Dubai: There’s a certain feeling of comfort that you get only when biting into really well-made shawarma. The checkboxes for really good shawarma are - the warm roast chicken, generously covered in toumeya (garlic sauce), a few odd french fries and pickles in the wrap, and soft warm pita bread. Wash all that goodness down with a cafeteria fruit mocktail or a milkshake to complete the experience.
Nothing beats a late-night stop at a shawarma stall in the UAE. The best shawarmas are sold by cafeterias. There are a few that offer great seating, but most don't. In almost all of these outlets, you can watch the expert carving of the shawarma meat as it is freshly wrapped for you.
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Al Mallah is a regular spot for shawarma lovers in Dubai and has been around for more than four decades. From having a nice sit-down Lebanese-style meal to grabbing a couple of shawarmas and a fruit mocktail for a quick dinner, Al Mallah is a great place to head to. They also serve a mean falafel sandwich, if you want to try something different.
Location: Satwa; Cost Dh9 per chicken shawarma; Timings Daily from 7am to 2am (Sat - Thurs), on Fridays from 9am to 2am
Al Ijaza Cafeteria
This casual cafeteria which has been around for more than three decades is a great place to stop by for a late-night shawarma. Al Ijaza is crowded all the time. If you don’t fancy sitting inside, you can just honk your horn and someone will come take your order.
Location Jumeirah 1, Near Mercato Mall, Cost Dh6.50 per chicken shawarma, Timings: Shawarma available starting 6pm, store timings daily from 9am to 3am (varies on weekends)
Al Safadi is quite famous because of the familiar faces spotted at its branches in Dubai. This is more of a sit-down restaurant and one of the most popular Lebanese spots in town. With five different locations in the UAE, this spot is quite accessible to many people.
Locations Umm Al Sheif, Trade Centre, Al Rigga, Pointe - Palm Jumeirah, Motor City; Cost Dh12 per chicken shawarma; Timings Daily from 8am to 1am
Belad Al Sham
From the outside, Belad Al Sham may seem small and insignificant, but once you step inside and smell the chicken roasting, you’ll be glad you did. A very popular spot for shawarma lovers, meat shawarma wraps quite the rage here. The quality of the ingredients is great and they have different varieties of chicken shawarma including a Mexican shawarma.
Locations Al Qusais; Cost Dh6.50 per chicken shawarma; Timings Daily from 9am to 1am
This particular UAE outlet is on many shawarma lovers' lists. As its name suggests, Allo beirut is best known for its array of Lebanese dishes and of course, they serve up a mean shawarma.
Locations City Walk Dubai, Hessa St., Al Warqa Mall; Cost: Dh10 for a small chicken shawarma, Dh19 for a larger one; Timings: Hessa St. branch stays open until 3am, while other branches closeat 11.30pm
This is an unexpected, yet justified addition to the list. A quick pick-me-up before or after a shopping trip, we like the spicy version best. Add some potato wedges and a coffee to that, and it's a meal!
Location Dubai Festival City and Festival Plaza, Jebel Ali Village; Cost Dh5 per chicken shawarma; Timings Daily from 9am to 11.30pm
With humble beginnings in Sharjah, this popular outlet now has five branches across Dubai and Sharjah. With a focus on Syrian cuisine, the shawarmas and broasted chicken you get here are prepared in an authentic Syrian style according to the restaurant.
Locations: Sharjah - Al Qasba, Al Taawun, Sahara Centre, Dubai - Abu Hail, Al Barsha; Cost: Dh7 for a chicken shawarma; Timings: Until 2am in most branches (check with the branch closest to you for exact timings)
This well-loved restaurant is yet another great Lebanese food go-to. This is a notch up from honking at your local shawarma stall and is also slightly more expensive. The restaurant is also well-known for its delicious menu of Lebanese sweet treats.
Locations Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emirates, Bab Al Behr - Shaikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Blvd, Al Garhoud near the Creek; Cost Dh11 per shawarma; Timings Daily from 11am to 12am (till 1am at Bab Al Behr branch)
A personal favourite, this unassuming little cafe is always bustling. There is limited seating space, most of it outside but people flock here for their great shawarmas and shakes. Try a grape juice or an Oreo or pistachio shake to wash down your shawarma, and you'll keep coming back for more.
Location Khalid Bin Al Waleed Rd - Al Mankhool - Dubai; Cost: From Dh6; Timings: 8am to 1am daily
Jabal Al Noor
Jabal Al Noor is a Dubai favourite for many food items, including shawarmas. The Al Diyafah location is where it started for this chain, now spread across UAE. Another must-try at this cafeteria is the kunafa.
Locations: Al Diyafah, Satwa and Oud Metha in Dubai, Khalifa City in Abu Dhabi; Cost: From Dh5.50 for a shawarma; Timings: 8am to late (check with closest location for timings)