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Maadi, Cairo, Egypt.
Shawerma El Reem: Brilliant Lebanese Shawerma in Maadi
Lebanese shawerma isn’t necessarily easy to find in Cairo. While a few of these joints have established themselves here and there, finding a place that will deliver to you may take some work. Thankfully, we’ve found an establishment that does it right and leaves our mouth watering every time.
Located in both the greater Maadi and Heliopolis areas, the two Shawerma El Reem locations are currently delivery only or pick-up.
With that being said, don’t hesitate to order. Shawerma El Reem is a great alternative to a typical, fast food joint. It’s no-fuss, providing fresh eats at a reasonable cost and with just enough of that greasy fast food flair without the usual regret that comes soon after. Delivery wait time is 60 minutes and the charge is 8LE; once they’re at your door, they provide a quick and professional exchange.
A range of appetisers include a simple garlic dip with roasted bread (4LE), vegetable, cheese or meat sambousak (8LE) and vine leaves; also for 8LE. Salads and soups are available too, including a green salad topped with garlic sauce and shawerma (12LE), creamy mushroom soup (9LE) and tomato soup (7LE).
The real reason we’re slightly obsessed with Shawerma El Reem, though, has nothing to do with the aforementioned options – it all boils down to the Saj bread. True to the traditional Lebanese flatbread, Shawerma El Reem has perfected it and topped with your choice of filling, you can’t go wrong.
For 16LE, the shawerma combo includes a medium chicken shawerma on Saj bread, French fries and a soft drink. The shawerma is moist, thick-cut and flavourful – paired with freshly cut tomatoes and cucumbers, as well as the garlic sauce of course. Other options include shawerma on rice with mushroom or curry sauce for 22LE.
Did we mention that their Lebanese falafel is delicious too? For a whopping 4.5LE, the falafel comes neatly packaged in the Saj bread with tomatoes, onions and tehina. The falafel itself, cooked in fresh oil, holds together nicely and provides a spicy punch.
If you’re looking to feed a few people, Shawerma El Reem offers a variety of platter options. For 68LE, the Arabian Shawerma Family Meal includes a family-sized meat platter, family-sized French fries, two large garlic sauces, two boxes of pickles, roasted bread and a litre of Coca-Cola. Another option is the mixed platter for 110LE, including a kilo of mixed chicken and meat shawerma, French fries, garlic sauce and Saj bread on the side.
Desserts include your standard Om Ali and crème caramel – both for 6LE.
We’ve long established that Cairo has a variety of tasty snacks– so here’s another to put away as a personal favourite. The Mohandiseen branch of Lebanese franchise Man’oucheh serves delicious, low-brow mana’eesh in a cosy setting, suited for a substantial bite on the go or a late-night snack, and especially perfect for refuelling between exams or meetings.
The rosto w jebneh (20LE) man’oucheh is more than filling. Described on the menu with the restaurant’s particular candour as ‘roastbeef+cheese+pickles+mustard+mayo+tomato’, the sandwich is more than the mere sum of its parts: morsels of sliced roast beef are tucked into thick, melted halloumi cheese with pickles, tomato and tangy yellow mustard. Enough to send you off for a post-Man’oucheh nap; it is as messy as it is flavourful. We recommend that you throw caution to the wind, forget about making a dainty impression, and savour the moment. The addition of mayonnaise, mustard and cheese does set you up for a few slips– but we say who cares, as long as you’re enjoying yourself!
We quite enjoy the simple combination of halloumi and tomato in an oven-baked mana'eesh (12.75)– while it’s not featured as a set menu option, staff are open to suggestions of nearly any combination of ingredients that floats your fancy. Heavy indeed, this particular concoction makes up an excellent comfort food treat, with the ample slices of tomato adding a little fresh flavour to the mild halloumi cheese and soft bread.
You can also find the staple zaatar and halloumi options, (12.75LE) in which the tangy zaatar is balanced by thick halloumi, along with hot dog, chicken, roast beef and more.
The interior is a cheery and upscale take on a typical fast food joint, where people crowd in from outside to indulge in the substantial Lebanese fare. Bright posters with the eatery's trademark cartoon Arabic-English slogans adorn walls and windows.
The waiters take your order to go at the register or amble over to your booth after a clear signal. Service is both friendly and accommodating, refreshingly so when it comes to picky diners (who, us?) in search of highly personalised mana'eesh combinations. Also try the shawerma djeij or shawerma lahmeh (both 19LE), or the Philadelphia (‘phili steak+cheese+mayo) or fajita (both 19.75LE) for a snack that is guaranteed to you down. Dessert-lovers should try the oven-baked chocolate and banana mana'eesh for a taste of fluffy dough, rich chocolate heaven.