Manic for Shawarmania!
By Ilija Sekulovski
He grew up in Cairo Egypt, where his family owns a chain of seafood restaurants and authentic Egyptian Kebab houses, feeding thousands of locals and tourists every day. It was a given he’d fall into the family business.
After getting his degree in Hospitality Management in Cairo, he moved to New York to pursue his dream of becoming an international restaurateur. He graduated from the Institute of Culinary Education in NYC, and worked for three years under Three Michelin Star Chef Jean George. He learned the intricacies of French food, and of expertly crafted meals that were only made from the finest ingredients.
After this foray into the culinary world, Mohamed found himself settled down in Astoria, and realized he wanted to continue in the restaurant world – but he wanted to create something that was casual, with amazing ingredients.
So Shawarmania was created – a bustling, orange and white themed Shawarma joint in the heart of Astoria, on Ditmars.
“My main goal was to deliver an authentic Shawarma experience at its best. Delicious, healthy, fresh & halal, ” Mohamed tells us, “By using the best ingredients like prime angus beef, free range chicken and local fresh produce, we were successful in reaching our goal.” The difference is palatable – you can actually taste the difference in all the food created at Shawarmania. Here are some of our favorites from Shawarmania:
Lamb and Beef Shawarma.
The slow roasted goodness mix of Angus Prime Beef steak and deboned lamb ribs, which is marinated for 24 hours, takes the Shawarma experience to another level. The crispiness of the outer crust, the tenderness of the beef and the aroma and flavors of the lamb are out of this world.
You can have your Shawarma served in a pita or with rice, salad, and assorted home-made pickles.
The rice at Shawarmania is amazing. When Jasmine rice meets Middle Eastern sweet spices, everything from cinnamon to anise-star, you cant go wrong.The pita is from a small family owned Jewish bakery in Brooklyn, brought in fresh every day. Its super fluffy and super delicious.
Another great thing we love is the wide selection of home-made sauces. We’re partial to the garlic sauce and white sauce. They’ve also got this phenomenal hot sauce called Haressa, which is made up of mixture of herbs, garlic, chili powder and chili flakes. If you’re a spice lover (like me!), you’ll seriously love it.
Shawarma fries make our knees weak
If we had to pick a favorite out of each category, we’d choose Baba Ghanoush for our appetizer, and Feta or Chickpeas for our salad, which you can add to it, whatever you want from the grill.
Speaking of portions, that’s one of our favorite things about Shawarmania. The prices are ridiculously reasonable (Hello – lunch for less than ten dollars!?) but the portions are enough that we always end up with leftovers.
Some other things we love are the Kofta wraps. Kofta is the Middle Eastern version of burger made of minced lamb and beef, and flavored with parsley, garlic, and a blend of Arabic spices. The Kofta wrap is juicy and tender comes with hummus and tabbouli, which makes it a mind blowing experience.
We also really enjoy the Farooj, a half-grilled chicken. That might sound like a lot, but once you start eating you won’t want to stop. They are using an original family recipe dry rub for their chicken, and cook it to perfection.
Last but not least – you can’t be an authentic Shawarma joint without everybody’s favorite “Falafel”. Believe or not Shawarmania didn’t just stop at that. Do you love Shawarma? Do you love falafel? Then Shawafel is the way to go. Yes you heard me right – shawafel. It’s shawarma mixed with falafel – literally the best of two worlds at the tips of your fingers.
Now – if you’re a vegetarian, or looking for a gluten free option, Shawarmania is your stop. They’ve got the Super Falafel, the garlic and parsley fries, or the veggie trio, which is a huge combination platter of some of their best vegetarian glutin free options, like Falafel, Baba Ghanoush, Moussaka, hummus and more. It’s filling, and doesn’t feel like it’s just pandering to vegetarians – we’d get it regularly.
Also – big news coming out of Shawarmania. This summer, they’re revealing their new fried chicken brand: Crunchy Fried Chicken. We can’t wait, and if the current menu is any indication, we’ll be absolutely in love with it.
22-49 31st Street