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Shish Taouk

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  • BLM Aug 11, 2007 11:16 PM
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Where's great shish taouk in Montreal? Usually go to Basha at the main downtown location. Haven't tasted better shish taouk at any other place in Montreal.

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  1. I really like Boustan. They grill the pita sandwich before they serve it to you and I find it adds a nice charred taste. As for just plain shish taouk (not in a pita), Karoun in Laval is excellent.

    1. I'm a shish taouk neophyte at best, but I thought the platter at Amir (St.-Hubert and St. Catherine branch) was highly satisfying.

      1. best chicken shawarma is hands down boustan - nothing even comes close. a distant second is the sara on st laurent and mt royal.

        for real shish taouk, daou can't be beat or you can buy great breasts for grilling at adonis

        5 Replies
        1. re: celfie

          I really like the one at Abu Elias on Côte-Vertu, near the corner of Montpellier.

          1. re: Simon Patrice

            I'm going to agree with Simon Patrice on this one... I'm in the military and I've lived all over Canada, presently I live in Halifax NS, when ever I'm in town (Montreal) Abu Elias is a must, it's a lebanese butcher shop, but they have a charcoal grill, and make fresh sandwiches, they are hot so can be eaten like a meal... first off the meat is halal, from my understanding best grade (you can never go wrong with halal or kosher meat), the rest of the ingredients are fresh, even the garlic, NO powders or pre-made/just add water stuff.

            The meat is pre-marinated, when you order your sandwich, they cock it on the charcoal grill, then make the sandwich, then put the sandwich on the charcoal grill until it's got a nice crisp to it, my personal favorites are the stake sandwich and the shish taouk, and I always ask them to add hot sauce.

            Boustan is a second favorite for shish taouk, ingredients are a little different (use garlic powder) and no charcoal girll, so I would rather drive the extra 20 minutes to Abu Elias and I'd only go Boustan if Abu Elias is closed... after a night out or something. Boustan is slightly more expensive, about a $ or 2. You can get 2 sandwiches and a drink at Abu Elias for about 10$, and the sandwiches are slightly bigger then Boustan's, Amir's and Basha's.

            I've had Basha and Amir before, they have no flavor cause they are cheap with the marinate... garlic sauce is made with garlic powder, I'd rather drive an extra hour and not eat at either one.

            As for Shawarma, I use to like it at Amir before they got really big, and started franchising, it was downhill from there, the best place I've had it is sadly in Abu-Dhabi, I would so go back just for that...loll. if anyone knows of a place that has it that good I'm in montreal for another 2 weeks.

            1. re: Simon Patrice

              Is Abu Elias a sit-down place, or just a take-out counter?

            2. re: celfie

              What's the real shish taouk? Been to Daou before, but can't remember trying their 'shish taouk.'

              1. re: BLM

                Shish taouk is marinated chicken on a skewer that's grilled. What you get in Lebanese fast food places is chicken shawarma: slow vertically roasted meat like the Greek gyro or the Turkish doner.

            3. Thanks for the suggestions so far. Keep it coming, if they're other good places. I'll check them out(some of the places I heard about before)

              What about for beef shawarma(I don't usually order shawarma, but I try it if it's very good)? The same places?

              2 Replies
              1. re: BLM

                The only beef shawarma I like is at the afore-mentionned Karoun.

                1. re: BLM

                  Hi BLM,

                  My favourite Shish Taouk (never been to Abu Alias, now I must try it) is found in a hidden underground of an office building near McGill, it is called Akli. and is located in the basement of 1000 Sherbrooke, downtown. They do not grill the sandwiches however, they serve a lunch rush so maybe thats why, and also I prefer the plate to the sandwich. They have the freshest ingredients I have ever tasted and the homemade salads are to die for. If you do check it out, let me know what you think.

                2. Another place I have recently discovered for shish taouk is believe it or not the Adonis in Laval. They have a take-out counter with all sorts of grilled meats and prepared foods. It's actually pretty good and almost as good as Boustan.

                  1. I found very good shish taouk in the most unusual place : Le Boulevard shopping mall at the corner of Pie IX and Jean-Talon. The place is called Shish Poulet and the meat is well spiced and juicy. The garlic potatoes are just amazing. We go there almost weekly to get our fix. Can't walk into an Amir anymore.

                    1. Abou Elias all the way, best eaten standing up, anywhere in the commotion between watching al jazira on the flat screen and having to move your car cause 25 other patrons are taking out.

