Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >
Apr 29, 2007 05:01 PM

Nova Scotia Donair

I was out walking today and saw that my favourite place to get a Nova Scotia Donair, GYROS on Elm Street, was closed and gutted!!!

I'm hoping its just being renovated, but in case its not . . . does anyone know a place downtown that sells these East coast wonders with that delicious Donair Sauce?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Um, let me be the first to ask...what makes a donair (aka Gyros), Nova Scotian? You can get donair/gyros just about anywhere in this town (swing a cat, you'll find some!). What's special about this greek/turkish dish in Nova Scotia?

    3 Replies
    1. re: bluedog

      Your right, there are gyro/kebab places EVERYWHERE - but Nova Scotia Donair's are all about the sauce - the only way I can describe it is sweet. You can't get the sauce at 'traditional' Middle Eastern, Turkish or Greek places. GYROS was the only place I have seen advertise Nova Scotia Donairs, and that's why I'm sad about its demise.

      1. re: LOTW

        College Falafel on the west side of Ossington just north of College advertises Halifax style donair. The man who runs it is very nice and his food is very tasty and fresh.

        1. re: LOTW

          They're easy enough to make at home. Google donair recipe and take your pick. Mind you, most of the sauce recipes don't include garlic. If you want the actual "King of Donairs" sauce recipe, lemme know.

      2. With LOTW's answer in hand I did a little search and found the following: (go to the Canada Section


        According to this site, the sauce LOTW is looking for is made from evaporated milk, sugar, vinegar, and sometimes garlic.

        12 Replies
        1. re: bluedog

          And I think maybe it's something you have to grow up with? It's alarmingly sweet to be eating with meat. We threw out the bottle someone gave us.

          1. re: julesrules

            Heh. So did we. It looked kind of terrifying.

          2. re: bluedog

            No, you've got to have the garlic or it throws off the flavour balance.

            1. re: SherylKirby

              It's not so much a "you have to grow up" with it's more like a you need a certain number of drinks in you before you will enjoy it sort of thing. For some reason, Nova Scotian donair is one of those foods which tastes about 10 times better once you've had a few (er...a lot of) drinks. Having said probably helps to grow up with it too, as I had a friend from Truro in undergrad who claimed that his family regularly ate Donair from the supermarket that they heated up at home, (presumably while sober). Has anyone tried the College street falafel one? It would need the specifically Nova Scotian type of meat-log for it to be real....the alchemy that is halifax-donair requires both the sauce and the "Donair meat". Putting condensed milk/garlic/vinegar on Scharwa or falafel would probably not yield so pleasing a result. Although the stuff is darn good on pizza.

              1. re: mstacey42

                They're just as good sober. Being drunk simply makes you not care about the sauce running down your wrists to your elbows.

                1. re: SherylKirby

                  donair sauce and garlic cheese fingers from pizza delight got me through many a university all-nighter...mmmmmm

                2. re: mstacey42

                  Hmmm...sounds like poutine from Bubba's in Kingston...

                  1. re: bluedog

                    Whoa - having spent many a moon being a drunk student in both Halifax and Kingston, this thread is bringing on some serious deja vu. Nothing like a large greasy poutine from Bubba's at 1 in the morning during exam week...or a donair that drips into your shirt sleeve at pizza corner...

                    Suffice it to say, I think the appeal of both of these less-than-fine food phenomena is their ability to soak up copious amounts of alcohol...

                    1. re: wickalicious

                      Although at first glance they look the same, a Gyro and Donair are very different:

                      Nova Scotia Donair = Lebanese Influence, all beef + sweet sauce

                      Ontario Gyro = Greek Influence, meat mix (lamb/beef/pork) + garlic cucumber sauce (tzatziki)

                      1. re: RabidRIch

                        I just saw this thread again and felt compelled to post my memories of trying the college street Falafel version of the halifax donair. It, unfortunately, just didn't do the trick.

                        1) The meat was not cooked on a rotating meat-log and was thus missing the essential contrast between really crispy well-done and less-crispy, less well done bits.

                        2) The meat wasn't quite right in the flavour department and unfortunately in this case that meant that it was wildly unsatisfying.

                        3) The sauce was separating a bit and was, therefore, grainy. A creamy sauce is an absolute necessity to the disgusting love that is the HRM-style Donair

                        4) Pita was some whole wheat monstrosity and not the almost pizza-dough-esque doughy variety that they use in NS....also...and more importantly, in Halifax a pita spends some time on a flat grill to warm up and to absorb some oil

                        5) Seemingly not that important...but stilll crucial...the onions and the tomatos were sliced, rather than chopped up. This resulted in some really unpleasant onion-meat-tomato ratios that further disappointed.

                        The smell of the Donair was reminiscent of the real thing....but no...nothing that would satisfy any former Haligonian.

                    2. re: bluedog

                      I was just describing Bubba's poutine to a friend of mine!

                    3. re: mstacey42

                      We tried the College St. place - my husband's on a quest for Halifax donair - the sweet sauce grosses me out, so I defer to his evaluation. He said the meat was wrong and the sauce wasn't what he'd hoped for either. Plus they ignored his request & put hot sauce on his donair.

                3. the closest real deal is in Burlington(Sammy Donair)
                  on Guelph line
                  $$$ but worht it
                  not the nicest staff also the older guy is ok his wife is a bi$%*

                  1. Sammy's Donair
                    Cuisine: Middle Eastern
                    453 Guelph Line
                    Burlington, ON L7R 3L8

                    expensive but the only one close to Toronto that i know of

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: dominik

                      Halifax Donair in Burlington is way better than Sammy's. They also have a location in Milton. Owned by real East Coasters.

                    2. Greco Xpress in Brampton (Queen&Kennedy)