Greek souvlaki wrap - credits: gioiak2/Depositphotos.com
Greek souvlaki wrap - credits: gioiak2/Depositphotos.com greeking.me

It was a matter of time to write a blog post about the king of Greek street food, souvlaki, which is probably the most recognizable Greek food across the world. Made with pork, chicken, beef or even sausage, souvlaki is the food you can trust to leave you satisfied, because much like pizza, in a sense that even if you eat one that it's not the best, it's still pretty good!

Definition

Souvlaki, or in plural souvlakia, is a popular Greek fast food consisting of small pieces of meat -and sometimes vegetables' grilled on a skewer. The main confusion around the famous Greek delicacy is regarding the distinction between souvlaki and gyro. While, as mentioned before, souvlaki refers to pieces of pork or chicken on a skewer, gyros refers to the same kinds of meat, this time cooked on a vertical rotisserie. 

Souvlaki dish - credits: rawf8/Shutterstock.com

Preparation

Once cooked, the meat is sliced off the rotisserie or taken off the skewer and is put on round pita bread with lettuce, tomato, onions, and tzatziki, which is the key ingredient that gives souvlaki its delicious and authentic Greek taste. In some souvlaki shops, which are scattered all across Greece taking up almost every corner of the country, you can have your souvlaki wrap with beefteki, the Greek equivalent of burger meat. Souvlaki is served wrapped in a wax paper, which helps it keep its shape and it is designed to be consumed like a sandwich.

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souvlaki kalamakia rawf8 shutterstock

History

Souvlaki counts close to 4000 years of existence, with its recipe being known since antiquity. Ancient Greek writer Athenaeus mentions a dish very similar to souvlaki in its work titles Deipnosofistes, consisting of pieces of roasted meat, pita bread, cheese, and dill served with a broth. A version of souvlaki made with intestines is mentioned in Roman texts of the 1st century AD. The word "souvlaki" comes from the word 'souvla' which translates to 'spit', which in turn comes from the Latin word subula.

Three of our favorite souvlaki places in Athens

gyros souvlaki rawf8 shutterstock
Greek gyros dish - credits: rawf8/Shutterstock.com

#1 Biftekopoleio
This little souvlaki spot only serves souvlaki with burger meat (beefteki) and it can be found on 59 Davaki Street, in the neighborhood of Kallithea. Biftekopoleio can't be reached via the underground, however, it is near Davaki Square, the most famous and central square of Kallithea, where a lot of bus stations can be found.

#2 Lefteris o Politis
A more central choice, as it is located in Omonia Square (20 Satovriandou Street), you can fine Lefteris o Politis behind the building of the Hondos Center mall. It offers delicious souvlaki with beef kebabs, fluffy pita bread, tomato, onion, parsley and paprika chili that adds a spicy twist to the already delightful treat. 

#3 Kostas
One of the most popular and loved among the locals, Kostas is located in Athens' downtown. Offering the choice of kebabs or pork, along with tomato, onion, parsley, and the addition of a special red sweet or chili sauce, it is worth the long wait you probably endure, as it is a tiny shop and always incredibly busy. On a positive note, it remains open until 3.00 PM, so you can visit it after a wild night out and order the tastiest hangover cure you have experienced in your life!

Have you ever tasted souvlaki in Greece? Share with us if you liked it and where's the best place you had one!