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POLL: Kingston’s best shawarma

Photo by Syed Hussaini.

It’s been nearly four years since Kingstonist last took a look at this important issue. At the time, author Danielle Lennon highlighted four shawarma restaurants, but hoped for more options in Kingston in the near future. We’re delighted to have 11 restaurants in this updated poll, but with the caveat emptor that a few may not pass the authenticity test of discerning shawarma enthusiasts.

Shawarma, for the uninitiated, is a Middle Eastern food that is considered one of the world’s most popular street foods. It’s essentially a big stack of thinly-sliced seasoned meat (chicken, beef, lamb, veal, etc.) that is roasted on a vertical spit. As the spit rotates, the cooked portion of the meat is sliced off with a huge knife and served in a sandwich or wrap, often on a pita.

Dr. Shawarma and Shawarma Damascus are two of the newest players in Kingston, along with Osmow’s, which is hugely popular in the GTA and has recently opened a Kingston location. Places like Famous King and House of Donair are well-established favourites, and even the Kingston-based Pita Pit franchise has a shawarma item or two on their menu these days.  

So, Kingston, what makes the shawarma experience for you? Do you need to see the meat actually turning on the spit before you’ll even consider ordering? Will you walk out if it’s not carved from the stack as soon as you order it? Some people say it’s the sides or toppings that can make or break a good shawarma wrap.

Kingston's best shawarma

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20 thoughts on “POLL: Kingston’s best shawarma

  • August 14, 2019 at 7:50 pm
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    House of Donair was my go to place.
    It was fresh it was tender and the wrap fillings were superb.
    I dont know what happened.. :(
    My last wrap was dry and very unappealing.. (and sadly was my beef donair).. The House of Donair charges premimum prices which id be happy to pay..but from my last experience (s) Im doubtful of going again.. Fresh went to the wayside and product the same way.. sad in that it started so well..

  • August 15, 2019 at 3:56 pm
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    Shawarma Damascus is hands down the best, food is always fresh, staff and owner are very friendly. The quantity you get is enough for two meals and all the food is mouth watering. Will never eat Shawarma any where else

  • August 15, 2019 at 10:38 pm
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    Shwarma Damascus is by far the best. It really isn’t as new as you think. When el mina opened, along with the owners son, the main and most popular cook is the owner of shawarma Damascus. When the parents decided to take over el mina from the son, the son left and so did that cook.

    The quality, and quantity are outrageous. The prices are amazing.

    • August 28, 2019 at 1:02 pm
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      Just want to clarify something key details that are incorrectly explained here.

      When El Mina first opened it was a partnership and as all partnerships may come to an end the business split and each of the owners respectfully agreed to continue to run. Hence El Mina is still operating and Damascus has opened.

      There is no relationship to father/son or any of it related to the parents coming in. Please verify any information prior to publicizing it.

  • August 26, 2019 at 10:40 pm
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    Shawarma el mina reste le meilleur ,une bonne nourriture ,un bon service et des prix raisonnables avec des quantités géantes ,sincèrement c’est le N 1

  • August 27, 2019 at 7:49 pm
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    Shawarma el Mina = comfort lovely place , nice friendly staff . Amazing lamb Kabab . Characteristic garlic potato . Everything is fresh ,High quality food with perfect price for the quantity

  • August 27, 2019 at 11:43 pm
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    I have been to Shawarma Damascus. Its the best shawarma in Kingston. The crew members were very friendly, especially the owner is a down to earth man.

  • August 28, 2019 at 11:24 am
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    Shawarma el mina Best shawarma in town,i love this place and the great service ,the staff are always friendly and welcoming,the amount of food that you get is insane ,their shawarma plates are so flavourful ,the meat , chicken , garlic sauce, all of it

  • August 29, 2019 at 9:00 am
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    Shawarma El Mina Is the Best …if I can give 100 star ?? I Will Do?

  • August 29, 2019 at 4:41 pm
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    Shawarma el Mina excellent tasty fresh food lot of varrietes,,affordable price ,,huge portions ,, quick service ,super friendly Nice staff , ,multilingual ,they speak English, french,Spanish ,Indian, Definitely recommended

  • September 11, 2019 at 3:44 pm
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    Shawarma El Mina, hands down, has the BEST shawarmas in town … and don’t even get me started on their pickled beets! Very reasonable prices: shawarma platter is more than big enough for two and at only $15.99 it’s a great deal. Heaps of deliciously moist and flavourful Chicken, seasoned to perfection roasted potatoes, and all the sides you could ask for … rice, crisp salad, tabouli, pickled beets …. and for dessert traditional baklava. Deeeeelicous!

  • October 11, 2019 at 10:51 am
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    I’d say this was a bit unfair as Osmow’s was only open for three months when this poll was taken. Hands down the best Shawarma in Kingston now, let’s talk next years poll when people have a chance to try Osmow’s.

    • October 21, 2019 at 4:32 pm
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      Osmow’s is the worst I’ve ever had. They can’t follow instructions on the order, delivered cold, and refuse to replace a terrible wrap. Very bland, their garlic is crap, tahina is just water.
      But that’s what you get from a franchise where all ingredients are shipped to them. All the mom-and-pop places around make their own garlic, pack their own donairs for roasting…

  • October 27, 2019 at 5:04 pm
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    Lovely place SHAWARMA El MINA ? Very delicious food. Everything fresh with polite friendly staff . I wish I can go there everyday

  • November 10, 2019 at 8:43 pm
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    I have always eaten at Amir in Montreal. The best shawarma’s ever. We finally found one as good here in Kingston. If you like Shawarmas you’ve got to eat theirs. Go to
    El Mina. Service is Excellent and staff is very friendly and extremely helpful!

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