                      The secret to Abou Elias is three fold:
                      - the meat cut to perfection and tradition
                      - The charcoal grills
                      - The fact that they make the rolls and then re-grill them for a slight crust feel... mmmm

                      You`ll need at least 4 per person cause they are small and also, you can call in advance for your order. You`ll understand everything when you get there...

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: peloquma

                        So there's no seating?

                        1. re: mainsqueeze

                          It`s like anything persian, a big free for all, everyone eats standing, there are afew seats but really a hole in the wall. Across the street you can have all day breakfast a la Arabic with the best omelettes in the world.

                          1. re: peloquma

                            Anything Persian? What on earth is that supposed to mean? Shish Taouk is Arabic not Persian food, there's nothing similar in Persian cuisine and you wouldn't find a Persian restaurant without seating in Montreal.

                            For what most Montrealers call "shish taouk" my favs are:
                            1- Monsieur Falafel (the one in Pierrefonds)
                            2- Alladin (in Plaza Cote des Neiges)
                            3- Kababjy (on Cote des Neiges)
                            4- Al-amin (on Cote des Neiges)
                            5- Medina near McGill metro

                            For real shish taouk:
                            Farhat on Cote des Neiges
                            and Abu Elias

                        2. re: peloquma

                          Finally got to Abu Elias: I LOVE IT!

                          You walk in and the first thing you see is the charcoal grills with zillions of skewers on top; lamb, chicken, sausage, tomato and onions sizzling away...

                          We had the shish Taouk and the Kafte kebob "sandwish". The meat taste very fresh and well seasoned. The Shish Taouk comes with lettuce. tomato, garlic sauce (which I found much less goopy than many others I've had, it is a subtler, creamier texture and taste) and a lebanese cucumbe pickle. The Kafte is grilled spiced minced beef, and comes with the lebanese pickle, raw onion, parsley and sauce. The pita is perfectly toasted and has that crunchy slightly charred taste you can only get with charcoal cooking. Same with the meat. Great sandwiches!

                          But even better: we got the roasted/grilled lamb piled on top of rice pillaf The rice seemed like it was parboiled rice. Rice was seasoned with some cinnamon, toasted almonds, pine nuts, thin slices of orange, ground bef or lamb,parsley, and then covered with slabs of perfectly roasted tender lamb, the juices and fat from the lamb then permeated the rice. Woah Nelly... So good. The plate is meant to be taken home and heated up, and could probably serve a family of four with other dishes on the side. But we stood there and ate it barely warm. The entire time we kept on saying "This would be so good warmed up" but none of us stopped eating until the whole thing was gone. It needed a touch of salt, but was otherwise perfect. It was about $12 for the entire plate (We were 3 people eating it, but we were all really hungry and have the potential to be competitive eaters).

                          This place is great. The meat counter has beautiful products, you can buy fatayer, Lamoudjian (sp?) kibbe and other lovely Lebanese products, you can also buy the Lebanese cucumber pickles. They also sell spit-roasted chicken. What a great chow find people! Thanks to all who gave the rec, it's a keeper! (and if you like lamb and rice, you gotta try their version...)

                          1. re: moh

                            Wow - must try the lamb on rice. Just wanted to add my 2 cents worth having recently tried Abu Elias & Boustan on Crescent (which used to be Sarah's). I would have to give the edge to Abu Elias for the chicken ST & as well as for their filet mignon brochette in pita. The quality of meat at AE seemed better, especially the beef & they served both the chicken & filet mignon brochette style, not shaved off of a spit. And the kicker for both is the regrilling of the pitas. I don't think Basha is in the same league. And it's quite the experience at Abu Elias with a woman directing cars in their "parking lot" & the heat of the charcoal & the jumble of folks waiting for their name to be called.

                            1. re: RhondaB

                              RhondaB, the lamb is awesome! I think it is a weekend thing.

                              Re: the Shish Taouk (chicken) at Abu Elias, it hasn't replaced my downtown choices for Shish Taouk. But it is part of the rotation of sandwiches. I do miss the garlic mayonnaise and the pickled turnip on the Abu Elias version, but agree the quality of the meat and the pita is outstanding. So I'll go to Abu Elias, then hit my downtown places, ten back to Abu, on it goes. Dang! I love Shish!

                            2. re: moh

                              Man, sounds so good! I'm going to Montreal this weekend; can't wait to try this place!
                              Thanks!

                          2. I love Boustan as well--but keep an eye on your sandwich since they have a tendency to let them burn on the grill when the place is busy. I don't know if it's still there, but I used to love the Fatoush on St. Laurent as well.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: coco_beware

                              I LOVE when they char my sandwich. That's the best part!

