When you’re in a city that has a fairly large Lebanese population, you know that good food isn’t far away. Ask anyone about Shawarma in Ottawa, and they’ll probably mention Shawarma Palace. Now this is no ordinary palace. You won’t find a grand residence of complex architecture housing royal family or high ranking dignitary nor will you find the venue of a sultan’s household. What you will find is some of the best tasting Lebanese food in the country, a palace worth driving to if you’re from Montreal like myself.
When you walk in, you’ll notice that the walls are lined with laminated pictures of Lebanon, a lot of them are landscape shots of Beirut. Besides panoramic shots of cities, there isn’t much decoration or anything fancy about the Shawarma Palace. The food is served cafeteria-style, so after waiting in a fairly large line you’ll eventually grab a tray and order from picture boards on top of the kitchen.
The choices are the usual ones; you’ll find chicken or beef Shawarma, chicken or Filet Mignon skewers, Kafta, Falafel, and they even have Lebanese-style barbecue chicken and grilled rainbow trout. You can also order fried eggplant (Batenjein Mekleh) or cauliflower (Arnabeet Mekleh) and other Lebanese food staples, along with Tabouleh and Baba Ghanoush. You have a choice of white or brown rice, and both have fried Vermicelli mixed in with it, which is my favorite. Behind the servers are gigantic slabs of meat & chicken, which they hack heaping portions off of from 4 rotating spits.
This is my second time at this fine establishment, and I ordered the exact same dish as last time; the mixed plate. I did however make one small change, because the gentleman that was ordering in front of me asked for hot sauce, and it inspired me to do the same. I enjoyed it immensely. The thing is, if it will be your first time eating at the Palace, I wouldn’t recommend the hot sauce because there is a lot of taste to the chicken and meat as they are both wonderfully seasoned. If you don’t want to do the mixed plate, you should probably just go for the Shawarma with sesame sauce. There is a perfect layer of crust on the Shawarma, which is formed by the juices running down the meat while it’s roasting. The salad served alongside is always fresh; I saw them change the tray twice while I was waiting in line. The house dressing is some sort of citrus vinaigrette and it’s fairly decent. The garlic potatoes were a bit dry on their own this time, maybe it was just the batch. This was taken care of by dipping the potatoes in the homemade hummus, which they give you an enormous portion of and season and prep it right in front of you for each plate. The garlic sauce is also incredible. It’s rich, strong and creamy but there is no sour taste to it. They will give you as much pita as you ask for, which always comes fresh. I also had a couple of their fries that seemed to have fallen off into my potatoes, and they were excellent. I think I will order those next time instead.
There is a lot of hype surrounding the Shawarma Palace, and it lives up to it. This is the go to place for Lebanese food in Ottawa. It caters to everyone, including late night partiers who need something to feast on after hours (it’s opened until 3AM). A lot of people return here because they get great value. The Shawarma Palace consistently offers astounding portions of tasty food at reasonable prices. In Montreal, I have tried several cafeteria-style Lebanese places (Amir, Boustan, Al-Taiib, Basha, Kabab) but none of them come close to the Shawarma Palace.
464 Rideau Street, Montreal, QC, Canada K1N 5Z3 T: (613) 789-9533
JarredReviews is my personal weblog. The opinions and experiences represent my own. If you read that I didn’t particularly enjoy a meal or restaurant, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try it and see for yourself. Restaurants can have an off day, people make mistakes, we’re all human. My writing is mainly so that you can find out about great restaurants that you may have not heard about, and also to give you an idea of what I enjoyed that you can experience for yourself. Food reviewing is very subjective and you must take this into account and use your discretion when reading any review; If I have had a bad experience somewhere, do not let that stop you to try the restaurant for yourself.