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A question about shawarma and Toronto..

I am looking for shawarma places you know of that use white meat

Before you go and say dark meat is tastier, or moister, or anything like that... I just want to start by saying: I don't care :)

i find it fatty, greasy, and chewy sometimes, and just don't even care for the appearance even.. Laugh or criticise or whatever but I think the breast meat lets you taste the marinade better as well.. and you don't have to cook the living crap out of it, so don't give me the "ohh it's dry though" argument

When I've taken my (limited) trips to Montreal, passing or staying in Ottawa even sometimes, I've tried alot of shawarma places down there which most will agree is superior to ours, but even more surprising to me was that the places I liked all used white meat there

I was talking to a guy working at one of the places one time, and I told him how where I was from in Toronto, its almost impossible to find a shawarma place that uses white meat.. His explaination to me was that Ottawa and Montreal has a large portion of Lebanese style shawarma, which should use top quality breast meat... there are obviously many other styles of shawarma

Sarah's is dark meat, and most of the other frequently mentioned places... Red & white, etc, all dark meat..

Nick's Famous in Mississauga is all white meat, and I like it, but I hate their garlic sauce and it kind of ruins the experience for me... their shawarma caesar salad with homemade garlic pita croutons though is really good

So, even if you've been to one of the zillion shawarma places in the GTA and didn't like it, but remember for a fact that they use white meat, I want to hear about it! Hopefully this thread isn't doomed to 0 responses, laff

a dark meat hater

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  1. I agree for some reason the shawarma isn't as top notch as the places I used to frequent when I used to live in Ottawa. Nor is the garlic sauce or "toum" quite the same either.

    However, Milo's pita in the toronto life food court, you can get a "white" shawarma for 10 cents extra. It's pretty good, I've been getting it there since I first had it and have never looked back! It's more really white meat grilled on a skewer and then stuffed into a pita but it's tasty and I like tasting the fresh "char" on it. The toum is pretty good too. That being said I wouldn't mind hearing about any other places serving "white" shawarma's in Toronto.

    2 Replies
    1. re: deabot

      Went to Milo's Pita today, based on the comments here. The "white meat" option is not shawarma, but a chicken kebob. It was really good but it was not shawarma.

      1. re: CarNut

        Ah, so more like a souvlaki

        Still probably quite tasty though

    2. White meat Shawarma? What the? Dark meat has more flavor, has better texture, and is juicier.

      I'm playin I'm playin :D

      Honestly, there aren't too many good Shawarma places here, which truly sucks. I personally prefer beef Shawarma, and it's been a pain trying to find a place that does it well.

      9 Replies
      1. re: uberathlete

        Have you tried Nasib's or Farhat or, I think, Ibrahim on Lawrence E. near Warden? They have good beef shawarma. I'm partial to Nasib's these days.

        1. re: Yongeman

          Farhat! I'll assume you haven't been there in a while. It's gone downhill in some noticeably vile ways.

          duckdown, if I make it to Shawarma Empire today I'll report on the state of the chicken. I confess I've never made note of it being white or dark. I typically live it up and go for the beef. It's the best shawarma of the Lawrence of Arabia strip.

          1. re: Googs

            Excellent, thanks

            Keep me posted :)

            1. re: duckdown

              Unfortunately, duckdown, it's dark meat. Too bad really because it's so darn delicious. The hot sauce really sets it apart from others. The sauce doesn't become a burial ground for the other elements. It sharpens the flavours. I feel like you're missing out.

              1. re: Googs

                Hey, no worries... I've tried to enjoy dark meat but it's just not meant to be.. I'm not a fan

                I will continue my quest for the rare white meat shawarma

            2. re: Googs

              Right gppgs. Haven't been to Farhat lately...usually go to Nasib's. I've had falafel from Shawarma Empire, but will have to try shawarma too. Thanks.

              1. re: Googs

                Farhat has now morphed into a large "family restaurant" next to the disintegrating Nasr's.

