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Authentic Shwarma!

Fil Fila Market, Restaurant and Grill was mentioned recently in the "Best Gyro" thread. Went today for a late lunch. Columbia Hts on Central about 3 blks north of the Theater on the right (East), just past Holiday. Had the beef and lamb shwarma platter. Along side they were cooking a chicken shwarma. I asked for a taste of the chix and they readily accomodated. Gringo lady behind the counter answered all my question, proudly proclaimed their meat as the best around. I guess I never had the "real" thing before. I love the standard gyro flavor, but today I discovered that the real stuff is not the mystery meat, ground up in your every day Mn gyro. First off, this stuff is real meat. They layer (in house) very thin slices of marinated beef, then lamb, onto the brazier spit. I mean this is real meat. The meat is sliced off just like your standard gyro, but the pieces show clearly the layering of the beef and lamb. It had incredible texture and flavor, almost the hint of a fine pot roast. A couple of middle eastern diners proclaimed that it was the best shwarma in the cities. I plan to return soon with my kids for the Mixed Grill Family Style: Chix and lamb shish, adana kebab, chx gyro and Kofta, w rice and sald (11$/person). Nice little attached market, check out the olives, great prices.

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  1. would love to hear about anything similar (shwarma-wise) in the area.

    1 Reply
    1. re: stymie

      There are two places. One is not readily open all the time and is falling apart, so I won't even mention it. The other place is up the street a few blocks on 4921 Central Avenue NE, called Pyramids Cafe. They have an outstanding lamb shwarma. Although, last I heard, they stopped serving food altogether and focused mainly on hookah pipe smoking.

    2. Yeah, I mentioned it on the msp gyro thread. I thought it was great food. I'm glad others agree. If you love gyros/shwarma, then check out this place.

      1. thanks for the tip! i love having reasons to take a date night @ the heights :)! sounds delicious

        1. Heading there tomorrow for lunch. Can't wait to try it.

          1. Spelling correction per menu shawarma


            1. Stymie,

              Thanks! I'm heading there next week to try it out.

              1. Anyone got the phone number or hours? Can't find it in the phone book or on google.

                7 Replies
                1. re: JimGrinsfelder

                  4301 Central Ave
                  763 781 2222
                  Hrs 11-10 til 11 Fri & SAt

                  1. re: stymie

                    sorry, hours listed above are the summer hours, was told tonight they close at 9pm

                    1. re: stymie


                      Only serving on Friday and Saturday? Damn. Gotta wait.

                      Anyone know if Wally's on 14th SE in Dinkytown serves the real deal or the extruded norm?

                      From the pics on their web-site it looks like they might serve up the real stuff.

                      1. re: JimGrinsfelder

                        Jim, I read the two notes about the hours this way:
                        11am-10pm Sunday through Thursday
                        11am-11pm Friday and Saturday

                        1. re: JimGrinsfelder

                          Ohhhhh man, I can give you a gigantic kiss for tipping me off to Wally's. I'd never heard of it before. It's definitely the real deal. The Lamb/beef and the chicken shawarma is phenomenal. They even have the special middle eastern garlic sauce (toum), that they put on their wraps. I had the chicken shawrama and the lentil/spinach soup. The soup was terrible, but the sandwich was awesome. Great stuff. A go to gyro shop.

                          1. re: alpa chino


                            Thanks for the kiss, however, I feel somewhat undeserving.

                            I went to Wally's on 14th SE today for lunch. Got lamb/beef shawarma and my friend got chicken and we split a tabouli. My lamb was very dry and underseasoned. Same for the chicken. The tabouli was nothing to write home about. If what I had today was indicative of their quality, I'm not going back.

                            I'm going to try Fil Fila tomorrow. I'm hoping for a better result.

                          2. re: JimGrinsfelder

                            You know, I have to say. I am by no means a gyro shawarma snob, but I am a food snob, and I did NOT like Wally's. I've been there several times when I was going to different events at the U of M and really have yet to have a good meal. The first time I got falafel and a chicken gyro. The falafel was burnt and dry, and the chicken gyro lacked flavor. The second time I got the falafel plate the second time, and it was again, bland and overcooked.

                    2. Fil Fila is open during the week. Here's some of their menu.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: alpa chino

                        thanks for the info on Wally's, I've been eyeing the place for a while but needed some encouragement to try it, lots of raves online! and cheap...

