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Chowfind: Al Tanoor Lawrece East -Shawarma

v
Vinnie Vidimangi Jun 18, 2012 09:39 PM

Al Tanoor
1903 Lawrence East
Across from where Nasr used to be (Westney?)
647-341-6000
Iraqui
Settled down a lot since first opened

I stopped in for their shawarma special , $2.99. What the heck, lets try. Asked for the chicken. It was the best shawarma that I have ever had, perhaps the lamb ones in Turkey were on a par.
Beautifully flavoured with spice that I think is their own mixture, not out of the can ( which is pretty good), generous amount of chicken. The bread wrapper was a house made bun, "shamoun" (?. , shape like a Portuguese bun) . The sandwich was delicious. '"Worth a detour."

I also had a kibbe, $1.00, the white one . Delicious, again beautifully spiced.

I decided, lets try the beef schawarma. Delicious , but I liked the chicken better because all the flavours could play themselves out easier against the lighter tasting meat.

I asked for more salad and the server had to be encouraged. I think that it is not in the tradition to put a lot of salad in. It is meat that is expensive and therefore desirable , not salads. But I like salads a lot. So you too ask for more if you want..

I even tried the curry sauce , "amba" . I thought this delicious, even though I don't like curry.. Gentle and complex. I am told house made from scratch. I was right in thinking that Israeli amba is disgusting.

The falafel were indifferent.

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  1. Davwud RE: Vinnie Vidimangi Jun 19, 2012 04:47 AM

    Thanks Vin. I've seen it and wondered how good it was. I'll have to give it a whirl.

    DT

    3 Replies
    1. re: Davwud
      m
      magic RE: Davwud Jun 19, 2012 06:56 AM

      Sounds great!

      Do you know if they accept debit or credit?

      edit: directed to OP, not Davwud

      1. re: magic
        v
        Vinnie Vidimangi RE: magic Jun 20, 2012 12:42 PM

        Call. Several of the staff speak good English.
        Forgot to mention. They will toast the bun as a matter of routine. Decline. Toasting is a good idea if the bread is no good or stale. Here it the bread is good and toasting detracts.

        1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi
          grandgourmand RE: Vinnie Vidimangi Jun 20, 2012 02:03 PM

          Thanks for the heads up. I looked up for Iraqui bread on the old google, and it's called Samoon. Looks really good. Will try this out next time I'm in the area.

    2. g
      gourmaniac RE: Vinnie Vidimangi Jun 20, 2012 01:29 PM

      Thanks for this. Last year I did a quick chow tour of several shwarma places along "Lawrence of Arabia" and was impressed by quality and value. I will add this to the list next time I'm in your fair city.

      1 Reply
      1. re: gourmaniac
        v
        Vinnie Vidimangi RE: gourmaniac Jun 20, 2012 07:21 PM

        Ibrahim on the corner has gone downhill. Still a good workman like sandwich, but has lost much of its character and charm- a Canadian worker!

      2. Charles Yu RE: Vinnie Vidimangi Jun 20, 2012 08:21 PM

        Hello VV,
        You mentioned Beef and Chicken. Do they by chance also have 'Lamb'?!
        How does the food compare with 'Farat' when it was at its prime?!

        9 Replies
        1. re: Charles Yu
          v
          Vinnie Vidimangi RE: Charles Yu Jun 21, 2012 08:58 AM

          The don't have "lamb". Go to Turkey.
          I never knew Farhat to have had a "prime".
          As in any place where the kitchen really cooks, there is variation. Different cook, bread on a humid day.
          The stuffed grape leaves- three for a dollar were good- biladi.

          1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi
            Charles Yu RE: Vinnie Vidimangi Jun 21, 2012 05:50 PM

            Rifca has lamb and is closer than Turkey!!
            Before Fahrat renovated, there was a period whence they displayed all their herbs and spices in jars on the counter. That was the time when their food was really good and the meat nicely seasoned and marinated!

            1. re: Charles Yu
              TorontoTips RE: Charles Yu Jun 23, 2012 08:26 AM

              I'm with you, Charles. Farhat's lamb shawarma was my fave, but those days are behind us.