                1. re: embee

                  Unfortunate about Nasr's demise. Strange happenings in that little strip mall.

                  1. re: embee

                    was going to ask about this... anyone have any idea what this place is like? i wasn't too happy with their shawarmas the last time i had them and have since not bothered with them at all.

                    btw... nasr was in a state of disrepair but not as bad as i had expected considering reports. the shelves were a bit bare though.... i thought it was interesting that they had veal ribs available and ended up buying some beef ribs for a chocolate inspired braise... delicious with less marbling than product at T&T but much beefier flavour. i noticed the meat on the rib to be a little more spare than what i'm used to but really liked the quality. did not ask about aging though it certainly did not look wet at all. i think it was about 4-5$/lb on sale and i would consider getting it again when i'm in the area. it's pricier compared to T&T but flavour is so much more important.

            3. I'm pretty sure Falafel World in Bloor West Village uses all white meat.

              13 Replies
              1. re: Davedigger

                Yup, you're absolutely right.. I've been here before, and it's only a block or two away from Goldin's smoked meat which I visited today, so I also grabbed a shawarma on the way home.. Very tasty, and home made cashew baklavas...

                And they are Lebanese, which seems to re-enforce my theory that Lebanese shawarma is white meat (as I was told before)

                Thanks for the reminder

                1. re: duckdown

                  I'm not sure if that's why, but I haven't found schawarma comparable to Ottawa in my experience (though admittedly, I've pretty much stopped trying). Ottawa does have a sizable Lebanese population.

                  1. re: tjr

                    Don't give up tjr, if I went by your reasoning I would never have eaten shawarma again after having it at the holy grail of shawarma, some joint on Hamra street in downtown Beirut oh so many years ago :)

                    I had pretty much stopped trying too after many lacklustre downtown shawarmas, but I tried Milo's Pita last week and it was really not bad. And the suggestions above give me further incentive to keep trying... on the whole I find that the shawarma I've had in Toronto is underseasoned/lacks spice. It could also use a hit of lemon at some point in the assembly process.

                    And yes, lebanese shawarma (if my mother is anything to go by, and she should know...) is white meat only.

                    1. re: dxs

                      There is a Lebanese shawarma place at Dundas and Chesnut on the second floor called Grab N' Wrap or Wrap N' Grab...forgive me for not knowing the name but you can't miss it...the windows are covered in signs and the place is usually packed......I am not 100% sure if it is white meat only but I believe that it is.....

                      1. re: books

                        Nice find, and It's temptingly close to my workplace... have you tried it yourself? Is it any good?

                        1. re: dxs

                          We have tried it and it is great. They have a two shawarma deal that with a can of pop was just under $ 10. The staff is great there, very friendly and accomodating. One of our lunch gang is vegetarian and but hates the main stream veggie options of tomato and lettuce only....there veggie wrap is LOADS of grilled eggplant and roasted cauliflower.... only $ 2.99.

                          1. re: books

                            Thanks, I'll definitely check it out... I'm usually all about meat but the veggie option sounds good too!

                        2. re: books

                          Re: Dundas/Chestnut, you're thinking of of Wrap & Grab, which is very meh - it just gets a lot of traffic because of its location near City Hall. If you go a block or two west to Dundas and Simcoe, Anoush has opened a location there and has surprisingly luscious chicken and beef shawarma. Odd, because their other locations are unmemorable. Pass on the falafel, which is pre-cooked.

                          (This post is not for the OP - there is a *reason* why precious few use all white-meat chicken. My mouth gets dry just contemplating it.)

                        3. re: dxs

                          Thanks, this confirms what I thought

                          The Lebanese style of shawarma is the type I am after then... Nick's in Mississauga is Lebanese, so is Falafel World, and they're both the only white-meat versions I can find


                          1. re: duckdown

                            Re-reading my response above I think I may have been overly definitive. My mother has made shawarma at home many times and never ever used dark meat, but I'll grill her on the subject next time I speak to her.

                              1. re: Yongeman

                                Thanks. I can rarely resist a pun!

