Gypsy Queen Cuisine Restaurant Review Asheville, North Carolina
Local Business Reviews,  Wining & Dining

Gypsy Queen Cuisine Review: Those Sweet Shawarmas

I would like to think I have a leg (albeit a short one) to stand on when talking about Lebanese food. I grew up outside of Detroit, which is home to the largest Lebanese population in the country. It was commonplace for us to regularly eat shawarma, falafel, and more fresh, warm pita than any one person should eat. 

Fast-forward to my 20s in South Carolina, and I realized that there was close to nothing in the way of Mediterranean or Middle Eastern food. Southern food had its place, but I would get homesick for the food I was used to in Detroit, and I’d make sure any return trip home was culinary-centered.

So the moment I moved to Asheville, a little foodie haven in the South, I began the search for what my heart desired. Finally, I found Gypsy Queen Cuisine

Gypsy Queen Cuisine Feature
All images courtesy of Gypsy Queen Cuisine

Upon arrival, the restaurant’s deep orange front looks out of place in a busy plaza on the west end of Patton. You would not assume at first glance that inside lies a top-notch restaurant. But, once inside, the hustle and bustle of the outside street is forgotten. 

A bright and vibrant space, with a micro mediterranean grocery space, featuring unique and flavorful candies, and assorted sundries and drinks. Walking up to the counter, I had high hopes after looking at the menu. 

There were a lot of options for vegetarians and vegans, with a lot of authentic Middle Eastern and Mediterranean fare. I learned afterwards that the owner, Suzy, is from Lebanon and created this restaurant (first a food truck) because of her passion for the food she ate as a child and her lifelong love of cooking.  

Gypsy Queen Cuisine Asheville, NC

I might have gone overboard on ordering – but we were a party of four and I wanted everyone satiated. Admittedly, I spent more than I intended to for a casual lunch, but after I saw the portions, I felt more reassured about my spending. 

I ordered hummus and pita, Lebanese fries, a dozen grape leaves, a lamb and beef shawarma, and a chicken shawarma, and grabbed a Buchi from the cooler. (Not a plug for my favorite local kombucha, but if you haven’t tried them, do it.) I opted to get the shawarmas “Suzy’s way,” which means the french fries come inside, and I highly recommend it.

We sat at a table that is part four-top, part half couch that spans the length of the restaurant. Bold and colorful pillows sit on the cushion sprawled across the length of the couch, giving you ample comfort to chill while you wait for your food. 

The dine-in space is small, and although I’ve never been out of luck for a space to sit in the half a dozen or so times I’ve been, I could see it being likely. There is a small covered outdoor patio space as well. 

We sat admiring the abundance of unique lighting and appealing stonework above the curved entrance to the bathroom. My kids were excited at how quickly the grape leaves, or dolmas, came out. We have been getting our fix on the canned stuff from the grocery store for the past few years, and once you get it fresh, there is really no comparison. 

The dolmas were tender and rolled perfectly, ensuring all that yummy rice goodness didn’t fall out. Our hummus and pita also came in at the same moment. The hummus was thick and creamy, with a fresh oil drizzle and sprinkled with what I believe was parsley. The pita was fresh and warm, not overly thick, but a great dipping addition. 

We filled our bellies and ate in contended silence while waiting for the main dishes. The space seems to have the capacity to get quite loud, especially if more lively large groups are filling it, but we had no problem with the music level at all. 

Best Shawarmas in Asheville Gypsy Queen Cuisine

The fries were great, and I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve ever had the pleasure of a Lebanese fry dish. But for me, the shawarmas were the star of the show. Appearing on our plates, partly wrapped in foil, made for easy grabbing and relatively mess-free eating. 

It felt like street food but amped up to a dining-level experience. The chicken shawarma was seasoned to perfection, with hints of lemon in the marinade that made the chicken pop off. Not to mention inside the wrap was filled with pickles, lettuce, tomatoes, parsley, and a toum dip. I literally will eat toum on anything – it’s just that good. 

My husband and I split our shawarmas to satisfy both of our curiosities. The beef and lamb was maybe even better. Pickles, tomatoes, parsley, tarator, toum, and a mint cabbage slaw filled this fresh pita shawarma to the brim. 

The spices and flavors were on point, and each shawarma came with a small portion of brightly colored pink veggies, which I believe was turnips. It was tart and a bit sweet, and such a nice addition. I ate way past what was comfortable, and still took a portion of my shawarma home. Naturally, I had no chill and ate it an hour later because I couldn’t stop thinking about how good it was!

Asheville Dining Gypsy Queen Cuisine

I have eaten at Gypsy Queen Cuisine many more times since my first visit. I will gallantly fight the rush hour traffic across town and sit at some abnormally long-lasting lights for no more of a reason than I need that sweet shawarma. 

I have branched out a few more times, trying the Yum-Yum shawarma and falafel wrap – both were nothing short of delicious and filling. My husband craves their tabbouleh all summer, and I willingly oblige the trip. We came late in the day before and found, to our disappointment, that they had sold out of the grape leaves, so if you’re on the hunt for them, call ahead! 

They offer takeout, catering, and the option to book their food truck (Spartacus) at private events! Locals, vacationers, vegetarians, carnivores – Gypsy Queen Cuisine has something for everyone and if you haven’t been yet, come check them out. 

Location: 807 Patton Ave, Asheville.

There you have it! Our review of Gypsy Queen Cuisine in Asheville. Have you been to Gypsy Queen Cuisine? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.

Ashley Reid is a freelance writer who feels blessed to have called Asheville home for the last five years. Born in the suburbs of Detroit, she spent her 20s living coastal in South Carolina before the Blue Ridge Mountains called her home. Ashley is a homeschooling mother to her two daughters, married to her high school sweetheart, and always looking to the horizon for her next adventure. Ashley moved to Western North Carolina after years of visiting on vacations and realized this place was way too beautiful to leave behind. The Pisgah National Forest, abundance of waterfalls, Blue Ridge Parkway, and plethora of tasty eats in the area won her over to the Tarheel State. She is happiest when she is riverside and is vehement about keeping herself and her children outdoors as much as possible. Ashley is a woman never short of a hobby or new interest. She writes for various publications and companies. She is a voracious reader, aspiring author, sewist, gardener, and amateur homesteader. She loves working with her hands and being with her kids. She has never considered being called weird an insult and has no problem telling strangers about her love of opossums or a new podcast episode. Ashley is always on the hunt for the best burger and coffee in town. She is passionate about wellness, kindness, and keeping childhood wild.

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