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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 :)

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        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.

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            Yakamoz
            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.
                  http://www.restaurantica.com/on/scarb...

                  -----
                  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.
                    VVM

                    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.
                          VVM

                          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 :)

                  2. The shawarma at Medina in the food court at Sherway Gardens is quite good. Not in Toronto, but Paramount Food 1290 Crestlawn Drive in Mississauga is an authentic place for all sorts of Middle Eastern Food.

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: Marniee

                      terrible shawarmas at Paramount though

                      Baklava's and other pastries seem to be some of the best in the GTA though, thats for sure

                      1. re: duckdown

                        Can you compare the baking to Patisserie Royale's, in the opposite end of town, Scarborough?

                        1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                          Sorry, I never go to Scarborough.. Never been to patisserie royale

                          1. re: duckdown

                            Wife and I were at Babaz on Islington a week or two ago and were impressed...fellows working there are Egyptian....wife says if they have pickled turnip then they are good to go in her books and they did...mujederah too...had a beef shawarma that we split and was literally 4x2" in diameter stuffed with everything but the kitchen sink and was probably the third best we have had after Falafel World Bloor W. V. and Shawarma Kingdom in Windsor.

                            1. re: ebay3392

                              I love Falafel World at Bloor & Jane... one of the only places in the GTA to get an all-white meat shawarma

                              I don't usually get the beef shawarma though... not to mention places that call it beef shawarma is often veal just so you know

                              I've been to Babaz and it was okay, seemed kind of fast-foodish to me though.. only been once or twice though

                              1. re: duckdown

                                The one time I went to Falafel World, I left hungry. If I recall correctly, the chicken shawarma sandwich was tasty enough, but it was only about the size of a soda can, despite being more expensive than a lot of other places. I'm not a two sandwich kind of guy (too much pita) so I was left scavenging for a filler item at the nearby bakeries. Can someone tell me if this was a fluke and if I should give them another try?

                                1. re: Humbucker

                                  I'll agree with your take on the size, although I'd equate their sandwiches more with a tall-boy beer can than a regular soda can. Bloor West is not an inexpensive area of the city so I'm not surprised that their prices are higher than analagous locations in other parts of the city. All that aside, I think their falafel is particularly good, the sandwiches are well made and the staff is always friendly and works hard to please.

                              2. re: ebay3392

                                Went to Babaz on Islington to try it out. The pitas taste of freezer burn, the "shawarma" chicken is some stewed/sauteed thing with onions, the sauce is mayonnaise, the pickled turnips have gone limp.

                                As someone who grew up going to Basha in Montreal, this is just sad.

                      2. Suggest Anoush: It's at the food court in Cumberland Terrace (yonge and bloor) or Falafel House also at Yonge and Bloor.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: grubgal

                          I love Anoush. My buddy and I go all the time and we're pretty chummy with the owner, who is a complete legend and Cumberland foodcourt player. We're convinced he's Marcelino (from the Seinfeld rooster episode) or his twin brother.

                        2. Ryerson student staple - Pita Land. Although I'm sure there was called something else before the name change. On Gerrard, east of Jarvis.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: ayl

                            Pita Land was previously called La Zeez, yes.

                            Love it there.

                            1. re: magic

                              Nooooooooooooooooo way

                              You LOVE pita land?!?! the ex-la zeez??

                              if they're anything like the La Zeez's here in Brampton/Sauga that switched to Pita Land, they're as terrible as ever...

                              1. re: duckdown

                                Hmm, never even heard of the West end one.

                                The one on Gerrard is awesome.

                                1. re: magic

                                  I love the shawarma at Pita Land (4901 Steeles Avenue West) It's like crack and probably just as good for you. I can't imagine what would happen if I were to have a "real" shawarma. Thank God it's hard to find the white meat variety in TO.

                                  1. re: mactoo

                                    The only one I've been to is the Gerrard one. It rocks.

                                    1. re: magic

                                      Oh I agree with you Magic - they are sooo good! Pita Land - I usually get the chicken shawarma dinner plate and they are so generous with me. My boyfriend and I are addicted to their food, he just hates parking there as there are so many hookers :( But AMAZING FOOD!

                          2. Can someone please describe what makes an Ottawa shawarma so uniquely delicious?
                            I'm also not familiar with Montreal shawarmas. Actually, on my infrequent visits to Mtl,, shawarma is not high on my radar.

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: Yongeman

                              I know I will catch flak for this, but to me, most of the places I visit and love when in Montreal are Lebanese owned.. and Lebanese shawarma uses white meat (almost impossible to find a white meat shawarma in the GTA.. i know of maybe 2-3 places only) then they marinate the hell out of it and get a good char on the outside of the chicken before they shave it off... not to mention the garlic sauce they make (toum i think they call it) is obviously guarded like a family secret... so good

                              1. re: duckdown

                                DD that doesn't sound much different than most shawarmas here in TO. I actually prefer the juicier dark meat, or a white/dark mix. So I still don't know what all the fuss is about. Thanks, though.

                                1. re: Yongeman

                                  yes everyone on this board seems to be in love with the dark meat
                                  i think its cheap and greasy and makes for an inferior shawarma

                                  1. re: duckdown

                                    To me, it's like choosing a fatty cut of meat to smoke (brisket or pork shoulder). A shawarma is somewhat slow-cooked, and benefits (in my mind) from the extra moistness provided when at least some of the chicken includes dark meat. On the other hand, most of my family prefers the drier breast meat. To each their own, I suppose. At least I get a substantial portion when we cook a whole chicken at home.

                                    1. re: Yongeman

                                      A good shawarma has thin strata of beef fat throughout; beef and lamb shawarma also have a clod of fat on top . You only see the strata before the spit has gone around much.
                                      VVM

                                      1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                                        I'm pretty sure I saw caul fat being added between the layers of the beef shawarma at Ibrahim's when the gent in the back was making up a new spit one time.

                            2. I also spent all summer looking for a good shawarma place around U of T.
                              My personal favourite is Pita Q (two locations: Bloor and Spadina and St Joseph and Yonge).
                              I can't say it's the best there is, but it's my favourite of about 6 places.
                              Owners in both locations are Lebanese, and their chicken shawarma sandwiches are identical. Generous chicken servings, pickled turnips and tons of veggies, garlic sauce, hummous, and tahini sauce.
                              They also put the stuffed pita in a panini press before handing it to you, so it's warm and crispy. Some people don't like this, but I do.
                              The price is good - around 6$ including tax for a chicken shawarma sandwich and a pop. I've been to Sara's and Ghazale's, and in both places I paid more for dryer, stingier pitas.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: molly82

                                I've also done a Toronto shawarma/falafel taste-off, trying almost twenty places. Pita Q is also one of my favorites, along with Milo's and Ala Turque. The thing that makes Pita Q awesome is the panini press. I love it when they're really busy and my sandwich gets left in the press too long; the pita becomes crispy like a giant pita chip. The downside on Pita Q is there is some variability depending on who makes your sandwich.

                                1. re: Humbucker

                                  I'm a chowhound from Minneapolis.

                                  About a year ago, I had what I thought was a pretty terrific shwarma at Farhat, but many TO hounds are writing that Farhat has gone downhill in the last year.

                                  I'm coming back to TO next week and would like to get a good Shwarma. I like the lamb and/or beef more than chicken. I do not like what passes for Shwarma in Minneapolis. Here it's the disk of ground lamb I really think of as 'gyro meat.'

                                  The shwarma at Farhat was slices of lamb, marinated then skewered with a big chunk of fat at the top. They also used charcoal instead of electric heat. Added pickled turnips and some parsley, no lettuce, no tomato, and pressed it in a panini press.

                                  Can I find what I'm seeking at Pita Q or Milo's or Ala Turque?

                                  1. re: JimGrinsfelder

                                    Sorry, but no. All three place use the standard electric cookers. I would especially avoid Pita Q's beef shawarma, which was pretty gristly.

                              2. Just tried Milo's Pita for the first time - WOW. Best Lebanese meal I've had since my visit to Dubai two years ago. Having grown up in Montreal I have pretty high standards for Lebanese, and Milo's just rocked it. Grilled-to-order kafta, tastiest chicken shawarma I've eaten since I was in Dubai two years ago, everything housemade with obvious pride and love including toum sauce. Really spectacular, I hope the place succeeds.

                                1. Grill 4u, Queens Quay & Lower Simcoe, by Harbourfront Center. Best fast food at the Harbourfront. Both Shawarmas and Falafels are top notch with all right toppings.