              I've not tried Al Tanoor, but all the other spots have been leaving me a bit cold, since.
              Ibrahim probably the best of the bunch for me, but pedestrian and I like lots of parsley and they pre-mix the toppings, so you can't add more of just one.
              Empire is yummy, but the unusually intense sauce detracts from the sandwich for me, rather than adds. Ali Baba was fine, but overcook the meat, Paramount was also fine, but nothing special (but I do love their kofta).

              So, now I've just looked up Rifca, and I'll be going, and maybe I'l check out the little joint on Kennedy Rd at Ellesmere that I pass often but have never tried :-)

              I'll report back, and let me know if anyone else has juicy lamb shawarma or gyros that I'm missing :-)

              1. re: TorontoTips
                Charles Yu RE: TorontoTips Jun 23, 2012 06:04 PM

                Last time I went to Rifca ( 2 days ago ), they only have chicken and beef but no lamb. Settled for a lamb kebob pita sandwich instead! Asked them for medium rare or else they'll cook the meat through!

                1. re: TorontoTips
                  v
                  Vinnie Vidimangi RE: TorontoTips Aug 6, 2012 08:28 PM

                  Farhat's "lamb" shawarma is probably veal with some layers of lamb flap - the ovine equivant of bacon - interspread. The meat tasted heavily sour form the marinade. .I left teh sandwich au naturel 0 no sauces-. The sandwich was OK, good value, but not worth the stop when there are places that have a bit of verve nearby.

                  I just got back from Al Tanoor and had a baklava in my takeout bag. Refined, delcate,exquiste. So good that one satiated. How often does one need to listen to Horowitz's recording in Moscow?

                  Also noticed that I gave the wrong address previously .
                  It is 1993 Lawrence East (not 1903) Also it is the south east quadrant. not south -west. Sorry.

                  1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi
                    s
                    stv RE: Vinnie Vidimangi Aug 7, 2012 06:41 PM

                    You were right the first time: South West of Warden and Lawrence.

                    http://maps.google.ca/maps?q=AL+TANOO...

                    1. re: stv
                      v
                      Vinnie Vidimangi RE: stv Aug 7, 2012 09:03 PM

                      I got mixed up between Victoria Pak and Warden. But that's where it is, between the two, on the south side

                      1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi
                        w
                        warlock RE: Vinnie Vidimangi Aug 9, 2012 05:39 AM

                        Vinnie,Haven't been to Farhat in over a year,not sure how things have changed here...but it was the beef that was always really sour..almost to a point sometimes it seemed like it was pickled....
                        the lamb at that time used to be decent....
                        Got to try Al Tanoor next time I have a craving for Shawarma

            2. re: Charles Yu
              m
              magic RE: Charles Yu Jul 20, 2012 09:14 PM

              No but they use lamb fat to keep the beef moist while on the spit.

            3. j
              jayzen25 RE: Vinnie Vidimangi Jun 21, 2012 02:49 PM

              I think this place is pretty good, high quality shawarma. Its definatley worth trying, they had like a mango chutney she suggested for the beef sandwich, I though it was alright, a bit different

              I still prefer Ibrahim - the main difference is Ibrahim, the meat seems a little juicier, and the toum (garlic sauce) at Ibrahim is miles ahead of any shawarma place.

              1. m
                magic RE: Vinnie Vidimangi Jul 20, 2012 09:13 PM

                Great rec! Delicious! Really enjoyed it.

                Originally set out for Shawarma Empire but they were closing up (at 9 pm!!). I was a bit bummed but then I remembered this rec was just down the street. So I gave them a try. Glad I did.

                I had a chicken shawarma. Wonderful. That fresh baked samoon. Wow. Man, that totally is something different and fantastic. The chicken had great flavour as did the toppings. Very fresh. I love how everything is mixed together carefully, as with many other Lawrence spots, so you're eating each of the fillings in one bite.

                And for $2.99 what a deal! They aren't small at all. I would say each one is bigger than SE's, as a comparison. I have a very healthy appetite and one was perfect even for me. So $2.99 for a fresh, homemade meal. I can roll with that.

                My friend had the beef shawarma. I was a bit reluctant to order it as it was the end of the night and it was towards the end of the spit - it frankly was not looking great, it looked dry. Boy was I wrong. Despite it's appearance it was not at all dry and had wonderful flavour.

                Man, those house-made samoons just pulled it all together. Great, light sauces too.

