Top 5 Shawarma Joints in Burlington

An entire pack of gum was consumed during this sampling of Burlington’s finest chicken shawarma sandwiches. The garlicky odour is still plaguing my tongue — speaking of which, nothing gets my mouth watering like the thought of juicy Middle Eastern chicken. The first time I’d ever tried a shawarma was in my late teens/early twenties after a night of club-hopping in downtown Montreal. While I (understandably) have zero recollection of what the place was called, I’ll never forget the simultaneous joy of discovering chicken shawarma and pain of realizing I’d been missing out on it for at least 18 straight years. Here are the top 5 chicken shawarma places in Burlington.


5. Osmow's

A fully-loaded order of chicken shawarma from Osmow's rarely disappoints, nor does the size of their 'super' sandwich. In true made-to-order fashion, it’s topped with chicken carved from the spit, and everything tastes perfectly seasoned. The garlic sauce is divine, along with the hot sauce. Everything is made in-house at this Appleby Line joint. The Mississauga franchise began in 2001 and has spread west, pleasing Burlington diners in droves. This massive sandwich could easily be shared between two moderately-hungry people.

Price: $7.97

Time: Served under 10 minutes.


4. Pita Republic

Yum! The Egyptian owner said “you've got to make everything from scratch, or you're in trouble” (if you rely on suppliers). Well, they're certainly not in trouble for making my stomach hurt from inhaling this delicious sandwich. Chicken, already shaved from the spit, is in a container for easy access and the owner is very accommodating when it comes to customizing your toppings. My sandwich had fresh hummus, lettuce, tomatoes, banana peppers (they also offer jalapenos), turnips, red onions, tabbouleh, garlic and homemade hot sauce. Great food, great service. This Brant St. restaurant is definitely the place to go if you’re looking for a quick, satisfying bite and free Wi-Fi.

Price: $7.35

Time: Served under five minutes.


3. Sammy's Donair

This long-time favourite sandwich spot in the Roseland Plaza serves up chicken shawarma with a few simple ingredients: lettuce, turnips, and garlic sauce. It’s brimming with meat and tastes exceptional. Some may say the portion is small compared to conventional shawarma servings, but I’d contend Sammy’s shawarma isn’t filled with 89 other ingredients to overcompensate for a stingy portion of chicken. Next time I’m feeling carnivorous, I’m returning to try their legendary donair (a Turkish dish, staff explained) with fresh ground beef shaved from a vertical rotisserie. Service is friendly, although you may have to wait for someone in the back to notice you. When they do, they’ll likely ask if you’re OK with the toppings before serving up your sandwich. Surprisingly, I didn’t request hot sauce or hot peppers. The verdict: Don’t mess with perfection.

Price: $9.29 [Heads up: It’s cash-only (there's an ATM inside) and no Wi-Fi].

Time: Served under five minutes.


2. The Raging Olive

The meat tastes as if it's been marinating overnight and boy, oh boy, does the flavour come through. The thinly sliced chicken is the best part of the meal, hands down. This shawarma - served in a small pita - needs no sauce or extra fixings to make it come alive. I had mine with a garden salad and skipped the rice. Owner/chef Nelson Philipose has created a great casual dining experience. Definitely check out the Raging Olive for a sit-down meal, complete with cozy English pub booths and wonderful service.

Price: $18 entree (with salad and another side); $7.50 for the sandwich alone.

Time: Served in about 10 minutes.


1. Zesty Pita & Burgers

Fan-frickin-tastic!! I try to avoid using exclamation marks when describing food but !!!!!!!!!! Fresh, filling, and from scratch; halal meat shaved right off the spit, this chicken shawarma wrap is the best Middle Eastern meal I've tasted since living in Windsor and badgering the good folks at El Mayor for more falafel and grape leaves. It's enormous, packed with fresh garlic, hummus, sauteed spicy onions, turnips, pickles, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, hot sauce, and garlic sauce. The owners are from Morocco, which is now on my bucket list. Voted best shawarma in Burlington, this sandwich is officially on my list of cheat meals. Sure, there’s protein, but I shudder to think of how many calories have been consumed ... worth it! There are two locations: Express takeout on New St. and eat-in at Upper Middle at Walker’s Line, which opened last October.

Price: $5.99

Time: Served under five minutes.


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