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Nov 25, 2008 06:18 PM

Shawarma South Calgary

Somar Food Market
#17 9250 Macleod Trail SE

East Side of Macleod between Heritage and Southland

A small Arabic grocery store specializing in Middle Eastern groceries and carrying the Persian Sadaf brand, Kalamata olives, Medjool dates, dried mint, dried lemons, houlami chese, etc.

Delicious beef and chicken shawarma (different from the ground meat version called donairs) for about $8.

The manager, Yasser, is very friendly and will even make you a shawarma with 100% whole wheat balady (for about $1-2 extra). These large pitas (made in Canada) are so delicious, you can even buy some to take home: freeze them and reheat in oven.

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  1. wow, I had a COMPLETELY different experience when I tried that place... so bad, in fact, that I won't return.

    I went in during lunch hour during the week, and ordered a schwarama. I was expecting a good (or at least decent) sandwich, based on a Gilchrist review from before Somar closed it's original kitchen for not having food service permits... anyhow, what I got was one of the worst schwaramas i've ever had. The chicken was super dry and crusty, and I almost felt like I was breaking a tooth eating it. Furthermore, the veggies were far from fresh, and after opening the sandwich I had to stop eating it for fear of getting ill.

    there are 32472984723894723894 decent schwarama and donair places in calgary, so I won't give this place a second chance

    8 Replies
    1. re: nonlinear

      My guess is that tammykazem works there and is using Chowhound for advertising

      1. re: 23skidoo

        Tammy has two posts, not what we normally see with the ad trolls. I think she's legit. Which is not to say anybody has to agree about Somar.

        1. re: John Manzo

          You're right, I might be crying wolf here. But both of her posts were within minutes of each other, and she never posted again.

          1. re: 23skidoo

            I completely understand why you'd cry wolf! The increased visibility of CH is something we should all be proud of (especially, IMHO, the diligence of Calgary posters) but with that success come the carpetbaggers too.

            We just have to be careful not to turn off legit posters is all.

            1. re: John Manzo

              John Manzo - thanks for being supportive - I haven't posted for awhile since I had forgotten about having an account

              1. re: John Manzo

                The carpetbaggers, as John puts it, better really believe in their product to post here. Chowhounders can tear a place down just as fast as they can build it up.

                I love Shawarma and will give this place a try next time I drive by, thanks.

          2. re: 23skidoo

            23skidoo - I don't work there. I was pleased with the service and food. Finally a place that actually sold some authentic Arabic and Persian food - my husband is Persian and my best friends are Lebanese!

            nonlinear - sorry too bad that you had a bad experience there - ask for Yasser if you must ever go there again

            1. re: tammykazem

              Tammy, Somar is our -Mrs Scary and I-default shawarma place in the south. It is a very good place for many products Arabic. We've on rare occasions found the meat a bit dry, but generally the shawarmas are excellent. The service has always been excellent as well, nice people.

        2. The name as recently changed to Anita Market. still, i won't be going back for schwarmas aftermy experience there. Tazza is far superior and worth the extra 5 minute drive.

          13 Replies
          1. re: nonlinear

            nonlinear, when I'm back in Calgary I will have to check out Tazza, where is it?. When did the name change for Somar happen? I remember the owner a few months ago wanting to sell the place....

            1. re: tammykazem

              1st Ave NE in Bridgeland. You could easily have googled it.

              1. re: John Manzo

                Except nonlinear's comment "worth the extra 5 minute drive" would seem to indicate that there is a Tazza close to Anita/Somar in the south.

                1. re: cancowboy

                  nonlinear is on, which means he drives FAST :-)

                  But seriously people, and this is absolutely not only directed at tammy, there are so many times when people ask questions on here that could be answered by a web lookup in seconds. Judging by the discussion at "site discussion" on chow I'm not the only person with this complaint.

                  But to make up for my crankiness:

                  1. re: John Manzo

                    john is absolutely right (about my driving, and the seeming inability of people to use google haha). at any rate, tazza is in bridgeland, which is probably about 10 minutes (?) from Somar/Anita if you take deerfoot to memorial and get off at the zoo exit. from my condo, it takes me about 5 minutes longer to get to Tazza than to Somar/Anita - sorry for any confusion :) IMO, Tazza is in a different league than Somar or most of the other schwarma shops around town, and is MOST DEFINATELY worth the drive.

                    but if you can't find 5 or 10 minutes to drive to Tazza, you could also check out My Donair on southland and macleod. I tried it last weekend and it's a pretty standard donair - i.e. quick and good, but not spectacular. there is also Castle Donair just north of Heritage and Elbow. i've heard it's pretty good, but have yet to try it (i always end up at montreal bagels instead hah)

                    1. re: nonlinear

                      Ok got it no more asking where stuff is....there is no way I can get to Bridgeland from Chinook in 5 more minutes anyway....

                      so what is the difference between a "donair" and a "Shawarma". I've only had shawarma prior in OC and Houston and they are chunks/slivers of whole meat while the "donairs" and "gyros" that I"ve had are compressed bologna-like meat?