                                1. re: dxs

                                  Well done rare pun well done is rare.

                                  Well done all of you.

                  2. Another two kebabs up for Milo's! All homemade and super delicious.

                    But yeah, the average shawarma in Ottawa takes it to the average in Toronto.

                    1. White or dark meat? Who cares?! IMO, whether its the Middle East, Europe or North America best .tasting is LAMB Shawarma.

                      12 Replies
                      1. re: Charles Yu

                        Yes I get alot of these responses whenever I mention this subject, but regardless, I am a fan of white , not dark!!

                        1. re: Charles Yu

                          I'm with you, Charles, but duckdown is quite definite about his dislike of dark meat, so is on a genuine quest for all breast meat shawarma.

                          1. re: Charles Yu

                            Where do you get a LAMB shawarma? I love LAMB!

                            1. re: Davedigger

                              Farhat on Lawrence Ave has one, but, what was once a great place has fallen mightily.

                              1. re: Dr Butcher

                                agree with Dr. Butcher. I'm not certain, but maybe Ibrahim has lamb too--on the south side of Lawrence E. in the same block as Farhat, I think.

                                1. re: Yongeman

                                  As far as I remember, Ibrahim has beef and chicken, as does Shawarma Empire and Nasib's. There are a few more places on the Lawrence strip but I've not tried them as of yet. Personally I stick to Shawarma Empire first, and Ibrahim second. Nasib's was a little bland for my taste.

                                    1. re: Dr Butcher

                                      I can confirm that Ibrahim does NOT have lamb. The only place I have had it is at Farhat, where it USED to be wonderful. One of these days I might work up the nerve to try their newly expanded place to see if they've gotten the food back up to snuff, but I've been wary.

                                      1. re: Wahooty

                                        Thanks Dr. B and Wahooty for the clarification. I guess Farhat is the only one on the strip with lamb. I used to really like it there, but will have to give it another go soon.

                                        1. re: Yongeman

                                          We have crossed Farhat off our go-to list. Price has gone up again and they haven't had lamb the last 4 times we went. The beef and spicey beef (a ground beef amalgam -- really awful) don't make it for us.

                                2. re: Davedigger

                                  Bissli Grill (Centre & Dufferin) in Thornhill makes a beef shawarma with some lamb mixed into it. Unfortunately, they only make it on Thursdays and Fridays now, and it always sells out early! Judging by the quality of their other choices though, I would trust that it would be worthwhile. p.s. if you happen to go, you just might run into some Alphonso mangoes in the vicinity.

                                3. re: Charles Yu

                                  Charles, the one place that looks like it makes a strict lamb shawarma is College Falafel at College and Ossington. I've been meaning to try it but it's been closed at night the couple times I've been there. Not only do they have lamb, but also Haligonian sweet donairs, veal liver, a good selection of desserts, and reputedly excellent falafel. Check it: http://www.collegefalafel.com/menu.htm

                                  The guy at Ibrahim's said they sometimes put some lamb in with the beef.

                                  Bissli Grill has a beef/lamb mix that's pretty good. They have this new housemade thick naan style bread that they use to make a huge wrap for your sandwich as well, if that would be your preference. They also used to have turkey shawarma like back in Israel.

                                4. I actually cant eat real dark schwarma. Most of the time I think it is a mix of thigh and breast. But the other day at a new place up in thornhill called Maron, it was dark meat that must have been leg or something. real dark. Took one bite and spit it out. If you know me, thats just crazy talk when it comes to schwarma. Anhow, my favorite takeout schwarma is mashu Mashu in Forrest Hill Village. Its pretty white, defitnitly enough so that a guy who doesnt like dark meat can fully enjoy it. They have great hot sauce there too, so make sure you get that. Same recipe as the new Shoom Shoom.