                Owners are so sweet. Loved them. Take such pride in their food.

                Will be going back, thanks. And yes, they do take debit and credit. Which makes me love them even more.

                6 Replies
                1. re: magic
                  s
                  skinnychick RE: magic Jul 28, 2012 09:44 AM

                  I'm trying to find Al Tanoor on Google streetview. Is it in the same strip mall as Shawarma Empire ?

                  1. re: skinnychick
                    s
                    stv RE: skinnychick Jul 28, 2012 10:07 AM

                    no.

                    https://maps.google.com/maps?q=Al+Tan...

                    1. re: skinnychick
                      b
                      blitz RE: skinnychick Jul 28, 2012 01:42 PM

                      it's the southwest corner of warden and lawrence. in the plaza right beside PAT supermarket.

                      1. re: skinnychick
                        v
                        Vinnie Vidimangi RE: skinnychick Jul 28, 2012 09:30 PM

                        South west quadrant of Warden and Lawrence, but not corner. Quite a bit further east . Just east of Westney, which runs south only from Lawrence, south side, across the street from the big Wadi grocery supermarket.
                        It is a few doors away from the PAT supermarket.

                        1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi
                          kerwintoronto RE: Vinnie Vidimangi Aug 3, 2012 11:46 AM

                          For compulsive online mappers i nneed of the address ... 1993 Lawrence Avenue East. The PAT reference saved me when I was looking at the numbers!

                        2. re: skinnychick
                          m
                          magic RE: skinnychick Jul 29, 2012 07:53 PM

                          No but VERY close.

                          A 2 minute walk from SE. If that.

                      2. b
                        blitz RE: Vinnie Vidimangi Jul 26, 2012 01:59 PM

                        great suggestion Vinnie. i tried both the beef and chicken today around noon and they were very good. the pricing was fantastic too! what a bargain. only $2.99 for each. i don't know how long their prices will be this low...maybe it's just a grand opening special?

                        1. Davwud RE: Vinnie Vidimangi Aug 1, 2012 09:36 AM

                          Anyone know the hours?? I got there about 11:10 and there was nothing going on inside. So I ended up at Ibrahim. I continued on my way east, did my pick up and drove by about 11:50 to see that they still weren't open.

                          How do they expect to compete when all the other shawarma places are open for lunch??

                          DT

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Davwud
                            m
                            magic RE: Davwud Aug 1, 2012 10:15 AM

                            That is very odd. Perhaps they were closed today for some reason?

                            Cuz yeah, they should be open at that time, or at least have activity inside as they prep for lunch.

                            1. re: magic
                              Davwud RE: magic Aug 1, 2012 11:14 AM

                              No hours posted that I could see either.

                              DT

                          2. Davwud RE: Vinnie Vidimangi Aug 1, 2012 11:24 AM

                            WORD TO THE WISE!!

                            Their regular hours are 11 - 11 but right now it's Ramadan and they're not opening till noon. I just spoke with them and was told after the holiday (another 20 days??)

                            The guy I spoke with was very nice and apologetic.

                            DT

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: Davwud
                              p
                              pakmode RE: Davwud Aug 1, 2012 12:58 PM

                              Yea, Ifthar Dinner is very late this Ramadan - around 9ish - and it's wreaking havoc on our systems lol.

                              Last night, I was actually driving by at midnight craving a shawarma or there $1 kibbeh pieces, but they were closed. I saw them inside cleaning up, but lights off.

                              1. re: Davwud
                                m
                                magic RE: Davwud Aug 1, 2012 01:15 PM

                                They are sooooooo nice.

                                1. re: Davwud
                                  y
                                  Yongeman RE: Davwud Aug 1, 2012 07:06 PM

                                  I stopped in today around 1:00 and loved it. I'm an Ibrahim fan, but the flavours at Al Tanoor were exceptional. The young guy who served me, proudly explained that their chicken is well-marinated and doesn't depend on vast quantities of tahini sauce to flavour the shawarma. I just asked him to make it the way they would normally, with very flavourful hot sauce (more like paste). The shamoon bread was exceptionally good and a wonderful vessel for the delicious chicken and veggies. He also explained that the yellow/orange sauce (which Vinnie mentioned) was specifically for the falafels. He said, 'you can't have a falafel without this sauce' in Iraq.
                                  Note: They told me that until Ramadan is over, they won't have all of the items on their regular menu available, since people tend to want to eat at home with their families.

