Power ranking shawarma eateries in Berkeley

Photo of Sliced shawarma
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Growing up in the Middle East, shawarma was pretty much a staple. Almost every single night out with my friends ended at the local shawarma place, where we’d indulge ourselves in massive wraps of chicken, hummus, tahini, vegetables and fries for under $5 each. Ever since coming to Berkeley, not only have I missed my friends and family back at home, but I’ve also missed my comfort food: shawarma. In an attempt to be reminded of home, I decided to try every single shawarma spot in Berkeley and provide a ranking for those of you who are in the mood to treat yourselves this weekend. 

5. Razan’s Organic Kitchen 

What I ordered: Chicken shawarma wrap

Cost: $16.90

I discovered this hole-in-the-wall restaurant when browsing through Mediterranean restaurants on DoorDash. I was a little thrown off by the menu, which advertised their burritos and shawarmas side-by-side, but decided to give it a go anyway. The portion was smaller than other shawarmas I had tried in the area, and I can’t confidently say it filled me up for the evening of studying that awaited me. Overall, the shawarma itself wasn’t bad, but I can’t really say I’d return again.

4. Flying Falafel 

What I ordered: Chick’n shawarma pocket 

Cost: $10.80

This one’s for all you vegans out there. I personally wasn’t a huge fan of the vegan chicken, but the seasoning itself was great and the pita was filled to the top with a bunch of vegetables, along with hummus and tahini. Located next to the BART station, the restaurant is a 15-minute walk away if you’re on campus, but worth a visit if you’re downtown and in the mood for a tasty treat.  

3. Cal Gyro Mediterranean 

What I ordered: Chicken shawarma wrap 

Cost: $12.95

Located in Asian Ghetto, this is the spot if you’re looking for a late-night meal on a Friday or Saturday night. The owner himself is incredibly friendly and chatty — I remember my first time ordering from Cal Gyro, he casually delved into how greed is infiltrating American culture while cooking my shawarma. The meat itself was really tasty, and the portions are definitely worth the value. The only downside was their so-called “tahini” sauce. Growing up eating Middle Eastern food, I was not impressed with the sauce, which tasted nothing like tahini.

2. D’yar Mediterranean Cuisine

What I ordered: Roasted chicken shawarma 

Cost: $11.29

I go to this one most often, purely out of convenience. Located right next to the dorms, I like to pick up food at this spot after a long evening at the library, and it never seems to disappoint. The portions are sizable, service is super quick and options are varied. If you’re not in the mood for a sandwich, I would highly recommend their shawarma plates. Overall, it just never disappoints.

1. Oasis Grill 

What I ordered: Beef shawarma wrap

Cost: $14.99

This shawarma is the closest representation of what I’d get back home. It’s definitely on the pricier side, and it’s not the most convenient if you’re looking for something close to campus. But their shawarma is honestly one of the best ones I’ve ever tried here in Berkeley. The portions are huge, so you may even be able to store some of the lavash wrap for the next day.  

If you haven’t tried shawarma before, believe me when I say you’re missing out. Not to worry though — we at the Clog are here to help you find your perfect wrap.

Contact Salma Sarkis at [email protected].