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Gyros - A Wonderful Mediterranean Food

Updated on June 15, 2013
Vertical Spit,where the meat for gyros is often cooked
Vertical Spit,where the meat for gyros is often cooked

This is one version of Tzatziki sauce

Tzatziki, a wonderful thing to add to gyros.  You have to try it at least once!
Tzatziki, a wonderful thing to add to gyros. You have to try it at least once!
Tomatoes, another main ingredient in gyros
Tomatoes, another main ingredient in gyros


You can't go to Athens Greece without realizing very quickly what a big part of Greek cuisine gyros are. They are such a wonderful food, and I have never had any better than when I went to Greece last year. I had heard how great they were from some friends that lived there. We asked around for where to go to get a quick gyro. When we paid and were given our gyros, I was so hooked. It was a great meal, that tasted incredible.

When in Greece, its best to be clear to your waiter or waitress or the person behind the counter, that you mean gyro as in a pita type bread, and not the souvlaki that are char grilled meat on a stick. Souvlaki though, are incredibly tasty and are a "must try" as well in Greece. They are used interchangeably to some degree, so it depends on the person and the establishment.

There are many ingredients that can go into a gyro, so it's a rather versatile kind of food. The main ingredients you will find though, are meat, tomatoes, tzatziki, onions, and many spices to make it complete. Tzatziki, is a white tangy cucumber type dip, that can have garlic, or dill added, among other things. It is really good, and you can find different recipes for this. It really rounds out the gyro. My son didn't want the sauce on his though, and ordered it without and the gyros are still wonderful.

Gyros are considered a fast food in Greece, but I wanted to say that they do seem so healthy, that I don't think of it like fast food as I would in the U.S. They do often come with french fries, but those are excellent as well and worth the splurge. Some people have been known to omit the meat from gyros, say if they are vegetarian and they are still a great treat that way.

History of Gyros  The history is perhaps traced back to ninth century Baghdad, where reference is made to a dish named judhaba was made that resembles that of gyros.  There is not much mention of it from that time until it resurfaced again in Livadia sometime in the 1950's.  This happens to be around the time the first souvlaki on a stick originated.  It could have been around long before these dates however, yet just not recorded in a way that survived till now.

The Kind of Scene you will find in Greece where they serve Gyros

Meat in Gyros

You can generally choose from three different meats to go into your gyro. You can order it as a traditional gyro which comes with meat that is cut or shaved from these neat looking vertical "spits". This is where it gets its name actually, as gyro mean something that goes around in the Greek language.

You can order your gyro "souvlaki style" which is char grilled pork on a stick usually, but in this case it is in your gyro without the stick. The way to order that is to say "me kalamaki".

If you order your gyro as "bifteki", this means you will be ordering it with a variety of meats, which are grilled on a stick similar to the souvlaki. Many of the places we went to you could order chicken or pork.

They hand you your gyro wrapped in paper and napkins, ready to eat. I need to say that besides the vertical spits, I was very impressed to see these pita type breads that the gyro come in. This bread is like heaven, its simply unlike any pita I have ever had in the States. If you like, you can always order a gyro on a plate, and use utensils. They sometimes come with more food, but also are more expensive.

Depending on whether you get french fries or not, the gyro is considerably less fat than say pizza or hamburgers.  Its healthy as it contains all the food groups.  You are getting a variety of food, with a variety of nutrients.  It is worth seeking out a good Greek restaurant, whether fine dining or fast food types, to try a good gyro if you have never had one.   I would love to go again to Greece someday, and if I ever do, I want to go straight back to that little place where we got our very authentic gyros in Athens.

This guy makes making a gyro look so easy!

Gyro Poll

Do you enjoy eating gyros?

See results

These are some of the places we got Gyros in Greece

Athens, Greece:
Athens, Greece

get directions

Corinth, Greece:
Corinthe, Greece

get directions


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    • oceansnsunsets profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      I would have to agree Phoenix, a good gyro is like a whole tasty meal in itself. Thank you!

    • PhoenixV profile image


      7 years ago from USA

      Gyros are probably one of my all time favorite foods.

    • oceansnsunsets profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Boxxies, thank you for your comment. I bet those gyros were good in Toronto!

    • oceansnsunsets profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Chirls, thanks for your comment, and I would agree with you there!

    • boxxies profile image


      8 years ago

      Those gyros sound so goooooood......

      I had them before in a Greek area of Toronto and loved them.

    • chirls profile image


      8 years ago from Indiana (for now)

      Your hub is making me hungry. I love gyros, and they are good anywhere but definitely better in Greece!

    • oceansnsunsets profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Hello Peggy, Thanks for stopping by and your comment

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Oh I love gyros! Have never had one in Greece however. The ambiance probably makes them taste even better if that is possible.

    • oceansnsunsets profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Hi Nifty, thanks so much for your comment and reading my hub!

    • nifty@50 profile image


      8 years ago

      I've never had a Gyro! Thanks for teaching me about it! I definitely have to try one! Voted up & useful!


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