                                  1. re: Yongeman
                                    Davwud RE: Yongeman Aug 2, 2012 03:06 AM

                                    Odd. I was told the regular menu is still all there but there would be no white board specials. Wonder if there was something missed by one of us.
                                    Also, he said they'd have "More stuff" after Ramadan.

                                    DT

                                    1. re: Davwud
                                      y
                                      Yongeman RE: Davwud Aug 2, 2012 12:04 PM

                                      Interesting, Davwud. He pointed over at the empty steam table and told me that it would be normally filled except that people preferred to eat at home during Ramadan. Anyway, that'll be over soon. In the meantime, I couldn't be happier with the shawarmas. I guess we almost met there yesterday. ; )

                                      1. re: Yongeman
                                        Davwud RE: Yongeman Aug 2, 2012 12:27 PM

                                        We need to co-ordinate better then.

                                        DT

                                        1. re: Davwud
                                          y
                                          Yongeman RE: Davwud Aug 3, 2012 02:54 PM

                                          True...I went for dim sum near Kennedy and Sheppard today, but drove my friend past Al Tanoor on the way home to show him where it was.

                                2. Davwud RE: Vinnie Vidimangi Aug 3, 2012 07:25 AM

                                  I'm planning on being there for noon today. I can't guarantee it but if anyone wants to meet up, that'd be swell.

                                  DT

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Davwud
                                    kerwintoronto RE: Davwud Aug 3, 2012 11:21 AM

                                    I don't have a lot of experience with shawarma but tried out Al Tanoor and it was very good. I ordered the chicken shawarma plate and a falafel pita.

                                    The chicken was indeed very flavourful and we found it to be much juicier than our previous odds and sods samplings of shawarma.

                                    I had a falafel sandwich as my main and the amba and hot sauce were very nice but left me flavour number to fully enjoy the chicken.

                                    Looking forward to more meals from Al Tanoor (and sampling the rest of the strip).

                                  2. s
                                    Smorgasbord RE: Vinnie Vidimangi Aug 3, 2012 12:16 PM

                                    +1 on what everyone's said- the food is fresh and delicious, the price is right, and the people are super pleasant. With Al Tanoor, Patisserie Royale, Arz, and Diana's, this strip of Lawrence has become my go-to shopping range!

                                    7 Replies
                                    1. re: Smorgasbord
                                      s
                                      skinnychick RE: Smorgasbord Aug 3, 2012 01:19 PM

                                      Thanks to everyone who has helped me to locate this place. I'm just dying to try it now. I was a great fan of Farhat -- in the original location, when they moved, but when they moved back I think they've got new folks there & the food is just not the same quality. So, we've switched back to Shawarma Empire.
                                      I'm intrigued about Al Tanoor. The pricing looks attractive -- but I'd be prepared to pay more for a tasty meal !! -- and there sure has been a lot of positive feedback here re the taste.
                                      What I'm not unsure about -- but not a show stopper -- is the "bread" that folks talk about. Do they use "pita" bread or do they use what I would typically call "bread".
                                      I'm definitely going to Al Tanoor, the next time I go for shawarmas. I'd just like to know.
                                      Thanks again, everybody, for the referrals !!

                                      1. re: skinnychick
                                        y
                                        Yongeman RE: skinnychick Aug 3, 2012 02:46 PM

                                        It looks pretty much like this: http://www.google.ca/imgres?imgurl=ht... They slice it open like a pita and fill it with shawarma ingredients.

                                        1. re: skinnychick
                                          s
                                          skinnychick RE: skinnychick Aug 10, 2012 03:57 PM

                                          Well, I went there last night. It is Ramadan & they don't have much business. As a result, they had a lot of time to schmooze. The "bread" they use in lieu of pita is nice, but very heavy. I might like it as an accompaniment to a dinner, but it's rather heavy for a sandwich. All of the staff are very friendly & I wish them well. BUT...and maybe it was due to Ramadan & the meat being dried out...but, it just didn't do it for me. In contrast to what someone else mentioned earlier, there certainly was a lot more "salad" than meat. And, I've got to add that they really gave me a "brush" of hot sauce. The funniest part was "regular" (I think) who came in with his little boy. When it came to choosing his toppings, the little boy said, "Ketchup". Kids !! That was just too special. Of course, I'll give Al Tanoor a 2nd go (after Ramadan), but I'll be sure to ask for more liberal use of hot sauce. They seemed to go on and on about being a "family business", but aren't all of the shops on this strip? I still prefer the taste of Farhat from 3 years ago, but not what they are now. My 2nd bet would be Shawarma Empire. If my 2nd go at Al Tanoor is unfavourable, I think I'll try Ibrahim's. Thanks again to everyone for your hints and tips.

