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Reviews and Such Shawarma

Les Saj Restaurant – 1038 St. James St.

My Les Saj review has been over two years in the making. It wasn’t meant to be, but after my first visit in 2018 it took me over three years to make it back. Granted, Covid had something to do with that, but it was so long there is no way I can trust my memory of that first meal.

Les Saj meal to go.
There are a variety of delights hidden underneath that Saj bread.

Les Saj is a strip mall restaurant. However once inside, there is quite attractive seating. The kitchen is on the North wall of the building. The south wall is a series of pictures. There is also a collection of groceries available for sale that runs across part of the front window.

Les Saj to go

As a transit user, one of the benefits of working downtown is that it is easy to jump on the bus at the end of the day, and travel quite quickly to a restaurant of choice. On my first trip to Les Saj this year, things were still in the no dine-in phase. So, I took a trip down to the restaurant, and got a Beef Shawarma platter to go.

The photo above doesn’t show everything that the meal offers. This is what their menu says is included:

Les Saj Platter
Served with your choice of rice OR french fries, side salad, pickles, turnips, hummus, garlic sauce, homemade hot sauce and our very own freshly baked Saj bread

I went with the rice. I grew up on rice more so than potatoes and it is generally my go to choice when offered fries or rice. One thing I like about Middle Eastern cuisine is the variety of things such as pickles and turnips that comes with the meal. If you know someone who doesn’t like turnips this might be a good way to help change their mind.

This is a really satisfying meal. The are plenty of chunks of moist, tender, and well-seasoned meat. The rice is good and fluffy, and the Saj bread very enjoyable.

Baklava
A substantial piece of Baklava.

Much like grocery stores put chocolate bars by the tills, Les Saj has Baklava by the till. I couldn’t resist, and took home a piece. Much like the Baklava from Daanook, this one emphasizes pistachios as the nut of choice. A choice I agree with.

Dining in:

I went back a couple of months later, after places started opening up again for in person dining. This was not long after I had eaten at Altanour. Now when I visited Altanour, there was way more food than I could manage. I wanted to try a variety of foods at Les Saj, but I didn’t want to overdo it.

Les Saj Platter
The partitions may fool you, but there is a whole lot of hummus and labneh on that plate.

So, I ordered the Mezzah Platter. It featured a combination of finger foods and dips. Also, I was taken in by the picture, which made it look like there were small amounts of each item.

baba ganoush
Again. A whole pile of food. This time Baba Ganoush.

Turns out, once again, that Middle Easter generosity would be the undoing of me. So far, in the photos above, you see only the about three quarters of the platter. There are also several pieces of Saj bread to go along with all that food. In the end, it was more than I could handle.

I dine alone, and I must admit that it’s places like Les Saj that make that practice quite difficult. I like to try several dishes before I write a post, and with the portion sizes at places such as Les Saj, that really stretches my stomach capacity. However, the food is so good that it is worth the effort.

The Mezza platter is vegetarian, but you won’t miss the meat. This makes for a hearty, satisfying meal.

Les Saj Turkish Coffee
A sipping coffee.

For my daily coffee drinking, a like a good, medium roast coffee. As a treat I enjoy a Turkish coffee. I had that with my meal. and the strong, astringent coffee tops off the rich food quite nicely.

The service at Les Saj is very good. The orders are processed quite efficiently and the staff is very friendly. When I’m the Polo Park area, I hope I will get a chance to visit there again.

By Donald McKenzie

Anglican priest, and food blogger. This blog is focused on Food. It will feature reviews of places to eat books, and the odd recipe. I also write about what it means to gather together around food.