Israelis are a nation of people who love to live and love to eat, but we have already said that. Along with hummus, which is a central dish in Israeli cuisine, you can find shawarma, a meat dish, which, like hummus, is commonly encountered in the Middle East; there are different versions of shawarma wherever you go in this region of the world. Shawarma primarily consists of small, thin strips of meat – lamb, turkey, chicken and beef – which are served in a pita (typical Arab flatbread), in a laffa (large soft Arab flatbread) or on a baguette filled with salads and various sauces. Men and women, dressed in suits and everyday attire, standing and eating shawarma in a pita sandwich on street corners are a familiar sight in Israel. For your benefit, we have compiled a brief list of recommended shawarma eateries.
You will find terrific shawarma eateries in northern Israel; in fact, there are those who claim that the best shawarma sandwiches are to be found in Nazareth. When you visit that city, make sure to visit Shawarmat Imad, 20 Tawfik Ziad St., a short walk from the marketplace square on Nazareth’s main street. In addition to the splendid shawarma – consisting of a mixture of beef and fresh lamb fat – you will find at Shawarma Imad hummus with hot, tasty sesame seeds. Shawarmat Bonjour Kobien, on Paulus Street, near the marketplace square, is the favorite shawarma eatery of the locals, a fact that, as is the case with any food, is a valuable tip. The shawarma there consists of turkey meat but what makes this dish especially unique is the dominant seasoning of the shawarma portion, which is served on a fresh baguette. One of the best known shawarma eateries in northern Israel is Shawarmat Emil in Haifa; the address is 33 Allenby Road in the city’s Wadi Nissnass quarter. Shawarma Emil has been around for the past 50 years and is managed by Emil’s wife. The tiny and sparkling clean eatery is known for its high-quality fresh meat portions that can be found only in a few eating establishments.
There are many shawarma eateries in central Israel. Shawarmat Shemesh is one of central Israel’s most famous shawarma eatery. Founded in 1961, Shawarmat Shemesh is a family business that has opened branches in other parts of Israel; however, the original dish can be found only at 85 Jabotinsky St., Ramat Gan. At Shawarmat Shemesh, the clients, who wait in long queues, will enjoy a delicious shawarma serving of female turkey meat and precisely seasoned lamb fat. In Tel Aviv, you can find Shawarmat Keter Hamizrach located at 115 Ibn Gabirol St. Shawarmat Keter Hamizrach has also been in existence for over 50 years. Besides the shawarma, whose trademark is cracked pistachio nuts, you will also be able to enjoy stuffed vegetables, kibbeh, soups and salads in the atmosphere of Tel Aviv in the early days of the State of Israel. Many people first became acquainted with Shipudei Tzippora, 5 Rabbi Bar Shaul St., Bat Yam, after the restaurant expanded and opened branches in other areas. However, this steakhouse, which has operated in Bat Yam ever since the 1970’s, is one of Israel’s high-quality grilled meat restaurants. In addition to the grilled meat available there, you can order a shawarma sandwich with delicately seasoned female turkey meat served with a generous variety of salads.
In Jerusalem, you can visit the Mifgash Ha’esh restaurant, 23 Yirmiyahu (Jeremiah) St., which, for over 30 years, has been serving fresh shawarma, made of pullet meat, topped with lamb fat. This shawarma eatery is a favorite meeting place for many Jerusalemites and, over the years, has hosted both members of Knesset (Israel’s Parliament) and cabinet ministers. Despite the fact that Shawarmat Hashamen has become a chain with eight outlets, it has managed to maintain the freshness and precision of the meat portions it serves, the same freshness and precision you can find at the chain’s original Jerusalem branch. At Shawarmat Hashamen, you can enjoy shawarma sandwiches made of turkey meat, pullet meat or beef, all of which are topped with lamb fat.