Souvlaki, especially the one wrapped in pita (tylichto/τυλιχτό in Greek), is a favourite meal of the Greeks and one of the most famous Greek dishes in the world. Although souvlaki restaurants (souvlatzidika/σουβλατζίδικα in Greek) have always existed in Athens, in the last 20 years there has been an explosion in the number of stores offering souvlaki. There is no neighbourhood or suburb of the city without a souvlaki restaurant. Therefore, finding the best (let alone the 10 best) is almost impossible. Nevertheless, for our new article, we searched and found 10 places that, in our opinion (in June 2022), make unique souvlaki with pita (for the category of souvlaki-kalamaki we had dealt with in a previous article). Enjoy without regrets.
Lefteris o Politis (Λευτέρης ο Πολίτης): A few things have not been said about the souvlaki wrap of Lefteris o Politis. For 71 years (starting in 1951), this place has been offering Athenians its amazing wrapped souvlaki. In the area of Omonia, from the time when it was the heart of the city, during the period of its absolute degradation and devaluation, but also now that the area is taking its first steps towards a better future, Lefteris is a constant value. Initially, the wrap was made with lamb, and from the 1980s onwards, with an amazing beef burger (bifteki/μπιφτέκι in Greek). A well-cooked pita, a juicy burger, tomato, and onion are a unique and tasty combination. Recently, Lefteris opened a second store on Romvis Street, ready to conquer the younger generations. (Satovriandou 20 & Romvis 18, Athens)
Ηοοcut: When five well-known chefs decided to open a souvlaki restaurant in the city centre, many wondered what they were up to. Today, almost four years later, no one has a question as Hoocut is one of the most popular places to eat souvlaki. In fact, the chefs did not try to innovate but rather to create classic souvlaki wraps in their highest quality version. At Hoocut, they serve beef, chicken, and pork, which are cooked in large pieces and then finely chopped. The pitas for the wraps are kneaded and baked on-site, and there is a variety of delicious sauces that you can add. (Agias Irinis Square 9, Athens)
Tzimis (Tζίμης): This place is a neighbourhood tavern close to Pagrati that is well-known among the locals and ought to rank among the best souvlatzidika in the city. While gyros is not served here, they make tylichto stuffed with its best alternative. They stuff their pitas with freshly grilled, extra-juicy chicken or pork kontosouvli (a big skewer that is roasted slowly over an open charcoal fire). Get also the handcrafted crispy fried potatoes as an extra. (Plateia Agiou Lazarou – Vyronas)
Oi Gynaikes (Οι Γυναίκες): On the popular pedestrian street of Drakou in Koukaki, this traditional nameless souvlaki restaurant, known as “The Women” (Oi Gynakes/Οι Γυναίκες) or “The Girls” (Ta Koritsia/Τα Κορίτσια), has been making the same delicious souvlaki with pita for the last 45 years or so. Gyros, skewers, and burgers are prepared daily in the store and grilled with experience. In particular, pork gyros with pita has a taste that will travel the older ones to the unpretentious taste of souvlaki in the 1980s and 1990s. In recent years, with the rise of Koukaki, the once neighbourhood souvlaki restaurant has gained fanatical friends throughout Athens. (Drakou 16, Koukaki)
Tomas Kebab: The Tomas kebab shop has been a common secret for many years among the inhabitants of Neos Kosmos neighbourhood, but now people from all over Athens come here to try the authentic kebab, which is prepared by Tomas and his sons. With traditional recipes from their homeland, Armenia, here they make perhaps the best kebab in town. The lamb kebab wrapped in pita with onions and tomatoes is unique, but the chicken kebab with yoghurt sauce is also a good reason to visit this place. (Mitrou Sarkoudinou 49, Neos Kosmos)
Achilleas (Αχιλλέας): The small and very clean Achilleas souvlaki restaurant in Neos Kosmos (the second in the area, together with Tomas Kebab), is the Holy Grail for those who are looking for the best souvlaki in Athens. It has been located in the same place since 1987 and makes delicious wraps with handmade gyros and juicy skewers. In particular, the marinated gyros is unique, without unnecessary fats and with properly balanced spices (in our opinion, the best gyros in Athens). The pita is crispy but at the same time fluffy and delicious. The store is open only daily in the afternoons, while usually gyros ends early due to high demand (in addition, there is no delivery). (Spintharou 18, Neos Kosmos)
Vangelis to Gnisio (Βαγγέλης το Γνήσιο): This place in the centre of Agios Dimitrios has been operating since 1965 without interruption and is one of the longest-running souvlaki restaurants in Athens. Vangelis has been succeeded by his children, who maintain the tradition of the well-cared souvlaki wraps. Selected meats and good raw materials ensure an excellent result. The delicious marinated gyros, the juicy burgers, and the quality skewers are combined with a fluffy, well-baked pita and a series of sauces (from the classic tzatziki to spicy cheese). The big and filling souvlaki with pita of Vangelis is unforgettable. (Agiou Dimitriou 163, Agios Dimitrios)
Enty: And speaking of the longest-lived souvlaki restaurants in Athens, another such case is Enty in Nikaia, which first opened in 1946. The speciality here is pita with a delicious beef burger (made with the Armenian first owner’s secret recipe) combined with tomato, onion, and parsley. Also excellent are the pitas with brisket, soutzouki, pastourma and the “dikanno” (wrap with double burger). In recent years, this neighbourhood souvlaki restaurant has gained a great reputation, with customers from all over Athens visiting it regularly. (Karakoulouxi 4, Nikaia)
Papigo (Πάπιγκο): Papigo is an excellent souvlaki restaurant in Holargos where the variety is small but the taste is unique. The store is famous for its pita with pork skewer or kebab, but the chicken skewer is also very good. Everything is handmade and prepared in small quantities daily, which ensures a very good quality result. Special mention should also be made of the freshly cut fried fries that you can add to the wraps. Finally, because the store does offer delivery, very often you will find a queue outside. (25is Martiou 9, Cholargos)
Panerithraikos (Πανερυθραϊκός): This particular store is a legend in the northern suburbs of Athens, where for about 50 years it has served one type of souvlaki. Here they make the most delicious pork skewer, either plain or wrapped in pita with tomato and onion. The pita, although oiled, is fluffy and tasty. The size of the wraps is smaller compared to other places, with the result that only one is never enough. The wraps of Panerithraikos are a guilty pleasure and are in themselves a reason to visit the area. (Anaxagora 11, Nea Erithraia)
So these are our 10 favourite stops for souvlaki with pita in Athens. We are sure that each of you has your favourite souvlaki restaurant that you visit often and may not be any of the above. So we are waiting for your suggestions in the comments area to identify the next 10 best souvlaki restaurants (any negative reviews for stores will be deleted).