                        1. re: faith

                          I had some excellent red lentil soup tonight at Filfilla, and asked for a falafel sample, also very good. Baklava, not that great- they make it there but with palm oil instead of margarine or butter, and not much nuts, mostly lots of fillo.

                          1. re: faith

                            Actually, JimGrin's opinion is better than mine about these matters because I'm biased. I just love this authentic gyro/shawarma stuff--and just takeout/street food (satay skewers, shawarmas, tacos, parathas) in general. I wanted to open up a take-out joint that served this, in fact. (Now, I have to rethink that). But Wally's is close by, cheap, and it still beats anything else. Also, I think it's known for its falafel too.

                            I'm betting that Jim will probably like FilFilla better.

                            1. re: alpa chino

                              Wally's falafel plate is killer and can serve two, easily. Enough fried stuff to keep my coat nice and shiny. http://www.wallysfalafelandhummus.com...

                              1. re: alpa chino


                                If you want satay skewers, head to Cty 42 and Galaxie in Apple Valley to Satay 2 Go. I had to drop my kid off at a b-day party out that way and couldn't resist dinner at Satay 2 Go. Still run by the same wonder woman from Malaysia. Still using thigh meat for her Satay...best Satay in town. And the curry-stuffed pastries (Siew Paw?) are still as tasty as ever.

                                The curry noodle soup was nice, the singapore-style rice noodles not so much and I didn't love the BBQ pork stuffed buns.

                                Satay 2 Go
                                6670 150th St, Apple Valley, MN

                                1. re: JimGrinsfelder

                                  Sweet. I don't think I've ever been to Apple Valley--(and it's far away). But a coworker lives there, so I'll have him buy some of these things for me. I usually get mine at True Thai.

                                  BTW, I went to Wallys again today. And I noticed that a Five Guys opened up around the corner. Dinkytown is da bomb!!

                                  True Thai Restaurant
                                  2627 E Franklin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55406

                          2. I had a wonderful wrap made with the lamb and beef. I asked if they could include a little chicken and they made it to order. It was a delicious sandwich carefully made. I was able to pull out the bits of chicken just to taste it.

                            I had one small disaster. I sat at a table with a ledge by the fireplace. I placed my cloth backpack on the ledge. Between the ledge and fireplace was a "moat" of standing water. My backpack fell into the water and everything was soaked. It was an odd thing and I hope they fix that to prevent future small disasters.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: shoo bee doo

                              Lest there be confusion, Fil Fila has a (fake) fire place, Wallys does not. Shoo bee, I bet you take care of the accidental soaking even if they don't. I went to Wally's today; They are the Jerusalem folks and spell/say it Schawirma. Will give more of a report when I have time.

                              1. re: stymie

                                Yes, it was at Fil Fila. I assumed the indentation of these postings would indicate that but that might not be obvious to everyone.

                                They were apologetic and brought me a plastic bag once I wiped all my belongings. There weren't that many folks in there at the time, so I didn't worry about being embarrassed.

                                But again, I would go back for their beautiful preparations.

                            2. Not to be a stickler, but the place is spelled Fil Filah (in case someone is having trouble finding it online or something). At least that's how it is on their sign out front.

                              And, yeah, the gyro/schwarma is very good.

                              10 Replies
                              1. re: MSPD

                                they don't appear to have a website but most of the online references to the place spell it Filfillah.

                                1. re: faith

                                  taking it right off their take-out menu Fil Fila.

                                  1. re: stymie

                                    but there is no website, right?

                                    1. re: faith

                                      no website listed on menu. 2 related shops in San Francisco, one with a web site that lists a whole diffferent menu www.tubarestaurant.com

                                      1. re: stymie

                                        That's an odd connection, a MN restaurant is affliated with 2 in San Francisco. Do you know the story behind that?


                                          1. re: stymie

                                            What led you to believe there was a connection between the two?


                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                              their takeout menu says "visit our locations in Calif." then lists the 2 stores in SF

                                    2. re: stymie

                                      Just checked to be sure -- the very permanent sign over the doors is "Filfillah". The permanent sign next to the road has a space.

                                2. yay! I feel very.....filfillah'd............I mean, fulfilled..

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: faith

                                    I went to Filfillah on Saturday. Nice guy, nice place. The lamb/beef Shawarma was definitely better than Wally's. But it was not good enough to make me come back for more. I'd give it a C+ because it wasn't totally dried out and flavorless and the wrap bread was more interesting than a standard pita and the veggies inside were good. The falafel was mushy and undercooked for my taste.