                                  1. After trying about four places, a couple of them recommended as some of Toronto's best, I decided that I had been ruined by Ottawa shawarma and would best just wait until I was back up visiting before enjoying shawarmas again. (Not that the Toronto stuff was awful, but it wasn't very good, either.) Now I'm back and surrounded by great offerings.

                                    1. I've been to Aremenian Kitchen and the Swarma was excellent. Not as good as Cedar Grill in Newmarket but still.....
                                      Ebay, the wife is adicted to the pickled turnips at Cedar Grill. So your wife is not alone.

                                      There's a place at Redpath and Eglinton that was terrible. I don't remember the name.

                                      DT

                                      1. I love Quick Pita (I believe it is called) right downtown near the clubs (almost Queen and University but just off on a side street). The guy there always hooks me up with free Tabouli when I go after a night of drinking and their Shwarma's always hit the spot.

                                        1. Check out Empire. It is at Bloor West and Rusholme (near dovercourt... but in between dufferin/bloor and ossington/bloor intersections).

                                          it is my favourite in Toronto

                                          1. I’ve been on a bit of a chicken shawarma binge over the last five to six weeks and have eaten at the five places below.

                                            First, for me the making of a good shawarma includes a wide variety of items for inside the pita and hot sauce that actually has some bite!

                                            For this post unless otherwise stated the sandwiches include the standard toppings – lettuce, tomato, garlic sauce, tahini, and hot sauce.

                                            Nora Shawarma – Spadina south of Richmond
                                            - second fav new stop in this shawarma binge. The chicken was tasty and had lots of little crispy bit. They topping were plentiful – including picked cabbage and radish, pickles and onions.

                                            Wrap and Roll (Formerly Red and White) – Yonge south of Wellesley
                                            - this place has been my standard since it was red and white and I keep going back. Why do I like it so much? Tasty chicken always off the spit. Hot sauce with bite and any topping I would like including tabouli, pickles, hot peppers, pickled radish, red and white cabbage salad, spiced onions, and hummus in addition to the garlic sauce without any extra charge.

                                            Yummi - Yonge north of Wellesley
                                            - after reading recommendation for this place on the board I gave it a try on Monday. I really wish I hadn’t. There wasn’t anything about this shawarma that I like. The chicken was soggy. The pits was too thick and too small, the hot sauce might as well been red water as it had zero flavour.

                                            Milo – AMC Dundas food court
                                            - again after reading about Milo’s on the board I decided to give it a try. I wasn’t at all disappointed. The chicken was fresh and tasty. The garlic sauce was crazy garlicky think and creamy and oh so good! I wish it was a little less pricey and I wish that I didn’t have to pay a dollar extra for hummus but other than that – very good overall.

                                            Shawarma King – Eaton’s centre food court
                                            - last night I was running some errands and decided to give the place a try. I pretty sure I tried it years ago when I worked in one of the office buildings but I couldn’t say for sure. Now I know why – it was not at all memorable in any way. The chicken was bland, the hot sauce was anything but hot and they only had the standard toppings on offer. Boring to say the least.

                                            13 Replies
                                            1. re: JennaBean

                                              great list!

                                              totally agree with you about shawarma king-it's not that good.

                                              I will try wrap and roll and nora sometime.

                                              1. re: JennaBean

                                                Any rec's for Yummi are stale-dated.

                                                1. re: JennaBean

                                                  So I have to provide an update I'm not at all happy with. Yesterday I went to Wrap and Roll to get my shawarma fix and it was TERRIBLE. Not just bad, but terrible. The chicken was cold and fatty. The hot sauced lacked any flavour or heat as did the garlic sauce. The toppings were still good, fresh and plentiful but everything else was a HUGE let down.

                                                  This has been my go to place for a while now and I'm hoping that it was just an off day. :-(

                                                  1. re: JennaBean

                                                    Ali's King Falafel at King and Bathurst is my personal favourite.

                                                    1. re: JennaBean

                                                      Went back to Milo's for the first time in about two months and it was well, just ok. I'm totally bummed and I hope that this was just an off day. As well, there was a small handmade sign indicating that not only is hummus a dollar extra tabouli is now as well. It is becoming a rather expensive sharwarma options.

                                                      1. re: JennaBean

                                                        an extra DOLLAR for ground up chickpeas? AND an extra one for tabouli? super lame, I wont be visiting

                                                        1. re: duckdown

                                                          I don't blame you but I'm a bit addicted and it tends to be the best places on my way home. If only the shawarmas gods would be kind and open something passable in my hood.... You hear that shawarma gods come to Riverside!!!

                                                      2. re: JennaBean

                                                        I want to add one more to your list, if I may.
                                                        Shawarma Max on Yonge St. north of Sheppard Ave.
                                                        The service is not that great but the food is.

                                                        -----
                                                        Shawarma Max
                                                        4969 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M2N5N6, CA

                                                        1. re: Jolinda

                                                          Shawarma Max is boring... Stale crusty ass pita shells, wilted lettuce, boring sauces (the hot is franks red hot I think).. And they stick your pita wrap, already wrapped in plastic wrap, inside the pita press for .2 seconds as if it's going to do anything.

                                                          You should be able to do *much* better than this!

                                                          -----
                                                          Shawarma Max
                                                          4969 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M2N5N6, CA

                                                          1. re: duckdown

                                                            I must lucked out with fresh lettuce and lots of fillings. I had no issues with the pita bread either. I will go back one more time and share my experience again.

                                                            1. re: duckdown

                                                              Shawarma Max doesn't even own a press... and the vegetables are always fresh (they do a lot of business daily, so wilted lettuce and stale pita would be a difficult feat... in fact they do so much business there are now two locations, both within walking distance of each other!).

                                                              Perhaps you were thinking of another restaurant?

                                                              -----
                                                              Shawarma Max
                                                              4969 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M2N5N6, CA

                                                            2. re: Jolinda

                                                              Shawarma Max is not good. low quality ingredients and poor preparation.

                                                              -----
                                                              Shawarma Max
                                                              4969 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M2N5N6, CA

                                                              1. re: shekamoo

                                                                Yea I tried it once based on a reco from here - not good. Will not recommend.

                                                          2. Probably the best Shawarma this side of Tulkarem. They are from Tulkarem in Israel.
                                                            The flavour is Egyptian for sure.
                                                            Does anyone have their recipes fo their hot sauce????

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

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: FresserBesser

                                                              My understanding is that Tulkarm is not in Israel, the operators are Jordanian and the flavours are Lebanese, - pleasant but done so heavily that they can quickly become boring. They use a very small Plaestine style pita and it is hard to fit much in, particularly salad. Other than that, the shawarma is pretty good.

                                                              I prefer Ibrahim, further east . The cook is Lebanese, uses a Lebanese style pita, the salads are good and you can fill up the sandwich. It is a big sandwich. Prices have gone up, now $4.49, the twofer is a couple dollars cheaper. Bring a friend

                                                              I ignore the cooked food.- Tagine a few doors away is very good. I do ask for a piece of potato in my shawarma, but refuse hot sauce, garlic yoghurt and toasting. There are enough flavours, and nice ones, in the sandwich. The pit a is fresh and toasting it just takes away its taste.

                                                              Abdullah, the owner of Ibrahim, is Moroccan, and shawarma is Lebanese , not Moroccan but his is the best this side of Istanbul (that I have had.)
                                                              VVM

                                                              1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                                                                I agree with Vinnie that Ibrahim is the current leader on the Lawrence E. strip. The flavours are excellent, although I do have mine with all the sauces. The shawarmas are quite substantial, too. It's only a couple of dollars more to get a second one, but that involves a substantial amount of food.

                                                            2. I highly recommend Mashu Mashu.

                                                              This Forest Hill Village spot is better known for their salads and other vegetarian fare (best falafels!), but they also do a very good chicken shawarma. It's the aroma that reels you in. Usually moist (caveat: there have been a couple of times it's been a bit dry, but the tahini sauce deals with that quite well) and seasoned without being too salty, with lovely roasted crusty bits, and great fresh toppings. For spice lovers, add some tasty harrissa-type hot sauce, but get it on the side, it packs a wallop. They also make my favourite babaganoush in the city; very smoky and garlicky, and the cumin-laced beet salad is great.

                                                              -----
                                                              Mashu Mashu
                                                              387 Spadina Rd, Toronto, ON M5P, CA

                                                              1. Not sure if it was mentioned but I love Sana's Kitchen in Kensington Market - 251 Augusta Avenue. They have a jumbo chicken shawarma for $7.00 that's very large and super tasty with loads of toppings.

                                                                1. I lived in Toronto for three years, moved away in June, and I never found a suitable Shawarma place that got even close to an Ottawa Shawarma place. I feel your pain.

