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Mar 5, 2009 10:27 AM

Decent gyro joints in the Santa Monica area.


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  1. there is a strip mall on the corner of bundy and pico -- the greek place in the center has a good gyro -- the stip mall quality of the place can be decieving, but the gyro is quite good. same strip mall as north end pizza, coffee bean and a strip club -- classic.

    3 Replies
    1. re: ghozimoto

      oh, now i got what you're talking about, but that's more west la.

      but i'll add it to the lunch rotation for future reference. good stuff is also in that complex.

      1. re: kevin

        Bundy and Olympic, actually.

        1. re: epop

          You are correct.

          Any recommends for the Santa Monica, west of 26the St, for gyros (or shawerma that acts as a gyro).

    2. Go to the Hungry Pocket, across from Santa Monica College on the north side of Pico, around 16th or 18th. It is in a crowded little minimall with impossible parking at the height of the lunch rush. The best falafel pita in town ($3.50) and the shawarma or gyro is even better ($5.00). Served with lettuce, tomato, onion on either a whole-wheat or white pita -- in my experience the white holds up better. Be sure to ask for the red hot sauce -- they'll give you a big metal bowl that has a rich, thick, complex spicy mixture that is heavy on a red pepper of some sort, a fantastic piquant condiment. Get a menu or card so after buying five sandwiches you get one falafel free.

      13 Replies
      1. re: nosh

        I don't like their gyro one bit. The falafel is better, sort of tolerable.
        I prefer the gyro at that neo-Greek place on the promenade but no high raves.

        1. re: epop

          what's the neo-Greek place on the promenade?

          1. re: kevin

            The "Greek Cuisine Stop'n Cafe", in the block between Wilshire and Arizona.

            Greek Cuisine Stop'n Cafe
            1237 3rd Street Promenade, Santa Monica, CA 90401

            1. re: Das Ubergeek

              oh, a couple storefronts away from the apple store?

        2. re: nosh

          their falafel is weak. seriously. oily, not crisp and they drown the thing in sauce causing the pita to rip apart after a couple bites.

          cheap? oh yes.

          good? naw.

          1. re: wilafur

            but their gyros is average (which is better than anywhere else on the west side, probably). I greatly prefer the place in the Grove, Ulysses.

            surprising is the Falafel King behind mcdonald's on the promenade.

            the one inside the plaza at olympic and bundy mentioned above is very bad.

            1. re: epop

              Have you tried the falafel at Cafe Dahab on Sawtelle? Not Azuri, but I was still pleasantly surprised.

              1. re: a_and_w

                thanks for the heads up. i am going to pop by soon as cafe dahab is walking distace from my house.

            2. re: wilafur

              I don't think Hungry Pocket is a destination spot, but the falafel I've had there was crisp and freshly fried. Can't recall if I experienced pita burstage...

              1. re: a_and_w

                off day perhaps? but man, i was sore disappointed.

                1. re: wilafur

                  Was it an older or younger guy cooking? And did you try the hot sauce nosh mentioned? Again, I don't love this place, but I'm surprised the falafel weren't crisp and freshly fried.

                  1. re: a_and_w

                    the older gentleman was there. very nice guy.

                    it may have been fresh fried but someone behind the counter drowned (seriously) the goods in sauce rendering the entire falafel sandwich into mush.

                    1. re: wilafur

                      mine was mush too, the hummus really did it in.

          2. The original comment has been removed
            1. Sham on Santa Monica Blvd. is pretty great.

              Sham Restaurant
              716 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

              3 Replies
              1. re: ronsilverado

                I tried Sham three times (because I wanted to like it) and won't go back. Off to Glendale and the Valley for this cuisine instead...

                1. re: ronsilverado

                  Love Sham, though it's shawarma, not gyro.

                  1. re: ronsilverado

                    I think Sham has great food. The best lentil soup I've ever had, great hummus. The shwarma is good. Also, try the mouhumarra and the mouttabal.

                    The service though friendly can be, to put it nicely, a bit relaxed and if it's cold outside the restaurant is also cold. But the food keeps me coming back.

                  2. If good gyro meat is what you are looking for, then there is nothing in the Santa Monica area. The 3rd street promenade restaurant is overpriced. The Gyro Place on Olympic & Bundy is decent, but the meat is not of good quality and the owner is a grouch.

                    The only place I recommend on the westside is - CALIFORNIA PITA. I know it's not Santa Monica, but it's near enough.

                    The gyro meat is cut thick and when it's re-heated on the grill it maintains its tenderness. The other item I recommend off their menu is the chicken. They use hormone-free chicken and the lemon sauce is yummy!

                    12001 Wilshire Blvd.
                    Brentwood, CA 90025

                    Phone: 310-478-6200
                    Fax: 310-478-6400


                    California Pita & Grill III
                    12001 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

                    12 Replies
                    1. re: tatertots

                      OK, I'm really torn about California Pita. The gyro meat is sliced thick like you say and pretty good for processed meat. I also love that spicy green sauce they have in the condiment area. But their pita and tzatziki are so's hard for me to recommend the total sandwich. I usually end up getting a gyro Greek salad. I have to disagree re the chicken, which is dry and needs seasoning.

                      1. re: a_and_w

                        I liked it when it was the Green Olive if you mean the location on Wilshire, but I have yet to try the Gyro, it probably is processed since there is a sign touting Olympus or is it Kronos Gyros. in the same way that a sign would tout Sabrett's or Vienna Beef.

                        1. re: kevin

                          It was okay when it was Green Olive but now it isn't good enough, by any means.

                      2. re: tatertots

                        Agreed that the promenade place is way overpriced. I don't care for California Pita. Mama Voula's was the best of the bunch and I look fwd to them finding a new West side location.

                        So, my question is what's the best gyros (now that we've established that there's nothing great west of the 405) as close to the west side as possible?
                        I think it is the gyros at Ulysses Voyage, in the Grove, but would love to find something further west that is (at least) equal to it.

                        1. re: epop

                          what happened to Mama Voula's that they closed down, at least you can get their wares in more upscale digs at the Grove's Ulyssess Voyage.

                          1. re: epop

                            on a side not, do you like the gyros at the Firehouse at the corner of Victory and Reseda (?) in Reseda.

                            1. re: epop

                              epop, any idea when mama voula's is expected to reopen on the westside?

                              1. re: wilafur

                                I think the old Mama Voula space was too small. It'll be a while before they open on the west side but I heard that they'd like to, if they found an appropriate space.

                                As for Reseda, I don't like the 405 so much so I tend not to get up there. When I do it is for sushi or alcazar.

                                1. re: epop

                                  there's also a middle eastern joint near alazar called itzek hagadol, have any of you been there?

                                  1. re: kevin

                                    I believe it is Israeli but I haven't been there.

                                2. re: wilafur

                                  The old Mama Voula's sign is still up atop the minimall on the corner of Santa Monica Blvd. and Brockton, even though the original El Super Taco has been in its old spot for years now. Maybe the former landlord is waiting patiently for them to come back?

                                  1. re: nosh

                                    If only...

                                    After a night of omakase in west LA followed by a burger at Father's Office I had a taste for gyros.