New Orleans is known as a culinary cuisine hot spot. However, for Muslims it can be a food desert. Many restaurants have full open bar and incorporate alcohol into many of their dishes and sauces. Furthermore, many of the signature seafood dishes involve catfish, oysters, lobster and other crustaceans which may be considered unlawful to eat. Coming across Shawarma to Go was a pleasant surprise. It opened over a year ago by an Iraqi family bringing quality, authentic Halal Middle-Eastern food to the Big Easy.
The menu offers both Middle-Eastern classics like shawarma, kabobs and falafels as expected, but they also offer traditional American classics like burgers, philly cheese steaks and wings.
The Iraqi Lula Kabob is a particularly popular menu item. It consists of skewers of ground beef/lamb or chicken grilled over an open flame served with grilled vegetables all sprinkled with sumac (spicy salt) and hummus and pita. It was a definite highlight of the meal.
As a nod to their New Orleans location, they do have an array of seafood options including shrimp and fried cod which can be served on a sandwich/wrap or as a platter served with salad and fries
For those visiting the downtown core of New Orleans, this restaurant is a little bit of a drive. It is located in a relatively upscale area but still can feel a little unsafe for those not familiar with the area, so maybe best to visit during daylight hours.
The most interesting aspect is that the restaurant is inside the convenience store of a JetGo gas station and can be easily missed. There are large signs to help alert you to its presence but the gas pumps may make you think you’re at the wrong location, but you’re not!
Entering you see a small seating area that separated by half-height walls to create some privacy from the gas station convenience store.
The shop is set up for fast-food counter style service. The menu is located on large TV monitors above the counter for review. The staff was very friendly and welcoming, and knowledge about the food.
There was good value for the dollars spent on the meals. For a burger alone on a regular bun, it will cost around $6. They do offer combo meals as well with their sandwiches, wraps and platters which increase the value. The most expensive item on the menu was the Iraqi Lula Kabob which was about $12. The portions are ample even for the very hungry.
As Muslims in New Orleans the seafood options are plenty, but for those looking for traditional meat dishes, Halal restaurants can be hard to come by. This restaurant is located outside the downtown core and away from the famous French Quarters which are known for their party atmosphere. For tourists, it may be a little bit out of the way, but is well worth it especially if you’re looking for traditional halal middle-eastern dishes.
Food Category: American fast-food, Middle-Eastern
Guru’s Rapid Review: 4 of 5 Stars
Must Try: Iraqi Lula Kabob Platter
Address: 3720 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA 70115
Phone: (504) 269-6427