halifax donair recipe

The secret to Halifax donair according to the Nova Scotia restaurant that perfected it

King of Donair has been making donair since 1973. While they've opened restaurants in cities across Canada, crafting the perfect donair is taken very seriously in Halifax and now, they're sharing their secret to great Halifax-style donair. 

While the dish may resemble gyro, Haligonians know that there are some major differences when it comes to donair.

So, how does donair differ and more, importantly how do you make donair that is truly amazing? 

Well, it all starts with the meat, according to King of Donair vice president Nicholas Nahas. 

"A lot of people will use a blend of meat where they'll use maybe lamb with the beef, but we're just 100 per cent beef with original spices," he told Freshdaily, adding that the original spices are a secret he can't divulge. 

"A lot of places will call it a donair but its very bland meat. Ours is proprietary with a blend of spices that no one else knows."

Of course, a great donair is about more than just the meat. What makes it truly stand out from a gyro or kebab, said Nahas, is the sauce. 

"Most places will use a tzatziki or a mayo-based [sauce] our sauce is different in that it's sweet and garlic-y. Just saying that, it doesn't sound like it should go with meat, but our original donair is meat, the donair sauce, onions, and tomatoes." 

Using the proper bread also ensures the donair is just right. 

"We us a Lebanese pita so it's much thinner whereas some places will use almost like a naan bread. We dip ours in water and we put it on the grill so it's a bit moist and a bit crispy."

If you ask Nahas, there's one specific topping that should definitely be left off of a donair and that's lettuce.

"That's always a fun east versus west debate," Nahas said comparing it to putting ketchup on a steak. 

"Out west in Canada, lettuce is almost a staple on their donairs whereas if you mention that to a Haligonian, they'll bite your head off."

King of Donair was founded in 1973 by Peter Gamoulakos who wanted to share Greek food with Halifax by introducing the gyro.

When that didn't take off, he made some adjustments and came up with the donair and opened the first King of Donair location on Quinpool Road.

It's now the go-to place in Halifax.

"It's up there in terms of must-dos with Peggy's Cove in Halifax," Nahas said of tourists who visit the city. 

Lead photo by

King of Donair


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