.

    They have awesome baba ganoush too. Very smoky flavor. Falafel good too.

    1 Reply
    1. re: NDJ

      The original Sultan's does it off the skewer. Also, if you work in the Loop, Mezza in the Ogilve Transportation Center is clean and does a decent chicken shawarma. Have yet to find truly authentic shawarma anywhere as you would find in the middle east.

    2. So much of what is available in this town is poorly constructed and managed; it's often overly lean, cheaply seasoned with a commercial product, e.g., Vegeta, and/or under/over-cooked.

      The best that I've found is served *during the peak lunchtime hours* at Salam, when the customer traffic is nice and steady.

      4636 N. Kedzie

      They make a decent sandwich with the freshly-carved meat, but I take it more frequently as part of a hummous/meat combination plate. Salam serves great pickled turnips and olives to all of their dine-in customers (gratis), and plate meals (like the one that I just mentioned) are served with an additional tomato/cucumber salad.

      Whatever you do, be sure to try the sage tea!


      7 Replies
      1. re: Erik M

        Pita Inn on Dempster in Skokie has excellent chicken shwarma...not too lean. Falaffel is good as well.

        1. re: Erik M

          Hmmm. Great info. I'll have to make a stop. Agreed, it's best eaten during peak hours when the fat to meat ratio and juices are ideal. Al Kayyam's pickled veggies are tasty as well.

          1. re: amoncada

            Do you mean Al-Khaymeih, the restaurant attached to Al-Kayyam? If, so, yes, I agree, their chix shawerma is quite good. But, their beef shawerma is even better. [Better than Salam's, even, as long as the older Lebanse gentlemen is working the spits..]

            As for pickled turnips and olives, be sure to try Salam. I enjoy those at Al-Khaymeih, but they don't compare with those at Salam. ;)

            Lastly, and as I've discussed at length recently over at LTHForum, the real reason to go to Al-Khaymeih is for the Cornish hen (farrouj). ;)

            4740 N. Kedzie


            1. re: Erik M

              Yes, I meant to say Al-Khaymeih. I'm really trying hard to cut down on red meat due to my high cholesterol. I love shawerama though. I may have to endulge at least once. My only complaint at this place are the prices...I feel that they are a bit on the expensive side. It's possible though that the portion size makes up for the higher price point.

              Is Farrouj made with the pomegranate sauce? Is it similar to the cornish hen at Reza's? If so, I don't care for the sauce.

              1. re: amoncada

                Oh, no, not at all.

                It is assertively seasoned and marinated before grilling. The result is a moist, nicely charred bird, with no "sauce" to speak of.

                Here is a picture:



                1. re: Erik M

                  Looks incredible! I'll try it on my next visit. Thanks for the tip!

        2. Babylon on Damen in Bucktown serves up tasty Chicken Shawarma. Also try Al Kayyaam on Kedzie south of Lawrence in Albany Park during peak hours.

          1. I like Fattoush on Halsted and it's a good value.

            1 Reply
            1. re: k8chi

              I love Fattoush! It's our new go-to place for Lebanese/Persian.

              They have fantastic food and their chicken shawarma in particular is terrific. It's served with a great garlic sauce on the side (Toum). Their combo dinner has become one of my favorite meals in the city.

              2652 N Halsted St
              (773) 327-2652

            2. The best place for shawarma is in Morton Grove. Olive Branch Express is the best. It comes wraped in warm toasted pita with all the veggies and served with a delicious tahini sauce. The hummos is ridiculously great. I lived between Olive Branch and Pita Inn in Glenview and we always went to Olive Branch. I live in the city and I still drive out to get a shawarma sandwich. Stop by the ATM before you go because it is cash only. One negative, it is closed on Sundays.