I love gyros. It's one of the few things, along with zosui and Italian cold cut sandwiches, that I could eat everyday. And my favorite place to get them is Papa Cristo's. My family has been going to Papa Cristo's and the adjacent C & K Importing market and delicatessen for years. The place has changed a lot over time, adding a substantial dining room and an outdoor patio. I've even seen some of their long-standing deli servers come and go. The place is a well-known Los Angeles treasure, sitting right across from St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral.
For an appetizer, I got the octopodakia, which is grilled baby octopus. It came served with tomato, cucumber, and lemon slices and a pita. I liked the chewy texture of the octopus, and the grilled legs add a crispiness and crunch. As a dish, it was pretty substantial, but it was a refreshing compliment to the rest of the meal.
Rather than settle for a gyro sandwich as I normally would, I got the gyro dinner plate. It came with a very generous serving of gyros along with pan fried potatoes.
To me, gyro meat is like a magical food. It's ground meat, usually pork but sometimes a mixture of beef and lamb, that is seasoned with herbs and baked on a rotisserie. When it's ready to serve, the meat is sliced into thin strips then grilled. Like the octopodakia, this creates several different textures, as the thick part of the slice is slightly chewy and moist, while the edges are crunchy. There's something about the particular mix of meat and herbs that creates a craving in me.
Their pita was also unlike other pitas in that they don't have a pocket. They're still flat, but perhaps a tad fluffier and thicker than other store-bought pitas. That made them excellent for dipping into tzatziki, a sauce consisting of yogurt, garlic, onion, and cucumber.
I always enjoy going to Papa Cristo's. With the addition of the dining area, it makes for a pleasant eating experience. I've never been to Greece, but I have been to Spain, and the decor is enough to suggest that I could be eating somewhere in Europe, or at least somewhere not in LA. Just as long as you go when the clientele is mostly Greek.
Some other notes on Papa Cristo's:
- 0 out of 7 on my mess-o-meter. But if you get the sandwich, expect a 7 out of 7.
- It's not particularly cheap, but it seems a decent value when you consider how much food you're getting.
2771 West Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90006