Dubai’s top unmissable shawarma destinations

  • Established in 1881, Al Hallab is the king of traditional shawarmas. Back when Google wasn't at the tip of the chef's fingers, the restaurant had to rely on recipes passed down along generations. The first chapter of Al Hallab's story started in Tripoli, Lebanon. All these years later, its epic story is still being written with the UAE joining the main cast. Al Hallab doesn't just draw the line with shawarmas - its menu features fresh seafood, traditional raw meat, Middle Eastern desserts, scrumptious salads, fresh juices, and wholesome Lebanese grilled meat. For a bite of history, treat yourself to a shawarma from Al Hallab's old school kitchen. It certainly won't disappoint. recommends:
    Mixed shawarma with spicy potato on the side.

    Good to know: Accentuate the flavors in your shawarma with puffs of sheesha at Al Hallab.

  • Appropriately called "Mountain of Light" - Jabal Al Noor is the light at the end of the tunnel after an intense night of pints and shots. Serving anti-hangover grub until 2AM, the eatery wraps a killer shawarma. Its menu is crowded with all things customary for an Old Dubai eatery, it's even got a lengthy list of freshly squeezed juices and meat straight off the grill. Its special charcoal chicken has gathered rave reviews alongside its vibrant array of "health booster" concoctions. recommends:
    The Arabic shawarma plate and the signature charcoal chicken.

    Good to know:
    In addition to Arabian, the eatery serves up Indian and Chinese grub too.

  • Serving up humble and hearty fare for as long as anyone can remember, Picnic Home has won the hearts of its regulars and also the approval of many a food blogger in Dubai. The home for Lebanese comfort staples in the Mankhool area, Picnic Home's hummus is ridiculously creamy and its shawarmas always need to be eaten in twos. Five dirhams will buy you Picnic Home's standard shawarma. Pump it up to 15 dirhams and you've just bought the most expensive shawarma in the house. Put it on a plate for 25 dirhams, and it'll come with a side of hummus and Arabic salad. recommends:
    The Mexican shawarma, which also comes as a platter.

    Good to know: Bored of chicken? Check out Picnic Home's barbecued quail.

  • Nothing but positive things can be expected from an eatery whose name means “country of the shawarma”. Known for its extravagantly presented shawarma platters (complete with ornate rose-carved pickles), this is a reliable destination if you're sleepless in Old Dubai. Open until 4AM, end a night of clubbing with greasy fingers and shawarma breath at Molouk Al Shawarma. The service can be a little sketchy, but the shawarmas are totally worth it. Order a shawarma meal, and plunge into a complimentary feast of salads, sauces, and fried potato on the side. recommends: Mixed shawarma with all the works.

    Good to know: Perfect for a party, the eatery does shawarma platters for a whole crowd.

  • Don't be fooled by the name, while Operation: Falafel serves up knee-bucklingly delicious felafels; its shawarma game is pretty strong too! In the recent years, the brand's funky venues have sprouted up all over the city – with the waft of fresh Arabic food seducing customers to its doorstep. Devoted to preserving Middle Eastern street food, the eatery has given traditional recipes a modern upgrade but maintained their classic flavor. With an entire page of the menu dedicated solely to shawarmas, you can opt for a traditional wrap or an elaborate platter. Get your shawarma stuffed with extra goodness or turn up the heat with fiery alternatives. Open 24 hours, Operation: Falafel understands the urgency of a midnight shawarma craving. recommends: Beef shawarma open platter and the Lotus crust dessert.

    Good to know: Bring the little ones along – Operation: Falafel is kid friendly.

  • The culinary gem of Dhiyafah Street, Al Mallah and its iconic green neon sign have watched Satwa mature from a dusty patch of sand into a buzzing district. Often flocked with night owls, the eatery's doors are open until 2:30 AM. Not only has it lined the stomachs of many a pub crawler but has also etched itself in the fond memories of retro Dubai kids. Always willing to customize, all it takes is a gentle nudge to get an extra serving of french fries slipped into your shawarma. recommends: Chicken shawarma with (extra) cheese.

    Good to know: Drive over to Al Mallah as it only delivers in the immediate neighborhood.

  • While beetroot felafels and seitan shawarmas are now trending, Eat and Drink has been dishing out classic street food ages before hipsters conquered the scene. This joint is where the shawarmas are always piping hot and the rainbow Arabic pickles always mad crunchy. Having opened its doors in 1982, Eat and Drink has learned a thing or ten about throwing together a good shawarma. In addition to traditional Arabic wraps, the eatery also serves up wholesome Chinese staples, Middle Eastern side dishes, and freshly whipped juices thicker than concrete! recommends: Spicy chicken shawarma with fries.

    Good to know: The menu features a “Diet Food” section for folks watching their waistline.

  • Keeping its shawarmas healthy yet hearty, Shawarmanji goes the extra mile to ensure every bite of its signature shawarmas are scrumptious. Straying from a shawarma's classic recipes, this brand's wraps feature modern additions like caramelized onions and tartar sauce. Popular during lunchtime rush hour, Shawarmaji both fills and fuels you up. Its halal meat has been trimmed keeping minimum fat in mind, and all its dishes are prepared for a health-conscious clientele. recommends:
    Shawarmanji's beef shawarma with pomegranate.

    Good to know: Originally Lebanese, Shawarmanji's food is authentic as it gets, folks!

  • Hinted in its name, this joint is a gourmet switch from the typical shawarma scene in Dubai. The menu's been tailored by the chef behind La Serre - the Parisianesque cafe in Downtown Dubai that's got everyone's heart melting. Committed to giving the concept of a shawarma a fancy makeover, S'wich lets its customers build their own wrap from countless options. The eatery serves up a mixture of Michelin Star expertise with Arabian granny kitchen wisdom. Customers can customize their meal online with a few clicks and get it delivered straight to their doorstep. S'wich is perfect for office-bound busy bees looking for a healthy lunch. recommends: Duck shawarma and a slice of date cake.

    Good to know: Don't let your allergies affect your order, S'wich has gluten-free options!

  • Downtown Dubai's hottest shawarma vendor, Shawerme's menu is crawling with gourmet variations of the regionally loved shawarma. The eatery takes immense pride in its meat, and claims to serve signature wraps unlike anything you've tasted before. Keeping its health-conscious diners in mind, cut the carbs and satisfy that shawarma craving with the eatery's Caesar shawarma salad. Giving off KFC vibes, its 500-gram shawarma chicken bucket is definitely worth trying too. It's got some brilliant business lunch deals too for those of you with offices based in DIFC. recommends: Arabic Shawerme Meal and the Caesar shawarma salad.

    Good to know: Shawerme's doors are open until 2AM every day.

  • Literally translated, a zaroob is a small alley – typically where you can find freshly prepared street food. Zaroob's outlets look like a rainbow exploded in there, with its assortment of striking fruit baskets and vibrant furniture. Dubai kids will be transported to their childhood homes where Vimto bottles doubled as flower vases and oil barrels were repurposed as seats. Dishing out traditional Levant street food, you can have your shawarma served up in different ways. If you feel like something's missing, roll over Zaroob's “sauces and seasoning” on wheels to spice up. recommends: Chicken rocket shawarma and the Egyptian koshari.

    Good to know: It doesn't accept table bookings so inquire about seating in advance.