                                                                  22 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Navan

                                                                    What is it exactly that makes an Ottawa shawarma so stellar? I asked this question earlier in the thread, but didn't really get any clarification. C'mon Ottawa...let's hear it.

                                                                    1. re: Yongeman

                                                                      Other than it allows them to dump on Toronto.

                                                                      DT

                                                                      1. re: Yongeman

                                                                        More consistently good product (better bread, better spicing, better fillings). Many more Lebanese in Ottawa than in TO who, in my estimation, make the best shawarma. Same situation in Montreal.

                                                                        1. re: grandgourmand

                                                                          gg, as you know I very much respect your opinion. I have to ask, though, have you made the pilgrimage to Shawarma Empire?

                                                                          1. re: Googs

                                                                            Thanks for the compliment.

                                                                            I have not yet tried Shawarma Empire. I will, though, and report back. What's the deal with their pita? It's a different style, from the sounds of it.

                                                                      2. re: Navan

                                                                        I've explained the problem with GTA shawarma's 10 million times but nobody listens, so I'm not doing it again :)

                                                                        I whole heartedly agree there isn't a SINGLE good place in this city that I've found yet.. There are "decent" ones and tons of "terrible" ones but none good or great really.. I will agree with that 100%.. Montreal and Ottawa are leagues ahead IMO

                                                                        My personal favorite in the GTA is Agabi's in Oakville but its distinctly a "GTA" type shawarma, nothing like I've ever found in MTL or OTT and not as good (this is all IMO of course)

                                                                        don't even get me started on the lack of chicken gyros also! :)

                                                                        1. re: duckdown

                                                                          Hey duckdown, I realize you weren't responding to my thread, but this is the general type of response that I'm seeing...blah, blah, blah about Toronto's shawarma scene, but no real info about Ottawa's 'superior' shawarmas. Still waiting....

                                                                          1. re: Yongeman

                                                                            I can't say that I'm a shawarma expert, but I think that the garlic sauce and pickled turnips commonly used in Ottawa may make the difference, plus the fact that they usually toast the sandwiches, and that everything seems to be generally fresher. Maybe it's because most restaurant owners there are Lebanese?

                                                                            I actually had a very acceptable chicken shawarma sandwich at Villa Madina at Vaughan Mills over the weekend. They have the garlic sauce and turnips. I checked their website and it looks like they have several locations in and outside the GTA. http://villamadina.com/

                                                                            1. re: itsvince

                                                                              Thanks for the reply, itsvince, but many spots here in TO have pickled turnips, garlic sauce, and toast the shawarma. I'm thinking of Ibrahim on Lawrence E. which does all 3 components, I believe.

                                                                              1. re: Yongeman

                                                                                That they do, although I wish they'd use better turnips. They also have more salads to put on the sandwich than any of the other places I've tried, and their hot sauce is chunky, green, and tastes like actual chiles. I avoid the places that only have lettuce, tomato, and (cucumber) pickles to put on the sandwich, or that seem to just use Frank's Red Hot as their hot sauce.

                                                                                If I remember correctly, one of duckdown's big sticking points is that he wants all white meat. I don't know any places that do that, but I happen to prefer dark meat, so I haven't sought them out.

                                                                            2. re: Yongeman

                                                                              Well, I will tell you a big part of it but the reason I didn't want to is because everyone here disagrees...

                                                                              a big part of the difference, you ask? marinated WHITE MEAT for the chicken.. a true Lebanese style shawarma is white meat only.. Now before you go and give me the whole "Ohh! but white meat is dry! I like dark meat better! It's juicier!" I just want to say that is a fallacy; yes white meat can dry out easier but there is no reason it HAS to be dry. The white meat with a strong flavored marinade really allows the marinade to be tasted more than if you're using dark meat, which doesn't seem to absorb the marinade as well in my opinion.. You will notice almost all of the fan favorites in MTL are white meat only or at least mostly white with some dark.. Boustan, Basha, Amir all come to mind.. but that isn't the only thing.. Lots of places in MTL/Ottawa at least use both white and dark; but the trend in the GTA is dark _ONLY_ which often makes for a cheap, gristly, fatty sandwich that I am so not a fan of. Ever seen an Ibrahim's shawarma after its been allowed to cool down? Say, taking it out of the fridge and going to nuke it the next day? it's disgusting congealed fatty chicken

                                                                              Then, let's get to the pita bread and garlic sauce (or Toum I believe its called in arabic...) The GTA trend is using supermarket bagged pitas and wrapped up, and occasionally the odd place might stick it in a george foreman grill or pita press.. Well my favorite places in MTL are toasted on a charcoal grill after to give some nice crispness and char flavor to the pita. The garlic sauce in the GTA is often a runny, diluted yogurt-and-oil based thin sauce that is nothing like the real deal if you ask me

                                                                              Of course what it all comes down to is just one persons opinion of whats better vs. another, but I personally, am not content with a single shawarma place in the GTA that I've tried yet... Some are decent but none are good or great, and I'm sticking to it :)

                                                                              cheers

                                                                              1. re: duckdown

                                                                                Other than the fact that they use thighs, I think Cedar Grill will fit the bill for you. The one I had had a great garlic sauce. The pitas are made fresh by a baker. It was put on the grill for charring.

                                                                                DT

                                                                                -----
                                                                                Cedar Grill
                                                                                16655 Yonge St, Newmarket, ON L3X1V6, CA

                                                                                1. re: Davwud

                                                                                  Sounds very promising -- I'm not anti-dark meat by any means it's just one factor that plays in my favoritism towards MTL/Ottawa shawarma's

                                                                                  I really want to try this place... Hell, if we don't get a meet scheduled there soon I might just have to look for an excuse to make the hike out there by myself :)

                                                                                  But I'm hoping we can arrainge a meet up there, even if its not large

                                                                                  cheers!

                                                                                2. re: duckdown

                                                                                  That's more like it, duckdown. Thanks. Grilled over charcoal would be amazing. In terms of the pita and garlic sauce, many places use the pitas that you might be able to buy in a middle eastern 'supermarket', like Nasr or Arz. As for the garlic sauce, I agree that it's usually runny enough to use in a squirt bottle, but I don't think I've seen yogurt in it. When you add water to the oil/lemon/garlic emulsion that is toum, it tends to turn whiter. Maybe sometimes it's too runny, though.

                                                                                  -----
                                                                                  Rami's
                                                                                  1996 Lawrence Ave E, Toronto, ON M1R, CA

                                                                                  Arz
                                                                                  1909 Lawrence Ave E, Toronto, ON M1R, CA

                                                                                  1. re: Yongeman

                                                                                    :)

                                                                                    Ah, I wasn't actually sure on what regular "garlic sauce" was made with, I just know that my local shawarma/falafel stop here in Brampton (Falafel Garden on Kennedy) is actually Iranian-owned and theirs is definitely a yogurt base.. The reason I love this place so much is not because its local to me, but because they use all white meat and also have a really unique "slaw" which is one of the things Boustan in Montreal is famous for (their thick garlic sauce, and their great slaw topping, and the charcoal grilling)... If you ever visit Brampton, I highly reccomend it.. although their garlic sauce is thin and squeeze bottled and not charcoal grilled, it's still a quality sandwich

                                                                                    Good info though, thanks

                                                                                    Cheers!

                                                                                    1. re: duckdown

                                                                                      Have you tried Milo's Pita duckdown? The garlic sauce there is great.

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

                                                                                      1. re: haggisdragon

                                                                                        I was going to say - I'm from Montreal and Boustan is my favourite spot there. But Milo's Pita gives it a run for its money, and the garlic sauce is better than anything I've eaten in Montreal. I seem to remember it being all white meat as well.

                                                                                        Duckdown, if you haven't tried Milo's, you need to. Ask him to put your pita on the charcoal grill to toast, I'm sure he'll do it if he doesn't already (I forget).

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

                                                                                        1. re: childofthestorm

                                                                                          Actually it's funny you two mention it; I have heard ALOT about Milo's pita and would love to try it.. But the location and very light hours (to my understanding) makes it near impossible for a Brampton suburbanite to get to.. Especially since it's in a food court in the busiest section of downtown TO.. I mean, I drive ridiculous distances for food, including downtown often, but only when I can easily park and go in and go back to m y car.. the whole ordeal of parking lots, walking through a busy mall and racing back to my car to beat rush hour and stuff.. nearly impossible, or at least a pain in the ass

                                                                                          It really does sound good though.. bummer

                                                                                          1. re: duckdown

                                                                                            Unless you work or live downtown going there is tough if you are not on the TTC. I drive so paying for parking and everything just to go there.... it's a shlep I'll tell you. I liked it, but not sure it was worth the shlep. And I'm no stranger to shelpping for good eats.

