The chicken wrap from Shawarmaji. (Photo by Julia Brown)
By Kate Bradshaw
Shawarmaji, a popular Oakland-based shawarma restaurant offering Jordan-style street food, recently opened its second location in Santa Clara.
The original restaurant drew buzz when it was named to Esquire's top 40 new restaurants in America in 2021.
"It is insanely delicious," Esquire wrote at the time. "The entire thing is the size of your forearm, and somehow each bite manages to get better, right down to the last, when the juices concentrate and drip down your wrists."
Chef-owner Mohammad Abutaha hails from Amman, Jordan, and started his career in the restaurant world as a dishwasher at Portola Kitchen in Portola Valley, Berkeleyside reported.
After a stint as a line cook at Maven in San Francisco, he cooked at Woodside's The Village Pub before first opening Shawarmaji in Oakland in 2020 after a run of pop-ups at Reem's and Forage Kitchen.
The restaurant offers chicken shawarma, housemade toum and pickles, vegan falafel, chicken shawarma fries and sides of tahini or tabbouleh salads. The chicken is marinated in yogurt and seasoned with a toasted blend of seven spices. Wraps are made with flour tortillas.
==I The lengthy chicken wrap from Shawarmaji. (Photo by Julia Brown)
Abutaha is hoping to begin offering lamb and beef shawarma soon, according to his website.
For dessert, the restaurant serves liquid halawa, a dessert drink made with tahini, rosewater, condensed milk, halawa cotton candy (also known as halva) and pistachios.
“If there was a better place for shawarma, I wouldn’t have opened this restaurant. I would just go to eat there," he says on his website.
Shawarmaji, 2281 The Alameda, Santa Clara, 669-220-9052; Instagram: @theshawarmaji.