                                          1. re: skinnychick
                                            y
                                            Yongeman RE: skinnychick Aug 10, 2012 04:08 PM

                                            People, the samoon is not even slightly heavy, imo. Just remember who wrote that, ok (skinnychick...ha ha), It has slightly more body than a regular pita. As for the hot sauce, it's pretty potent, so a light brush would be in order, unless you want it quite spicy. I have to say that I went at lunch when the shawarma would be more moist, and probably Ramadan would be to blame for it being dried out at dinner.
                                            I love your ketchup story, sc--totally typical of kids.

                                            Ibrahim's is really good, but kind of "wham, bam, thank you ma'am". I still love it, though.

                                            1. re: Yongeman
                                              m
                                              magic RE: Yongeman Aug 11, 2012 05:23 AM

                                              Yeah I'm not sure where the samoon being heavy comes from. Not at all. The opposite! Did we eat the same product skinnychick?!

                                              Also, spare yourself from Ibrahim. What a dump that place is. Average shawarma. Or so I think at any rate.

                                              Go to Shawarma Empire or Nasib's if Al Tanoor isn't doing it for you.

                                              1. re: magic
                                                Davwud RE: magic Aug 11, 2012 06:52 AM

                                                I think Ibrahim's is very good but I'm a Nasib's fan.

                                                DT

                                                1. re: Davwud
                                                  s
                                                  skinnychick RE: Davwud Oct 6, 2012 05:43 PM

                                                  I went to Nasib's this time & I think I've found my new favourite. It was so juicy and tasty ...I luv it. They gave us extra hot sauce as requested and it just touched the spot. Quite friendly folk too. My search for the best schwarma is over.
                                                  Thanks to everyone for your help !

                                      2. Davwud RE: Vinnie Vidimangi Aug 7, 2012 05:51 AM

                                        Good call here Vin.

                                        First off, I will say that the chicken meat is some of the best I've had. Very tasty. This may be in part due to the problems I'll mention in a second. The meat was nicely done. The shaggy bits were nice and crispy but the parts that were somewhat protected were nice and juicy. Excellent.
                                        It was served to me on samoon (roll type bread) that was not my preference. I like it better on a pita. The samoon was very nice though.

                                        When I arrived at noon the place looked closed. I went in and there were no lights, no A/C. Seems they had blown a fuse or something. Anyway, there were way behind on their prep including didn't have beef shawarma ready. Just the chicken. Which probably cooked a little longer than it normally would've. With better results I might add.
                                        It also meant they were way behind on the bread baking as well.
                                        Anyway, they got it all sorted out by about 12:20 and were ramping up operations for the day. As well, they're working on a limited selection due to Ramadan as I noted upstream.
                                        So I'm really looking forward to a return when they're operating at full capacity.

                                        I will say, the young man who served me couldn't have been nicer. Very apologetic for the problems and quite engaging over all. Definitely the type of people I like to support.

                                        DT

                                        1. atomeyes RE: Vinnie Vidimangi Aug 9, 2012 09:32 AM

                                          so what's better?
                                          This or Folia Grill?

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: atomeyes
                                            m
                                            magic RE: atomeyes Aug 9, 2012 11:08 AM

                                            Both are great. Apples and oranges.

                                          2. p
                                            pinchy_the_lobster RE: Vinnie Vidimangi Oct 6, 2012 05:20 PM

                                            Stopped by yesterday and tried their $2.99 chicken shawarma. It's good value for the amount of food you get.

                                            However, I have to say I found it just OK. I've never had samoon and therefore don't have previous experiences to draw on, but my bread was dry and rubbery. Perhaps it's better earlier in the day (I went around 4pm). It is a good bread to filling ratio.

