Cebu is known as one of best tourist destination in the Philippines, which it has amazing places and food to eat. Surprisingly, I found a very delicious Shawarma restaurant in Cebu City. Shawarma is one of my favorite sandwiches in the world. That is because I was born in Kuwait, and as a half middle eastern, shawarma has been part of my life.
While residing in the Philippines, I noticed the shawarma here is different compared to Middle Eastern shawarma. Although the taste is good, their shawarma version is not authentic and the sauce has a sweet taste.
I was looking for authentic shawarma, and it was not found in Cebu, until the opening of shawarma gourmet.
Things to know about Shawarma Gourmet
It is an authentic middle eastern restaurant that is managed and owned by a Lebanese chef. This restaurant initially opened their business in Park Mall in Mandaue City. A few years later, it was transferred to Escario Central Mall in Cebu city.
It is one most of the most popular restaurants in Cebu City which opened from 10 am to 12 am. In my experience, I have seen arab customers, western tourist, and locals eating in that place since it is delicious and authentic.
If you want to go to Shawarma Gourmet, you can either sit outside or inside. Sometimes, the place tends to be congested due to many customers. However, because we went there at late midnight, there were not many people in the restaurant.
Menu in Shawarma Gourmet
When I checked the menu, they serve authentic middle eastern food, which is mostly sandwiches and dipping sauce. Also, they only serve two rice dishes- chicken or beef shawarma rice.
I was actually hoping they could provide more Levantine Rice dishes such as Maqlooba or Mansaf.
One thing I noticed that the shawarma sandwiches are a bit expensive compared to other similar food stores in Cebu city. Most of the local shawarma costs 60 to 80 Philippine peso, but this restaurant cost more than 100 (including 10% service charge).
Recently, they increase the price of the chicken and beef shawarma sandiches in Shawarma Gourmet again. The price you see above is outdated.
Because it was 10 pm at late midnight, we decided to take away the food since our condominium is adjacent to this place. Also, I ordered a sandwich for my mother since she did not go with us. We order chicken & and beef shawarma sandwich, and Kebbah.
The chicken shawarma has a garlic mayo sauce with pickle and fries, while the beef shawarma has a tahini sauce with onion and tomato. This is interesting because this restaurant is the only one that serves beef shawarma with tahini sauce, while other local food places commonly serve garlic mayo sauce. Tahini sauce is made with sesame paste, lemon, and other seasonings.
Lastly, Kebbah is a Lebanese meatball made of lamb and beef, which has a strong cinnamon taste. It is served together with a garlic white sauce.
New Foods in Shawarma Gourmet
Recently, shawarma gourmet introduced new foods that remind back in my time in Kuwait. I am excited because I am familiar with these foods, and they are very delicious
First of all, they sell a delicious bread called Fatayer. This is a middle eastern pie or bread that is stuffed with chicken, spinach, cheese or other meats. They are several kinds of fatayer in this restaurant. They sell sabanekh fatayer which is stuffed with spinach. Furthermore, they have a Zaatar fatayer that is stuffed with zaatar leaves or thymes mixed with olive oil. Lastly, they also serve labneh cheese or chicken fatayer.
Secondly, they sell a delicious labneh, which is like a thick creamy dipping sauce mixed with cheese and yogurt. I like to drizzle with olive oil, and eat with flatbread because that is exactly how they eat in the Middle East. When I bought the Labneh, the price is approximately 250 to 300 Philippine peso.
If you will like to buy a flatbread and use it for another time at home, you can buy their ready-made flatbread in Shawarma Gourmet. They sell flatbread which has 5 pieces of bread inside, and it cost 100 philippine pesos. That is equal to 20 pesos per piece. Although the price is a little bit expensive, the taste and texture of the bread are truly authentic which I believe is worth the price. In the Philippine and Asia, rice is their starch, but in the Middle East, Flatbread is their carbs.
Lastly, they sell a Levantine Pizza like bread called Manakish. It looks like a pizza, except this is a middle eastern food. It is usually mixed with herbs, chicken, and cheese. Apparently, Shawarma gourmet sell five different kinds of Manakish.
They have chicken shawarma manakish, which has a topping similar to chicken shawarma sandwich. They serve Cheese and Labneh Manakish, which the picture you see above is what I ordered the Labneh Manakish. The difference between Labneh and Cheese is that the Labenh has a saltier taste because of the cheese they used. Moreover, they also sell Zaatar Manakish, which I tried this is food when I was in Kuwait. Lastly, they also sell Egg Manakish, which I am not sure how it taste like. Nonetheless, each of these Manakish cost 250 philippine peso if you want to give it a try.
If you are a tourist that loved middle eastern food or lived in a Middle Eastern country, this is the most recommended place to go.
They serve one of the tastiest sandwiches in Cebu city. The chicken and beef shawarma taste really good since the spices they used matches exactly from other middle east countries. When I was young, I visited Jordan during vacation, and their sandwiches tasted similar to those served in shawarma gourmet. It reminds me back home which makes me very satisfied since the restaurant is just near my resident place.
Although they both tasted good, I prefer chicken shawarma over beef shawarma. Don't get me wrong, they are both delicious, but since I was young, I always prefer chicken over beef. Furthermore, Kibbeh is a very taste meatball with strong spices. If you are used to middle eastern or Indian spices, you will enjoy it.
Lastly, this restaurant offers outstanding customer service. The owner, who is a chef, personally entertains his customers, which is amazing since I rarely see that in other restaurants. He is very approachable and friendly, which is an most important character traits to run a successful restaurant.
Although the restaurant offers delicious Arabic food, there is one thing concerned me as a customer. The service charges make the food less affordable which compose 10% of the total bill. To some locals, the price in shawarma gourmet is considered a bit expensive, and the service charges further inflated the bill. It is one of the few restaurants in Cebu that has service charges. I have tried many restaurants, and there are only a few of them that add service charges to the customer.
My rating of Shawarma Gourmet is 9/10.
- The Food- 9/10 (The taste of the shawarma is original, which is very delicious, and the serving is big. That is the only shawarma restaurant in Cebu City that uses tahini sauce).
- The Price- 8/10 (Although the food taste good, the price of the shawarma is a little bit expensive compared to other shawarma stores. It is understandable since this is an authentic restaurant. The only downside is that they have a mandatory service charges. Not all restaurants implement a service charges on their customers).
- The Customer Service- 10/10 (They have an outstanding customer services. The owner is very approachable and friendly. He sometime interact with the customers. I don't see that in other restaurants.
- The Environment and Sanitation- 9/10 (The place is a little bit smaller. Although they have many seats outside, I prefer to eat inside with air conditioned. Imagine you are going during lunch time).
Although it is a bit expensive, I will gladly eat some shawarma in this restaurant. As long it is delicious and provides a generous amount of meat in the sandwich, I believe their food is worth the price. This is my 6th time coming to Shawarma Gourmet, and I will never get tired to eat there since I love Middle eastern food.
They have great customer service with an approachable owner. This is one most recommended restaurant for both tourist and locals to visit in Cebu City
If you will like to know more about shawarma gourmet, you can check their official Facebook page anytime you want.