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Central FL area, great gyros?

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i'm always in search of a delicious gyro. i don't like that limp, steamed pasty looking gyro meat either.....i want some nice thick slices that have been crisped up nicely along the edges. (either grilled or on that rotisserie thingy) and the tatzsiki sauce must be thick and delicious as well. a nice crispy yet soft pita makes things perfect.

so far, i've had pretty GOOD ones at:

mykonos mayeron in longwood
greek flame taverna in casselberry
andros on orange avenue (not sure if it's still there - haven't been in years - evidently it's gone, now it's a more upscale italian place called zabella)
and oddly enough, a dive sort of place off michigan called theo's kitchen - their tatziki sauce was the best of anyone's -- granted i haven't been in several years but used to eat there regularly when i worked in downtown orlando

NOT very good at: (these served those limp pasty things of which i spake)

athens cafe in altamonte
athenian garden cafe on orange avenue (near FL hospital)
cafe annie's downtown orlando (although their roast chicken was awesome)
athena roasted chicken in maitland

i've had hit/miss with taki's in eustis.

anyone have any good/bad gyro experiences or recs to share for central FL?

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  1. Athens Cafe is in Casselberry/Winter Springs, if we're talking about the same one. Red Bug and Tuskawilla, around the corner from Albertson's? Their gyros aren't bad, but I like Greek Flame Taverna much better.

    Right in that area, Patsio's Diner doesn't serve a bad gyro either. The worst I've had in this area are at Flea World in Sanford, but I guess as a Chowhound, I could have guessed you wouldn't get the best gyro in the world from a shady flea market.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

      the athens cafe i tried was in a strip mall off of 436 in altamonte just east of the mall area - oh wait, maybe it's athenAs - see there i go again misnaming places *grin*

      1. re: hitachino

        Yep, that would be Athena, before I left the area I worked at Staples which used to be next door to it. Wasn't ever impressed with the place.

    2. Greek Flame Taverna in Casselberry really is my favorite. You can also get a gyro platter, which IMO, gives you more meat and saves you from making a mess of yourself!

      1. If you can expand your definition of Central Florida a bit west (quite a bit), Tarpon Springs might as well be called Gyro City and is worth a day trip. The tourist area near the sponge docks (Dodecanese Blvd. and Athens Street) has about a dozen places offering all the basics.

        I'm not much of a red-meat eater but can vouch for the chicken version (souvlaki) and the tzatziki at Hellas, Mr. Souvlaki and Mykonos, to name the first three that come to mind.

        Happy hunting!

        1 Reply
        1. re: swisherb

          I second Tarpon Springs. They have a large Greek population and that means the real deal

        2. Better known for their pizzas, I liked the Stavro's Pizza gyros better than Taki's when I lived in Leesburg.

          I don't know whether the nice, crispy quality to the meat you describe is a product of freshness or not, but at Cafe Annie's, one time it's nice and juicy and crispy and the next it's mushy.

          Athenian Garden is gone, althought the condo that replaced it is supposed to have space for the restaurant when it opens later this year. I always ate the chicken, but my recollection was that they had a good gyro also.

          Theo's was open last summer, but have not checked on them lately. Didn't find it the cleanest or friendliest place in town on my visit.

          Andos was replaced by Za Bella which (long story short) is now closed. no gyros there.

          Mykenos still is a home run, despite a change in owners a year or so ago.

          I'm told the key to a good gyro is the quality of the meat. Those big molded slabs of meat can vary vary widely in quality -- obviously the best ones are the most expensive. The cheaper ones contain beef and even pork sometimes.
          No one in Orlando, to my knowledge, is making gourmet Greek food and, if they are, they aren't serving gyros.

          Tarpon Springs is worth the drive if you want a good one.

          Bob

          2 Replies
          1. re: Bob Mervine

            I was at Theo's Kitchen about a month ago, it's still there but still not terribly clean or friendly

            1. re: Bob Mervine

              I had the pleasure of dining at Taverna Opa last week. It's another new restaurant at Pointe Orlando, part of a South florida chain in expansion mode.

              Their gyro is either chicken or pork, no lamb or lamb/beef amalgamation. It was one of the few things I didn't try.