                                            The pickles were tasty and added nice texture to each bite. If you like spicy I'd recommend getting a good smear of their sauce; the lady behind the counter graded it 7/10 in terms of spiciness. The chicken itself was so so - succulent, yes, but the flavor was too subtle for my taste buds! A little bland for me.

                                            All in all, good value for money but I wouldn't go out of my way to get another or pay more than the $2.99 special price.

                                            1. s
                                              stv RE: Vinnie Vidimangi Nov 10, 2012 08:36 AM

                                              Have been to Al Tanoor 3 times so far. I just love the shawarma with the bread vs the pita, and the amba sauce is great. The female, sister, makes a better sandwich than the brother, IMHO.

                                              Shawarma Empire, are you kidding me?

                                              They ran out of chicken right at my order, fine, no problems, understandable.

                                              Ordered the beef shawarma and the felafel sandwiches, priced at 2 sandwiches per order. The shawarmas were quickly made and placed at the counter. The felafels were made about 15 mins later. Both were the spicy versions', The meat were picked from the pan, where the they were sliced earlier,.

                                              These shawarmas were full of meat, but greasy. The felafels were ok.. Even the veggies seem pedestrian.

                                              The issues I have are:
                                              - The sandwiches are wrapped in a single layer of paper, which blew open at the bottom as I tried to eat the sandwiches.
                                              - The main veggies were soggy because they don't put them in a strainer to separate the moisture from it..
                                              - The veggie counter are over filled or just sloppy work styles, the spilled veggies were flicked back into the bins with the same tongs that they prepare your sandwiches with.This counter was not wiped down and the bins are not changed, just constant refill; which I thick is bad practice.

                                              Over all Al Tanoor wins hands down has a better quality sandwich and a great experience. Don't like pinny(sp?) pressed sandwiches.

                                              Shawarma Empire has only a OK sandwich, Like the fact that they toast their pita on th e grill.but cleanliness is iffy for me. The experience chaotic..

                                              Next to try is Ibrahim's. and Rifca.

                                              21 Replies
                                              1. re: stv
                                                Davwud RE: stv Nov 10, 2012 09:07 AM

                                                Try Nasib's.

                                                DT

                                                1. re: Davwud
                                                  j
                                                  juno RE: Davwud Nov 10, 2012 11:36 AM

                                                  I'm also a Nasib's enthusiast. To me, it's the best of the bunch out there on the Lawrence Ave. Middle-East-fast-food frontier. Mainly because it's consistently good. "Consistent" seems to be a foreign word out that way. Most places are sometimes good, sometimes dreadful, sometimes neither here nor there (a.k.a. mediocre). But to me, Nasib's delivers the goods in a superior manner each and every time. The agreeable proprietor - Imad, I think his name is - is a one-man band, always on the premises. It's clean, lively, colorful, with comfortable seating (for a fast-food joint), and a number of regulars often on hand to kibbitz. A nice family atmosphere.

                                                  1. re: juno
                                                    v
                                                    Vinnie Vidimangi RE: juno Nov 10, 2012 02:05 PM

                                                    I like the salads as much as everything else. It is impossible to get Nasib to put in anything that is significantly more., even at the height of the fresh veg season. I know that the Lebanese style is little veg, but so what- I ma not asking for mayo and ketchup..

                                                    1. re: juno
                                                      n
                                                      neighborguy RE: juno Nov 10, 2012 02:52 PM

                                                      I like Nasib's. It's fast-food but I'd go there for a sit-down type meal.

                                                      As far as quality, SE has to be my most memorable and consistent experience. Good fillings inside the not-too-thin or thick pocket. The spicing can be on the sharp side, but maybe that's just me.

                                                      The time I tried Farhat, based on the recs here, was obviously way past their good days.

                                                      Al Tanoor sounds like the next Folia Grill...

                                                    2. re: Davwud
                                                      s
                                                      stv RE: Davwud Nov 10, 2012 03:27 PM

                                                      Thanks. for the rec.

                                                      Will add Nasib to the list.

                                                      Do they, or any other establishment, have the amazing amba sauce available?
                                                      or some other type of great spicy, not just one dimensional hot sauce.

