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Best Gyros?

Hey fellow 'hounders,
I'm having a huge craving for gyros, but I don't know where's a great place to eat. Any places you may direct me to? I don't care where in Manhattan, as long as it is delicious. Thanks in advance.

Tina
http://wanderingeater.blogspot.com

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  1. TAKSIM 54th and 2nd. Turkish version and very delicious.

    1. Believe it or not, Gyro II across from Madison Square garden has great gyros.

      11 Replies
      1. re: hesse23

        YES! Very Funny.. I am going to the knick game next week and mentioned this place to my friend. I have fond memories of grabbing a gyro at this place before many knick games in high school. The sauce is particularly tasty..

        1. re: hesse23

          I didn't like Gyro II at all. The sauce is way too mayo based (tasted like bad picnic macaroni salad), the meat is not freshly grilled (usually places freshly shave it and then grill it a bit), the lettuce is shredded (so gets lost), and the bread is too chewy (and not freshly heated).

          It's a fast service place and it showed in the taste, IMHO. Karavas in the Village (both of them) and the cart on 44th and 6th serve far better gyros.

          1. re: NAtiveNewYorker

            i will still be diving in on tuesday night. will report back... i do a agree karavas is very good. although i haven't had a gyro there or anywhere in awhile.

          2. re: hesse23

            hesse: I tried Gyro II recently and really disliked it. They tried to pass off some sweet, ranch salad dressing as tsatziki sauce (yogurt sauce)... really terrible! I love the real yogurt sauce, which is not suppose to be watery and sweet.

            The meat was not good either. The vegetables soggy. Don't mean to offend anyone, but I had much higher expectations for this place.

            1. re: Liquid Sky

              Best tsatziki sauce (but no gyros) in the universe is made by Tony dragonas. Try his cart at 62nd and Mad on chicken souvlaki on a pita.

              1. re: guttergourmet

                I got the classic "chicken patter" (chicken on rice) today and found the white sauce (and the chicken) to be quite bland. I know that most disagree with me.

                Maybe I should have gone with the pita bread...

                1. re: guttergourmet

                  Oh yeah! I used to work right near there and get his chicken pita sandwiches EVERY DAY for lunch. Excellent! Can't believe he's still there...

                  1. re: Liquid Sky

                    I certainly don't want to offend anyone... I must say I took my daughter to get a Gyro in the city at GYRO II and it didn't measure up at all. Runny sweet tsatziki sauce is just gross... I also tried Eta Pita (sorry if misspelled) at GCS at that was totally disgusting. It resembled a cold meatloaf sandwich with bagged garden salad.

                    Are there any good Gyro places left in the city. I remember in the 80's there were so many Greek shops that had Gyros to die for... I continue to tell this to my daughter, who is a Gyro lover, but my case is becoming weaker and weaker...

                    1. re: PetaGabe

                      At 1:00 AM, you'll need to visit any Halal guy on the street for a Gyro. Otherwise, Karavas (2 locations) in Greenwich Village.

                      1. re: PetaGabe

                        Well, don't say we didn't warn you about the dressing. Try Greek Corner or Greek Kitchen, both of which do tzatziki correctly.

                  2. Kwik Meal on 45th and 5th for a chicken pita or Rafiqi's on 44th and 5th for a lamb pita. You can get both lamb or chicken at either, that's just my lunch preference.

                    There's another place in Queens that is supposed to have it beat - i think you can find it on www.iheartcarts.com but that is outside manhattan.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: aaronh2012

                      Kwik Meal is great but they don't have gyros. Just chucks of chicken or lamb. Not really the same thing.

                    2. Karavas on Bleecker St. just west of 6th avenue has the best gyros I have ever had, meaty, spicy, wonderful tzatziki sauce...truly awesome!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: mzjody

                        West 4th, not Bleeker, I think.

                        Thanks for the tip.

                        1. re: mzjody

                          Just had one today. Truly spectacular. The pita is perfect and so is the sauce. Get the "combo" (lamb + chicken).

                        2. I think the Karavas on 7th avenue south and Christopher has worse decor (basic combo pizza place) but somehow even better gyros than the mother ship with nice Greek decor on west 4th and 6th. Gyros should never be confused with shawarma the best of which can be found on MacDougal.

