Grilled lemony, garlicky meat with creamy tzatziki, a little onion, lettuce, tomatoes, cilantro and a dusting of cayenne pepper. Don’t forget to wedge in some french fries and you will have one fine Greek gyros.Ever since I posted my recipe for Greek Pork Souvlaki (kebabs), I have been asked to post a recipe for Pork Gyros (pronounced: YEAR-oss).That’s easy for me to do as I have already posted the recipes for my Soft Pita Bread and Tzatziki (a fresh tasting cucumber yogurt sauce). It only leaves me to provide assembly instructions and the simplest of recipes for the onion, lettuce and cilantro salad. Now perhaps, my family and friends can start making these Greek Gyros for me instead!


The best Greek gyros I tasted was right by the Athens Central Market on Athena Street. It looked like any other gyros sold on the streets but the slices of pork from this no frills restaurant was phenomenally tasty. Just the right touch of salt and enough fat on the meat to make it succulent. I believe it is no coincidence that the restaurant is situated a stone’s throw away from Athens largest meat market! 
I would head back to Athens just to have a few more of this eatery’s gyros. My gyros is modelled after theirs.

We had just finished buying more food items from the Market to take home and were heading back to the hotel when I noticed this nondescript restaurant. It was not too busy but there was enough of a local crowd and no tourists. To me, that’s enough of an indication that the food will be good. At the end of a most satisfying meal of gyros and coke, I went up to compliment the staff who were all smiles. They were duly impressed that I had eaten not one but two.

I asked for their business card, using my fingers to draw a small rectangle since I speak no greek. They started to chatter animatedly amongst themselves whilst looking perplexed at the same time. I was a little amuse. The lady behind the cash register motioned me to wait and pointed upstairs. Huh? Had she wanted me to wait or to go upstairs? Another staff disappeared to the back of the restaurant. I was more amused. Within a minute the staff reappeared and handed the lady (she must have been the manager) a glossy looking A5 size booklet. She took it, reached out for a damp cloth and wiped it through. I looked on, quite baffled. She smiled and handed the booklet to me. I smiled back, graciously took it albeit with a bit of apprehension. I stared down at it. Ah! It was an old menu of theirs. She helpfully pointed out their address at the bottom line and of course, it was in Greek! I quickly kept my natural inclination to laugh in check and instead offered my most genuine smile of gratitude.


So the menu is outdated and entirely in Greek. Doesn’t matter as I can drool over the pictures of their food. More importantly, I now have the name of the restaurant. A quick google search tells me that the address is: 
53 Athinas Street. Closest train station is Omonia. If you are within the vicinity of the Central Market, head down to that eatery and treat yourself to some very scrumptious gyros. The staff will make you feel very welcomed. To read more about my eating and shopping adventures around Athens Central Market, view my post on, Tzatziki And Shopping & Eating At Athens Central Market. Do not miss out on the food served at ‘the basement eatery with no name’ and the wonderful coffee at Mokka. Where is it? Click the link.

Greek Gyros And The Best Gyros I Had In Athens

The information in the table below does not include the preparation and cooking times for the Pork Souvlaki Kebabs, Tzatziki and Soft Pita Bread. Please click respective links to get the details.

Prep: Onion, lettuce, cilantro, tomato: 5 minutes
Assembling all the gyri: 15 minutes
Cook: French fries: 15 minutes
Inactive:
Level: Intermediate, lots of prep work.
Makes: 6 gyros
Oven Temperature:
Can recipe be doubled? Yes
Make ahead? I suggest you split up the preparation from the cooking.
(1) Marinate the pork souvlaki up to 3 days before. 
(2)Tzatziki can be made 2 days ahead.
(3) Pita dough can be made 1 day ahead.

Ingredients

1 cup = 250m l= 8.45 Us fl oz

1 recipe Pork Souvlaki/Kebas
1 recipe Tzatziki (cucumber yogurt sauce)*
2X recipe Soft Pita Bread OR 1 recipe Potato And Wheat Stovetop Flatbread**
For the salad
3/4 cup sliced onions
1/2 cup sliced iceberg lettuce
2 Tablespoons roughly sliced parsley/cilantro
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
The rest
2 tomatoes to be cut into 1″ (2.5cm) wedges
2 cups of frozen waffle-cut french fries***
Salt, pepper & chilli pepper and/or paprika for sprinkling
* Tzatziki in Greece is thicker. If you are buying it, drain off excess liquid by straining it. Use coffee filters/muslin/cheese cloth/double layer of paper kitchen towels.
** Store bough pitas are rather tiny compared to what is used for gyros. To substitute, I suggest buying flatbreads (‘wraps’) instead that are closer to 9″(23cm) rounds.
*** Do not use shoe string-cut french fries. They are too thin for gyros.

