The Definitive Guide to Living in the Capital , Cairo , Egypt


Hot Right Now: Shawarma

cairo egypt Egyptian food Greek Lebanese Restaurants Shawarma Syrian turkish
Hot Right Now: Shawarma
written by
Nelly Ezz
Via Tableandflavor

Yes, Shawarma – everyone’s favourite go-to sandwich when they’re sad, happy, hungry or even full. Shawarma is one of those things that one doesn’t question or second guess, but has anyone ever stopped and thought about its origins and history? Cairo has Shawarma spots basically everywhere with numerous variations; the Lebanese, the Syrian, the Egyptian, and even the Turkish – so what is the deal with this multi-cultured dish exactly? 

Marinated and spit-roasted, Shawarma is a delicious Middle Eastern meat treat with origins in the Ottoman Empire. Its name stems from the Arabic pronunciation of the Turkish word çevirme, which means “turning”, and it refers to the rotating skewer on which the meat is cooked. Similar naming rules apply to the Turkish doner and the Greek gyro, which also reference the turning action of the cooking mechanism. At its very core, Shawarma is made by alternately stacking strips of fat and pieces of seasoned meat or chicken on a vertical spit. Onions and tomatoes are sometimes placed for extra flavours as the protein slowly roasts as the spit rotates over the heat for hours. 

So how do all the variations of Shawarma differ from each other? To put it simply, the Lebanese shawarma differs from the Syrian one in terms of the spices and pickles that fill the sandwich, while it differs from the Egyptian shawarma in the type of bread. Our beloved local Egyptian shawarma is also mostly beef, while the Lebanese shawarma is made of chicken – but that doesn’t mean we Egyptians don’t enjoy a good old Egyptian-style chicken shawarma. Greek doners are the same concept, but differ significantly in the toppings, spices, and bread. Additions like onion, tomato, lettuce, parsley, pickles, cabbage, and French fries are sometimes added to the doner-filled pita sandwich to get that fresh greek bite. So, if you’re feeling curious to spot the difference between each style, here are a few spots to hit when you’re craving this delicious marvel of a meal:


This newly opened New Cairo spot brings you shawarma creations from all over the world. Their concept is quite new and smart, offering different styles of shawarma from different regions. On their menu, you can find items like Damascus Chicken Shawarma, Istanbul Kebab Iskander Platter, Athens Beef Shawarma, and even Beef Shawarma Fries. Both their branches are located in Chillout gas stations, so head there for a quick bite when you’re craving some Shawarma action. 


Located in Platz, New Cairo, this hot spot has gained fans and loyal customers in a matter of seconds because of its excellent quality and prices. Deriving its brand identity from the word and spirit of “Cairo”, – this Egyptian shawarma fast food venue is one for the books. Their menu is straightforward as it is delicious with Egyptian favourites like shawarma, hawawshi, Sobya and mango juice. 


If you don’t feel like having your shawarma wrap on the street or in your car, then Loris is the place for you. Enjoy the Lebanese shawarma in platters, or sandwiches at Galleria40’s latest Lebanese newcomer. If you are ever in the Sheikh Zayed area, check out this Beirut-born concept that touched down in Cairo months ago and is still going strong. 


For all Greek souvlaki lovers, we haven’t forgotten about you. Check out Seecoz if you’re in the mood for some chicken, beef or veal gyros. Their menu is vast and has many sauces, sides, and desserts to get you in the proper Mediterranean Greek mode – check out their branches near Heliopolis, Zamalek, New Cairo, Sheikh Zayed, and 6th of October.