                                                                                            1. re: duckdown

                                                                                              There's a Green P right under Yonge and Dundas Square, so if you're looking for takeout, it's really only going to cost you like a buck to run in and out. Plus there is often parking open on Victoria St. The "mall" that it's in is dead half the time, so it's not like braving the Eaton Centre...take the escalator to the 3rd floor and you're there.

                                                                                        2. re: duckdown

                                                                                          I was disappointed many years ago when I ordered falafel at a fast food place in Montreal . . . went by the picture thought it was going to be meat. I live off of Kennedy Rd. Heart Lake area never had shawarma . . . what would you have my wife and I try? We have no fear.

                                                                                          What is shawarma?

                                                                              2. Just tried "Spinners Sandwich Co", a new slightly upscale fast food place just south of Yonge and St. Clair.

                                                                                I was excited that they used some traditional conventions (ie. fries in the pita like I had it in Greece), but everything else was disappointing. Meat was room temp at best, ingredients were plain and uninspired, mediocre selection of sauces.

                                                                                Overpriced for what you get.

                                                                                1. Does anyone know of good shawarmas in the Coxwell & Danforth area??

                                                                                  9 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: katbri

                                                                                    I've notice a relatively newish place called Sultan at Main & Danforth as I drive by. Anyone tried the shawarmas there?

                                                                                    1. re: JamieK

                                                                                      I have been to Sultan and the food there is good but, not exceptional the garlic sauce is flavourful but runny, the hot sauce not hot at all. Having said that they have a nice selection of fresh toppings including pickled beets, the falafal seems to be quite popular (I'm not a fan) and the chicken shawarmas plate is plentiful and satifying in a pinch.

                                                                                      1. re: sandi123

                                                                                        It's quite entertaining reading this stuff about what constitutes a great shawarma, not just here but in Ottawa and Montreal. In point of fact nobody from any middle eastern country would give any of them the time of day for one simple reason: No lamb! I have had variations on the meat in bread theme in several countries, including Lebanon and Turkey and I don't ever recall coming across beef as an option and chicken only once and that was in Greece in the form of a gyros. No shawarma in Canada is even close to authentic, so the whole argument comes down to personal preference really. If Torontonians prefer their shawarmas a certain way, then that is a Toronto shawarma and correct for Toronto, ditto for Ottawa and Montreal. Of course, an Albertan donair is just a crime by anyone's standards, but that's another argument.

                                                                                        1. re: munchieHK

                                                                                          Ha ha, good points, munchieHK. A long time ago (well, not that long, but it seems like it was), Farhat made wonderful shawarmas, including lamb. It seems to have gone steadily downhill and people don't go there anymore. Something about sharing that plaza with Nasr Foods.

                                                                                          -----
                                                                                          Rami's
                                                                                          1996 Lawrence Ave E, Toronto, ON M1R, CA

                                                                                          Farhat
                                                                                          2020 Lawrence Ave E, Toronto, ON M1R2Z1, CA

                                                                                          1. re: munchieHK

                                                                                            Hey Everybody:

                                                                                            Can someone give me a review of falafels and shawarmas at Akrams in the Kensington Market?

                                                                                            Thanks.

                                                                                        2. re: JamieK

                                                                                          We have falafels at Sultan weekly and they are quite good - the secret is to be very specific with the toppings. The hot sauce is definately hot enough. I've had a chicken shawarma occasionally and it was fine but I'm no expert.
                                                                                          Marie

                                                                                          1. re: JamieK

                                                                                            Do you have an address? Thanks!

                                                                                            1. re: katbri

                                                                                              The Sultan shawarma/falafel place is on the northeast corner of Main & Danforth, right on the intersection.

                                                                                        3. Tasty Shawarma - Pharmacy/Sheppard - imo better than average shawarmas ... at a very good price. A for value

                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Zee007

                                                                                            I don't really agree with that opinion. It's around $6 for 1 shawarma there, and I feel it's not as tasty as Shawarma Empire, Nasib's, nor Ibrahim. Each of those 3 places charge roughly $7 (or $6 for SE) for 2 shawarmas.

                                                                                            I guess if you can literally average out the taste of all shawarma places in the GTA, then it's possible that Tasty Shawarma is better than that average. However, unless your transportation options are limited, I'd rather head down to the Pharmacy and Lawrence area for shawarma.

                                                                                            1. re: kwong

                                                                                              Not sure why you would inflate Tasty Shawarma's prices ?!? It's $4.25 + tax for Beef or Chicken sandwich. They also have a special during the evenings 2 for $6.98. It's really irresponsible to inflate a price by that much??? I passed by today just to be sure. I don't think you've ever been there. I will no longer take any advice you have to offer.

                                                                                              1. re: Zee007

                                                                                                Wow, that's harsh. People do make mistakes, and I apologize for not being right about this.

                                                                                                I've definitely been there, but it was at least 3-4 months ago (maybe even 6+). I'll go again to give them a fair shake, but they definitely did not have that deal in the evenings when I went last time.

                                                                                                And without a doubt, I did not enjoy it as much as the places I've listed, but if they've improved, I'll come back and post that too... not that you care what I think. =)

                                                                                            2. re: Zee007

                                                                                              I went to the new place, Family Shawarma, that opened up in the plaza beside Tasty Shawarma.

                                                                                              It's on Sheppard, just east of Pharmacy.

                                                                                              The prices were cheap, but I think it's their Grand Opening specials, which run for another month or so.
                                                                                              Essentially it was any sandwich for $2.99 or 2/$5.49.
                                                                                              I went near closing time on the weekend so the only shawarma that was left was Veal. It was good, much leaner then the fatty junk you get at some of the other places in the city.
                                                                                              Toppings were pretty standard, but he has a cabbage slaw that adds nice texture to the sandwich. They put it into the panini press after, so it came out nice'n'crispy.

                                                                                              For the price it's one of the better shawarmas I've had in the GTA. I'm not sure how much higher his prices will go afterwards, but check this out if you're in the area.

                                                                                              1. re: pakmode

                                                                                                I just tried out Family Shawarma. I know I said that I'd try out Tasty Shawarma again when I got the chance, but with a place across the street that's selling 2 for $5.49, I just couldn't justify passing on it! =) I'll try Tasty Shawarma again in the future at some point.

                                                                                                Anyways, at Family Shawarma, I got the veal shawarma, and the chicken shawarma. I didn't really enjoy the cabbage-slaw, but overall, it had the same approximate flavor that Nasib's did. I think the Family Shawarma shawarma was slightly less hot than the Nasib one (not that either one is all that high on the Scoville scale).

                                                                                                All in all, out of the places that are in a 10-20 kilometre radius from my neighborhood that I've tried, I think I like Shawarma Empire the most, followed by Nasib's, then Ibrahim's, then Family Shawarma, then the rest are a distant 5th. The taste distances between Nasib's, Ibrahim's, and Family Shawarma to me are very small.

                                                                                                -----
                                                                                                Nasib's
                                                                                                1867 Lawrence Ave E, Toronto, ON M1R2Y3, CA

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

                                                                                                Ibrahim
                                                                                                1967 Lawrence Ave E, Toronto, ON M1R2Z2, CA

                                                                                                Tasty Shawarma
                                                                                                2993 Sheppard Ave E, Toronto, ON M1T3J5, CA

                                                                                            3. Funny! I thought was the only Ottawan that missed the shawarmas! I've had trouble finding good ones, but recently did have a good experience at the Chef's Door on Winston Churchill in Oakville. Tasted like home! If you're in the west end, I'd recommend dropping by this place.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: jon.russell1212

                                                                                                Really? I found Chefs Door to be average at best.. don't really like that thick, gummy garlic sauce they use either

                                                                                              2. Where can I find some decent Shawarma in/near the financial district? Is Anush Shawarma @ Blue Jay Way really the closest option?

                                                                                                Surely there are some options on the P.A.T.H.?

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: munkdogg

                                                                                                  There is, but the lineups are long enough already. Medina in Scotia food court, beside KFC. Most sandwiches are about $5.

                                                                                                  Good for food court fare: freshly cut meat always, good tomatoes, fresh parsley salad, pickled turnip and hummus and garlic sauce.

                                                                                                2. I tried to look for a post about Mississauga/Oakville shawarmas, but i couldnt...so i must tell you guys about Pita Nutsy. 3 locations: 1 in streestville, sauga, 2 in oakville on ford dr, and trafalgar. It is hands down the BEST Shawarmas i have ever tasted, and i have tried many in Toronto, Montreal, and even Europe...still the BEST!

