The Best Shawarma in Toronto
The best shawarma in Toronto must start with a strong foundation. That is, the meat. You can have the tastiest garlic sauce or pickled turnips this side of the Atlantic Ocean, but if your meat is too dry (read: pre-shaved or left to sit) or without a slight crisp (shaved too early), the delight of the Middle Eastern fast food will soon start to dissipate.
And still, the spots on this list know the meat is just the start. Proper seasoning, marination, and appropriate shaving time, yes, but also fresh toppings, tangy sauces, warm pita--and hey, a smile never hurts. Of course, I'll take a delicious sandwich and a frown over a sub-par shawarma and friendly chit chat ay day. Never been one for small talk, after all. And on that note, here is the list of the best shawarma in Toronto.
Note: A previous version of this list was published in June 2009. Comments below made up until January 31, 2012 are in reference to the old list. We've purposely kept some of the archived comments here because we believe they (mostly) add value to this topic. If you don't want to have to wade through all of them, simply hit the "sort by newest first" link at the top of the thread.
Perhaps best known for its falafel, the shawarma laffa at this new Dufferin and Steeles destination shan’t be overlooked! The chicken shawarma is, of course, shaved off the spit to order while a fresh laffa is baking in the tabun oven. The chicken shawarma laffa rings in at $9.99 and is easily enough for two (or a very hungry one). Shawarma pita is $6.99. More »
College Falafel has served some of the best shawarma sandwiches in Toronto for years, and its owner isn’t afraid to remind customers of that gratifying tidbit when they walk in the door. Its reputation is grounded in its delicious marinated chicken ($6.49), beef ($6.99), and lamb ($6.99), rotating on the spits and shaved to request. More »
Nevermind the colonial nod in its name, Shawarma Empire will surely seize you with its awesome, awesome shawarma deal. Not only is its chicken and beef tender and crispy, its sauces and toppings fresh and delicious, but two sandwiches can be had for $5.99! Just be sure you have cash on hand, as this empire doesn’t take credit or debit. More »
Me Va Me’s express takeout counter is one of the (few?) places in Toronto where you can get your chicken shawarma on a baguette. Middle Eastern meets French? For those who prefer the traditional route Me Va Me offers the same flavourful chicken wrapped in a pita ($6.95), or else set on a plate with rice and salad. More »
Paramount offers a plethora of Middle Eastern eats, but its chicken and/or beef shawarma is perhaps at the foremost. Generous portions are shaved for pitas ($5.99) and plates ($10.99), paired with tahini, garlic sauce, turnips, tomatoes, and lots of other veggies. More »
Sultan Shawarma is near impossible to avoid on a trip to or from (or anywhere near) Main Street Station. This place has an excellent taste to cost ratio, with quality and delicious chicken or beef, packed with fresh toppings and sauces in a shawarma for just $4.84. More »
It may look like beef on that spit, but King Falafel actually specializes in veal. That’s right, seasoned grilled veal shaved fresh off the spit. And the use of veal, of course, gives whole new meaning to the word “fresh,” in this case. Too soon? (That was another veal joke.) More »
Sofra Grill brought its famed Thornhill shawarma down to St. Clair and Dufferin for the masses, and the gratitude is obvious. The chicken or beef shawarma sandwiches come generously proportioned, stuffed to the brim with toppings, and all packed tight for $5.25. Affordable, and you save the gas money to Thornhill. More »