Photo Credit: Shadman Aziz, Lifestyle Editor
Food at U of T – Issue One
Shadman Aziz, Lifestyle Editor
Cheap shawarma places are a staple of any university campus experience. However, I often find most of them leaving much more to be desired. Most lack flavour or anything that would set them apart from the dozens of other cheap shawarma places around campus. In my experience, most of them have zero individuality. But never fear — here are two shawarma-style food places that taste amazing yet different, both with a unique flavour and vibe.
The first place is on 668 Yonge St.: M’Zaar. Its food is a bit less spicy, but a lot more “saucy” than other shawarma places around town, leading its items to be quite distinct from any other shawarma you would have tried. The chicken shawarma plate and grilled shish taouk are my go-to. The taste is memorable, and the meat is tender and not dry (a common complaint I have with many shawarma places). Both are priced at around $15, so it does offer a pretty good value. According to my friends of Lebanese and Arab origin, M’Zaar’s style of cooking is very similar to how shawarma is prepared in that part of the world, so if you are in fact looking for a more authentic culinary experience this might be the place for you.
The second place I recommend is right in front of the Spadina subway station: Zaad. Let’s get the biases out of the way first: I hands down prefer Zaad to M’Zaar. The taste just agrees better with my palate. However, like I have said before, I’ve had enough friends tell me otherwise to make me want to include M’Zaar as well, therefore which one you would prefer may be entirely up to you. One thing that Zaad has M’Zaar beat, which is not subjective, is value. Zaad comes out to under 12 bucks (with a student discount, so don’t forget to ask for that!) for its chicken shawarma plate, which has so much food that two people might eat from one serving and still be left satisfied. One thing that I do recommend you try is the saj platter, which is basically a shawarma sliced into pieces and spiced up. It’s quite unique as shawarma options go and makes for great food pictures! If I could only explain how much I love its hot sauce and fries! It puts this spice on the fries that makes them the best I’ve ever tried, and the hot sauce is very flavourful and not designed to kill you like other places.