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Authentic Greek Gyro in Maryland/DC/NOVA?

I am looking for a place that makes good gyros NOT from loafs.

Not that there is anything wrong with those, i've tried a few Greek restaurants in the area that made them pretty good, but none used the "real" meat. Years back the original "Ambrosia" greek restaurant on Rockville Park used to have authentic gyros, but they have been under new ownership for a few years, and the magic is gone.

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!

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  1. Yamas on Rugby Ave in Bethesda has *outstanding* gyros.

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    Yamas Mediterranean Grill
    4806 Rugby Ave, Bethesda, MD 20814

    1 Reply
    1. re: DanielK

      Yamas is good, especially the gyros, but service seems to have dropped off. We had a problem on our last visit. I noted it and mentioned the good food on their FB page.

      They requested that I email them. I sent a NICE note ... and never heard back.

    2. Plaka Grill in Vienna has real gyros and they're really good.

      12 Replies
      1. re: Worldwide Diner

        Plaka? The place that puts French fries inside their gyro sandwiches. We'll agree to disagree.

        1. re: Indy 67

          I've had a few gyros in Greece that actually had French fries in them! Don't know if this is what the OP is interested in, but it's authentic somewhere!

          1. re: Indy 67

            You can get it without the fries if you ask. The Plaka Gyro (with the fries0 is all marinated pork. They also have one "Chicago style" that's the lamb/beef combo and isn't served with fries.

            I go to the Afghan Food Corner (around the corner from Il Mee in Annandale) for my gyros. Not far from home, and tasty. It probably comes from "the loaf" however.

            1. re: MikeR

              The first time I eat at a restaurant, I like to try a dish without customization. I want to see if I like the restaurant's concept of the dish. I liked the pork version well enough. I just didn't like the starch of the Fries in the sandwich, especially since, wrapped in the sandwich, the fries lost their crispness quickly.

              1. re: Indy 67

                That's just why I didn't like the combination in a sandwich. Besides, the bread was overstuffed and things kept falling out.

                Their fries are OK and by asking for them on the side, you get the different style gyro with pork (not sure how "authentic" that is) and can snack on a small handful of fries along with it.

                But then, it's not my kitchen so I don't fault them for offering their idea of a gyro.

            2. re: Indy 67

              A very Greek thing to do in some parts of Greece.

            3. re: Worldwide Diner

              Consumer note: The 'real' gyros (not from loaf) at Plaka are pork, not lamb. YMMV. Really good soups there.

              1. re: Steve

                http://greekfood.about.com/od/greekfo...

                I'm not Greek, and never been to Greece. But a little research shows that real gyros are made of pork.

                "In Greece gyros is traditionally made of pork. In recent years chicken gyros has appeared, thanks to its low fat content. Recently the doner kebab has also shown up, made of mixed lamb and beef mince. "

                Yes, you can ask them to hold the fries but it's common to have fries in "real" gyros. Writing in this forum pains me...I think I rather stab myself rather than give advice here.

                1. re: Worldwide Diner

                  Do you suppose the beef/lamb loaf is an American invention? Or maybe from another country? Turkey? Is "real" doner kabob a combination of meats?

                  1. re: MikeR

                    I was under the impression the origin of gyros (or maybe doner?) was immigrants in Frankfurt, Germany.

                    1. re: Steve

                      That certainly could be. What food is "pure origin" any more? In fact what's "authentic" any more? I think the two sort of go together and both are figments of our imagination.

                      But I know where to go to get gyros that I like, and I know where I've tried them and don't like them as much.

                  2. re: Worldwide Diner

                    There are a lot of real dishes I don't care for and more that are too real for me to even attempt to eat. Two contenders for the latter category: Anthony Bourdain famously ate wart hog anus in Namibia and fermented shark in Iceland. He's an eclectic eater but he has declared these to be the worst two meals of his life.

                    Real or not, the charm of fries gone soggy from their confinement in a wrap simply escapes me.

                    Predictably, I'm not a fan of poutine either. And just to keep this on topic for the DC board, if you want to taste Poutine, find the Eat Wonky truck. (Next week's schedule is not yet posted.)

