The Best Shawarma Rice in Manila

IMAGE Tipple & Slaw/Francis Lim

Is there anything more comforting than a heap of beautifully cooked, perfectly seasoned rice topped with gorgeous chunks of smoky grilled meat then smothered in rich and refreshing garlic sauce? Is there anything more comforting than a serving (or more) of shawarma rice? It's cheap (the fanciest one on this list is around P250), it's versatile, it's easy to cook, and it's even easier to eat. Shawarma rice is that dish anyone can have any time of the day, which is why we decided to find the best ones in the metro.

This list of the best shawarma rice isn't really ranked, but if we only had one last chance to enjoy this delicious hodgepodge of rice and grilled meat, we'd start with the top.

1| Tipple & Slaw

Photo by Tipple & Slaw.

One food writer and cookbook author once asked, "Why bother eating shawarma if it's not from Tipple & Slaw?" It's a fair question. Past its reputation as a watering hole for co-eds, this gastropub boasts some serious grub. Chef Francis Lim describes his shawarma rice as "grilled meat, curry rice, relish, and grilled onions." The modest description doesn't even crack the surface of what you really get on your plate: smoky beef, perfectly season rice, sharpness from the onions, a touch of heat. If your criteria for best shawarma rice is solely based on flavor, then you can't go wrong with this delicious medley. Tipple also lets you choose between beef and chicken. 


Esquire also recommends:

The Pop Up Katipunan, Xavierville Corner Katipunan Avenue, Loyola Heights, Quezon City

2| Shawa Wama

Make sure to load up on mints. Shawa Wama doesn't hold back on the garlic and onionsgreat for the shawarma rice, but not so much for other human beings. A dine-and-dash concept from The Moment Group, Shawa Wama is more of a kiosk that squeezed itself between the margins of much larger restaurants. Its shawarma is a short order and there's nothing overly complicated, just nicely cooked meat over lots of rice and even more garlic sauce.

Esquire also recommends:

  • Red Beet Falafel
  • Fried Cauli Pita

Power Plant Mall, Makati; soon to open at Glorietta Food Choices, Glorietta 4, Makati

3| Shawarma Snack Center

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Once a hole-in-a-wall in Malate, Shawarma Snack Center became a full-fledged restaurant when the owner bought the lot across its original location to cater to his growing clientele. This cult classic is a favorite haunt for authentic Middle Eastern fare. The current restaurant feels rawjeweled green lamps, a TV, random signagebut the food has been consistently excellent through the years. Whatever protein you choose for the shawarma rice, you're guaranteed melt-in-your-mouth softness and flawless seasoning. If you're soothed by the sight, smell, and taste of a bowl of meat and rice, then you'll find the ultimate consolation here, just because you're going to want two or three bowls for yourself.

Esquire also recommends:

  • Sizzling Goat
  • Ox Brain
  • Motabal

484 White Palace Condotel, R. Salas Street, Ermita, Manila; President's Avenue, BF Homes, Parañaque; El Grande Arcade, 316 El Grande Avenue, BF Homes, Parañaque; Walter Mart, 790 A. Arnaiz Avenue, Pio del Pilar, Makati 

4| Uncle Moe's Shawarma Hub


Uncle Moe's is like that good old reliable relative. Whether you're here for lunch, dinner, or post-drinks or ordering from home, you'll be satisfied. The beef shawarma rice is one of the more basic stuff on the menu. Uncle Moe's is a fail-safe, but one important factor that makes it stand out from the rest is that it's literally everywhere. Hummus craving? Uncle Moe's. Keema craving? Uncle Moe's. Shawarma craving? Uncle Moe's. We'll be the first to admit that it's not the best on the menu (go for the Ox Brain if you really want to understand what Uncle Moe's is capable of), but the main reason we love everything about this restaurant is that it can always be relied on.  

Esquire also recommends: 

  • Ox Brain
  • Kofta Balls
  • Keema

Uncle Moe's branches

5| Sultan Mediterranean Grill

Photo by INSTAGRAM/ @sultangrillph.

Sultan Mediterranean Grill, which opened in 2010, was an often overlooked hole-in-the-wall. In 2015, it employed Serious Studios to revamp its entire look and everybody soon learned that it is a formidable source of terrific Mediterranean cuisine. Sultan's shawarma rice is a simple formula: buttered rice, grilled meat, garlic sauce. But that's what we like it. It's easy and habit-forming. 


Esquire also recommends:

  • Braised Lamb Shanks
  • Ox Tongue
  • Souvlaki

Valero Plaza, Valero Street, Makati; Brixton Street, Kapitolyo, Pasig; Corner Market Food Hall, The Podium, Mandaluyong

6| Kite Kebab Bar 

Kite Kebab Bar is the second concept of Iranian-Filipino actor-turned-restaurateur Kian Kazemi. He also owns Persia Grill and Lobo Tavern. Kebabs, if you didn't get it by the restaurant's name, take center stage, but the shawarma rice is worth a try. Instead of plain or buttered rice, the kitchen creates a turmeric version, adding an extra touch of flavor that complements that spices of the meat. 

Esquire also recommends:

  • LTO
  • Spicy Herb Kebab
  • Lamb Biryani

Durban Street, Poblacion, Makati; Finman Building, Tordesillas Street, Makati

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About The Author
Sasha Lim Uy
Sasha eats to live and lives to eat. For five years, she handled's food section and edited the last two installments of its Top 10 Food books. She also recently participated at the Madrid Fusion Manila as curator.
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