              However, go for the lamb ribs, the taramosalata (caviar spread for fresh pita bread), smelts, gorgeous, tender, smoky grilled octopus, and those are just meze. In fact, you never have to leave the appetizer list.
              Their pastitsio (Greek lagagna) is also fabulous as is their seafood, pretty much al fresh. And the feta is out of the world.

              Bob

            2. Hands down the best gyros and hummus in Orlando are made at the Mediterranean Deli on Fairbanks Avenue. It is located at the small strip mall at the intersection Fairbanks and Adanson just North of Edgewater.

              Waleed is there to greet every customer with a smile and a sample. All the food is amazing and gyros are as big is your head. The humms is smooth and delicious and the spanokopita is some of the best I've ever tasted.

              1 Reply
              1. re: tootlesquat

                Tootles,
                Went there yesterday and Waleed is there just like you said. We are sitting there waiting for our much anticipated Gyros and in comes this guy who obviously has been there before because he says to Waleed, "How are the best Gyros in America today?!!" I knew we were in the right place. I've tried 3 otehr Gyro joints in O-town nd 2 in Lake Mary / Heathrow. and not one of them compares to this one. OK, I'll give you that the meat is probably comparable in most of them. BUT Waleed's Tatziki (sp?) Sauce is the best by far!!!

                Thanks again to all those who have made suggestions for us O-town Newbs!!

              2. Finding an authentic gyro in Florida is a sad affair.
                What we get here, for the most part, is some nasty mixed lamb (minimally) and beef meatloaf on a spit tragedy. Ugh.
                In Greece, the gyro meat was actual MEAT, not some mystery meat on a spit. They would take meat, be it lamb, chicken or what ever, and cut it to a certain size, then place it on the skewer in layers. Layers of fresh lamb, chicken, or more often, (and surprisingly) pork. The only thing I have found close to this is shwarma in some Mid East places.
                I have eaten fine meals in Tarpon Springs but have not tried a gyro there, so forgive me if I am wrong.
                In Greece, at most places I visited, they put french fries in the gyro. Different.
                Now, where do you find decent sardeles pastes?

                2 Replies
                1. re: keysrat

                  "What we get here, for the most part, is some nasty mixed lamb (minimally) and beef meatloaf on a spit tragedy. Ugh."

                  All due respect, but that really is not a very fair description of the common Gyro meat which is usually delicious...
                  That's what made them famous for God's sake...
                  Sure, real meat would be cool--- but as Alton Brown would say; "that's another show"... A good Gyro is usually a damn good Gyro...
                  Mr. Souvlaki in Tarpon, Costas in Tarpon, Mykonos and most others there will be a nice Gyro experience... If I wasn't back on Atkins, I'd be putting on my pants and shoes right this second!

                  1. re: Mild Bill

                    Keys,
                    I rocked it in Greece back in '93-'94 riding around on one of Uncle Sam's yachts, Been there done that, would really like to do it again. Totally feeling you!!!

                    Mild,
                    We hit up Tarpon about 3 months ago and haven't had the chance to go back. Even did one of those Dolphin cruises w/ free parking deals. That was fun and the g/f was loving the Gyro's, baklava and the galaktiko bourico (sp?).

                2. Nobody mentioned DeLand in Volusia County. There's a place called Belly Busters. It's been around for at least 20 years and makes all types of sandwiches but we only go there for gyros and steak fries. Most of the business is takeout but they do have some tiny tables in what used to be an old-fashioned Dary Queen. The main thing is that their gyros are just like you described and they are sufficiently messy to be delicious!
                  The place is on Hwy. 17/92, north of Hwy. 44 and Stetson University.

                  1. Saturday was an "Eat and drink my way around Epcot" day, kicking off the Epcot Food & Wine Festival.

                    So, unfortunately, in the interest of fullfilling my primary mission of tasting a variety of the marketplaces meze (not to mention keeping a buzz on and keeping dry), I could only look longingly at the meat being prepared in the Tangine Cafe in the Morocco pavilion during a cooling off time.

                    Thiis gyro sandwich, in other parts of the middle eas,t is called by other names. At the Morocco pavilion is is called shawarma. The meats used are chicken and, I believe, beef. Could not tell how the sandwich is sauced. Definitely going back for a try .. .

                    Bob