Where to Find the Best Shawarmas in NYC

Think of shawarma as the gyro, with only the good stuff, amplified. Over time, it's been adapted, modified and experimented with to create dishes that are every bit as mouthwatering as the traditional gyro. And here's where you can find the best of the best in NYC.

The Best Shawarmas in NYC: Midtown East

K of NYC (that's King of Falafel and Shawarma) is not exaggerating. Here's a food cart shawarma well worth the wait. The options (half lamb, half beef) come in an assortment of platters, including the Ashley with chicken, salad, and three sauces (!), or the Charles with the traditional red cabbage, pickles, and pita. And, if you're noshing with a vegetarian friend, they can opt for the award-winning falafel and leave just as satisfied. Visit the food cart with the lunch crowd in Midtown East or the brick and mortar location in Astoria! Food cart: E. 53rd St. & Park Ave., 718-838-4413; Restaurant: 3015 Broadway, Queens 718-340-8068;

The Best Shawarmas in NYC: Midtown West

Balade Your Way

Balade Your Way adheres to a simple philosophy. Balade means "fresh" blends-served how you want it prepared. Patrons are encouraged to mix and match freshly prepared selections of traditional Middle Eastern flavors - beef shawarma, chicken shawarma, falafel, eggplant, hummus, herbs, and lentils, salads, as well as a variety of fresh-baked flatbreads, "Manouche"-for example, with cheese, or olive oil, sesame, and thyme, and dips. Top it off with a host of toppings, from fresh cucumbers, jalapenos, olives, feta cheese and other options. Check their allergy guide if you have any concerns. Choose to dine in (they also have a Midtown East location), or order to go. 144 W. 37th Street, 212-695-6969,, @baladeyourway

The Best Shawarmas in NYC: NoMad

ililili NYC

For a gathering on the fancier side, ilili NYC, located in NoMad, has been offering a more gourmet take on Lebanese/Mediterranean cuisine for the past decade, a three generation family business. Their mezza style dining has proven to be a success, drawing in crowds night after night and playing a major part in the rebirth of the Flatiron as a foodie destination. Their duck shawarama is carmelized, along with chicken, fig toum, lettuce, scallions, and pomegranate seeds. Reservations recommended. A special Ramadan Iftar, 5 course, prefixe menu is available for $95. (There is a second location in DC). 236 Fifth Avenue, 212-683-2929,

The Best Shawarmas in NYC: Gramercy Park


Barbounia in Gramercy Park is another fancier take for shawarama and all foods Mediterranean. The indoor atmosphere is a vibe, with a spectacular open kitchen, tall arched ceilings divided by Moorish columns, large wooden communal tables, and pillowed banquettes. Executive Chef Amitzur Mor combines and redefines the different cuisines of this region while using fresh seasonal and local meat, fish, product with the best imported ingredients. A special Israeli Independence Day, four course, Prefixe Menu will be available on April 25, for $95. 250 Park Ave. South at 20th Street, 212-995-0242,

The Best Shawarmas in NYC: East and West Village

mamouns shawarma

Mamoun's is a little Middle Eastern hole-in-the-wall. It's also ideal for a quick shawarma, especially after your late night revels. Founded in 1971, its original location on MacDougal Street (which opened in the hippie era of Greenwich Village) recalls an NYC of yesteryear, with the legendary Comedy Cellar and Caffe Reggio on either side of Mamoun’s. With all the essentials, from hummus to baklava, get full for a very low price, and see why Mamoun’s is one of the most beloved pick-up places in the city. Greenwich Village: 119 MacDougal St.; East Village: 30 St. Marks Pl., 646-870-5785;

The Best Shawarmas in NYC: Long Island City, Queens

Shawarma Spot NYC

You can't come to NYC for international fare and not visit Queens. A four minute walk from the Museum of the Moving Image, Shawarma Spot NYC on Steinway Street has a solid reputation for its chicken shawarma platter, that comes with salad, choice of rice or fries, choice of white and hot sauce.  Open daily, 11am-2am, free deliveries for more than $30 (within five miles) 3243 Steinway Street, 718-540-5099,

The Best Shawarmas in NYC: Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Wafa’s appears on lists like these often, as the menu is rooted in Lebanese home cooking. Come to East Williamsburg (or order in) for chicken and lamb shawarma, marinated in spices, lemon, and olive oil and served with rice and lentils or hummus and tabouli. All sandwiches and platters are served with hot sauce: we say bring it on! Ask for a piece of crunchy, honeyed baklava as well. 812 Grand St., 718-576-3547,

The Best Shawarmas in NYC: Midtown East

Egyptian-born Omar Abouzaid has established two Midtown restaurants drawing in lunch crowds with unbeatable chicken shawarma. Topped with garlic mayo, tahini, and hot sauce, the shawarma sings in both platter and wrap form. Take-out orders receive a free piece of baklava, while sit-down customers can have a little peace with their Midtown lunch. East Midtown: 20 E. 39th St., 212-213-0009; Midtown: 154 E. 55th, 212-207-8302; 

The Best Shawarmas in NYC: Midtown West

Balade Your Way

The Midtown Balade is a sure bet for a quick and filling lunch, Lebanese-style. You can pile your plate with beef or chicken shawarma and choose from other options that include kebabs, falafel, or kafta. 144 W. 37th St., 212-695-6969,

The Best Shawaramas in NYC: East Village

Across town the East Village, get yourself to Baldade for their sumptuous hummus shawarma platter comprised of fresh vegetables, grass-fed beef, pickles, hummus, and tahini. Once you ease into your seat at this this homey setting, you'll feel the stresses of the day melt away even before the food melts in your mouth.  Additional treats include the kafta manakeesh (flatbread with spiced ground beef) and a wide selection of Lebanese beers. 208 First Ave., 212-529-6868,

About the Author

Merrill Lee Girardeau lives and writes in Brooklyn.

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