                                                    3. re: stv
                                                      y
                                                      Yongeman RE: stv Nov 10, 2012 02:16 PM

                                                      I'm with you, stv. I find it a challenge to drive past Al Tanoor without stopping in at lunch-time for a $2.99 shawarma in a samoon bread. They are sooooooo good!

                                                      1. re: Yongeman
                                                        s
                                                        stv RE: Yongeman Nov 10, 2012 03:24 PM

                                                        That's why I avoid that part of Lawrence ave...

                                                        stv = Steve <g>

                                                        1. re: Yongeman
                                                          Davwud RE: Yongeman Nov 10, 2012 04:27 PM

                                                          I find it a challenge finding them open.

                                                          DT

                                                          1. re: Davwud
                                                            y
                                                            Yongeman RE: Davwud Nov 10, 2012 07:01 PM

                                                            Have you tried lately, DT? I think that the main issues were during Eid. Each time I've been by, they've been open before noon. Once I caught them open after midnight. I've actually never had a problem with them not being open. I'd give them another shot. Great family-run business.

                                                            1. re: Yongeman
                                                              Davwud RE: Yongeman Nov 11, 2012 05:06 AM

                                                              No. Haven't tried since the summer.
                                                              Next time I get on a shawarma kick I'll give 'em a try again.

                                                              DT

                                                              1. re: Davwud
                                                                Dr Butcher RE: Davwud Nov 11, 2012 04:45 PM

                                                                I stopped by Al Tanoor just before 11am, the only time I've been. They were still setting up but were happy to serve me. The sammoun was still warm, it was crisp and held up well. It's almost like a thin crusty French or Italian roll.

                                                                I think I'd rank it just behind Shawarma Empire but ahead of Ibrahim's or Nasib which I usually rank 2nd and 3rd as options if SE is closed.

                                                                I find Ibrahim's quite salty and fatty, Nasib's a little bland. They are all solid choices though.

                                                                A couple of shots of a chicken and a beef:

                                                                http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v30...

                                                                http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v30...

                                                                1. re: Dr Butcher
                                                                  d
                                                                  durianlover RE: Dr Butcher Nov 11, 2012 06:29 PM

                                                                  I still think that Nasib is the best among them, in terms of size, taste, and value-for-money.

                                                                  Al Tanoor didn't live up to my expectation after reading the reviews in chowhound, simply over-rated. They're just too small, and taste not strong enough.

                                                                  Note: I still felt hungry afterwards, went to nearby (next-door) korean restaurant, Makkal Chon. It's simply stunning, big portion of side dishes, as well as excellent main dish. Comparable to Nak Won.

                                                                  As for Shawarma Empire, I don't fancy 'fusion food', curry-flavoured shawarma.

                                                                  1. re: durianlover
                                                                    s
                                                                    stv RE: durianlover Nov 15, 2012 11:08 AM

                                                                    Finally stopped by Nasib .

                                                                    Had the chicken shawarma and a felafel sandwiches. both of them looked smaller than Al Tanoor, but for some reason, I feel more full after eating them. They do use a Penni press and for some reason, it is better than Al Tanoor's same execution.

                                                                    Very nice kitchen and professional, doesn't treat customers like droids as S.E. Nasib also uses lightly waxed paper for the sandwiches, this miniscule extra expense has allowed myself to enjoy a great sandwich without drama or iffy vocabulary.
                                                                    Nasib's wrapping of the sandwich is even great: 2 wrappers, wrap 2/3 of sandwich with one, Penni,, then wrap remainder with the other wrapper.

                                                                    To eat: just put the last wrapper off, like a toque off a kid in front of you.

                                                                    Nasib is #1 for both shawarma and felafel sandwiches.

                                                                    *********************************
                                                                    NOW, tell me about that Nasib, in house made sauce.
                                                                    **********************************

                                                                    That dipping sauce they have on the counter for customers to snack on with the baked chips.

                                                                    I am looking for a similar recipe

                                                                    or

                                                                    a place where I can buy it cheaper than the $2.99 I just spent on the small, maybe 350 - 450g, of it.

                                                                    Nasib also has an Amba sauce which I did not like at all, very strong mint or pepper mint usage.

                                                                    Have a good day.

                                                                    1. re: stv
                                                                      Davwud RE: stv Nov 15, 2012 03:51 PM

                                                                      Glad you enjoyed (most ot) it.

