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Aug 7, 2009 08:41 AM

Shawarmas in Toronto

I couldn't find a recent post on the shawarma situation in Toronto so I decided to start one, in case things have changed (hopefully for the better) in the past couple of years. I'm originally from Ottawa, the shawarma capital of Canada, and have never found anything even remotely comparable to the Ottawa shawarmas in Toronto...

Please share your experiences.

Thank you!

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  1. I would suggest you try Milo's Pita. It is in the Toronto Life centre (Yonge & Dundas). I had the kafta kebabs there and they are so good. Will go back next week to try their shawarma.

    If their kebabs are any indication of the quality of their food, they are good.

    3 Replies
    1. re: TOchowgal

      I found Milo's too salty the last time I went. Could have been an off day.

      I actually quite like Villa Madina in Scarborough Town Centre (with Tabouleh, which they charge extra for). From what I remember, the place in Eaton Centre in the south food court next to McDonald's was ok as well.

      But you're right, haven't had anything as good as Ottawa here.

      1. re: TOchowgal

        Another hearty vote for Milo's best in Toronto :)

        Milo's Pita
        10 Dundas St E, Toronto, ON M5B, CA

        1. re: TOchowgal

          Because of this thread I tried the chicken shawarma at Milo's last night - YUM YUM YUM! By far one of the better shawarma's I've had in a long time.

        2. there is absolutely nothing even close to the same quality that i've found... and believe me, i've looked

          i wish we had something like Boustan here... or i'd even settle for a chain like Amir (although im referring to montreal instead)

          1. l like the shawarma at Yakamoz on Wilson. Haven't found anything in the realm of Shawarma Palace in TO.

            373 Wilson Ave, Toronto, ON M3H1T3, CA

            2 Replies
            1. re: phoenikia

              I tried Yakamoz last Friday around lunch time. No turnips or garlic sauce (I think it's called toumeh), which I guess is normal for Toronto. Lady behind the counter was from Yugoslavia (not that there's anything wrong with that). Pita was pocket-style (good), and the shawarma sandwich ended up costing about 5.99 or 6.99. Chicken was moist, dark meat, with a hint of curry spice. Hot sauce and hummus on the sandwich, along with lettuce and tomatoes. Not genuine but still tasty. I miss Ottawa.

              1. re: itsvince

                If you go to Yakamoz again, ask for the fried eggplant added to your shawarma. It's so flavourful and adds a great dimension to the sandwich. I also have them add the vinegar-based cole slaw, as I like the crunch.

            2. The best I've had so far in Toronto is at the Ghazele on College in Little Italy.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ziggystardust

                I disagree! I've had Ghazele 3 times and every time it's always too dry

              2. Armenian Kitchen on Vic Park has the best I've had

                12 Replies
                1. re: air621

                  I like Armenian Kitchen as well. My fave, though, is at Shawarma Empire.

                  Armenian Kitchen
                  1646 Victoria Park Ave, Toronto, ON M4A, CA

                  1. re: Googs

                    The shawarma wars have broken out again on Lawrence east of Victoria Park.
                    The best is Ibrahim, across from Nasr on the corner , south east side, unless he gets excited with the salt, which he does rarely. Best salads. Two for $6.99 plus taxes

                    I had a really good chicken shawarma combo plate at Aladdin's Palace, Victoria Park and Tempo, underneath the once again failed Chinese Buffet. Pita, pickling, chicken shawarma, tabouleh (made with lemon juice, not from the bottle) babaganoush, hummus, sauces, plus falafel which I refuse. If you don't ,ask for them soft fried. Shaken at the end, not stirred. $8.95 I think, and a real good meal. Veg combo with labneh is cheaper and also good.

                    1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                      See, this is amongst the reasons why Shawarma Empire is my fave. Their 100% consistency in quality and flavour means I can just order and relax.

                      1. re: Googs

                        A mini review of some of the places on the Lawrence/Warden strip:

                        Shawarma Empire is my go to standard. I agree with Googs 100%. Their shawarmas are a little different than most others I have tasted, their hot sauce has a bit of a curry hit that makes it stand out. I've never had a bad shawarma or falafel from them.

                        I have found Ibrahim to be very solid but agree with VV that they can be salty from time to time.

                        Avoid Farhat! Oh how the mighty have fallen.

                        I've found Nasib's to be a little bland, and when Shawarma Empire is just a few doors down I have to give them a pass.

                        I have been meaning to try out Ali Baba, which I plan on doing tomorrow. If it's any good I'll definitely report back.

                        1. re: Dr Butcher

                          Spend your calories elsewhere. I found Ali Baba to be comically bad. Hoser style shawarma I thought.

                          Empire is is pleasantly but strongly spiced; a bit boring after a while. The pita is small and hard to load up with salads. But quite OK.

                          At Nasib it is a struggle which I largely lose to load up the pita with salad, even in the summer when veg are cheap. Part is the Lebanese style, part is chintziness.

                          1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                            I don't know what Ali Baba's you went to - the franchises are not all the same in quality at all.

                            The one in Parkdale is my fave in the city - loaded up with those onions and sumac!

                            1. re: Sui_Mai

                              Yes, I like the in Parkdale too. One of the best chicken shwarama i've had in a while and his lentil soup is great.

                            2. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                              Today was my first time trying out any of those places on that strip of Lawrence. Because it was Family Day they were all closed (cripes) - except Nasib's. So Nasib’s it was.

                              I liked it. It was pretty good. I'm not sure if I'll have dreams about it but definitely serviceable. I could've used some more chicken in the pita, it was slightly wanting in that regard, and the chicken could've used a touch more flavour somehow, but generally I was pretty happy. The owner and staff were really very nice too. Next time I'll hit Shawarma Empire or Ibrahim's.

                              Oh yeah, does anyone know how the 2 shawarma for $7 works at Nasib's? My friend and I each got a shawarma but when it came time to pay the bill we were charged the individual price $4.99 each as we paid for our meals individually. What is the deal with that??? Are the 2 shawarmas for $7 on smaller pitas or something?? I'm not sure why were charged the individual price when we purchased two shawarmas at the same time…. Unless ours were bigger than the ones on special (still a very fair price though so no complaints but certainly curious).

                              1. re: magic

                                If you paid individually, then why would you pay $7 for only 1 shawarma? if you wanted the discount, only one of you should have paid for both shawarmas and not individually.

                                This applies to all the shawarma joints with a 2-for-$X deal on Lawrence.

                                1. re: epsilontau

                                  Yep, we should've done that. I thought that before I paid, but I still thought we'd get the discounted price since they were both ordered, shaved from the spit, and prepared at the same time and we were obviously together. But yes, next time I will do that.

                                  Honestly though, to me it still seems silly that we weren’t given the $7 deal. I mean... talk about splitting hairs! Yeesh. But yes, next time I will order and pay for both at the same time. My friend will just sit at the table I guess.

                                  Also, we didn't pay $7 for one. We paid $4.99 for one. Like I wrote.

                                  1. re: magic

                                    No worries magic, I mistyped my comment. But yes, just pretend it's a date or something and that one of you will pay for both :)

                                    1. re: epsilontau

                                      Yeah, for sure will do that next time. Thanks :)