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In Search Of....The Utimate Gyro (in Portland)

Since leaving the Los Angeles area and then NYC, I've become accustomed to some pretty awesome gyro sandwiches. I'm talking about the two-fisted gyro sandwich that is heavy (because it's bursting with 1/4" thick slices of seasoned lamb) and then smothered with tomatoes, onions, lettuce and gobs of sauce. I've tried several quickie lunch places here in Portland and was very disappointed with the sandwich. Can anyone tell me where the "must have" gyro can be found in this city?

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  1. The Aybla food cart at 9th/Alder has gyros. I usually have the salad with lamb and the lamb is pretty tasty. So the gyro option should be good.

    http://foodcartsportland.com/?p=73

    1. AYBLA food cart - get the "super lamb"

      2 Replies
      1. re: Kazy Ctn

        MAJOR THANKS to both these posters who recommended the Aybla food cart in downtown. I was in the area and made the stop to check out their Gyro today and holy cow! This is EXACTLY what I was looking for. I got the "Super Lamb" and was super excited to finally have my "go to" spot for those moments when I'm craving a good gyro. The meat portions were huge and seasoned to perfection. Quite a giant sandwich for just $7. Very cool. Thanks.

        1. re: 10sChick

          It's good if you want an "American Gyro" which is mostly beef with lamb mixed in on a Kronos Gyro (corporte Greek) type pit. You can do way better than that...at most malls in the U.S.
          Ever heard of Gyros Gyros?
          SAME EXACT MEAT just sliced more and catered towards Americas fatness.
          Not too yummy.

      2. IF you dont mind a 15-20 min drive, I have to recommend Shiraz in Tigard. its behind the burgerking @scholls fwy.& Nimbus. fully recommend anything on this menu. seriously a hidden gem!

        4 Replies
        1. re: nkeane

          In my quest to try all the recommendations of my fellow posters, today I hit "Shiraz" for lunch. It's a small hole-in-the-wall type place (which I LOVE) with a very friendly family run crew behind the counter. The gyro I ordered was just the opposite of the Foti's version. The Foti's gyro sandwich is a salad with some meat slices buried inside. Shiraz is an all meat sandwich with no frills. And by no frills, I mean no lettuce (well, almost none), no tomatoes, no onions and no Tsatziki sauce??!! (What the? I think that's illegal in some states!) The sandwich was also very small. Wrapped in it's paper to-go, it was about the size of a hotdog and I was left very hungry still after finishing it. Having said all that, it was very tastily seasoned meat and had some kind of orange sauce on it that kicked it up a notch on the spicy factor. It also had pickles (you read that right -- pickles) on it, which for the odd mix that it was, I enjoyed it completely! So, although non traditional (and what do I know? I'm not Greek), it's a good sandwich. Who doesn't like to experience new flavors now and again. The bottom line.....would I go back to Shiraz? Yes. Am I still searching for the ultimate gyro? Yes.

          1. re: 10sChick

            I was a bit remiss in not warning you about it not being traditionally greek. the owner is persian and specializes accordingly. also, the Gyro is a "lunch special" which is pared down to get under a certain price. Do go back and focus on the tandoor items and anything involving lamb! also, best hummus i have tried in portland metro area!

            1. re: 10sChick

              What you had was a shawarma. I helped open Shiraz. Korosh (the owner) is from Tehran, Iran. The shawarma is often copied by the Greek and other medi cultures. A "gyro" is a generic induced shawarma. If you can ever find a real shawarma (which you did) add the stuff you want. Especially at Shiraz, because th meat is NOT Kronos. It's Halal.

              1. re: 10sChick

                Yup - I've been to all 3 (Foti's, Shiraz, Aybla). Aybla is the clear winner...

            2. I think Foti's on E Burnside has been the gyro gold standard for many years, hasn't it?
              It's not a place you go for atmosphere, but the gyro and baklava are about as good as it gets in Portland. IIRC, there'a a small table in the back, but mostly it's take-out.

              1740 E Burnside St
              Portland, OR 97214
              (503) 232-0274

              3 Replies
              1. re: PDXpat

                I second the Foti's recommendation. Great gyro, great souvlaki plate, and some pretty darn good hamburgers, if you like them thin and greasy.

                1. re: PDXpat

                  How could I not try the one claimed to be the "gold standard" first? I happened to be in the area a week or so back and went to Foti's. Although it tasted OK, it was very skimpy on the meat and hardly worth a repeat. I've been to the Mad Greek Deli years ago and I do recall it was pretty good. The John Belushi reference to that place was right on! I laughed when I read that because the place definitely had character.

                  My next stop is likely to be Shiraz in Tigard since I'm often in that area, so I'll report back in after that. Thanks for all the posts and recommendations.

                  1. re: 10sChick

                    Here is what happened to my friend on my favorite trip to the Mad Greek a couple of years ago:
                    My friend (let's call her B) and I were standing in line waiting to order, and she asked me about the Greek Festival in Portland. I suggested that she ask the older Greek gentleman (OGG) behind the counter when it was.
                    B: Do you know when the Greek Festival is?
                    OGG: Sure, October 2, 3, 4 [Let it be noted that this guy normally yells at everyone, but B is very cute so I think he's being nice to her]
                    B: Do they have good food there, like spanakopita?
                    OGG (yelling): Do they have good spanakopita? What do you mean? Sure, if you like it when they make the spanakopita three months ago and put it in the freezer. If you want spanakopita, what's wrong with our spanakopita? We make it fresh. It's not sitting in the freezer for three months. Hey, George! [I can't really remember this guy's name, but he's a younger Greek guy who works there]
                    George: What?
                    OGG (yelling): She wants to know if they have good spanakopita at the Greek Festival!
                    George (yelling): What's wrong with our spanakopita?

                    Unfortunately B was so traumatized by this episode that she won't go back to the Mad Greek, even though I told her that they were just teasing her because they like her.

                2. Try Nicholas on MLK. I'm not a lamb eater, but I've seen some pretty juicy gyros when I've been there.

                  1. I like the Mad Greek on 185th and West Union (http://www.madgreekdeli.com/), mostly because it reminds me of the old Saturday Night Live John Belushi "Cheeseburger cheeseburger" skit.

                    1. Still hungry for Gyros?
                      The best in town are at the annual Greek Festival, happening this weekend. At a mere 4 talents, they're quite a bargain too.

                      Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral
                      3131 NE Glisan
                      10am to 10 pm, Fri, Sat, Sun, Oct 3, 4, 5, 2008

                      http://www.goholytrinity.org/cGreekFe...

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: PDXpat

                        I love the gyros at the festival. But be warned that they are not as the OP described: a "two-fisted gyro sandwich that is heavy (because it's bursting with 1/4" thick slices of seasoned lamb) and then smothered with tomatoes, onions, lettuce and gobs of sauce."

                        The ones at the Greek Fesitval are on the small side, but taste delicious. I usually eat two at a time, and then move on to the Souvlaki and Spanikopita before finishing things off with some baklava.

                      2. It isn't in PDX. However, the BEST Gyro I have ever had is in Seattle at Pike at Mr. Z's. In Portland Shiraz on Nimbus in Tigard is the stuff. No Kronos fake crap blend here. Just delicious.