Eat the Strip

Cedar Valley Lebanese Food

1615 Orléans Blvd, Orléans, ON K1C 7E2

April 6, 2024 6:51 PM

By: Ameya Charnalia

City council passed a motion this week to declare Ottawa the Shawarma Capital of Canada, so it was only fitting we went to break bread with the councillor who introduced the motion.

We joined Coun. Laura Dudas in her Orléans West-Innes ward to grab a shawarma platter and sandwich at Cedar Valley Lebanese Restaurant—one of her favourite shawarma spots in the city.

Cedar Valley is sandwiched—pun intended—between a Pizza Pizza and a Mary Brown’s Chicken in an east-end strip mall. It’s been there for around 25 years and is one of the neighbourhood’s go-to spots for shawarma.

My mixed shawarma wrap cost approximately $10. The ingredients were fresh and the restaurant was very generous with the pickled turnip and garlic sauce, the latter quickly becoming one of my favourites in the city. The councillor ordered a shawarma platter and had enough leftovers for another meal. The portions and value for money were excellent.

There was a constant lineup at the restaurant during our visit on Monday evening
There was a constant lineup at the restaurant during our visit on Monday evening

According to the councillor, Ottawa has around 120 Tim Hortons. There are more shawarma restaurants than Tim Hortons in the city. Heck, there are more shawarma restaurants than gas stations in Ottawa.

Cedar Valley has long been a part of the food fabric of our city. Brothers Georges and Haytham Rahmeh purchased it restaurant in 2016 and expanded the menu to offer signature Lebanese dishes in addition to shawarma, such as fattoush and tabouleh.

“Ottawa’s shawarma restaurants are economic drivers in our city. In the vast majority of cases, they also owned and operated by local people – families – who share with us all their love of shawarma and fresh, tasty food,” said the councillor. “I am incredibly lucky to have many excellent, and delicious, shawarma restaurants in a short distance from my home in the east end. One of them is Cedar Valley Lebanese, owned by brothers, Georges and Haytham, where I often stop to grab a tasty meal.”

There’s nothing quite like enjoying a marinated cut of meat grilled on a spit. Ottawa has long been a laboratory of shawarma. Hundreds of shawarma spots—both old and new alike—have dotted our streetscapes for years. Each one of them have contributed to crowning this city the country’s shawarma capital. This motion is a salute to their indomitable spirit.