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Santa Clara gets second location of Oakland shawarma restaurant named among top new eateries in the country

Uploaded: Jan 16, 2023

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.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Todrford, a resident of Shoreline West,
on Jan 17, 2023 at 6:05 am

Todrford is a registered user.

Super... best of luck...beef and lamb would be great...

Posted by Lenora Jacobs, a resident of Mountain View,
on Jan 17, 2023 at 9:30 am

Lenora Jacobs is a registered user.

"Wraps are made with flour tortillas."

^ Why not pita bread? If this is another fusion-inspired offering, then chorizo and pork should also be an option as well as tofu for vegans.

This looks more like a Middle Eastern burrito.

And why are they so long?

Posted by Reese Haroldson, a resident of Midtown,
on Jan 17, 2023 at 12:49 pm

Reese Haroldson is a registered user.

@Lenora...Jordanians like many of their Arab Peninsula brethren were once nomadic desert tribes who carried prepared foods for later consumption.

By making long burritos/wraps, they could feed several tribesmen at once without having to start another cooking fire.

No different than sushi except that the Japanese are not as migratory and fish easily spoils unless there is refrigeration available.

In the desert portable refrigeration is generally not an option as there is no electricity or fish readily available unless one is camping near the Sea of Galilee where Jesus recruited his disciples.

Beef jerky would be a possible option but the Arabs are traditionally not into cattle husbandry.

Camel meat is another alternative.

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