                          1. There's a cart on 6th Avenue and 44th Street (NW corner) that makes a GREAT one.

                            1. I love getting gryos (or shwarma) from little carts and corner delis (they have them in all cities) -quite possibly my favorite food. But how long does the meat stay on those rotating things and what do they do with it when they close? I mean I go into a deli at 11pm order a gyro and they still have like 5lbs of meat on the thing. Has anyone ever worked in one of these places and could let us in on the little secret? There is no way they could afford to throw it out and start fresh the next day.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: mnitchals

                                Go to high traffic places and this problem is minimized. And high traffic places are ususally the great places (the reason for this post).

                                Both Karavas in the Village are great. As is that cart on 6th Ave and 44th.

                                1. re: NAtiveNewYorker

                                  But not too high-traffic! You want the outside seared and crispy so that you get some of that when they shave it off.

                                  1. re: Mazzer

                                    Well said! Gyro II at the Garden is too high traffic. No made-to-order searing of the meat or heating of the bread,

                                    1. re: Mazzer

                                      They can finish off the sliced meat under a broiler, like Pinocchio in Astoria did in its heyday. And don't forget the importance of different sizes and thicknesses of slices, so you get a mix of tender and crispy bits.

                                2. I agree with other posters about Karavas being the most consistently good gyro - I've been eating them for almost twenty-five years. I believe Mama Karavas took over the former Taco Rico space on 7 Ave South in the early 1980's; her son opened the W 4th St Restaurant much later on.

                                  If I go to Gyro II on rare occasion, I know that I'm in for that sweeter white sauce - I hesitate to call it Tzatziki - but I kinda like it as a different taste. Another good bet is the (otherwise terrible) pizza place on the SE corner of St. Marks Place & 3rd Ave - terrific tzatzaiki, and just enough turnover to keep things fresh but crispy (nod to Mazzer).

                                  There's also a damn good cart (during business hours) on the west side of Park Avenue South and 24th St, as well as one (all hours) on the east side of Park and 29th or 30th.

                                  Happy eating!

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: jahnbon

                                    Thanks for the tip! Just tried a lamb gyro at the Rafiqui's of (Park Ave So.) 24th side-by-side with a lamb gyro at the Rafiqui's of (Park Ave So.) 28th. Both were fantasic. More meat at 24th. Fresher toppings at 28th. Neither served onions on top, unlike Karavas (red onions) and Gyro II (white onions).

                                    Didn't see a cart at 29th/30th though.

                                    1. re: NAtiveNewYorker

                                      when it comes to carts I'm also fond of Jimmy's (the cart/truck that sits on 47th between 3rd and 2nd just across from Dag plaza. His gyros are also excellent (though I will admit freely I generally go for his souvlaki which is even better!)

                                  2. Greek Corner on 7th Ave at 27th(??). Far better than Gyro II, imo...

                                    1. i must come clean.. went to the knick game and had gyro 2 acrooss from the garden. i must have gotten really serious about food since my last visit many years ago. mushy bread, not fresh, but the sauce i still like after all these years. so if you are in the area and want that fast foody gyro experience you are in biz...

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: jsmitty

                                        I know it's the Manhattan board but Mr Felafel in Park Slope (7th Ave between 4 and 5) cuts it off the meat skewer then grills it over open flame for a nice tasty char.

                                        1. re: pastoralia

                                          the formula in my view would be soft pita, but toasty fresh and i love your "tasty char" style... and tradtional sauce.... not too sweet.

                                      2. What do people make of Chickpea's? I love their falaffel, but find their lamb shwarma really unusual tasting. I think I like it, but maybe I actually hate it.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: jasmurph

                                          I think it's overrated and overpriced. A typical NYC trap that does business sheerly by virtue of visibility and high foot traffic location. Mamoun's blows it out of the water.

                                        2. Chickpea makes some delicious food, though they have declined somewhat - but they're not quite what I'm after when I'm craving a gyro. That said, I kinda dig their turkey shwarma, their lentil soup is great and they are my second fave falafel these days.

                                            1. BTW, I would like to add Zeytuna on Williams/John St. It's not your typical entry, because it's a type of a supermarket/salad bar joint, BUT, it's run by the Turkish people and they make one mean and HUGE gyro (just don't call it a gyro, or they will slice your throat - it's doner kebab).

                                              1. One place to try is Souvlaki House in Brooklyn on Lawrece Street. Great place to go when serving jury duty. It's a little hole in the wall but the gyro sandwich is great. They offer an excellent spicy brown sauce that really puts the sandwich over the top. Try it if you're in the area.