                                                                      DT

                                                                    2. re: durianlover
                                                                      v
                                                                      Vinnie Vidimangi RE: durianlover Nov 16, 2012 07:38 AM

                                                                      I cannot imagine two cuisines more different in aesthetic values than "middle -eastern- Lebanese" and Korean. You are a tchampion gourmand to appreciate both.

                                                                      1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi
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                                                                        durianlover RE: Vinnie Vidimangi Nov 16, 2012 08:38 AM

                                                                        Thanks for the compliment, VV. I like almost all types of ethnic food in GTA. Each one of them is unique and I am leaning new things week-by-week.

                                                                        To be fair, Al Tanoor is actually pretty good, but I don't think it beats Nasib. It spoils the market with the huge portion and great taste for only $7 (for 2).

                                                                        Same as Korean food. Everytime I want to eat korean food, always count how many side dishes they provide. Make sure that they provide as many (8 to 9) as Nakwon or Oh Geoul. This time Makkal Chon passed the test. Their side dishes (7 of them) are huge and better than Nakwon or OGBG. Their main dishes are better too. Only minus points are the pricing (at least $2 more), as well as slow service (lack of manpower, 1 in kitchen, 1 in the counter).

                                                                         
                                                                        1. re: durianlover
                                                                          s
                                                                          stv RE: durianlover Nov 16, 2012 09:02 AM

                                                                          What dish did you have and what was the pricing?

                                                                          Korean food, for the majority of them, I personally find them to be too salty. Usually the spicy factor is great.

                                                                          I have yet found a Korean dish or a place that I enjoy.

                                                                          Up for experiments, 1 a week only.

                                                                          1. re: stv
                                                                            d
                                                                            durianlover RE: stv Nov 16, 2012 09:30 AM

                                                                            We had Spicy Jelly Tofu and Bulgogi Hot Stone. As for the pricing, they are $9 and above, higher than Nakwon's standard $7 - 9 for most of the dishes.

                                                                            Saltiness, can't help. It's the trademark of Korean food, as well as the spiciness. In order to appreciate the cuisine, it's a must to acknowledge it. Same thing for Sezhuan food, even saltier and spicier.

                                                                            Hmm, for lighter taste, I think Song Cook (Yonge and Steeles) may fit. They're pretty good, though my wife thinks that it's so so...

                                                                            1. re: stv
                                                                              Googs RE: stv Nov 17, 2012 10:26 AM

                                                                              I've heard Makkal Chon is good, but have yet to try it. Menu with prices can be found here:
                                                                              http://www.makkalchon.com/

                                                                              1. re: Googs
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                                                                                durianlover RE: Googs Nov 17, 2012 11:33 AM

                                                                                Thanks, we 'accidentally' went in after eating the shawarma. Before that, we didn't read any review or visit their website.

                                                                      2. re: Dr Butcher
                                                                        Googs RE: Dr Butcher Nov 11, 2012 06:35 PM

                                                                        VVm AND Dr B. Well now I just HAFTA try Al Tanoor. I still like sitting down at Armenian Kitchen and I love the sauce at Shawarma Empire, but maybe this one'll make it the hat trick.

                                                            2. c
                                                              CarNut RE: Vinnie Vidimangi Nov 12, 2012 02:20 PM

                                                              I went today and the chicken schwarma was the best one that I've ever had there (out of about 5 visits). Absolutely fantastic. They were putting out other food in the hot trays when I was there around 12:30 pm. One day I'll try something else!

                                                              1. s
                                                                stv RE: Vinnie Vidimangi Dec 4, 2012 08:08 PM

                                                                Today, I tried Ibrahim 's, beef, and chicken shawarma , and felafels.

                                                                Bigger warps and more expensive than Al Tanoor and Nasib's.
                                                                Shawarma are $4.29 ea or $7.99 for 2.
                                                                Falafels are the same same as the other 2 at $5.99 for 2.

                                                                Nothing really stands out, the shawarmas and falafels are good, and hearty. Fills the tummy well, but forgetable.

                                                                Will be trying the Korean place next to Al Tanoor, Makkal Chon next week.

                                                                IMHO, Nasib's is the best.

                                                                BTW: Al Tanoor is opened just a year, and is in the top 5 in the GTA.

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