You know when you stumble upon a place, usually in your own backyard, that serves food so delicious you wonder how you haven’t heard of it/noticed it any sooner? And you thank your lucky stars that you found it. And you’re grateful that there is rarely a HUGE line-up (unless you come right at lunch time). And you visit it so frequently that when longer than a week has passed without you eating there, the servers ask “Where have you been!?” Yeah, this is one of those places. Almost too good to share and I kind of want to keep this well-hidden secret to myself but Yummy Donair & Kebab deserves the recognition.
Location: 942b 16th St. West, North Vancouver
I have been eating here, at least weekly, for ages. Even when I went vegan, I was eating here regularly – I lived off their Falafel Platters (hold the feta and tzatziki). Now, I rotate between their delicious donairs (and I’m not even a huge donair fan) and their kebab platters with fresh sangak. If I’m really hungry, I’ll add rice to the platter but it’s not necessary as the sangak and generous meat portions will fill you right up.
Environment: Yummy Donair is essentially a fast-food style take-away spot that does have ample seating. Inside it looks like your average donair shop (but don’t forget to grab a bag of the fresh sangak – located by the drink cooler). You walk up to the counter, place your order and then step aside to either wait for your take-away or wait for your dish to be called out – which you then grab and walk back to your table/bar seating.
One of the cool things about Yummy Donair & Kebab is that their kitchen is basically on display. There are large glass windows in the meat preparation room and you can watch the guys skewer up the kebabs, at all times of the day. It’s really neat to watch if you didn’t grow up observing that sort of thing. I find food preparation beautiful to watch so I enjoy the entertainment.
Service: 6/5 (they are forever hooking me up with extra grilled tomato/sangak/meat etc.)
I’ve read reviews and have heard people complain about the service but I have never experienced anything but excellent service. I can’t recall the last time I waited more than 10 minutes for my food – and they cook the kebab, fresh to order. To be honest, the only time I’ve ever witnessed anyone working there be less than pleasant was when a customer had a rude ass attitude. And good for them (the servers) – who says just because you are in the service industry that you have to surpress your human instinct to stick up for yourself. I loathe people who talk down to or treat service staff as less than. If you’re going to be rude, stay your ass at home and learn how to cook for yourself. Eating out is a privilege and having the disposable income to eat anywhere in this city when we have homelessness and poverty all over the place is a bloody gift. People need to humble themselves, seriously.
Mix Beef & Chicken Donair Platter w/ Rice, Greek Salad, Hummus & Sangak – $9.99
So good. Fast, tasty and filling. This platter is my go-to when I don’t know what to eat but I want something that I know will be satisfying. They are very generous with the meat here and I love that they give you a slice of sangak to make little tiny donair roll-ups with (or just for dipping in the hummus/ eating plain).
Beef Donair w/ Feta added $7.99 + $1.00
Tell me that my eyes aren’t playing tricks on me – that’s a bleep load of meat, am I right?! The meat is never dry and always super flavourful. I don’t know how they manage to wrap it so that all the components of the donair (sauces, veggies, meat) are present in every bite. I’ve tried pretty much every donair spot from North Van to Langley and I’d say this is my favourite place, by far. Donair Town & Babylon Cafe come a close second – in case you were wondering.
Falafel Platter w/ Tabouleh added
I literally lived off this platter when I was vegan for awhile there. I would request no feta and no tzatziki sauce (yogurt based) and they never had an issue with that or accidentally gave me any feta or sauce I didn’t specifically ask for. Their falafel are crispy and tasty and fried to order – not just sitting in a warming tub or under a heat lamp. For a vegetarian/vegan meal this is very filling.
Koobideh Kebab Plate w/ Saffron Rice added & side Tzatziki sauce – $7.99
They make a damn fine koobideh kebab here. I believe that they add very little, if any, bread to the beef mixture (it’s a filler and unfortunately, used in a lot of Persian restaurants to keep the cost low considering how much meat is used per portion). They grill the koobideh so perfectly – never too charred and never not charred enough, just right. Between the sangak and the rice, you will definitely be leaving here in a (happy) carb coma.
Vaziri Kebab Sangak Platter – $11.99
As far as I’m concerned, the BEST Vaziri Kebab platter (that’s one skewer joojeh, chicken, kebab and one skewer koobideh, ground beef, kebab) in town is found here, at Yummy Donair. The meat is always flavourful and grilled perfectly (not too much char but not too light that you can’t taste the essence of the smokey grill). The marinade is tasty but not overpowering, like they are trying to hide the (lack of) quality of the meat. The sangak is always fresh and chewy, even when I stop in for a late night bite. The sides – roasted tomato, basil, onion, sumac – are generous. I ask for a side order of their tzatziki sauce (more like mast khiar) to go with the meat, as well.
My absolute favourite thing to order at Yummy Donair & Kebab. The Vaziri plate is always a good way to get a feel for the quality of the food at a Persian restaurant. You get a little bit of everything, rice, sangak, side veggies, one joojeh (chicken) kebab and one koobideh (ground beef) kebab. They knock it out of the park, everytime. I have never not enjoyed my Vaziri at this restaurant. It amazes me how many people come in and just order donairs without ever trying the kebab! It’s SO good and presented really well too, considering it’s essentially a fast food joint.
Final Thoughts: The portions are huge. The price is right. The food is consistently excellent. The servers are lovely and they are open till midnight – every single night – which is amazing for Vancouver, in general, but bloody mind blowing for North Vancouver, particularly.