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Oct 5, 2006 08:01 AM

Panos Charbroiler-Best Gyros

I love gyros, and I've tried many throughout the Valley (friends and I really like Firehouse), but I've absolutely settled on a favorite. Panos on Victory Blvd. in Van Nuys is a drab, faded dive, and serves the best gyros sandwich I've had, period. A huge amount of well-seasoned meat (beef and lamb mixture) slathered in fantastic dill-cucumber tzatziki, wrapped in a grill-toasted pita. I order w/o onions. It's sloppy, a bit greasy, and explodes with flavor. The toasted pita tastes like pita chips, and I mean that in a good way. It comes double-wrapped in foil and paper, but you have to eat it at a table, because there will be drippage. Delicious drippage.

And it's only $5.25.

As much as I don't want to start standing in huge lines, they deserve the business. If you're in the Valley, go there. Your mouth will be happy. One caveat: there are no posted hours. They're always open Mon.-Sat. for lunch, and closed Sundays. I think they close in the evening when business starts tapering off, so you have to call and make sure they're open. I've walked up to a locked door in the 8:00 hour.

Panos Char Broiler
16045 Victory Blvd
Van Nuys, CA 91406
(818) 780-4041

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  1. Well, I am already hesistant because there is dill in the tzatziki, something I have NEVER seen done in Greece or by my Greek relatives. Was the meat like one huge compressed log (a la Grecian Delight) or were there individual layers of meat on the skewer?

    6 Replies
    1. re: young_chower

      Went there today and realized I was wrong about the dill. It's a cucumber-yogurt tzatziki with a bit of garlic. And it comes with fresh tomatoes. The meat is the seasoned, ground meatloaf-style "log," which I prefer to the stacked tri-tip style I've had elsewhere. This is not an authentic tour of Greece. It's a dive in the Valley that happens to have an awesome gyros sandwich.

      1. re: BearCity

        oh dear. when i was at a conference in chicago i ordered a gyro at a small cafe and was served with a dull log of horrifying ground meat unlike anything i had ever seen before. But since I ordered it, I ate it (at the disbelief of my tablemates). Admittedly tasty, but I was a little uneasy about what in the world I had just put into my body. Thanks for clarifying that in some places gyro meat is supposed to be an unappetizing-looking log... and I'll be sure to ask the waiter next time I order a gyro anywhere.

        1. re: amandine

          Unlike anything you'd ever seen before? You'd never before seen ground meat?

          1. re: amandine

            Just to clarify, you had slices of ground meat, right? It wasn't served to you as a "log."

            1. re: BearCity

              of course i've seen ground meat. but ground meat usually isn't ground that finely. it was like meat paste in the shape of a chicken tender cooked solid. incredibly odd.

      2. I can attest to the quality of Panos as well. They also do a mean charbroiled burger, very tasty. I think they close at sundown, when I'm on my way home from the dogpark around 6-7 I pass it and the lights are generally out.

        1. If its better than Papa Cristos then im down to take the drive . . .

          1. Went there this afternoon. It's been so long since I had a gyro that it was like starting from scratch, and my cognitive recognition factor as applies to gyros is now fully established. To say that I was pleased with what I had is putting it mildly. I loved it! No question about the lamb-beef garlicky taste. I also recognized the cucumber, red onion, tomatoes, yoghurt and finely chopped parsley. The aroma was most pleasing, and like BearCity posted, it was HUGE. No way could a pita enclose it all, and it didn't. Thanks for the post, BearCity, I now have a new whim place to go to.

            1. Wow, finally something about Panos. I have been going there since high school (right down the street)...that would be 13 years.

              I have ALWAYS ordered the hamburger, which is definitely my favorite burger in Los Angeles. This is specific to the "Charbroiled Dive" genre of Hamburgers.

              I live in the city now, but every chance I get, I go to Van Nuys for that Hamburger. The gyros are good and some people like the chicken souvlaki, but I have rarely been able to make the drive there and not have the hamburger. (Greek sauce is awesome).