Whenever we are in Manila, just can’t stop going to eat at the Shawarma Snack Center on Salas Street in Ermita. It’s between Mabini and Del Pilar Streets, quite close to the huge Robinson’s Place mall. There are really two faces to the restaurant. On the north side of Salas is the fast food section mostly serving traditional shawarma — lamb in a pita bread wrap with vegetables and sauce. There is a sit down dining area.
On the other, south side of Salas is the more formal restaurant with two floors of pleasant air conditioned dining rooms. We generally choose to dine in the open air at the patio in front of the restaurant. It’s fenced off from the rather colorful life of Salas Street. Street kids may ask for food if you dine on the patio. We generally have our leftovers bagged up and we give them to someone on the street as we leave.
Here you see shawarma, mutton lahem, labaneh, green salad with olive oil and lemon dressing, falafel and fish biryani. A big (more than we could eat) meal for four was about P1,500.
Shawarma Snack center does deliver. Call 521-2121. For us dining on this food in a hotel room misses much of the pleasure of dining at Shawarma.
The restaurant is run by a Lebanese gentleman. No alcohol is served, making the restaurant sort of a small oasis of morality in the surrounding sea of poverty and decay that is Ermita. The restaurant clientele seem to be mostly Muslim.
If you are not familiar with this part of Manila, you may be a bit shocked by what you see. There are many girlie bars, older foreigners with young women clinging to them, beggars, Viagra sellers and poor families sleeping on the streets. There are also criminals. I’m a small, timid older guy. I feel uneasy walking some of the streets alone at night. If I am with others, it’s fine.