                                                                                                  14 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: foodlovinpooch

                                                                                                    Pita Nutsy is booooooooooooooring.. old school. They were around right when the shawarma craze was taking off.. The guy in streetsville used to bring his shawarma oven right onto the street and play a bunch of loud arabic music that sounded like strangling cats...

                                                                                                    also, they've changed their name to Pita NutsO now, not nutsy but nutsO:
                                                                                                    http://pitanutso.com/

                                                                                                    also, they have 7 locations, including one in Brampton that changed its name

                                                                                                    to say it's better than Montreal shawarma is ridiculous.. no chance. It's just another crappy chain now, using all dark meat

                                                                                                    1. re: duckdown

                                                                                                      Where is the one in Brampton? I don't see a Brampton address on the website!

                                                                                                      1. re: CJ80

                                                                                                        They changed their name, its actually one of the original owners of the very first Pita Nutsy... They got in a fight though, and he opened his own place. It's called "Shawarma and Grill" but once you go there, you'll know its the same kind of place.

                                                                                                        It's at Hurontario & Fisherman, just north of Bovaird

                                                                                                      2. re: duckdown

                                                                                                        I agree with you duckdown 100%, I am an ex-Montrealer who has yet to find a decent
                                                                                                        shawarma in the GTA that would compare to Boustan, Abu-Elias or Amir in Montreal.
                                                                                                        For my tastes.

                                                                                                        I think a few key differences out here are the dark to white meat ratio,Gta shops use mostly dark meat ,where as in Montreal it is mainly breast.
                                                                                                        The meat seasonings are completely different ,Montreal uses a wet marinade for their meat, where as out here the places that I have gone to use a dry rub which produces a heavier flavor, to which not being use to I don't like.

                                                                                                        When you order a shawarma (shish taouk) sandwich in Montreal the meat is cut from the vertical broiler and your sandwich is made.The places that I have gone to out here when I order my sandwich the meat either comes from a warmer ,or is piled on a grill fryng in tons of oil waiting to be made a sandwich.Who knows when it was cut from the broiler.

                                                                                                        1. re: pxkid

                                                                                                          You nailed it, on every account. Especially regarding the breast meat & wet marinade. And don't forget about the great garlic sauce ("toum") and often charcoal-grilling of the sandwich (Boustan style) in Montreal... Theres nothing in the entire GTA I've found that even comes close

                                                                                                          1. re: duckdown

                                                                                                            I don't get it. I thought you two were talking about shawarmas. Then you agree on shish taouks. Which is it?

                                                                                                            I'm also unsure as to where you two find meat served from warmers. Where is that? Everywhere I go I'm served from, as pxkid refers to it, a vertical broiler or spit as I like to say.

                                                                                                            1. re: Googs

                                                                                                              Me too.

                                                                                                              I'd probably not like Montreal shawarmas as much since I much prefer dark meat to white meat. I also like a lot of spice to my meat.

                                                                                                              Perhaps it's more a product of what you've grown up with.

                                                                                                              DT

                                                                                                              Edit: Googs, from Wikipedia, "In Montreal, Quebec, Canada, the term shish taouk refers to a type of chicken shawarma, and not a skewered cubed chicken dish."

                                                                                                              1. re: Googs

                                                                                                                Falafel World keeps their shawarma meat on a steam table after its cooked on the spit. They say its because of high volume. My two favorite places so far (Yakamoz and Milos) shave it right off the spit for you.

                                                                                                                1. re: Googs

                                                                                                                  Yeah in Montreal they call chicken shawarma shish taouk due to some fundamental mistake when the cuisine was introduced there, except for Boustan (one of the best) who refuses to go along with this tragic error and calls his shawarma shawarma, and educates his clientele. I remember when he gave me the speech, years and years ago.

                                                                                                                  Honestly, the best in Toronto is Milo's, beautifully marinated white meat shaved from the spit and sauced with thick creamy white toum that is the equal to any I've eaten. Be nice to him and for sure he'll throw it on the grill for you before wrapping it up. Quibbling over a dollar more for such a thing of beauty seems crazy to me.

                                                                                                                  1. re: childofthestorm

                                                                                                                    I agree Milo's is good. However, once I add hummus and tabouli it is almost $10 for one shawarma. I don't mind paying for quality but that seems a bit over the top to me.

                                                                                                                  2. re: Googs

                                                                                                                    come on

                                                                                                                    You're trying to tell me GTA shawarma shops don't usually have the meat pre-shaved from the broiler and already in warming trays or on griddles? All of the most popular spots, around here at least, like Pita Nutsy, Osmows, Lourice, Ali Babas, Sarahs, Pita & Grill, and so on? Because yes, while the meat starts on the vertical spit, but unless theres constant business its always pre-shaved and in a warming bin, otherwise it would char to a crisp waiting for the next customer to order.. Maybe those few spots in Scarborough like Ibrahims or Shawarma Empire, you dont have that problem, but those couple spots in Scarborough certainly aren't the trend of all toronto shawarma shops..

                                                                                                                    I'm not really sure what else I wrote that youre confused about, other than that Shawarma and Shish-Taouk are (often incorrectly) referred to as the same thing.. places in Montreal can sometimes call it by both names. Although the owner of Boustan will give you sh*t if you make the mistake

                                                                                                                    I was agreeing on the quality, meat type, and style of marinade.

                                                                                                                    edit: Haha, someone beat me to the punch about Boustan and not succumbing to the shish taouk/shawarma confusion

                                                                                                                    1. re: duckdown

                                                                                                                      Here's what I do. If they attempt to give you meat from the warming tray, ask to have meat cut off the spit right in front of you. If they say no, walk out. It's is not usually an issue because most of the places I go to shave it off the spit in front of you (e.g. King Falafel at Bathurst and Eglinton - the best shawarma in town - by the way, Ali Baba on Queen in Parkdale, Ibrahim, etc.).

                                                                                                                      I used to go to Sarah a lot, but I think it's gone down hill since they started the warming tray business. I went in once and before I knew what was going on, they were filling my shawarma with pre-shaved beef from the tray. It is disgusting. It was dripping with so much grease that I was nearly sick. The next time I went in, I asked them to take it off the spit. She gave me a dirty look and said no. I walked out.

                                                                                                                      1. re: duckdown

                                                                                                                        Wow, I've never been to any of the places you just listed (the warming bin places). All the places that I go to are between Sheppard to Lawrence, Victoria Park to Warden and they all shave the meat off in front of you.

                                                                                                                        1. re: kwong

                                                                                                                          And I've never really been to any of those places in your area.. I'm in the west GTA and those seem to be the best in the west IMO

                                                                                                                          Agabi's is one of my favorites but they DO shave it off the spit and actually finish it in a saucepan under a salamander with some sauce, it's the most unique preperation I've ever seen in the GTA.. the chef is classical french trained. Montfort's is another popular chain in the west end of the GTA, they'll shave it off the spit on peak hours, but its in a bin in off-peak hours, then reheated on a hot griddle with oil :/

                                                                                                            2. My personal favourite is Falafel Queen at Queen and Bathurst. It's not fancy, but over time it won me over. The chicken is like bacon.

                                                                                                              1. Though I don't live in the area, I like to shop in Little Arabia, that strip of Lawrence Ave. east of the Don Valley Parkway, when I'm looking for Lebanese tehina, Syrian olives or apple-flavored tobacco for my narghile (waterpipe).

                                                                                                                I used to live in Israel, where the shawarma is good almost everywhere you go. And nowhere is it more delicious than in Haifa, where the competition is strong. There was one particular place - Amil's Shawarma - that was outstanding. After I moved to Toronto, I thought I'd never find another one like it. Most shawarmas along Lawrence Ave. are, I find, dry and with little taste, victims of assembly-line processing. Then I stumbled upon Nasib's.

                                                                                                                Nasib marinates his meats just right, at least to my taste. His choice of salads and sauces to add to the pita - I particularly like the tehina and the pickled mango - enrich the flavors of the chicken and the beef. His shawarma took me back to Haifa.

                                                                                                                Then I found out why it took me back. I discovered he's from Haifa himself, brought the classic Haifa shawarma recipe with him to Canada, and executed it right. It's the kind of shawarma I've been looking for.

                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. re: bigtimefresser

                                                                                                                  Oh this sounds wonderful! I'm no where near that area but I think a drive to that hood may be required in the near future!

                                                                                                                2. Lately, I've been going to the Israeli places in Thornhill for shawarma. Anybody else have any experience with them; how do they compare with the downtown, "Lawrence of Arabia" and Ottawa places?

