Is there anything better than a quick and tasty gyro or a delicious souvla platter? Understanding the differences between these two staple Greek dishes will help you to understand Greek cuisine that little bit better, but more than that it just means you should head out there and find a restaurant that serves authentic Greek food, whether that is a souvla platter for you and a group of your friends or a gyro as a quick and tasty bit of street food to carry on your way as some Greek takeout. In London especially, there are countless Greek restaurants, showcasing the wondrous world of Hellenic cuisine, and the souvla platter is a massive part of that. Is there a difference though between a souvla and a gyro?
The problem that we have in modern-day parlance is that the terms gyro and souvlaki have become interchangeable with each other. When people, outside of Greece and Greek culture, go to a Greek restaurant or Greek street food vendor and ask for a souvlaki, it might be that they actually mean a gyro, and vice versa. This is due to the resemblance between the two.
Gyros translates as ‘turn’ and is used to describe the cones of meat that you see cooking on a rotating skewer vertically. Souvlaki on the other hand is chunks of meat that are cooked on a stick. It is easy to distinguish between the two once you know this simple difference. Souvlaki is taken from the Greek word souvla, which literally translates as ‘spit’. This dates back to ancient Greece where people would eat meat with bread in the same way that souvlaki is still served up to this day!
A souvla platter is where different cuts of meat are grilled individually on the stick, with the souvlaki meat served with a pita, topped with onions, tomato, the pita should be grilled, and then there are different sauces, such as tzatziki, depending on the meat choice, and finished with fries. A gyro is served up in much the same way, but the meat itself is not chunks of individual meat like you see with souvlaki, instead it has been compacted and cooked on the vertical cone, and then sliced and placed in the pita with the same garnishes. This is the primary difference between a souvla platter and a gyro. The meats are the same, chicken, pork, beef, lamb, but the cooking technique and the delivery is different.
If you are looking for that special taste of authentic Greek food and want to make sure you are experiencing the best version of a souvla platter or a gyro, keep an eye out for the best Greek restaurants in your area. Especially in the capital, you’ll find plenty of delicious Greek restaurants in London, where you can sit down with a souvla platter, some ouzo, and have a wonderful time with friends over the course of a few hours. Gyro is a tasty alternative, offering up simply brilliant Greek street food in an easy way. When it is cooked well and served right, there is nothing in the world quite like Greek food.