                                  1. I think ME VA ME uses white meat and it is by far the best shwarma and falafel place in the GTA.

                                    1. Try Alex's Falafel and Shwarma
                                      4580 Highway 7
                                      Markham, ON L3R 1M5
                                      I am not a Shawarma fan but my daughter loves theirs. I go for the falafel which they make to order from in-house freshly ground chick-peas. And their baba ghanouj.

                                      1. Melodies on Highway 7 and Leslie has what you're looking for - their Shawarma is completely white meat. It tasted different than normal shawarma, but was still great!


                                        230 Commerce Valley Dr E, Thornhill, ON L3T7Y9, CA

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: furhead

                                          Melodies does indeed have tasty Shawarma. I've had the chicken (yes, all white meat) and the beef (Angus beef). The only thing that bugs me is the 75 cent upcharge for the tabbouleh.

                                          1. re: OTFOODIE

                                            Glad I found this (a year later); I'm trying Melodies chicken shawarma tomorrow.

                                            BTW, Stevesinu, ME VA ME is decent for sure, but definitely not the best in GTA! There are multiple choices in the Lawrence E area that are better... no question. My personal favourites are Shawarma Empire and Ibrahim

                                            Shawarma Empire
                                            1823 Lawrence Ave E, Toronto, ON M1R2Y3, CA

                                          2. re: furhead

                                            Excellent, thank you for the reccomendation. I have never tried this


                                            1. re: duckdown

                                              So I just got back from Melodies and I have to say it was pretty good! It certainly was white meat shawarma only (they even had a little sign there that confirmed it!), and combined with the ingredients they use and whole wheat pita, it's probably one of the healthier shawarma's you can get! In fact they seem to try to cook all their food a little healthier than the norm (they don't deep fry their falafel balls, for example).

                                              The place was BUSY (I mean the line went out the door) so it's not such a well kept secret (although it certainly doesn't get mentioned much on Chowhound) but everything tasted good so I will definitely be going back. It is also the closest shawarma to my work and I like it better than the next closest which is Alex's Falafel and Shawarma on Hwy 7.

                                              One thing to point out is that you have to specify what veggies you want right when you order; most places give you a chance to do this after you've ordered and they are actually making it, but not here. I had to remove the pickles and tomatoes myself (not a fan of pickles on shawarma). The standard toppings for their chicken shawarma on a pita are Hummas, Tzatziki, Lettuce, Tomato, Pickles.

                                              1. re: superjj

                                                Sounds awesome -- problem is that I'm all the way in Brampton.. I drive crazy distances for good food, but all the way to Richmond Hill for a shawarma is pushing it, even for me.

                                                Thank you very much for the detailed info though -- next time I am out that way I'll be stopping in for sure. The guy who does my XBOX360 hacks is out there

                                          3. Have you tried Lebanons Falafel near Dundas West Station? I've never been there but I wonder if they wouldn't have what you want.

                                            It's at 2379 Dundas West.. 416 531 4722

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: chocabot

                                              I haven't tried it, but I will check it out as soon as I can, thanks for the reccomendation!

                                            2. A new place just opened up right at the corner of bay and gerrard called Kabab Grill. Just tried their shawarma which is white meat and I finally understand the white vs. dark shawarna debate, white meat is definately the way to go. I really enjoyed the shawarma, better than Milo's I think. The space is very clean with lots of seating on the second floor. They also do arab pizzas. They seem to be catering to the healthy lunch crowd. was not impressed with the kababs and grilled meats on my first visit but am glad I gave them another chance.

                                              Also, they have a couple of shelves full of assorted baklava. Upon questing the owner about where they were made he said they were from Syria, but I can't imagine they would keep fresh in transport. I wonder if my question was lost in the language barrier and they were actually from Patisserie Royale, which I beleive is Syrian owned, because the pastries reminded me of theirs from their appearance. Wondering if anyone can confirm this?

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Santeria

                                                Thanks for the post! Glad to see there is another white-meat shawarma convert

                                                Unfortunately that sounds like an area I am never, ever in. and I bet parking is a bloody nightmare :(

                                                If I am ever around there though, I would definitely stop in.

                                                Thanks for the tip!