              2. I have been told by all my greek peeps tht "Samos" downtown/ greektown/ Baltimore is the BEST for Greek food.... I am trying to get my folks to go. I trust these friend's recommendation, so I pass it on to you if you get up this way!!! (I love spanakopita myself)

                6 Replies
                1. re: jodynhoney

                  I agree that Samos is the BEST for greek food. However, go early in the evening or the line is out the door.

                  1. re: bowiemike

                    Speaking of lines out the door, do we have any Plaka Grill regulars here? A couple of Sundays ago, it was when the Post magazine carried the review of the Greek place near Tyson's Corner, we got into a Greek mood but decided to go to Plaka instead of trying the new place for fear that the review would have filled it up. At about 6:30 PM, all the tables in Plaka were filled and there was a line nearly to the door for ordering.

                    We went for Chinese instead, but I'm wondering if this is typical of Sunday evenings at Plaka or if maybe everyone else thought the same way we did on that one day.

                    1. re: MikeR

                      mike, what's the new greek place near tyson's?

                        1. re: comestibles

                          thanks! i see it is an open table "diner's choice" award winner: http://www.opentable.com/nostos-resta...

                  2. It’s true that the non-loaf version at Yamas is very good. And here’s a curveball of sorts: It’s Lebanese rather than Greek, and it’s a beef/lamb combo, but the homemade shawarma on the spit at Shawafel (in the Atlas District) is better than any gyro I’ve had around here.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Marty L.

                      Another vote for YAMAS, although I admit I have never tried it there because I keep going back for the other yummy things on the menu (lamb chops, chicken, sides) But I have seen it, and it looks amazing, authentic, and next menu item on my list to try.

                      1. re: chicken kabob

                        I'm actually glad to hear you say that. When I first started going to Yamas, the rest of the menu was not that good, but the gyros were outstanding. So I've not gotten anything other than gyros since. Sounds like it might be time to branch out again.

                        1. re: DanielK

                          On the gyro topic, what do you think of the Greek Deli on 19th Street N.W.?

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                          Greek Deli
                          1120 19th St NW Frnt 1, Washington, DC 20036

                          1. re: RobertM

                            Greek Deli's are good. I prefer the meatball special.

                            I love the gyros at the Greek Spot on U St and 11th.

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                            Greek Deli
                            1120 19th St NW Frnt 1, Washington, DC 20036

                            Greek Spot
                            2017 11th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

                            1. re: Dreamworks

                              19th St. NW Greek Deli - really if one is stumped or indecisive one can just order anything on special there and be happy (and over-laden)

                              I always thought "the other half will be dinner or lunch tomorrow!" by 4:30 it was always gone.

                    2. From Wikipedia::::

                      "To make gyros, pieces of meat are placed on a tall vertical spit, which turns in front of a source of heat, usually an electric broiler. If the meat is not fatty enough, strips of fat are added so that the roasting meat remains always moist and crisp. The rate of roasting can be adjusted by varying the strength of the heat and the distance between the heat and the meat, allowing the cook to adjust to varying rates of consumption. The outside of the meat is sliced vertically in thin, crisp shavings when done. It is generally served in an oiled, lightly grilled piece of pita, rolled up with various salads and sauces. The pita and gyro themselves are the only obligatory ingredients."

                      How many Greek places in the DC area serve a Gyro this way?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: oceancrest67

                        You just replied to a thread that has the answer - Plaka Grill (Vienna) and Yamas (Bethesda).

                      2. I'm a regular a Plaka. Not only are their gyros authentic (the owner is Greek). The Plaka gyro is fanastic tasting. Ive never had a problem with the fries being soggy/mushy. They do 'wilt' somewhat towards the end of the sandwich but I always could taste the individual componets of the sandwich.

                        And yes it is always crowded on the weekend, most often weeknights too. But the tables turn over fairly quickly.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: judoka

                          I agree. The gyro is great - and so are all the other dishes. We do a lot of take out from them and I have yet to find anything less than great.

                        2. I don't know how authentic they are, but I love the gyros and souvlaki at the Marathon Deli in College Park.

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                          Marathon Deli
                          4429 Lehigh Rd, College Park, MD 20740

                          1. the place where i liked gyros has now turned into a cheesesteak place. i must check to see if it just changed the name. (right next door to pasha cafe in arlington).