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Mar 21, 2008 01:04 PM

Best Gyro in Boston

Going to be downtown tomorrow, looking for the best Chicken Gyro. Have been craving one for some time now. Definitely needs puffy bread. And needs to be accessible by T. What's your picks?

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  1. Speaking of which, does anyone know where Mediterano, formerly of the Filene's Building, ended up? If anywhere?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Alcachofa

      I would like to know as well, seriously missing those gyros.

    2. Not downtown, but an excellent chicken (though this is not my favorite) and an excellent lamb gyros (my benchmark for such a place) are to be found at Farm Grill in Newton. For an Israeli-style shawarma, I love Rami's in Coolidge Corner. My favorite doner kebab is at Brookline Family in Brookline Village, a place that amazes on a lot of fronts.

      21 Replies
      1. re: MC Slim JB

        I must second Farm Grill in Newton. It's excellent. Their lamb and chicken gyros are great.

        1. re: snifflyfro

          A note about Farm Grill, if you get there after 7 or 7:30 you rub the risk of them running out of gyro meat.

        2. re: MC Slim JB

          MC, initiate me into the finer points of gyro/shawarma most places buy the big cylinders of meat from wholesalers and just spin and carve them in-house, or do most places make their own? What's the case with Farm Grill?

          1. re: newhound

            You've got me on that one. The typical process is scalloping of the meat (lamb leg being the most popular Greek option in the States, though I believe pork is more popular in Greece, not sure what cut), marinating it in a garlic-heavy herb/seasoning mix overnight, stacking/pressing, then vertical grilling. But I have no idea how much of that process is outsourced rather than done in-house by local makers of gyros, döner kebab, and shwarma.

            1. re: MC Slim JB

              Generally I think the gyros you get in the US are a mix of lamb and beef. They have an interesting bit on the types of meat used on wikipedia:

              1. re: okello

                Yes - we refer to it as blamb. It is a processed product.

            2. re: newhound

              There is an industry that makes the cylinders. They build them up chunk by chunk. I've seen it on film but not in person.

              1. re: newhound

                At Moody's in Central Square you can often see them preparing the chicken shwarma cylinders to the side - stacking the marinated chicken pieces on the central spike. It's a huge amount of chicken to make one cylinder.

                1. re: newhound

                  Just pondering this question some more: I'm wondering if a looser, more irregular stack of clearly separate pieces of meat (of the kind I see at Farm Grill, Rami's, and other places) is more indicative of house-made rather than factory-made donner/shwarma/gyros.

                  The lamb/beef gyros I see at cheapie Greek pizza joints, and even at places I like (e.g., Billy's Sub Shop) clearly looks more like a factory-made product, and it tends to have a uniform, cookie-cutter kind of seasoning and less appealing, rubbery texture as well. That fact that Farm Grill sometimes runs out of gyros late in the day favors the house-made theory, in my mind. But I don't really know.

                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                    Because this thread had me hankerin' for a gyro last night, I made the mistake of buying one from a Halal truck that parks outside my NYC apartment at night. The appearance of the meat on the cylinder was not at all appealing -- it clearly was one of those factory-made slabs of meat -- and the meat did not have any of the wonderful flavor that the Farm Grill gyro has. It was such a disappointment!

                    1. re: Blumie

                      The factory products aren't especially appetizing to behold: . I suspect that instead of this company's Premium product, you might have gotten something akin to its Titan meat cone, which is described as "competitively priced".

                      1. re: MC Slim JB

                        I'm sure that's what I had. But I think that the "portion control strips" tasted better than the meat!

                      2. re: Blumie

                        It seems I read somewhere that for street food in NY, vendors must use the cones, as opposed to the handmade variety....

                  2. re: MC Slim JB

                    I just saw Farm Grill's gyro written up somewhere. The Phoenix, perhaps? Anyhow, I agree that it's awesome. Farm Grill is a wonderful place that, although loved on this board, doesn't get enough air time!

                    1. re: Blumie

                      Do you think it would stand up to takeout?