                                                                                                                  1. I finally tried both Shawarma Empire and Ibrahim's in Scarborough.. I never had a reason to go that far east until I went away this weekend so I stopped both on the way there and on the way back, and since both are two for one me and the friend stopped for one of each on both trips.. Couldn't finish both of them completely so all things considered it's a really good deal for about 10 bucks per person

                                                                                                                    Thoughts... Both are really good, alot better than we have to offer in Brampton or Mississauga..

                                                                                                                    Shawarma Empire has that Indian style spicing to it, almost like the Montfort's or Agabi spiced shawarma, I like the small pita just wish they toasted it a little more. But it held the sauces and stuff inside pretty well without dripping all over the place. Mix of both white and dark meat but is thinly shaved so it works well together. Too many toppings of vegetables ruin the sandwich we both agreed because theres a huge buffer of dry vegetables with no sauces in the middle in between the top and bottom layers of meat. On my second trip I asked for just a couple pieces of lettuce and cucumber and it was way better.. "Spicy" wasn't overly spicy but flavorful, it looked like some kind of black spread they use from a little metal canister. And I like their square dicing of the cucumbers and vegetables. Also had a bite of the gf's falafel and it was pretty damn good too.

                                                                                                                    Ibrahim's.. I found it salty and other than the salt, bland.. Big sandwich for the price, no doubt about it, and I found their large wheel of shawarma on the burner to be quite impressive on the times I visited, however one thing that concerns me is that there was quite a bit pink chicken on the inside of my sandwich, where as at Shawarma Empire it was all nicely cooked.. In fact on our first visit to Shawarma Empire we had to settle for only 2 sandwiches because they said more chicken wasn't ready yet, which was still spinning away on the burner, which makes me think they really want it to be a certain level of doneness before they cut it. Ibrahim had some interesting toppings I guess, there was one that was kind of like a pickled slaw that was pretty tasty, not nearly as good as the slaw topping at Boustan in Montreal though. I like their large trays of rice and potatoes. We got a container of rice and it was gigantic, topped with garlic sauce and hot sauce. And their hot sauce is pretty interesting and unique too, some kind of green chile spread, very thick, not a sauce but a pickled puree or something. Better drinks selection at Ibrahim.

                                                                                                                    Both of these were solid recommendations and I can see why so many people like them. Beats pretty much anything we've got in Brampton I think, although I still think our Falafel Garden is underrated and more unique than most shawarma places, even if they do nuke the chicken sometimes

                                                                                                                    cheers!

                                                                                                                    -----
                                                                                                                    Agabi
                                                                                                                    134 Lakeshore Rd W, Oakville, ON L6K, CA

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

                                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: duckdown

                                                                                                                      Woo! Glad to see You finally got a chance to try these places duckdown. I agree with much of what you've said, except that I love my layer of veggies in between the meat at SE. I prefer SE of Ibrahim's. Will only go to Ibrahims if I'm craving shawarma on a monday, when SE is closed. BTW I've seen both places finishing their meat in big metal pans on the grill. This is something I hate to see, but it seems they only do it during the lunch rush, when there are often over ten people lined up, some of them ordering 6-10 wraps each.

                                                                                                                      1. re: haggisdragon

                                                                                                                        Thanks for the comment, haggisdragon :)

                                                                                                                        I am glad I finally got to try these places too, especially after hearing them be the topic of so many shawarma conversations over the years on these food forums

                                                                                                                        Good tip about SE being closed on Monday too, what a strange day to close. I figured since they were open on my return visit on Sunday as well, that it would be 7 days a week.

                                                                                                                        Luckily when I was at both places, on both visits, the meat was never being finished on the grill, but I know tons of places that cheat and do that, and I'm never a fan of that either. I guess lunch rush is indeed why, but I'd prefer they just had a stockpile ready sitting in a bowl vs. having to finish it over a flat top.

                                                                                                                        I'm curious about Nasib's and Alexandria's which were both within a stones throw from Shawarma Empire and I've heard mentioned on these forums before -- any good?

                                                                                                                        Thanks for the post, cheers!

                                                                                                                        -----
                                                                                                                        Nasib's
                                                                                                                        1867 Lawrence Ave E, Toronto, ON M1R2Y3, CA

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

                                                                                                                        1. re: duckdown

                                                                                                                          Ive finally tried Shawarma Empire today, and I gotta say it was delicious. 2 Shawarma for $5.99 is a great deal, and they are just the right size that I can handle both. I got the chicken and the beef. I thought the flavor of the meat was great, the garlic and tahini good and I liked the hot sauce. As mentioned, it wasnt really hot or anything, but I found it added a good flavor.

                                                                                                                          Now that Ibrahims raised their prices (2 for like 7.99 now, plus they charge for hummous), I think Ill get my Shawarma fix at SE from now on, unless its late at night, because Ibrahims is atleast open til like 12 or 1 or some late time. SE closes at 9:30 at the latest, so Ill have to make an effort to get there earlier!

                                                                                                                          I actually wasnt planning on it, I drove down to Queen and Coxwell to get a burger from Burger Priest, but the place was closed, and thankfully I remembered I wanted to check SE, and im glad I went there!

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

                                                                                                                          1. re: jmarcroyal

                                                                                                                            I really don't know which of Ibrahim or Shawarma Empire has the tastier shawarma (only tried SE once), but Ibrahim's is about 50% larger, so the price is just fine. Personally, I doubt that I could even taste if there was hummus on or not, since the rest of the toppings are so flavourful. I'm sticking with Ibrahim for the time being.

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

                                                                                                                            1. re: Yongeman

                                                                                                                              I dont know, the toppings dont seem too special at Ibrahims, mind you I dont get anything fancy. I found the pickles to be way too salty though...

                                                                                                                              As far as size, yea Ibrahims does have a bigger shawarma, but 1 isnt quite enough, 2 is way too much, but 2 shawarma at SE is perfect for me. Last time I went to ibrahims they charged $1 for Hummus and were going to charge me $1 to put half chicken/half beef in a shawarma, even though I was getting 2 so its the same amount of meat, just mixed up for flavor. Anyway, that peeved me, the charges seemed made up out of nowhere, and the chick just didnt understand that I wasnt asking for extra meat lol...

                                                                                                                              Anyway, On another note, I just tried Nasibs today for the first time, which is in the same strip as SE but a bit further east. I gotta say they had a damn good Shawarma too, I got the beef/chicken mix no problem, hummus no problem, the meat was great and the toppings were great as well. Id rank this pretty high, maybe tying it with SE for best Shawarma in Scarborough IMHO.

                                                                                                                              Ibrahims has been downgraded to a midnight snack as its really the only option open at that time in the area...

                                                                                                                              -----
                                                                                                                              Nasib's
                                                                                                                              1867 Lawrence Ave E, Toronto, ON M1R2Y3, CA

                                                                                                                    2. Just wanted to throw out a suggestion for hounds to try Liberty Shawarma in Liberty Village. Its at 114 Alantic Avenue and it is a fantastic shawarma/ Falafel place, by far the best Ive had in town from what ive tried and IMHO is far superior to what people consider the best in Ottawa. They make some seriously tasty food and I appreciate that they are also friendly. Its one of those places that makes me not want to branch out on where I'm eating regularly.

                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: mlukan

                                                                                                                        I am so glad somebody has metioned Liberty Shawarma. The chicken shawarma is equisite. You can order large and small and the small is huge and well-priced. The chicken has the perfect amount of crisp at the edges and the vegetables are all fresh and delicious. This place is nowhere near my house and I dream up reasons to go down to that area just to have a shawarma. My sister and her husband lived in Ottawa and were passionate about Shawarma. Eventually my brother-in-law persuaded someone at his favourite place to divulge the secret of the garlic sauce. The answer he got - potato. My brother started making some of this crazy sauce when he did Shawarma at home. It was amazing and had exactly the consistency of the Ottawa sauce.

                                                                                                                        1. re: sheckaminr

                                                                                                                          I've been really lucky on this board lately. I'm going to the village for lunch next week, and this is perfect. Thanks for the mention!

                                                                                                                          Erin
                                                                                                                          http://www.cookiesandtomatoes.com/

                                                                                                                      2. If you are willing to drive the extra miles, you'll love Hanna's Shawarma - 9301 Bathurst St, in Richmond Hill - (905) 918-0126 () ‎
                                                                                                                        hannasshawarma.com
                                                                                                                        Sooo fresh, such nice portions... friendly service and very reasonable prices. They also have a take-out counter.

                                                                                                                        DirectionsSearch nearbySave to...

