Nestled in a small shopping center on the corner of Washington Boulevard and Allen Avenue sits a new and relatively small Middle Eastern food joint. Shawerma Masters, one of Pasadena’s most recent food additions, is your typical, run-of-the-mill shawarma restaurant.

Shawerma Masters is tucked away between a Mexican restaurant and laundromat, contributing to the already tight feeling you get when eating in an establishment with limited seating. The Middle Eastern eatery is fairly small, fielding only seven tables, most of them indoors. However, the restaurant, at least in my time spent there, didn’t experience much traffic, aside from a handful takeout orders. This perhaps, may be because it is a mostly unknown restaurant, in a city oversaturated with dining options.

The atmosphere and general ambiance in the air is nothing to brag about and lends credence to the average feeling you get when dining there. Although the look and feel of a restaurant is indeed important, especially upon first sight, it’s really the quality of the food that matters.

This new establishment offers above average food at very affordable prices.They have an assortment of appetizers, salads, wraps, paninis, burgers, plates and bowls.  All items on the menu, aside from the plates, are under $10. The combo plates themselves range between $10 and $15, but come with rice, veggies and pita bread.

The beef shawarma burger is a necessity when visiting Shawerma Masters. At only $8, it offers a mix of two worlds. For those not looking to expand too far from the norm, the beef shawarma burger gives you an American feel and combines it with Middle Eastern flavor. The burger, encompassed by a sesame seed bun is topped off with parsley, tomatoes, pickles, onions for added crunch and a tahini sauce that perfectly complements the dish.

If beef is to be avoided, the chicken shawarma wrap is a solid substitute. The tightly bundled, $7 wrap was filled with perfectly seasoned chicken, lettuce, pickles, garlic paste and a creative addition of fries. While the wrap is an overall success, the garlic paste was laid on a bit too heavy, slightly overpowering the rest of the ingredients in the dish.

Falafels are a staple of Middle Eastern cuisine. Shawerma Masters’ falafels should be purchased alongside any main dish. The order comes with a dozen of the light and airy treats and an exorbitant amount of tahini sauce for only $6. The pairing of the tahini sauce and the falafel’s crunchy exterior make it a surefire choice for customers looking to enjoy authentic Middle Eastern cuisine.

Shawerma Masters is well worth the visit and won’t break the bank. This new restaurant has the chance to establish itself as a regularly visited and successful local business.

Shawerma Masters is located at 1802 E. Washington Blvd. in Pasadena and is open from 10:30 AM to 9 PM.

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