David and I had pricier meals in Athens, but our favorites were the meat-stuffed, white sauce-laden ones quickly scarfed down in Monastiraki Square. David was a fan of the souvlaki at O Thanasis and I was blown away by the gyro at Sabbas.
On our first visit to O Thanasis, David ordered the chicken souvlaki platter (€9.20; $13.16), grilled pita bread topped with chunks of chicken cooked over wood coals, onions, tomatoes, paprika, parsley, and dried oregano. David gets squeamish when chicken isn’t cooked all the way through, so he was quite happy to find the chicken fully cooked and still juicy.
The chicken was well-seasoned, and it didn’t need any tzatziki, but we love the garlicky stuff, so we ordered a plate to slather on. It’s not traditional to do so, but if it tastes good, why not? One order (€3; $4.29) gets you a giant mound of tangy tzatziki with lots of cucumber slivers.
I ordered a kebab sandwich (€2.30; $3.29), salty beef and pork meat wrapped in a pita with onions, tomatoes, parsley, and paprika. The kebab was very flavorful with a slight gamey taste. Because of the gaminess, a few globs of zippy tzatziki benefited the sandwich greatly.
A few days later, David went back for more souvlaki at O Thanasis, while I went across the street to Sabbas for a pork gyro (€1.90; $2.72), a pita sandwich with pork, onions, tomatoes, white sauce, paprika, and parsley. I’m used to gyros made from pressed lamb meat in the States, but at Sabbas, you get slices of actual chicken or pork. I opted for pork, and it was a gyro revelation. The pork was juicy with lots of charred edges, the pita was fluffy on the inside with a crunchy exterior, and the white sauce was creamy, tart, and eggy. Egg-based sauces are usually reserved for chicken gyros, but it was awesome with the pork as well.
Mitropoleos 69 (b/n Monastiraki Square & Kallipou; map)
Mitropoleos 86 (b/n Kallipou & Kirykeiou; map)