Finding good shawarma in LA isn’t difficult - but finding great shawarma is. Or, at least, it requires a bit more effort. You need to seek out those spots where the marinade, spices, and the swiveling spit combine to create a plate of slow-roasted meat that makes everything else in the world fade away for a minute. Here are six spots that do just that for us.
When it comes to great shawarma in LA, it doesn’t get more classic than Skaf’s. The tiny, order-at-the-counter Lebanese grill in North Hollywood has been operating for almost two decades (they have a second location in Glendale as well). Both the chicken and beef shawarma are equally good in our book, so just do what we do and get the mixed plate. Be sure to throw in a cabbage salad and some stuffed grape leaves, too - both are excellent. Available for takeout and delivery
Even if you aren’t roaming around the deep Valley, ’Saj is worth the trek. This Lebanese bakery/restaurant in Granada Hills has an excellent menu with over 70 different items on it, but the chicken shawarma should always be your first move. Perfectly marinated with just the right amount of char on the outside, this is shawarma that makes you involuntarily close your eyes and briefly forget about the 150 other things you have to do today. Also, be sure to order some baked goods like the crunchy, cheese and onion-filled saroukh. Available for takeout and delivery.
Marouch has been in operation since 1982, and is one of the longest-standing Armenian/Lebanese restaurants in the city. Plain and simple, it’s an institution. And while many people come to this Hollywood strip mall spot for their incredible mezze (the muhammara will change you), no meal is complete here without an order of their beef shawarma as well. Perfectly barbecued and covered in a special house marinade, it’s sweet and salty with just the right amount of spice. Available for both takeout and delivery.
Ta-Eem is one of those places that you’ve either never heard of, or you’ve been going to twice a week for three years. Located right on Melrose in the Fairfax District, they’re a total neighborhood spot, but one with food good enough to leave your neighborhood to eat. The chicken shawarma is marinated in their special house sauce and has a slight sweetness to it that separates it from other great spots in LA. You can get it with pita, baguette, or laffa, but we recommend just doing the plate. At $19, it’s definitely on the pricier side, but the portion size is massive and good for two meals, easily. Available for takeout and delivery.
With locations in both Westwood and downtown Santa Monica, Sunnin is an LA institution and easily our favorite option for shawarma on the Westside. Both the chicken and beef are equally delicious, so try both and then fight with your friends over which is better. If you’re really hungry, definitely go with the plate (it comes with hummus, salad, rice, baba ghanouj, labneh, and soup), otherwise the wrap - $10.25 for chicken, $12.50 for beef - is ideal for a quick lunch hour. Order here for takeout and delivery.
Al Basch Chicken
Open only since 2017, Al Basch is the newest restaurant on this list, but when it comes to a quick, affordable meal in Hollywood, this order-at-the-counter spot on Sunset is already one of our favorites. As the name suggests, chicken is the star of the show here, and whether you’re in the mood for shawarma, kebabs, or whole chicken, Al Basch is making the best in the neighborhood. The shawarma itself has a subtle tanginess that we love, and if you order it on a plate, it comes with an excellent side of rice and salad (two things that tend to be afterthoughts at other spots). Also, get an extra side of hummus - it’s very good. Order here for takeout and delivery.