When I lived in Astoria, Queens, I never had to consult a clock to guess when noon was approaching. Around 11:30 a.m. daily, the smell>"/>
When I lived in Astoria, Queens, I never had to consult a clock to guess when noon was approaching. Around 11:30 a.m. daily, the smell of roasted meat would start wafting densely through the air, serving as a mouthwatering alarm. Literally every corner in the historically Greek neighborhood housed a cart or truck featuring souvlaki--in beef, chicken and lamb served simply with a quarter loaf of French bread and your choice of sauce--for around $4.
The carts that received the most action however, served everyone's Mediterranean favorite, the Gyro. One specialty vendor, whose deluxe setup had occupied the same corner for 20 plus years, parked from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, next to the steps of the overhead N & Q trains. He served up tightly wrapped sandwiches, with just the right amount of tzatziki and neatly packaged with wet naps to be consumed on the 15-minute commute to midtown Manhattan. It was impossible to find a car around lunch and not see at least four other riders simultaneously chewing and smiling with satisfaction.
Though Seattle's air rarely reeks of roasted meat, you can still find outstanding Gyros in nearly every neighborhood. This could have easily been a top 10 list, but here are 5 joints that will do you right:
Mr. Gyros (8411 Greenwood Ave N)
Garnering raves for both the Ballard and Greenwood locations, Mr. Gyro has a menu that can deliciously accommodate vegetarians and carnivores alike. Their basic Gyro comes with your choice of meat and goes for only $5.49. We'd be amiss to mention this joint with out bringing up the "nice view"--as in, they are staffed by swarthy foxes, anyone of whom could easily hold the title Mr. Gyro.
Zaina(108 Cherry St)
Perfect for a lunch date when you want to convey "I'm practical, fun and have great taste," Zaina is a fabulous, full-service, middle eastern dining spot. It's rich in ambiance without being campy. If your date is so inclined, you can Hookah up (yes, I said it).This Pioneer Square staple has been in service forever, features a $5.99 gyro, and is known for their consistency.The staff have a keen memory for regulars and greets repeat customers warmly.
Mawadda Café (4433 S Graham St)
This simple, clean establishment isn't big on glitz, but they deliver inexpensive, tasty food. Their Gyro costs around $5.50 and there is not much on the menu that exceeds $10. In addition to all things Greek, they also have a few Italian options. As the food is cooked to order, calling ahead is recommended for speedy service. Be warned: If you have an aversion to garlic, this is not the spot for you.
Kokoras(6400 ½ California Ave SW)
Located far enough away from the junction to park easily, this cozy, warm, California Avenue haunt is the perfect spot for evening Greek dining. Holding the gyro here is a task within itself, as they are really, really overstuffed. At $8.00, it's expensive in Gyro terms, but so large it easily feeds two.
Niko's Gyros (32nd Ave W)
For the insanely reasonable price of $4.50 a Gyro, it's worth the trek to Magnolia for Niko's. Loyal customers concede dining here can become habitual. Pet-friendly (you'll find doggie dishes outside) and full of Mediterranean color, it's great for quick dining-in. They do a strong take out business and it's the perfect place to hit up on your way to Ballard for a night out.