For many of us arriving in Bahrain the humble shawarma is our first taste of local food though you’ll find variations of this typical Arabic sandwich worldwide.
Here at Time Out Bahrain we’re big fans, so the team has put together our top ten tasty treats to help you find the perfect wrap
Al Hantour Sitting on the road towards Isa Town as you head through Tashan, it’s a big red building and you can’t miss it. One colleague says: “It’s a typical Turkish grill, you can tell all the produce is really fresh and the meat’s amazing.” What we particularly like about this place is that it looks so clean and the staff are friendly. Khamis. Open daily, shawarma from 5pm. Price 350fils.
Awali Pastry One of our editor’s personal favourite, the meat’s cooked over charcoal giving it that distinctive smoky taste and unlike many which serve their shawarmas in pitta bread-style wraps, Awali Pastry uses Arabic flat bread which adds to the traditional flavour. It’s also great fun to watch them cooking over the coals. Beside Al Marzooq bakery and café in Samaheej. Available early evening. Price 300fils.
Al Furcaan We’d never even heard of this one until a colleague told us where to find it and we’re glad we did. The portion sizes are just right with tahini sauce on the chicken one and hot sauce with the meat. We asked them to go easy on the veggies and got extra chips instead. With the meat one at 200fils, it’s the cheapest on our list. Gurdab Rd roundabout. Shawarma starts at 5pm. Price 200/250fils.
Anwar Paris This Hoora sandwich stand gets our vote because the shawarmas are seriously huge and cost just 300fils. Some would say they go a little overboard with the filling adding in shredded lettuce, tomatoes and all sorts but we reckon you can never have too much of a good thing and two of these would fill a full-grown man. Near Zainal Mart in Hoora. Open from 5pm. Price 300fils.
Karami Restaurant One of a small chain we like that these are consistently good no matter who’s behind the counter and they do a range of breads or a shawarma plate without the meat. The sauce is also slightly different to others we’ve tasted with a hint of youghurt and herbs. Jid Ali next to Ali Bank and also available at other locations including Ramli Mall. Restaurant open daily, shawarmas available from round 5pm. Price chicken 400fils, meat 350fils.
Shawarma Alley We couldn’t write about shawarmas without mentioning Osama bin Zaid Avenue, in Adliya, otherwise known as Shawarma Alley where you can get one of these meaty treats all day long from 7am. Shawarma for breakfast anyone? Of the dozen or so shawarma stands here it’s hard to pick a favourite, you’ll just have to try them all. Osama bin Zaid Avenue, Adliya. Open 7am-2am. Prices from 300fils.
The Lebanese Restaurant This was another one that came up time and again when we asked for people’s favourite shawarma. There’s a really strong meaty taste though size is small, they are also among the cheapest of this cheap fast food. They don’t overdo the extras in the stuffing so you get a good portion of meat or chicken. Next to Awal Cinema, Hoora. Restaurant open daily, shawarma available evenings only. Price 250fils.
Burgerland This seems to be the one everyone thinks of when you ask their favourite shawarma, we particularly like that they add mint, which gives a little something extra to the flavour, and stick with just filling up with pickles and chips. We’re very fond of the chicken one at the Adliya branch though these are definitely not a man-sized mouthful. Beside Mansoori Mansions. Open around 5pm. Price 400fils.
Sameh Pastry This one gets points for being served up by the same people who give us Arabic pizza big enough for two for just 800fils! It’s also really tasty and since it’s another one that’s cooked lengthways over charcoal, you get that great smoky taste plus it looks really traditional and the area has a good atmosphere. Next to the Dasman Centre off Palace Avenue. Serving from around 5.30pm. Price 400fils.
Tarboush One of the best-known place on the Bahrain shawarma scene, this little place in downtown Manama has lots of fans from across the GCC particularly for the meat version which team Time Out reckons is one of the best around, it’s a decent size with lettuce, pickles, chips and usually other vegetables thrown in. They also make their own bread on-site. Next to the Gold Souq. Noon-3pm, 6pm-midnight. Price 500fils.