Vida La Pita

Vida La Pita has been around forever and is in exactly the right place for what it is. Just around the corner from Hess village, where young people go to drink alcohol and stay out late, Vida La Pita is sandwiched between a convenience store and the murder Tim Hortons. They’re also directly across the street from Afshar’s shawarma, which I’m sure creates a bit of a rivalry. As you’d expect they are open late, but also all day as well. They have a parking lot which really broadens their reach.

They do a lot here and it’s easy to see. There’s usually 3-4 spits on the go. They’ve got baklava, they’ve got mango nectar, they’ve got manakish subs. Actually, they have a ton of offerings, my favourite is the chicken and rice (“chicken dinner”). Today we’ll be going with the chicken shawarma sandwich.

The gentlewomen behind the counter were both friendly and fast working. I started to place my order and was walked through the different ingredients. In addition the the typical fare, they have some other options that I like to see at shawarma joints. Hummus is always nice, and cucumber is a terrific addition to a shawarma, I wish it was more popular. The have separate garlic spread and white sauce, which makes me wonder what the white sauce is. After a quick stint on the grill, my order was ready for me.

There’s something to this shawarma that just doesn’t click. It’s hard to put my finger on, because all the individual ingredients are good, but they just don’t come together well. The white sauce, while wonderful on chicken and rice, tastes kind of off in a sandwich. The pickled peppers were probably a poor choice on my part, they added a sourness and not much heat. The veggies were all pretty crispy, and the pita pretty raw, I wish it got more time on the grill. On the plus side, the chicken is great, perfectly seasoned and fresh off the spit, and the cucumber really shines in this shawarma. It nice and neatly wrapped and packaged, very clean to eat too, they put the right amount of sauce on.

I said more bad than good about this shawarma, but it isn’t a bad shawarma. It just doesn’t really click. I do recommend Vida La Pita, but probably get something else. They do a lot right, but this shawarma falls short. 6/10

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