Method

Before assembling the gyros, have the following food & items prepared and ready:

1. Grease/Wax/Parchment Paper or Aluminium foil 
– Cut into 8″X10″ (20cmX25cm) rectangles to wrap gyros.
2. Tzatziki
– Prepare a few hours and up to 2 days ahead. If it gets too watery, drain off the liquid.
3. Pita Bread/Potato & Wheat Stovetop Flatbread 
– Baked and kept warm wrapped in kitchen towel and in a covered container up to 2 hours before.
4. Tomatoes
– Cut into 6 wedges and set aside.
5. Salt, pepper, chill pepper and/or paprika
– Placed within easy reach.
6. Pork Souvlaki
– Cooked just before you are ready to assemble gyros. Let it rest under a sheet of aluminium foil for 10 minutes. Slice into thin slices after the 10 minutes resting time and re-tent under foil.
7. French Fries 
– Fry these whilst the Pork Souvlaki is resting under the aluminium tent.
8. Salad
– Onions, lettuce and cilantro/parsley could be mixed up to 2 hours before but dress with lemon juice only after Pork Souvlaki has been sliced or the salad will get too watery.

Assembling the gyros:
Use this image as a reference

1. Set one sheet of Grease/Wax/Parchment Paper or Aluminium Foil on a flat work surface.
2. Set one Pita/Flatbread over it.
3. Spread 2 – 3 Tablespoons of Tzatziki on half of it, stopping 1″ before the edge. The tzatziki acts as a ‘glue’ to hold the other food items.
4. Divide the sliced Pork Souvlaki into 6 portions. Spread one portion over the Tzatziki.
5. Sprinkle with Salt, Pepper, Chill Pepper and/or Paprika. Not too much as you will be salting and peppering as you build the gyros.
6. Sprinkle as much Salad as you wish. Sprinkle a little Salt, Pepper, Chill Pepper and/or Paprika.
7. Dab 2 wedges of Tomatoes with Tzatziki and place over the meat and salad. The Tzatziki helps to hold the tomatoes in place. Sprinkle the tomatoes with a little Salt, Pepper, Chill Pepper and/or Paprika.
8. Add as much French Fries as you like or are able to squeeze in. Sprinkle with final layer of Salt, Pepper, Chill Pepper and/or Paprika.
9. Roll into a cone and hold it in shape with the Grease/Wax/Parchment Paper or Aluminium Foil.  Leave a 2″ (5 cm) overhang of paper/foil at the bottom end of the cone (the pointy end) so that you can fold it up to contain any drips.

Tips

Pace and distribute the work
Greek Gyros are wonderful to eat but require a lot of work.

1. Prepare as much as you can in advance.
2. Distribute the following tasks to fellow diners:
(1) Make Tzatziki.
(2) Make Salad.
– Salad items should be all cut and mixed up but not dressed. Lemon juice should be squeezed and kept in a little container ready for pouring.
(3) Prepare Tomatoes.
– It should be cut! You want to do as little as possible and to wash up as little as possible.
(4) Pre-fry the French Fries.
– Warm through quickly in the oven before assembling.
(5) If it is a large party and I need double or triple portions of Pork Souvlaki
– I would assign the task to 3 individuals.
(6) The person who does not cook brings the Grease/Wax/Parchment Paper or Aluminium foil.
– They should be already cut to size!
(7) I usually end up baking the Pita/Flatbread as they are so much better than store bought.
– If not, have someone buy them.

With the work distributed, you would be in a more relaxed state of mind to enjoy the party and the gyros!

WHAT’S COMING UP NEXT?

More cookies are baking in the oven! This time it is Vanillekipferl; soft, fall-apart cookies with a generous dusting of Home Made Vanilla Icing Sugar.

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