And that's a wrap.
This Review article is part of a Narcity Media series. The views expressed are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.
People can get very opinionated about their favourite shawarma spots in Toronto because there are so many delicious places to choose from. But naming one spot as the best shawarma in town takes a lot of thought and dedication, so I decided to take on the difficult challenge myself.
As an Arab that grew up in the Middle East and now lives in Canada, craving food that mimics the flavours from back home is always an adventure I'm ready to embark on.
This time around, Narcity set up a poll on Instagram to find your go-to shawarma spots in Toronto, and I chose the top three recommended locations.
Something to note is that the shawarma Canadians know is quite different than the kind found in the Middle East. A shawarma wrap from back home has three main ingredients: chicken, garlic sauce and pickles. That's it!
Some places like to spice things up and will include french fries, turnips and hot sauce.
I started my adventure at Lazeez Shawarma in a new downtown location on Church Street. I then visited the "famous" Mr Zagros on King and Bathurst and finally made my way to the mysteriously located Shawarmama on Queen Street West.
After visiting all three spots and literally having to change out of my jeans and into my sweatpants, I chose my favourite shawarma place in Toronto.
Chicken shawarma wrap with a side of garlic fries from Lazeez Shawarma.
What I ordered: Chicken shawarma wrap with garlic, turnips, hot sauce and just a little bit of lettuce, with a side of fries and more garlic sauce.
Address: 373 Church St., Toronto, ON
Why You Need To Go: This affordable shawarma shop is conveniently located by Toronto Metropolitan University, so it's perfect for a quick bite between classes.
The chicken in the shawarma wrap was something else. It was full of flavour, and when mixed with the garlic and hot sauce, it was the perfect combination between flavourful and spicy. I really liked that you could choose your spice level and all your ingredients, which made it completely customizable.
If you like saucy fries and garlic, these fries are for you! Unfortunately, I'm not a fan of soggy fries (poutine lovers, leave me alone). I prefer my fries crispy and would rather dip them in a garlic sauce instead.
Mira holding a chicken shawarma wrap and garlic potatoes.
What I Ordered: Chicken shawarma with tahini, garlic, pickles and pickled turnips with a side of garlic potatoes and garlic sauce. Wow, that's a lot of garlic!
Address: 700 King St. W., Toronto, ON
Why You Need To Go: The bread! That is all. But seriously, the bread they use to wrap their shawarma in is made in-house, and super delicious!
Also, if you love juicy, tender and satisfying chicken, then run over there right now, because not only did the smell of that flavourful chicken fill up the place, but the taste also definitely satisfied my palate.
But what was absolutely amazing was the garlic potatoes and sauce. They were just how I like them. The garlic sauce was less saucy and more garlicky, while the potatoes were crispy and had some sauce, making them flavourful but not soggy. Honestly, amazing!
The only con was that there was too much chicken in the sandwich, which made it quite filling. It was also enormous! It was bigger than my face and really hard to finish.
Mira with her chicken shawarma wrap in Azkadenya.
What I Ordered: "Mama's Chicken Shawarma Sandwich," which contains chicken, pickles and "mama's secret garlic sauce," wrapped in toasted saj bread. Of course, I also got a side of french fries and extra garlic sauce!
Address: 235 Queen St. W., Toronto, ON
Why You Need To Go: Shawarmama is actually a ghost kitchen located in Azkadenya on Queen Street. Their shawarma wrap and decor teleported me back to my hometown. From the moment I entered until the minute I left, I was super happy.
Diving into the shawarma, the wrap is exactly what I'd expect in a traditional chicken shawarma wrap — bread, chicken, garlic sauce and pickles, which means we've got a winner!
The chicken was nicely marinated and not too fatty, while the garlic sauce and pickle gave it that crunch and juiciness that is a must in a wrap.
The fries were kind of like those Costco fries your grandma would buy you as a kid. This means that every bite was crispy but soft on the inside, making it the perfect combination, in my opinion.
And that's a wrap
And now, for the moment you've all been waiting for — drum roll, please!
And the winner is: Shawarmama!
My mission was to find a wrap that mimics one from the Middle East, and this is the one for me. Honestly, I'm salivating just thinking of that sandwich.
Don't get me wrong, all the places were scrumptious, but we went on an adventure to find the top shawarma place in Toronto.
In second place is Mr Zagros, only because the sandwich was so big and there was too much chicken for my liking.
In third place is Lazeez Shawarma. It was great but not really shawarma, in my opinion. It was more of a pita wrap, which could be a favourite for many.
Nevertheless, all these options are great. If you're a shawarma fanatic in Toronto, you should hit them all up because you won't regret it!