                                                                                                                        more▼
                                                                                                                        Category: Restaurant

                                                                                                                        Transit: Carrville Rd / Bathurst St

                                                                                                                        -----
                                                                                                                        Hanna's Shawarma
                                                                                                                        9301 Bathurst St, Richmond Hill, ON L4C, CA

                                                                                                                        1. BTW Nasib's is terrible. I don't understand why some people prefer it. If you like indigestion and blandness go to Nasib's

                                                                                                                          -----
                                                                                                                          Nasib's
                                                                                                                          1867 Lawrence Ave E, Toronto, ON M1R2Y3, CA

                                                                                                                          1. Ibrahim's is my favourite, the meat is a bit crispy but it's really good. Love how they toast the pita in the panini press.

                                                                                                                            Not too spicy either.

                                                                                                                            There is a new shawarma place across from broadview station called Oea house or something, haven't tried it yet but heard it was good. Anyone been?

                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                            1. re: PitaFalafel

                                                                                                                              Speaking of the Oea House, here's my first review of an establishment and let me preface that is not in any means going to be an in depth or gastronomic review ;-)

                                                                                                                              I tried the Oea House on Broadview, which opened around the end of August and to my joy I was happy that a shawarma house was going to be opening up around the area which is one of the last piece of cuisine missing in the area.

                                                                                                                              A couple of weeks ago, I ordered the chicken shawarma and falafel dinners to-go and from the first minute I was there you could tell that the staff were new in the business. They were scrambling to deal with only 2 customers and there was some language barrier issues.

                                                                                                                              The restaurant itself isnt' anything to write about. It used to be a Magic Oven Pizza joint which I suspect folded due to the jacked up rent. (Neighbouring restaurants have left around the same time which suggests to me this may have been the reason).

                                                                                                                              What about the food? First, the chicken shawarma was a little overcooked and dry but meat is meat and served my children's appetite. The humus given on the side had this acidic effect on my tongue. The other side sauce - garlic - was a little runny and wasn't as garlicky as much as I like it.

                                                                                                                              The falafels were small but you get about half a dozen. They weren't anything special yet not terrible. The dinner came with a salad made up of a ball of tabouleh on top of a bit tomatoes and lettuce. It also comes some rice but they mix in a little of tabouleh into it which didn't go well with my kids because they like their rice unadulterated.

                                                                                                                              The dinners were reasonably priced at about $7 each and I think they have a shawarma sandiwich deal for 5 sandwiches - I don't recall the price though. For the size and convenience its worth another visit again. It's passable food and to someone who knows something about Montreal shawarma it is what it is.

                                                                                                                            2. I've been enjoying A La Turque lately. Like itsvince, my ottawa friends have been sorely disappointed with the shawarma/doner scene in toronto. While the sauce is not as intense as Ottawa, the quality of the wrap, according to a few of them, is good. We've been tempted to bring out own garlic sauce, but haven't decided if that'd be too rude. Anyways:

                                                                                                                              Pics: http://www.cookiesandtomatoes.com/201...
                                                                                                                              Chicken Doner Wrap ($5.09
                                                                                                                              )Anyways, I always enjoy the classic chicken doner wrap with all the sauces and veggies. I strongly prefer it over Anoush's wrap, which is on College Street. Good, quick lunch in the village.

                                                                                                                              Falafel Wrap ($4.20)
                                                                                                                              My friend enjoyed his falafel wrap while another buddy noshed on a beef doner wrap. We were all pretty satisfied =)

                                                                                                                              I felt like something sweet, and I was contemplating the baklava. The owner suggested I try his Kataifi, swearing that it was better than baklava.

                                                                                                                              Kataifi (~$2)
                                                                                                                              This version was definitely sweeter than the Kataifi that I tried at the Taste of the Danforth. It was intense with honey flavour but I really liked the pistachio on top and in between the shredded kataifi/phyllo pastry. I have quite the sweet tooth though, so if you don't...you might not like this.

                                                                                                                              The service has always been nice. I've been a regular customer, and it's also vegetarian friendly - my friends have enjoyed many a falafel and zucchini-ball-wrap-thing (for the lack of a better way to describe it) here.

                                                                                                                              The Ali Baba's on Richmond (or is it Queen?) also has a nice owner - he said that if we called ahead he'd make us a batch of garlic sauce just like Ottawa. I haven't had the time, but I just might do that. But probably after I try the Liberty Village place that was mentioned above. There are good places up north, but I want to find a good shawarma that's downtown with this supposedly amazing garlic sauce.

                                                                                                                              -----
                                                                                                                              A La Turque
                                                                                                                              558 Church St, Toronto, ON M4Y2E3, CA

                                                                                                                              1. To be quite honest, I haven't had good shawarmas in all of canada. The canadian version of the shawarma is sort of a love child between a shawarma and a sub. Chunks of iceberg lettuce, garlic sauce AND hummus on a chicken sandwich.

                                                                                                                                Chicken shawarma back in the sand pit comes only with garlic sauce, finely chopped romaine lettuce, finely chopped chicken shawarma (none is this large pieces of meat), pickles and again finely chopped tomato, and little bit of tahina.

                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: DXBYYZ

                                                                                                                                  Not sure what places you go to but you can get what you describe at Ali Baba on Queen in Parkdale. It's my favourite chicken shawarma in town.

                                                                                                                                2. Another vote for Milo's. I went there last weekend and it was excellent. I have also had Boustan in Montreal. Boustan in better but Milos is a close second. Meat is cut of the roaster fresh for each sandwhich and he grills the pita and takes time to prepare each shawarma beautifully.

                                                                                                                                  I also tried Ghazele's in Little Italy which is ok. It will do for your Shawarma fix but Milos is better.

                                                                                                                                  1. I tried Milo's recently and it is definitely the best shawarma I've had in Toronto. Very similar to what you would get in Ottawa. Great chicken, garlic sauce and turnips.

                                                                                                                                    Also tried Ali Baba's on Peter Street. Not good at all. Nothing was fresh and no garlic sauce. Anoush on Peter is similar to Ali Baba's. A little bit better but still not very good.

                                                                                                                                    1. My vote for best shawarma goes to Shawarma Max north of Yonge & Sheppard (east side, across the street from Moxie's)....it's always fresh and tastes divine. If you want good shawarma you have to come to the north end of the city...you won't be disappointed!

                                                                                                                                      -----
                                                                                                                                      Shawarma Max
                                                                                                                                      4969 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M2N5N6, CA

                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: lmc1971

                                                                                                                                        wilted, rusty lettuce and fruit flies buzzing around the veggies.. was there last week. ungrilled pita is just lazy. it's "OK" but nowhere near the best or anything special. Only plus is they're open late on the North York strip

                                                                                                                                        1. re: lmc1971

                                                                                                                                          "If you want good shawarma you have to come to the north end of the city" - where does line of good shawarma begin. I assume youve tried all shawarma joints south of this line to come to this conclusion:)

                                                                                                                                        2. Previously I have been eating my way through the ones on Yonge st and nothing fantastic to report untill now:
                                                                                                                                          Paramount has has now opened a location on Yonge across from the Eaton Center!!

                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: EPIcureanTO

                                                                                                                                            if its anything like the one up in Thornhill, it is crap

                                                                                                                                            1. re: shekamoo

                                                                                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7579...

                                                                                                                                              Yasmin Grill. I tried this relatively new place in Richmond Hill a few days ago, Chicken Shawarma was pretty good. Excellent variety of condiment choices!

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Charles Yu

                                                                                                                                                interesting! Thanks, will give it a try

                                                                                                                                          2. The Danforth will finally have a decent Shawarma joint, as today I noticed an Ali Baba's opening soon sign near Broadview.

                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                            1. re: haggisdragon

                                                                                                                                              An Ali Baba has recently opened in the Bloor West Village (west of Runnymede).I know it is now considered a chain restaurant, but, I've found it the most consistent.

                                                                                                                                              I do agree Falafel World can be dry (they use white meat) if eaten right away. I find their shwarma works when you take it home (the time allows for all the ingredients to meld).

                                                                                                                                              Like a previous poster, maybe it's the combination of all the ingredients (pickled turnips, hot sauce, etc.) and a quick toast press that makes it delicious.

                                                                                                                                              Can any Chowhounders report back to their consistent Shwarma places?