                      1. re: bear

                        Yes, but (1) it's messy, so would be hard to eat in a car, for example, and (2) it smells so good that it would be hard to go far without eating it.

                        1. re: bear

                          I did the Farm Grill gyro for takeout and was unhappy because they piled the meat on top of the greek salad in the same container. It was really messy and ruined it so if you take it out ask them to separate the two.

                          1. re: emilief

                            Weird, I ate there about once every two weeks working in Needham (usually takeout) and never had them do that with a gyro wrap plate. Maybe with just a gyro platter ...

                          2. re: bear

                            Thanks for the tips. I'll have to put it in the back of the hatchback for the 15 minute ride home. And definitely separate packaging for the meat and salad.

                          3. re: Blumie

                            You know that was my Phoenix write-up, right? Tip of the lid to hiddenboston for spurring me to visit.

                            1. re: MC Slim JB

                              I didn't notice. Sorry. I guess it's a good thing I didn't post anything bad about it here! If it makes you feel any better, I was reading it while on the Silver Line to Logan and wanted to turn around and drive out to Newton rather than catch my flight to NYC.

                        2. Its nowhere near downtown, but I get a mean shwarma at a place called Saab's in Norwood (on Route 1) - the rotisserie's look proper - no "formed meat cylinder", but instead with cuts of lamb or chicken stacked and juicy veggies on top to marinate the meat. Being that everyone is speaking some middle eastern language, it comes across at pretty authentic to me.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: grant.cook

                            I'll second Saab's as a delicious shwarma choice, although I haven't explored other similar places so don't honestly know how it compares. Mouthwatering just thinking about it though... unbeatable prices, too - just $3.99 for shwarma sandwich, a meal unto itself. They also have some great fresh homemade deserts, check out the bakery counter.

                            FYI it's at the Dean St. - Rt 1 intersection next to Ocean State Job Lob.


                          2. In addition to the excellent Gyro at Farm Grill in Newton, another non-downtown Gyro worth accolades is at Greek Corner in Cambridge.


                            5 Replies
                            1. re: BJK

                              do you have any idea where I can buy gyro meat to make at home?

                              Many years ago, Costco had it but does not sell it anymore.

                              Thank you.

                              1. re: CambridgeFoodie

                                On the right hand of your screen, you should see "sponsored links" and the first one is for -- you can order it online from them.

                              2. re: BJK

                                Any places that ARE downtown, or in Back Bay?

                                1. re: cloudship

                                  The only place I know of is Cafe Jaffa at 48 Gloucester St between Boylston and Newbury. But, I've never ordered the gyro there so I can't tell you what it is like.

                                  The entry on "menu pages" says the Steve's Greek Restaurant at 316 Newbury Street serves gyro. Again, I can't comment on the quality of their offering.

                                  1. re: cloudship

                                    My emergency backup gyros is at Billy's Sub Shop on E. Berkeley St in the South End, but I doubt it's house-made.

                                2. Thwarted again. I made it to Farm Grill for the first time since this thread was started, only to find them out of the beef-and-lamb gyro. So I ordered the chicken gyro instead, and notwithstanding the assurances of the customer behind me in line that it was better than the beef and lamb, it was not. It was fine, but not nearly as flavorful as I remember the beef and lamb being.

                                  Note, when I arrived a little before 6:00 on a Sunday, every table except one was taken. (They have counter service only, but a small room full of tables to eat your meal. By the time I left at around 6:30, the line to order extended to the door.

                                  [Edited to add: So I had ordered two chicken gyros at Farm Grill tonight, one for me and one for my daughter. My daughter was not feeling well, so I brought it home and stuck it in the fridge. I just now reheated it and ate it, but instead of eating it as a pita sandwich, I ate the chicken off of the pita, and then ate the pita separately. It was much better than the first one. Although I still think I would have preferred the beef and lamb gyro, the chicken gyro was much better without the pita, and then the pita, with the flavor it absorbed of the chicken, feta and spices, was magnificent.]

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Blumie

                                    Filabuster up on Beacon Hill makes a decent one