Shawarma and Tim Hortons

Each time I go to Ottawa (the capital of Canada and the second coldest capital city in the world just behind Ulan Baator, Mongolia) I am always pleasantly surprised by the number of cheap halal fast food shawarma shacks, restaurants, and eateries.Tim Hortons

Despite a growing number of halal restaurants here in the Washington DC area, these pale in comparison to the sheer number and refreshing menu predictability of the of shawarma places in Ottawa. Although, there are sweet surprises such as the shawarma place that offers delicious fresh-fruit smoothies.

I think it would be difficult to drive around Ottawa and not see a shawarma and Tim Hortons on just about each block and oftentimes there are more than one one the same street.

Tim Hortons is an institution in Canada much like McDonald’s and WalMart are in the States. It is a cross between Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks. It’s the everyman’s coffee shop nothing elitist or preppy about it. They serve hot coffee and tea and excellent snacks and desserts.

However, a word of caution about Tim Hortons:

They do not serve white chocolate mocha. Do not be fooled when your coffee server tells you that they do because he or she will undoubtly give you a regular chocolate mocha. Count yourself blessed if you get a bit of vanilla dropped in. I have ordered white chocolate mochas from 2 or 3 different Tims restaurants only to be disappointed each time.

If you want a white chocolate mocha when you are in Canada go to Second Cup or Starbucks.

But I am happy to report that at some point in the last 5 years, Tims has expanded to upstate New York and I hear possibly also to Ohio. When I went back this summer I saw not just one but multiple Tim Hortons in and around our small village in New York.


  1. This post made me smile 🙂
    Shawarma joints are HUGE in Ottawa, with immigrants and Canadians. They are almost as much of a staple as McD’s, at least amoung my white/non-muslim friends.

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