                                                                                                                                              -----
                                                                                                                                              Falafel World
                                                                                                                                              2396 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6S1P5, CA

                                                                                                                                            2. I am revisiting this post because I would like a 'more specific' rather than a 'generalized' feed back from fellow chowhounders.
                                                                                                                                              During my travelling, I noticed Shawarmas from different countries, even those within the Middle-East, can be totally different in preparation, seasoning and finishing. Turkish, Armenian, Lebanese, Israeli, Jordanian, Greek, Egyptian...etc, though all have Sharwarmas in their repertoire, can be quite different. For example, Israel and Lebanon like to grill their chicken Sharwarma after it is prepared whilst other countries do not grill the lamb and beef version...etc. Sauces, spreads and garnishing can be quite different as well.
                                                                                                                                              Surprisingly, my best Sharwarma experience was in Tottenham Court Road, near Piccadilly Circus, London, of all places! The meat ( lamb ) was so nicely seasoned, aromatic and 'juicy' that they almost made the sauces/spreads and garnishing they put inside the pita bread redundant!
                                                                                                                                              Question! With 'Farat' gone downhill. Where in the GTA can one find the 'juiciest and best seasoned' LAMB Sharwarma? If they also have 'Amba' ( mango chutney ) as garnishes, that would be a plus!!

                                                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: Charles Yu

                                                                                                                                                It's funny you say that. I had my very first Sharwarma in London many years ago and it was lamb with cucumbers and other toppings and the best sauce. When they started appearing hear there was no lamb. How dissappointing. I had wone almost every day.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: fatman0000

                                                                                                                                                  Yup! Those were the good old days! Sigh!!
                                                                                                                                                  Pity North American do not appreciate lamb!

                                                                                                                                                2. re: Charles Yu

                                                                                                                                                  The shwarma in London is mainly Lebanese. Maroush one of the most famous shwarma places was started by a Lebanese immigrant. You will not get anything close to it Toronto. Maybe Montreal.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ManAbout

                                                                                                                                                    Foie Gras, Poutine and Shawarma! May be worth a drive there?! Ha!!

                                                                                                                                                3. Is Milo's Pita gone? I went to Yonge and Dundas food court, and couldn't find it. It's still listed on the directory, but there was no sign of it on the third floor.

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

                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jmeggs

                                                                                                                                                    Is it part of the PATH? I'd like to know too

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ekim256

                                                                                                                                                      L'As du Falafel in Paris ranks among the very best in my view.

                                                                                                                                                      Milos is ace, and yes, he's still around. I was there last week. (I think he closed his shop for a week for medical reasons in January).

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ghostdogg

                                                                                                                                                        Good to know that Milo's is still there, thanks for confirming. Definitely the best shawarma in Toronto.

                                                                                                                                                  2. +1 for shawarma empire.

                                                                                                                                                    I had a beef and chicken. It was delicious.

                                                                                                                                                    fresh toppings, tasty meat, and the sauces were amazing.

                                                                                                                                                    I love how everything is layered, so each bite is not just veggies or meat, but a combination of both.

                                                                                                                                                    14 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: .alias

                                                                                                                                                      This is a reallyl good point, and one of the things I love about Shawarma Empire (and, incidentally, Shawarma Max). Shawarma Empire takes the time to go veggies, meat, sauce, then more veggies, more meat, and finally more sauce. Shawarma Max doesn't quite take it to that degree, but they are usually good about giving the pita a shake while they are adding the meat so everything gets mixed up.

                                                                                                                                                      Nothing worse that following up a bite of nothing but meat with a mouthful of pure onion or parsley... the combinantion is key for good shawarma!

                                                                                                                                                      -----
                                                                                                                                                      Shawarma Max
                                                                                                                                                      4969 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M2N5N6, CA

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

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: superjj

                                                                                                                                                        Which is why I like the tuck and roll method used at Nasib's and Ibrahim's. That way you can determine which way will get the best balance by rotating accordingly. The layer/clamshell method of SE isn't my favourite.

                                                                                                                                                        All 3 are fantastic though.

                                                                                                                                                        DT

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: .alias

                                                                                                                                                        Another vote for Shawarma Empire, Pharmacy/Lawrence right?

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Little T

                                                                                                                                                          Yup, that's the one! Still my favourite... I'm even starting to get into the beef now. :)

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: .alias

                                                                                                                                                          Normally I go to Nasib's. But I've been thinking it looked a bit run down lately. So I walked over to Shwarma Empire. I was amazed at the messy conditions they were in and hot footed it out. Over to Ibrahams I went and had a pretty good meal. I'm back going to Nasib's for the foreseeable future.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: GlennScarborough

                                                                                                                                                            I would definitely skip Ibrahims if you're looking for clean. Nasib's and Shawarma Empire are fine. Untidy does not equal dirty, though I'm sure you know that. I think SE just needs more storage space.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Googs

                                                                                                                                                              Ibrahim's is definitely the dirtiest. I thought the food was ok but not good enough to endure their messy space for a second visit.

                                                                                                                                                              SE and Nasib's aren't superpretty either but not outright dumps like Ibrahim's.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: magic

                                                                                                                                                                I must have been to Ibrahim's on a good or slow day. It wasn't too messy. But the food wasn't as good.
                                                                                                                                                                SE was pretty busy and looked like it had 2 days worth of slopped stuff all over their front counter from all the toppings. Dirty, maybe not. I'll try again. I usually get a falafel or two just so I can have a vegetarian meal I enjoy once in a while.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: GlennScarborough

                                                                                                                                                                  Yeah, not that SE is a model of pristine conditions, but it's not usually as bad as your experience sounds. At least when I've been there. What you describe sounds more like how I remember Ibrahim's.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: GlennScarborough

                                                                                                                                                                    Personally, I think every single place (including my beloved SE) mentioned above all look pretty gross inside... but look what neighbourhood they are in! People driving down Lawrence Ave East looking for tasty middle east food typically don't have "atmosphere" at the top of their priority list. I mean... we're talking about a $6 meal!!!

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: superjj

                                                                                                                                                                      So true. Everything on the 'Lawrence of Arabia' strip is a definite dive. There is nothing upscale about the strip (except maybe Arz) - and that's why we love it. If you wanted upscale on Lawrence you made a wrong turn when driving up Don Mills...turn left next time.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: pakmode

                                                                                                                                                                          Though there's always Armenian Kitchen. Still not upscale as, say, Tabule is in it's way, but comfortably clean.

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

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: magic

                                                                                                                                                                      I had Ibrahim last night, and it was delicious - it may not be upscale, but I don't think it is dirty (I don't go for the decor, 99% of the time takeout). They have a really high turn over, and everything is fresh. I think I'm one of the few that prefers Ibrahim to Shawarma Empire.

                                                                                                                                                                      Also if anyone prefers beef shawarma, try Armenian Kitchen on Vic park, north of eglinton. Theirs is unique with roast tomatoes and no real salad, other than onions, and ask for hot sauce, its divine. The only reason I go to ibrahim over armenian kitchen is the hours of operation, distance and Ibrahim is 2 for 1

                                                                                                                                                              2. Has anyone tried Arax Shawarma in the Beaches? I just heard about it this week and I'm thinking about trying it out...

                                                                                                                                                                I was in Ottawa last weekend and dropped by Shawarma Palace on Rideau St. So good!

                                                                                                                                                                -----
                                                                                                                                                                Shawarma Palace
                                                                                                                                                                464 Rideau St, Ottawa, ON K1N5Z4, CA

                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: itsvince

                                                                                                                                                                  I heard about Arax Shawarma recently too and plan to give it a shot next time I'm in the beaches. Please post if you get there first. I really enjoyed Liberty Shawarma my last visit. Some other great recommendations on here as well.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Bluebanana

                                                                                                                                                                    Finally hit Arax yesterday and I was not dissappointed! Very friendly ownership and most critical to me, the chicken was incredibly moist. Will definitely try them again soon.

                                                                                                                                                                2. It's an old post, I know, but here's a new addition:

                                                                                                                                                                  Since Lebanese seems to be popular, here is a new place to try:
                                                                                                                                                                  Kingston Road near Beech Avenue (between Main and Victoria Park). Can't remember the name, since it recently opened. It's around 945 Kingston, south side, beside the Hakim Optical. Run by a Lebanese woman who makes everything fresh (including the pickled turnips - my favourite!). Good falafel, shawarma and many other tasty goodies!

                                                                                                                                                                  Also, my Egyptian friends like the food at Ruby's in Eglinton Square Mall (Victoria Park and Eglinton) It surprised me at first that they would choose a food court place, but the food is really good! The fish sandwich and falafel especially.

                                                                                                                                                                  For falafel, I like the following:
                                                                                                                                                                  Armenian Kitchen - Victoria Park north of Eglinton
                                                                                                                                                                  Sultan Shawarma and Falafel - Corner of Danforth and Main