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Apr 15, 2014 08:15 PM

Any good cheap souvlaki in SF proper?

Ex-Montreal native homesick for Greek food in the Bay Area...

I've not found a passable gyro/souvlaki joint in San Francisco since moving here. Is there just not a large Greek community in the city?

The ubiquitous San Francisco souvlaki is something like disgusting cafeteria style mystery meat, cheap iceberg lettuce and bottled ranch dressing on a stale pita folded over like a taco. Unacceptable!

Is there any hope for a real souvlaki/gyro pita in this city or will this pervasive lunch staple found on every corner back home be something to savor only on return visits East from now on?

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    1. re: Melanie Wong

      Melanie, what was in the pita exactly? I see what looks like feta, cubed pork(?), tomatoes, cucumbers, and red onions? The tzaziki looks a bit runny and pita looks a bit thin (not sure what to make of the feta) but so far I guess it's the best example I've seen in the city. Could you describe the tzaziki sauce; was it very garlicky? No pepperonicinis offered?

      1. re: OliverB

        No idea, I have not been there, just offering a pointer to a discussion that you missed. I suggest that you post your questions to that thread and then those who have tried the place can answer you.

      2. Not SF proper, I'm afraid, but Simply Greek, with locations in Berkeley, Oakland, and Pleasanton, has what you want: chunks of real pork, chicken, lamb or beef--not the mystery gyro slabs (but they're available if you like).

        1. Are you looking for pita made to order or just not stale?

          3 Replies
          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            I'm looking for fresh, thick, pillowy soft pita bread, like the following examples:





            NOT the flat, thin, stale, doughy tasting generic stuff that every single place in SF seems to use.

            1. re: OliverB

              Just curious--- do any Greek places make bread in house in North America? Most Turkish places do around here, and you might find greater happiness with their doner/shawerma than with gyro/souvlaki at Greek places.

              Oh yuk, here's a picture of the mystery meat.

              Kronos Frozen Gyrokone Traditional Beef and Lamb Cone 10 Pound

              Mystery meat background:

              1. re: hyperbowler

                Pathos in Berkeley makes pita fresh to order. Kokkari might.

                Bread made to order is common at Indian, Pakistani, Persian, Afghan, and Turkish places.

          2. I have given up on good souvlaki in the Bay Area. If you find a good one please let us know.

            The best ones I remember eating in Greece are not overflowing with meat but the meat that's there is very moist. The pita bread is thick puffy, naan like, but also has a slightly charred smokey exterior and is sometimes dusted with paprika. Should have tangy garlicky tzatziki, onions and tomatoes. Haven't eaten anything here that really captures the magic of good souvlaki.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Ridge

              I've had it with fresh sliced cucumbers too, which is quite nice. Greek pepperoncini on the side are a must too.

              1. re: Ridge

                The best souvlaki I've had in the Bay Area is the al pastor at Taqueria San Jose. You'd have to bring your own pitas.

              2. Doesn't that Middle Eastern deli on Telegraph across from Pill Hill make their own pita? I remember it as being pillowy and especially good. Do they have souvlaki too? I'm sure someone can fill in the name on which I have blanked out.


                4 Replies
                1. re: chocolatetartguy

                  I doubt that a Middle Eastern deli would make good souvlaki.

                  1. re: chocolatetartguy

                    That's Oasis Food Market. The house-made pita are the best I've found short of being made to order, sometimes they're still warm. The shawarma is pretty good and 100% lamb instead of the bland lamb-beef combo most Greek places do.


                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      It looks great for schwarma and falafel but I don't see the souvlaki connection.

                      1. re: OliverB

                        To me, shawarma and gyros are as different as Greek coffee and Turkish coffee.