Ottawa's reputation as the shawarma capital of Canada isn't some secret. In fact, most (if not all) Ottawans know this.
Every corner you turn in the downtown core you're probably going to end up at a shawarma joint. There's over a hundred shawarma places in the entire city and every Ottawan has their own favourite place for the delicious, garlic-drenched Lebanese delicacy.
There's a different taste and something special in every shawarma place you go to. Here are 10 of the best places in the city to get a flare of what the city has to offer:
1. Shawarma Palace // 464 Rideau St.
The crown jewel. They've been serving shawarma for almost 20 years and their reputation's unprecedented. Shawarma Palace (the Rideau St. location) is often cited as the best shawarma in Ottawa. It's even been celebrated by UFC fighters and food critics all the way down in Boston. The proportions are unholy and it may just be one of the best meal deals in the entire city. Period. You can probably feed two adults with one plate. If there's one shawarma place you need to try in Ottawa, it's this.
2. Cedar Valley // 1615 Orleans Blvd.
An Orleans cult classic. The beef is downright holy and, mixed with their tahini sauce, this place makes a worthwhile pilgrimage to the east end of the city. Their spicy potatoes as a side also make Cedar Valley worth coming back to.
3. Shawarma's King // 395 Bank St.
A Centretown favourite, Shawarma's King's is the perfect example of not to judge a book by its cover. Its a plain exterior, but the shawarma is some of the best and reasonably priced for its central location. It's also kind on the budget. Students get 10% off on order pickup with their student ID.
4. Castle Shawarma // 178 Rideau St.
Castle Shawarma has a lot to compete with being close to Shawarma Palace. But this little gem, next to NRML, has some of the best spicy garlic sauce in the city. Try it on the beef shawarma.
5. Shawarma De Roza // 1896 Prince of Wales Dr.
Shawarma that is always packed to the brim and located on the Rideau River. Not necessarily the typical "greasy" shawarma fare. Most people though are coming back for the owners. No one will feel like a stranger here and the hospitality's just as good as the food.
6. Centertown Donair and Pizza // 422 Bronson Ave.
Also home of the donair poutine: a beautiful mix of cultures in one heavenly cuisine. A small size shawarma here could fill you up for a good afternoon.
7. Istanbouli Shawarma House // 81 Holland Ave.
The aroma in Istanbouli is overwhelmingly heavenly, exciting the senses with smells of garlic and beef. A little gem on Holland Avenue that not only serves beef and chicken donair. They make potato as well, for those looking to try something different. It's all about the mixed platter with the juicy chicken, though.
8. Alissar Lebanese Cuisine // 1765 St. Laurent Blvd.
Alissar mainly specializes in chicken shawarma and they get it right just about every time. As if the chicken isn't juicy enough, they drench the shawarma and salads in relentless amounts of sauce. It's the place for comfort food around the St. Laurent area if there ever was one.
9. Mr Shawarma // 2555 Baseline Road
This Nepean gem serves a hearty family platter can easily feed a family of five (or just one very, very hungry person). Large sandwiches go for under 10 dollars but a small could fill you up just well. It's a filling place. Don't forget to ask for extra garlic sauce on their heavenly seasoned potatoes.
10. Shawarma Station // 2446 Bank St.
A place as famous for their traditional Lebanese pies as they are for their shawarma. For the real delicacy, ask to have your beef (or chicken) shawarma made in a wood burning oven baked cheese pie. You are welcome.