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: LM71871

                                                  Manhattan's best gyro used to live on the UES around 94th until the 2nd ave subway killed the place. Was called Kebap. In the E. Village I like Kebab Garden, but my new favorite--still undiscovered place--is Lezette. Not sure how everyone feels about this, but they don't use a spit. The gyro is made fresh every day and cooked in a skillet with onions, etc. It's out of this world.

                                                  1. re: telichte

                                                    Kebap G was not a gryo place -- they did doners. But it was indeed amazing.

                                                    1. re: a_and_w

                                                      You're right - they did do doner kebabs. Bread was out of this world.

                                                    2. re: telichte

                                                      What do you like about Kebab Garden? I gave them a couple of shots shortly after the place opened. The personnel were nice, but the kebabs SUCKED. No, they weren't mediocre. THEY SUCKED. Totally dried-out meat, and felt like lead in the stomach - a total waste of stomach space. And no-one I know in the neighborhood has told me any differently about the place since.

                                                  2. Does anyone know why there is such a big difference between the "dueling" gyro food trucks near the Hilton on 5th Ave and 53rd? The one truck, which sets up right across from the Hilton on 53rd ave, always has lines of people. The other truck, just a block down on 5th and 52nd (and in sight of the first truck), doesn't have anywhere near the customers waiting. I've had them both, and I don't notice any real difference.....

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: wubar

                                                      The white sauce, the cut of the meat (better chopped and browned at 53rd), and hype.

                                                      (BTW, 6th Avenue, not 5th.)

                                                    2. I don't care what anyone says, Gyro 2 is great. Just went there the other day for a fix.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: sushiman

                                                        Gyro II is tasty, especially the chicken. But the meat is not the best quality, they use salad dressing instead of tzatziki, and their customer service is poor. You can do much better at Greek Corner at 27th and 7th.

                                                      2. I'm fond of Uncle Nick's (which is $4.95) though they are really light on the tzatziki

                                                        -----
                                                        Uncle Nick's
                                                        747 9th Ave, New York, NY 10019

                                                        1. THE BEST MOST ULTIMATE GYRO (ACTUALLY SHWARMA) NO TAZIKI BUT LOTS OF GREAT TAHINI. i SWEAR i LOVE THIS PLACE!! IT'S BETWEEN 103 AND 102 AND BROADWAY!!! SOMETHING ISRAELI RESTAURANT WITH A BLUE AWNING OPEN UNTIL 430 OR SOMETHING.
                                                          THEY USE RIB MEAT NOT LEG. I SUGGEST EXTRA TAHINI AND SPICY. I NORMALLY EAT TWO AND FIGHT NOT RETURNING FOR A THIRD. MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!! TELL THEM BHUTROS SENT YOU (ARBIC FOR PETER)

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: ChefPeter

                                                            Jerusalem, right? If so, I do believe it's Palestinian or otherwise Levantine Arab, not Israeli. Doesn't it have a photo of the Dome of the Rock or Al Aqsa on the wall?

                                                            1. re: Pan

                                                              yes!!! definitely not Jewish kinda smacked me in the face my first time. The must be pandering to the locals. Anyhow the guys are from Algeria and really friendly. They always give you the top of the pita with some hummus as you wait. I want one no I want two now!!!

                                                              1. re: ChefPeter

                                                                I haven't been there lately but have always found their shawarma and falafel unusually tasty.

                                                          2. The best gyro I have ever had in the city is at BZ Grill in Astoria, hands down. They have pork, they have chicken, they have these amazing feta & oregano topped french fries.... it's a thing of beauty. I dream of it. I'm attaching a pic to this post (hopefully). I just realized this is the Manhattan Board... but I had to share anyway!

                                                             
                                                            1. Donor Turkish on Bedford in Williamsburg is actually pretty good.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: sushiman

                                                                Interesting...can you describe what comes on the donor? Do they have red cabbage?

                                                              2. Adding my 2 cents. I remember going to some place near Penn Station years ago that had an amazing gyro/fry combo. Was really cheap, too. Looking back, I can't say for certain if that was Gyro II, but I have since gone to Gyro II and thought it was disgusting. Take it from a Greek boy, tsatsiki shouldn't taste like macaroni salad sauce.

                                                                I haven't tried a lot of places here, but Karavas is definitely the best I've had in NYC so far.