The best gyros in Athens? Ask ten different locals and get ten different answers.
There is arguably no such thing as a bad gyro. This street food classic is essentially one of Greece’s national dishes after all.
However, everyone has different preferences. Some gyro places prepare or season their meat in unique ways.
Others prepare their own condiments and sauces to slather on top of the dish. A standard gyro may be topped with tomato sauce and mustard.
However, a lot of gyro places make a homemade sauce filled with paprika and spices, to give the dish a little kick. It is also worth noting that while as a tourist in Athens, you may spend most of your time in the central districts of Monastiraki, Syntagma, Koukaki, etc.
However, each Athenian district is like a little village in itself, and each has its own unique personality. Locals are likely to have a neighbourhood gyro store that they venture to after a night out, rather than heading into the centre of Athens.
So, some of the best gyros in Athens can be found outside of the historic centre. You should not be afraid to travel for good food.
Best Gyros in Athens: What are Gyros?
Greek gyros are pita wraps prepared with meat that is cooked on a vertical rotisserie. Chicken and pork are the most common variations.
When you order gyros in Athens, the server will typically ask you if you want your gyro ¨with everything¨. If you agree, a hearty portion of fries, salad, and tomato and mustard will be added to the gyro.
Sometimes, tzatziki is used in place of ketchup and mustard. Prices vary from place to place, particularly in tourist areas.
A regular chicken or pork gyro should not set you back more than around €2.40. Some places also sell ¨giant¨ pita gyros.
These are big enough to feed a small Greek village (or at least, they are double the size of a regular gyro!) Giant gyros may cost you between €3.50 and €4.20.
What is the Difference Between Gyros and Souvlaki?
Gyros and souvlaki are two of the most popular street foods in Athens. They are both quick and easy meat dishes to grab on the go.
However, they are distinctly different. Gyro meat is slow-cooked on a rotisserie. Meanwhile, souvlaki is marinated meat that is cooked on skewers on a grill.
You can eat souvlaki as-is on a wooden stick with a squeeze of fresh lemon, or you can opt to have it prepared in a pita gyro style. Both dishes are very good.
However, generally speaking, souvlaki meat is of somewhat better quality. For instance, chicken souvlaki is made with chicken breast, while chicken gyro, although still good quality meat, is shaved strips of rotisserie meat.
If you prefer souvlaki meat, you can, by all means, ask your gyro server to prepare you a chicken gyro BUT with souvlaki meat. Most places that sell gyros will also sell souvlaki.
Best Gyros in Athens: Places to Add to Your Radar
Some of the establishments contending for the title of selling the best gyros in Athens are detailed below for your consideration. Have these on your radar when you spend one or two days in Athens.
That way, when you pass through a certain district, you know precisely where you should eat. Some of the places are centrally located and close to major tourist attractions like the Acropolis, the Ancient Agora, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, etc. Others are hidden away in quintessentially Greek residential neighbourhoods that you absolutely should take the time to explore.
H PITTA TOY KARAFLA (Η ΠΙΤΑ ΤΟΥ ΚΑΡΑΦΛΑ)
Where: Filolaou 142, Pagrati, Athens
Karaflas in Pagrati is, without hesitation, one place to get some of the best gyros in Athens. The little store, with its bright orange sign, is unmissable.
This is the go-to gyro place for a lot of locals that want to grab a quick bite to eat when they don’t feel like cooking. Karaflas also has something of a humour element to it.
The name Karaflas actually means men with bald heads. It is funny because the store owners/servers behind the counter are all balding men.
They will always greet you with a smile and if you are a regular, they will remember your order. Karaflas is situated on Filolaou – one of the main promenades that run through the southern suburb of Pagrati.
Where: Chremonidou 52, Vironas, Athens
Babadan has two stores in Athens. The first is situated in the southern suburb of Vironas (Chremonidou 52). The second, is in Argyroupoli (Marinou Geroulanou 50).
Babadan markets itself as a kebab house but for sure among their menu offerings, they also serve some of the best gyros in Athens. The special thing about Babadan gyros is how they are seasoned. The meat is flavoured with just the right amount of seasoning and spice and it tastes quite unlike anything you will find elsewhere.
The Big Bad Wolf
Where: 28is Oktovriou 58, Athens (and several other outlets)
The Big Bad Wolf is a souvlaki, gyro and burger bar with several outlets across Athens. This is a great place to try if you want to order some side dishes and fries alongside your gyro.
The loaded fries with their sinful toppings are not to be missed. In particular, consider treating yourself to the homemade potatoes topped with bacon and melted cheddar sauce. Or if you want something a little more gourmet, try the potatoes with the parmesan and minced meat.