                              And Fatouch on St. Laurent is long gone.

                            2. What I don't understand about shish taouk in Montreal is that they are almost all identical with minor differences. Such as always: the same style of chicken, pita, lettuce, garlic sauce, onions, turnips and tomatoes. When I have been away from Montreal, the shish taouk has always been very different. A couple of examples are: in Vancouver: they use a very good spicy sauce instead of garlic sauce and the shish taouks are huge; in Russia, shish taouk does not have any of the fillings we use here, instead they use a salad of diced cucumbers and tomatoes with curry mayonnaise. The one in Russia, is completely different and tastes amazing!

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: hungrycountry

                                To answer Mainsqueeze's question: Yes, there is place to sit and eat. But don't make it a family outing. Food is great and I would highly recommend Abu Elias for shish taouk and shawarma.

                                1. re: StellasDad

                                  Thanks! I am aching to go there now, since I just read Moh's review.

                                  1. re: mainsqueeze

                                    I am a regular (weekly) at Villa Medina in the foodcourt under 600 deMaisonneuve. It used to be called Les Cedres. Been going there for years. It may not stand up to that Abu place, but in terms of Shish Taouk in the underground, it is the undisputed champ, and I've tried them all.
                                    Also, their salads are delicious, and the staff super friendly.

                                    I asked them if they could put one in my building (1000 DLG), becasue our leb joint is terrible, and gets no business.

                                    1. re: upupaway

                                      I was just coming in to comment on this Shish Taouk/Shawarma place, the old Les Cèdres, which is now (very sadly) a Villa Madina. This is in the Food court of the Place de la Cathedrale.

                                      I don't know when it hapenned, as I'll admit, it's been a while since I went downtown, or passed by the Place de la Cathedrale Food Court. However, I went for lunch Saturday and noticed, very sadly, that Les Cèdres was gone, now replaced by a Villa Madina. In my opinion, Les Cèdres was among the best Shish Taouks downtown after Boustan. Maybe not the best, but up there.

                                      Anyways, it is now a Villa Madina, which, while not being terrible, is pretty average, doesn't distinguish itself from the masses for Amirs, Bashas and other generic ''Shish Taouk Place''. Sad.

                                      1. re: sweettoothMTL

                                        Sweet,
                                        I noticed no discernable falloff in quality w/ the name change. The owner /manager did not change. One of his employees opened over at les Cours Mt-Royal. His proces are a bit cheaper, but his quality is not as good, I think because his volumes are lower.
                                        I plan to hit Villa M tomorrow for my fix...

                                        1. re: upupaway

                                          Well, I did only go the one time to that location since the change, and on a Saturday, so it could have been the off staff, and much slowed turnaround on the cooked food. But we were two who used to frequent it before and agreed then. But I'll keep it in mind next time I'm in the area, and maybe give them another chance.

                                          As villa Madina is a chain with more locations than just the two you mentionned, the old owner may have have to change some of his purchasing habit as part of francise restrictions?

                              2. I'm partial to a small place on Lacombe and Cote-des-Neiges, behind the Couche-Tard. (don't know the name, sorry). It's great. Their shish taouk has both white and dark meat and, as a result, is quite moist. I order a shish taouk plate with taboule and rice and make my own sandwich with the wonderful pita (baked on site, I believe) thay give with the plate. If you order a sandwich, they'll put it in the standard pita like every other place else does. Trust me, order the plate and make your own sandwch. As a bonus, there's a lebanese bakery attached to this joint.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: dinomyte

                                  That would be Al-Amine, haven't eaten there in a long time, but i remember the plates being huge and quite good for the price

                                  1. re: westaust

                                    "the plates being huge and quite good for the price"

                                    Yes. Their success is due more to quality-price ratio than to quality.

                                  2. re: dinomyte

                                    You're talking about Al Amine (3549 Lacombe, 514 739-1817).

                                    While I'm glad they're there -- they're one of the few places in the hood that stays open really late -- about the only thing I buy there is the pita pizzas and spinach turnovers (fatayers). For shish taouk, I find Sindibad on CDN at St-Kevin a better bet. For other grilled sandwiches, Farhat rules but even Sandwiches et Brochettes (Swail between CDN and Gatineau) and the new Shish King (corner Lacombe and Gatineau) are superior, IMO. The bakery arm is serviceable. While the pastries aren't as leaden as they used to be, they're nothing exceptional, in no way approaching the level of Mahrouse or Amal Boshali.

                                  3. LORDIA in Laval!