Little Istanbul

Little Istanbul is a little shawarma place servicing the Huntington neighbourhood on the East Mountain since… I don’t know? I thought I was going to Kabul Shawarma until I got there. Kabul being the rebranded name of the old Steel City Shawarma. Which was called Shawarma Shawarma back in the day. And before that it was a Sana Grill… And as far as I can tell through all these name changes the restaurant and product hasn’t changed at all… Odd.

As I entered, I noticed a sign that they were running a $3 shawarma promotion. I missed it by a day, dang. It’s a small space with some simple decoration and a few 2 seat tables. They do well with the limited space. The menus are large and easy to read, right above the counter. The gentleman behind the counter gave me a friendly greeting and took my order, turning around to shave the shawarma off the spit. He seemed to be in good spirits, I like him.

The toppings all have a bit of flair to them. The onions are lightly seasoned with what seems to be parsley and perhaps sumac. The lettuce has little carrot and cucumber mix-ins, almost looks like a salad. They also had purple cabbage, you don’t see that a lot but I’m pretty fond of it. The sauces were nice, the hot sauce had a good kick to it. The chicken was nice, I especially liked the pieces that fell out. The thing that hurts this shawarma for me is how dense it is. The pita didn’t get enough heating time and was still pretty tough. The whole wrap was a bit too cool.

Little Istanbul is a decent enough place. I’m not sure what the story is with the regular name changes, I’m sure it’s less interesting than my imagination. It’s hard to recommend Little Istanbul, and not because it’s bad. The thing is, as you and I will soon discover, Upper Ottawa Street has a surprisingly strong shawarma game. If you’re here, you’re not far from some truly amazing shawarma. Check out Little Istanbul if you read this site for my opinion of the gentlemen and gentlewomen working these places, I like that guy. 6/10

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