100 Favorite Dishes: No. 71, Shawarma at Abdallah's

Photo by Troy Fields
​This year leading up to our annual Best of Houston issue, we're counting down our 100 favorite dishes in Houston. This list comprises our favorite dishes from the last year, dishes that are essential to Houston's cultural landscape and/or dishes that any visitor (or resident) should try at least once.

Shawarma, doner kebab, al pastor: Whatever you call it, thinly shaved meat on a rotating, vertical spit is highly popular both above and below the 30th parallel north. So it makes sense that Houston would have some excellent examples of this favored old cooking technique. And some of the best shawarma comes from Abdallah's, just north of the Mahatma Gandhi District.

Abdallah's chicken, shaved from the spit, is soft and fine but lightly crisped on the edges from the heat. The tahini is tangy, with an aggressive pop of garlic. Pickled turnips are crisp and bright. And the soft, thin pita bread that holds it all together is made fresh by Abdallah's every day, grilled ever so slightly to bring all the ingredients in line.

It's the kind of shawarma that recently converted a non-believer, a Lebanese friend of mine who was convinced that there was no good shawarma in Houston. And while it's not strictly authentic by Lebanese standards (see the tomatoes in that picture? strike those and you're good), it's too tasty to otherwise deny.

The list so far:

No. 100: Dumplings at Heights Asian Cafe
No. 99: Mixta Pizza at Friends Pizzeria
No. 98: Veggie tacos from Radical Eats
No. 97: Bean pie from Conscious Cafe
No. 96: Swiss chard crepes from Giacomo's Cibo e Vino
No. 95: Eggs Mia Bella at Mia Bella
No. 94: Mulligatawny soup at the Queen Vic
No. 93: Helado de Lúcuma from Pollo Bravo
No. 92: Black bean burger from Natachee's
No. 91: Chupacabra pizza from ERA
No. 90: Roast chicken from El Norteño
No. 89: Eggs El Salvador from Brasil
No. 88: Frank the Pretzel from Eatsie Boys
No. 87: Caldo Tlalpeño from Tacos del Julio
No. 86: English pea soup at Brasserie 19
No. 85: Falafel from Zabak's
No. 84: Buttermilk-fried pork loin with fried eggs at Canopy
No. 83: Grillades and grits from BB's Cajun Cafe
No. 82: Haemul dolsot from Seoul House
No. 81: Pandan waffles at Parisian Bakery III
No. 80: Pita bread and hummus at Phoenicia
No. 79: Goat pepper soup at Peppersoup Cafe
No. 78: Melon and Texas feta salad from Beaver's
No. 77: Hot Italian beef from BB's Beef & Hot Dog
No. 76: Bacon-avocado burger from Facundo Cafe
No. 75: Pancakes from Fountain View Cafe
No. 74: Hobnobs from Fluff Bake Bar
No. 73: Chu chee eggplant from Nidda Thai
No. 72: Sausage sampler from King's Biergarten

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Location Info


3939 Hillcroft, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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