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Apr 2, 2007 05:59 PM

Real Shawarmas in Tdot?

Again, I'm from Ottawa- and anybody whose from Ottawa knows there's a Shawarma place on every friggen corner. Then I come to Toronto and bam- no more Shawarmas! I've had several imitation shawarmas...chicken with sweet and sour sauce and stuff like that...but where's the garlic sauce?! The only place I've found is in the Eaton's Centre (King Shawarma I think?) and their garlic sauce is runny and oily and nasty.

Anywhere in downtown Tdot with a good garlicy shawarma? I don't care HOW small it is, I'm in withdrawl!

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  1. I'm on the same search. I've tryed many places, and been disappointed many times. The only place that i find that comes close is ali baba. Its a chain, and they will still attempt to put sauces on ur sandwich that you dont want, u just have to stop them. Their garlic sauce reminds me of places in Ottawa, and they have pickled turnups. Nowhere in Toronto (that i have been) cuts the chicken off the spit when u order, its precut, then they put it on the flat top for a bit, im not sure why. Good luck with your search, PLEASE reply if u find something better!!!

    1. Most of the authentic shawarma is to be found on Lawrence Ave just east of Pharmacy.
      There's more info in this recent thread:

      1. Here's a link to some previous posts about shawarma in Toronto.

        If you don't mind the drive to Warden and Lawrence, the best place for Shawarma in my opinion is Farhat's. Sliced right off the revolving spit and with real thick garlic sauce.

        Farhat's website:

        8 Replies
        1. re: squingy

          What squingy said. Also Shawarma Express in the same block, but on the south side

          1. re: Yongeman

            Garlic Sauce??? Sounds good, but doesn't "real" shawarma have tahina??? I think the garlic sauce is the North American version. If you go for a shawarma in Israel, for example, there will lots of different sauces (tahina and amba for example), but I don't think there would be any garlic sauce. I can't speak of other places in the Middle East, but most of the authentic Middle Eastern places I've seen use a tahina dressing.

            1. re: acd123

              Yes, you're right- but I'm talking Ottawa/Montreal lebansese style shawarma, not Israeli style. I'm trying to find something even slightly close to Ottawa's Garlic King.

              1. re: Navan

                I recommend Wrap and Grab (Yonge/College) for Lebanese style shawarma. They spread half garlic/mayo, half hoummous. Price is terrific as well. Another excellent option is Le Gourmet Shawarma Cafe. Based on the numerous Montreal Museum of Art pictures hanging, I suspect the owner is Lebanese, and came here via Montreal. Regardless, the shawarma there is very good. Location is 3221 Yonge St.

                1. re: Navan

                  I know the Montreal style shawarma very well, having gone to school there in the mid 1990s. Nothing better than a late nigh shawarma on St. Laurent. I am drooling just thinking about it :-) Garlic King? I love that name. Sounds like my kinda place. Next time I'm in Ottawa, that's where I'm going first. Thanks for the tip.

                  Just a side note, I LOVE the shawarma at Falafel King at Bathurst and Eglinton. I'm quite certain they are Arabs and definitely not Israelis. They also use a tahina based sauce. They are Moroccan maybe? I guess it's not surprising that shawarmas vary by region. Also, go there when the shawarma wheel is large, when the meat is very tender and juicy (call first???). The marinade is amazing and when the wheel is fresh, it hasn't dried up yet. This is one of my favourties in TO, but Sarah's on Bloor @ Brunswick is also very, very good.

                  1. re: acd123

                    I also enjoy the food at King Falafel. Unique shawarma seasonings. Yes, they are Moroccan.

                  2. re: Navan

                    Ottawa's Garlic King... good god, how I miss that shawarma! I'll also say that I've found Ali Baba's to be one of the better shawarmas I've tried here, although it doesn't come close to Ottawa's offerings.

                  3. re: acd123

                    I think Farhat's is more of a garlic paste than a sauce, because it's quite thick. Make sure you ask them for it though otherwise they won't, even if you ask for all the fixins.

              2. I also love Ottawa/Montreal shawarma and while I can't speak to the establishments on Lawrence Ave, the only place that I eat shawarma is in Mississauga. If you're willing to make the trip, it's Paramount Foods Inc on 1290 Crestlawn Drive. They also have in-house mid-east sweets, pita bread and other grill options.

                1. Falafel World - Bloor West, 1 block east of Jane, makes killer shawarma's. Seems authentic to me, but I'm no expert...

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Davedigger

                    You can go to Istanbul Grill Restaurant on Bathurst & Wilson. In this little place there is something for everyone. Shawarma, Falafel, Calamari ............

                    1. re: Davedigger

                      Another vote for Falafel World...delicious and always packed in there! Reasonably priced too.