Greek Food: Souvlakia
I was looking at your site (specifically about the souvlaki), and i must say i was pretty dissatisfied with the rather processed-tasting sandwich you get around Monasteraki...
My favorite gyro in Athens is with chicken, at a little place on Varnava Square called Paliakis (sometimes when it is warm they have little tables on the sidewalk with red tablecloths)
order qyro [pita] kotopoulo me "sauce" (yeah, they call it sauce.... it's kinda this creamy mustard sauce that made my american tongue go crazy, in a good way) their tzatziki is good too.... and sadly to say their onions had parsley in them..... but i ate a ton of gyros when i was living in athens (i was there for 3 months) and this was by far my favorite.... sometimes i'd settle for Loxandras, but they were everywhere
ok, gotta run, hope this helps in your overall knowledge of great athenian qyro cuisine
First of all, congratulations on your website. I
don't think I have ever come across such a complete guide to Greece
(or any other country, for that matter) on the internet.
Furthermore, as a greek living abroad, it's nice to be reminded of
all the good (and bad) things back
home. I'm very impressed by the time and effort you have put on this
Just one comment about the all-important subject of
souvlaki. I only had a quick scan through the website, so I'm not
sure if you mention this anywhere else,
but there is a huge divide between the south and the north of Greece on the matter.
'Souvlaki' in the south can mean either gyros-pita
or the skewered meat (kalamaki) or kalamaki-pita (or anything
wrapped in pita). But:in the north of Greece (which means anywhere to the
north of Larissa, or even Lamia), 'souvlaki' means only the skewered
meat. If you want the gyros-pita thing, you must order a 'sandwitch'. I
have heard stories of Athenians ordering 'souvlaki me kalamaki' in
Thessaloniki and receiving a kalamaki (i.e. souvlaki) and a straw
(kalamaki, same word). Actually, to order exactly what you want to
eat in the north, the best bet is to just list all the ingredients
('pita, gyros, etc'). But the word for the whole pita wrap is
[And by the way, northern souvlaki is far superior than southern - not only larger and not as greasy, but you can also choose between a variety of meats (or even fried calamari, during lent) and salads.] A similar misunderstanding between south and north exists with the cheese. All yellow cheese in the north is called 'kasseri' and the word 'tyri' is only used for feta cheese.
I'm beginning to get hungry, so I'll finish the email here.
I am doing a souvlaki research for years!:)
The best souvlaki or kebab souvlaki that I ever had is there at Psaron & Kritis Str. at Agios Pavlos Square and the place is called "Gefstiki Gonia" meaning "Tasty Corner". (Agios Pavlos square is a couple blocks off Theodorou Diligiani Street by the Larissa train station. )
During the 2004 Olympics I was a Vip driver with clients, the co-founders of ROOTS (official outfiter for British, Canadian and US teams) and their families. With them was Trudeau's Son, Justin!
After asking me for a real nice souvlaki place, nothing fancy, just a plain good souvlaki, without a second thought I took them there.
Imagine, since then, I was going there for the rest of them twice, three time a day or two!
They were not the only ones though!
Now Iam going to print this out and ask the guys there for a promotional fee!!!;))
PS:"The worst souvlaki in my life was from a place called Miami Subs in Florida!!! My God!!! Catastrophe!!!!"
I would like to share a piece of information with you on souvlaki. Originally souvlaki was called only the straw with the skewered meat. It comes from the greek word "souvla" which means skewer. The one that you have described was called just pita (pie). In combination with the stuffing it was called either "pita-gyros", "pita-souvlaki" (if the stuffing was composed by skewed pork meat), pita-biffteki and so on. I am telling you this because it still applies it nothern Greece [there is also some short of a dispute between the Nothens and the Southerns on this matter, among other things (Olympiakos vs PAOK, Akropolis-White Tower, General Grant-Lee...I was carried away...sorry)]. In nothern Greece people do not prefer to add tsatziki in their pita. They choose insted mustard,yogurt or other components.
And an other thing.Please don't advise yor readers to order something else when cheated. They should get up and leave instead. This should be happening until those %^$#@^%$#@@^%$ wise up. They all know what souvlaki means. Thank God there are a lot of souvlaki-places .There can be no tolerrence for those who embarrass us .
Pardon my bad English.
Excellent website, keep up the good work. It makes for interesting reading, even for native Athenians who live in Athens, such as myself.
The souvlaki subject is very touchy for us Greeks. In keeping with your site's spirit of giving "inside" info to foreign visitors, I would thoroughly recommend that you delete all mention to Mpairaktaris, and all other dreadful tourist garbage on Mitropoleos and Plaka!
As a seasoned souvlaki veteran, I've had my share of the good, the bad and the downright awful. Mpairaktaris is probably one of the worst.
In case you didn't know, the "celebrity photo" concept has its purpose: to keep you distracted from the terrible food. One other torrid place, Jimmy's Souvlaki in Mykonos, also has celebrity photos, but the patrons there are usually too drunk to notice the photos, the souvlaki or the daylight robbery.
For any of your website visitors staying in the north of Athens, there 3 excellent souvlaki places, located within a few meters from each other in Nea Erythrea, just off Kifisias Avenue. (the so called magic triangle) These three spots are not only the undisputed best in the northern suburbs, but could well be in the Top 10 of the whole Athens area.
STELIOS, on Plastira Street (turn left on Plastira going north on Kifisias (Eleftheriou Venizelou), its on your left, 10 meters). Stelios is a kotopoulo (chicken) souvlaki specialist. The kotopoulo-pita is huge, the ingredients are fresh and the home-made sauce cannot be described with words. 10/10.
PANERYTHRAIKOS is about 50 meters from Stelios (turn left on Plastira). You cant miss it, because its always packed. P's menu only has one thing: souvlaki-kalamaki. I've seen people queue from over half an hour to get theirs. I dont know where he gets the meat from, or what the secret cooking technique is, but this soulaki-kalamaki (with pita or without - absolutely no sauce or tzatziki, just tomato and onion) has to be tasted to be believed (10/10)
DOKOS is on Plastira Square (again, about 50m from Stelios, but on the right). The key ingredient here is curry. Yes, Dokos must be the only souvlaki place in Greece that makes curry-gyros-pita. It's heavy, and worth its weight in gold. Dokos does everything curry, from kalamaki to gyros to french fries. He recently added a heavier kalamaki-souvlaki called The Heiropoiito (hand-made) which is served plain, with curry, or in a gigantic pita with optional condiments. A must try ( 9.5/10)
Note: All three places are run-down, shabby, uninviting, BUT very cheap. Where souvlaki is concerned, foreign visitors should always look for very greek-looking, undecorated, dark and uncomfortable souvlaki spots. Oh, and a general restaurant tip: Stay away from places that have pictures of the menu on the outside, and where waiters wear dark trousers and white short-sleeved shirts.