Enjoy a taste of the Middle East at “Shouk”


Photo by Lilli Libowitz

“Shouk” offers differing Middle Eastern options, such as shawarma and falafel.

Lilli Libowitz, Assistant Opinion Editor

Shouk, a plant-based vegan restaurant, opened on Randolph Road in Rockville on Nov. 16. The shop offers a variety of Middle Eastern choices ranging from shawarma to veggie burgers.

Shouk originated in Washington, D.C. but just opened two new locations in Bethesda and Rockville.

The first thing I noticed when I walked in was the Israeli feel. The shop was aesthetically pleasing and the decor very hippie-esque. The store was completely painted yellow and was filled with hamsa decorations. The warm atmosphere made the restaurant feel very homey and made me reminisce about being in Tel Aviv. 

The restaurant gives the option of ordering online or in person. I opted to order in person and the ordering process was frankly very confusing. Rather than talking to an employee, you order on a computer screen. This method does not cater to someone with allergies or someone who doesn’t want particular ingredients in their order. 

Despite this, the employees were very friendly and accommodating. They greeted me right as I walked in and offered detailed explanations on how to order. 

I ordered the falafel. Inside the pita, there was falafel, Israeli salad, hummus and pickled green cabbage. The falafel was delicious because it tasted just like it was from Israel, and it had a crunchy texture. I could taste the many herbs and spices in the dish. However, the cabbage made the sandwich a little too bitter for my taste.

As a side, I ordered fries. The fries were coated in flour and seasoned before they were fried, which made them extra crispy and savory. I highly recommend ordering this side dish.

I went with my grandma and she ordered the mushroom shawarma. The shawarma consisted of mushrooms, pickled green cabbage, cucumber, onion salad, arugula and tahina. The shawarma was smoky with classic Middle Eastern seasonings such as cumin. Shouk succeeded in creating the vegan dish in a similar flavor to traditional chicken shawarma. This dish is also a healthier and more eco-conscious alternative.

The falafel cost $11, the shawarma cost $12 and the fries cost $4. While this seems pricey, this is one of the more reasonably priced kosher restaurants in the area. On the website, it’s written that “Shouk is certified Kosher under the supervision of DC Kosher,” a hechsher, or kosher certification, by Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld of Washington, D.C.

Overall, I really enjoyed dining at Shouk. The food was good and reasonably priced for a certified kosher and vegan restaurant. If you are looking for a tasty and affordable meal, Shouk is the place to go.