Address: 460 Bronson Ave, Ottawa
Hours: 11:30am – 9pm (Mon – Sat); closed Sundays (hours may vary during/after pandemic)
Wrap City opened this summer at Bronson and Gladstone, taking over the spaces formerly occupied by Suya Palace and a Money Mart. I’m always glad to see a payday loan place close, and even more so when it’s replaced by a restaurant that’s within easy walking distance of my place!
I had originally tried Wrap City during their soft opening when they invited lots of food bloggers, Foodstagrammers, friends and family to test things out before welcoming in the general public. They carry a variety of flavours of wraps, and my wife and I enjoyed the quality, portioning and execution. Their fresh, made-in-house flatbreads were a standout item, and are more similar to naan than they are a Lebanese pita or a tortilla.
When I saw that Wrap City was promoting their new Halifax-style donair, I was both intrigued and worried. To be fair, this is the same feeling I get when I hear about any place in Ottawa that has a donair that claims to be Halifax-style. My #OttawaDonairQuest is a path littered with disappointment, and I didn’t want to see Wrap City lose a little bit of its shine.
I found the donair to be an interesting addition to the menu since the undisputed champion of Halifax-style donairs in Ottawa, Centertown Donair and Pizza, is a literal stone’s throw away. Shots fired!
Despite my worries, I had to try this donair.
After ordering, I had a nice chat with one of the owners, Joe. He explained that he grew up in the Halifax area before his family moved to Lebanon for 20-plus years, after which he came back to Canada and settled in the NCR. In the comically small world of Nova Scotia, his family owned the building in which Gus, the owner of Centertown Donair, had a pizza shop in back during his days in Halifax!
But how was the food you ask? Honestly, a lot better than what I was bracing myself for. Wrap City uses loaves of donair meat from Sysco, which then get sliced and finished on a grill. It’s not the traditional vertical rotisseries and spit of meat with a flat-top-finish, but you can’t really expect that at a place that doesn’t specialize in donairs. Even though it didn’t have the crispy edges that you get from a flat-top, the smoky char from the grill was a very respectable substitute.
The seasoning was definitely that of a Halifax-donair, although a little more subdued than I prefer, in both the earthy herbs and heat-bearing spices. I guess that’s what happens when you spend years living close to Tony’s Donair in Halifax.
I don’t know if Wrap City does their donair sauce in-house, but it was a good entry, with that unique mix of sweet and tangy.
Blessedly, Wrap City does not put lettuce on their donair and other than the sauce, it was only topped with diced white onions and sliced tomatoes, as it should be.
Their flatbread stood out once again, with the lightly flaky crumb holding up extremely well to the hot mess that is a Halifax-style donair. Often, the pita used in donairs back home are a complete afterthought (if you’re sober enough to have any thoughts while having a donair), so it’s nice to see a quality product like this bread.
The portioning was also quite good. Every so-called donair I’ve had from shawarma or pizza places in Ottawa is on the light side, but there’s plenty of meat in Wrap City’s. It might not be one of the absurd, football-sized donairs that you can get in Halifax, but it’s a solid lunch.
More than just beating low expectations, Wrap City’s Halifax-style donair is one of the better iterations that you’ll find in Ottawa. They might not have stolen Centertown Donair’s crown, but they’re still doing right by Halifax’s official food.