                      1. re: tammykazem

                        in canada, "donair" refers to a beef and/or lamb pita sandwich with a sweet garlic sauce, and "schwarma" generally refers to a chicken pita sandwich. however, "donair" is a purely canadian word (probably from the turkish Doner kebab sandwich?) and "schwarma" simply means sandwich. but it's all getting kinda blurry these days :)

                2. re: John Manzo

                  JM The op could have googled Tazza, but the poster could have also listed Tazza's address. If we're to assume a thread is a conversation then I think it's fair to ask where something is... if I'm talking to someone IRL and mention a new restaurant/store etc either I'll include "it's in Inglewood" or some such, or I can expect the next question will be something along the lines of "so where is ___?"

                  ETA: this was meant to be in response to John's post: "you could have easily googled it" (and I should read through every post before responding by being cranky at your crankiness)

                  1. re: maplesugar

                    well this is a lot of wasted energy I guess :) it's just that there are lots of queries that could be non-queries is all. And yes some responsibility does lie with the person making the suggestion or bringing up the topic.

                    1. re: maplesugar

                      I think I can sort out a couple of issues burning here:

                      Donair is Camel Hump, and thats' why no one ever provides an address because you really shouldn't eat that stuff anyway.

                      Shawarma is real animal meat and doesn't come with a sickly sweet sauce, and posters should leave addresses for the places that serve them because there are too many animals and we have to reduce the populations.

                      Clear? You're welcome!

                      1. re: Scary Bill

                        I like both. Would you rather have pepperoni on a pizza, or pieces of chicken? Pepperoni is just as processed as donair meat.

                        Do yourself a favour and go to Amin Donair on 7th Ave SW. Get tomato, onion, cilantro, sweet sauce and some hot sauce (but not suicide sauce). It's completely unlike the typical shawarma with a salad and tahini stuffed inside.

                        1. re: 23skidoo

                          I was just joshin', I like both too. The rhetoric on the boards sometimes gets a bit entertainingly inane and I just had to respond in kind.

                          I do however appreciate the recommendation and intend to go there sometime soon. Mrs Scary works nearby and has picked up lunch there a few times and really likes it.

                          1. re: Scary Bill

                            I used to feel that way (a negative way) about donair until I had the German version... now I appreciate it for the local delicacy it is!

                            Sammy's for Donair, please.

              2. i'm stuck at home waiting for lost luggage to be delivered and I had a hankering for a donair. based on some of the comments on this board, I thought I would give Anita (formerly Somar) another try since it is so close to my condo.

                When I arrived at Anita, however, I noticed that despite what the sidewalk sign said, they didn't have any beef to make sandwiches with. In case they were storing it in a tray or something, I asked the guy if they had any and he said "not today" (whatever that means). I would have opted for chicken instead, but the they only had a very small amount on the spit (about the size of a small football, maybe) and it looked really dry and crusty. who knows how old it was.

                at any rate, i'm guessing that aside from tammykazem and ScaryBill, Anita is not doing well selling sandwiches and thus aren't keeping ingredients on hand. so now i have 2 reasons not to go back to anita: 1) my first nasty experience with their chicken, and 2) uncertainty if they will even have fresh ingredients on hand to make the sandwich.

                good thing there is a My Donair just across MacLeod. i'm enjoying a beef donair from there as I type this :)

                3 Replies
                1. re: nonlinear

                  Non, haven't been since ownership changed, but I will still try Anita sometime. If not good for donairs I hope it is at least still a good place to buy Middle East foodstuffs.

                  BTW, went to Donair Place on Shawville south of 162nd last weekend. Good donair, very friendly service. Avoided the football sized chicken and had the beef! They have two Danny Heatly Ottawa Senators jerseys on the wall, with personalised glowing tributes written by Heatly about the Donair Place donairs being the best on the planet.. While the Sen's jerseys kind of stink the place up, I'll cut Heatly some slack for having the sense to get outta Ottawa!

                  1. re: Scary Bill

                    ^^is that the place in the strip mall near zellars, just a bit west of macleod? been wanting to try it but i'm not often that far south.

                    1. re: nonlinear

                      It is. If you travel by C Train it is about a 7-8 minute walk.