The Big Bad Wolf may have several stores but as the brand has expanded, neither the quality of the food nor the warm hospitality, have suffered. The gyros here go way beyond your typical gyro pita.
There are chicken and pork gyros, and chicken and pork skewers, sure. However, here you can also find chicken and beef mixed gyros, pita meatballs, pita pork steaks, pita kebabs, and pita chicken strips.
A classic pita costs €2.90. Meanwhile, an XXL pita, bursting at the seams with meat and filling, is €5.60.
Where: Pentelis 5, Athens
Situated just a short walk away from Syntagma Square, O Kostas is an Athens institution. This eatery has been delighting locals and tourists alike for the past seven decades.
You can find both souvlaki and gyros served here. This is a simple, no-frills place.
You can order chicken or pork pitas. That’s it.
However, the draw of visiting O Kostas comes from the freshness of the ingredients. Everything is prepared fresh that morning and the meat is cooked to perfection.
If you like, follow the servers suggestion and have your meat topped with a hearty sprinkling of paprika. O Kostas first opened its doors in 1950.
Today, it is the grandson of the original Kostas that manages the business and yes, his name is Kostas too! A faded photo of his grandfather, the founder, is proudly displayed at the entrance.
There is almost always a queue here, but food from O Kostas is well worth the wait. The store closes around 3 pm so try to arrive in time for an early lunch.
Where: Ermou 91, Athens
Many Athenians will tell you that Savvas serves some of the best gyros in Athens. The restaurant can be found on Ermou street – the main promenade that connects Monastiraki to Syntagma Square.
Owing to its central location, Savvas is often quite crowded with both tourists and locals. But don’t let that put you off.
A lot of the former seem to simply hop into Savvas while wandering down Ermou as it is the first place that catches their eye. They don´t know the gem that they are stumbling upon and Savvas being busy definitely does not mean it is a tourist trap.
Savvas offers a diverse menu serving up pork and chicken gyros, kebabs, souvlaki, and other Greek classic dishes. What is not obvious when you first enter the eatery from Ermou, is that Savvas has an incredible roof terrace.
This is where you want to go and grab a table. From up here, you have unparalleled views over Athens. What better way to tuck into one of the best gyros in Athens than while gazing across to the Acropolis as you dine?
Tylixto Greek Wrap
Where: Aiolou 19, Athens
Tylixto Greek Wrap is a relatively new face on the Athens gyros scene. The premises are modern and trendy, with plenty of space for outdoor seating.
Tylixto sits on Aiolou street, close to Monastiraki. It’s a great place to stop and grab a quintessentially Greek lunch if you have been exploring nearby Psiri or the Temple of Hephaestus and the Ancient Agora in Thissio.
The prices here are very reasonable. You can grab a regular chicken/pork gyro for 2.50, and an XL gyro for 4.90.
Souvlaki, kebabs and burgers are also available here. So too are Greek and Middle Eastern-inspired vegetarian options such as falafel, tabbouleh and various salads.
Where: Eftichidou 23, Athens
To Pitantiko is a wonderful grill house tucked away from view behind the Panathenaic Stadium. Tourists do not venture here, not unless they are renting an Airbnb in the area as it is in a relatively off the beaten path and traditionally Greek neighbourhood.
That is not to say that To Pintantiko is not worth the small effort to get to though. The best way to reach the eatery is to walk past the Olympic stadium and then take a right turn on Eratosthenous.
You will see a supermarket named Sklaventis (ΣΚΛΑΒΕΝΙΤΗΣ) and the road will veer off in two different directions. Follow Eftichidou and you will see To Pinkantiko on your right-hand side.
The eatery serves an array of Greek grill house classics – gyros, souvlakis, burgers, and so on. Tables and chairs have been set out on the street providing the perfect opportunity for people watching.
Locals will often stop by To Pintantiko after work. This is particularly true of those living in nearby Pagrati, Kaisariani, Vyronas, and the Mets.
If you find yourself exhausted after a day of sightseeing in Greece, it is worth noting that ordering food in Athens is very easy and convenient to do. E-food and Wolt are our answer to Uber Eats and most of the aforementioned Athens gyro spots are listed there.
So, if you are staying in self-catered accommodation out in the sticks and you really cannot stand the thought of more walking, you don’t have to miss out on sampling some of the best gyros in Athens! Hundreds of Athens restaurants are listed on these apps and you can pretty much order whatever food takes your fancy that day.
Do you have any other contenders for being “the best gyros in Athens” that you would like to suggest? Feel free to reach out to me via the comments below.
Safe travels and enjoy Greece! Geia sou, Melissa xo