Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Greek Island Grille - Santa Ana

My craving for gyro or doner kebap had to be satisfied. So today I drove to the nearest place I could get it that wasn't Daphne's. I first heard of Greek Island Grill on Chowhound of course and OC Weekly. And being that it was a stone's throw from my office, it wasn't a hard choice.

The restaurant interior itself is impressive. Despite being sandwiched between a Carl's Jr. and a sushi joint, the atmosphere of the restaurant is very cozy and homey. It looks as though this place has been here for ages. Beautifully oil-painted murals of countryside scenes on the wall, framed pictures hung with care, green rimmed table cloths. I thought that it felt very out of place in this stark, somewhat depressing minimall in, what I would call, the hinterlands of South Coast Plaza. After all, in the same parking lot exists a tired old sporting goods outlet and a Red Robin.

So I ordered a Lamb Souvlaki Pita for $4.99. A big sandwich, served with a side of tzaziki, a yogurt sauce. The first thing I noticed was the heftiness of this thing. "Would I be able to finish this by myself?" I wonder. I shouldn't have worried. The volume of the sandwich, as it turns out, was made up of 80% shredded green leaf lettuce. There were about four, one-inch cubes of grilled lamb chunks at the bottom of the sandwich, but really, this is basically a salad wrapped inside a pita. The toppings also included diced tomatoes, parsley, a few pieces of chopped red onion, and slivers of green onion. Unfortunately though, this sandwich wasn't very tasty. The chunks of lamb were really chewy and had no flavor. It took a good minute and a half for me to masticate each piece. It became quite annoying after a while. The tzaziki provided all of the flavor to the sandwich. Too bad there was so little of it.

So after I finished the sandwich, I was still hungry. At $5.33 after tax, I would've expected to be full, or at least, satisfied that I had something unique and chow-worthy. I was neither. For two bucks more, I could've added two sides. Maybe next time. Or then again, maybe not.

Not to be nitpicky about price, but for the same amount of money, I could've gotten four decently sized baguette banh mi's from Banh Mi Che Cali. Okay, unfair comparison. There isn't a lot of things that can beat that deal.

The Whole Pita Greek Island Grille
3940 S. Bristol Street. #113
Santa Ana, CA 92704
714-708-3000

10 Comments:

At 1:55 PM, Blogger Diamond Dog said...

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At 2:01 PM, Blogger Diamond Dog said...

Sorry about the lackluster experience. I had a Gyro in Oklahoma City 2 weeks ago. They put melted velveta cheese all over it!!! It was so gross.

I found a couple of good Gyros by my house. Most of those "independent" hamburger stands (yellow basket, omega burger, etc) are owned by greeks for some reason. They usually have greek things on their menus.

I found the gyro at John's Place (corner of Newport & Chapman) to be awesome. And I love those bright yellow fries! The burgers are good too. Fish & Chips sucks as does the fried zucchini.

Heck you could got to Farmer Boys and get a great Gyro, same bright yellow fries, GREAT zuchhini, great burgers, great fish & chips.

 
At 2:42 PM, Blogger MEalCentric said...

Just went here yesterday and felt the same as you--hungry. I ordered the chicken souvlaki and thought it was actually pretty darn good (juicy chicken, good bread and solid tzaziki), but for $5 and some change, I was definately craving a bahn mi, myself!

 
At 2:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really, really bad greek food. My brother in law is greek, so I have decently high standards. I'll chow at Daphne's (it's pretty bla nd), but this place was bad. They served bean with my lunch plate that tasted Mexican. The chefs are Mexican, at least when I was there.

 
At 8:34 AM, Blogger christoofat said...

Had the same feeling after eating there, kinda pricey for what you get, & food was only so-so.Haven't been back.

 
At 4:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My fiance and I love this place and Nick who runs the restaurant is awesome. We always get the combo plate with the gyro and 2 sides and never finish it. SOOO much food. Also, the dinner specials are great. My favorite is the salmon with lemon, wine, capers, & mushrooms. Friendly, Friendly place. We always feel at home and are well taken care of by the staff. They make a great homemade hot sauce too. The food always tastes so fresh & light. The food is well prepared on a grill, very healthful. We love this place and have taken many people to it that all have fallen in love with it also.

 
At 12:25 PM, Anonymous Richman said...

the best is the Mad Greek. there are 3 locations. Beach Blvd in Stanton, Corona (don;t know the name of the street but it's the one that paralels the frwy on the south side. and 1 in Baker that you see signs for miles on the road to Vegas. try any, try all. they are great!

 
At 4:38 PM, Anonymous JesS. said...

OMG! I love this place it's fresh, cozy and the best part of it all very, very close to my office ...and GOOD!..(lOve iT!)

 
At 11:08 PM, Anonymous zitoellascalifornia said...

This place is awesome!!!!! It is Yummy! I am Greek visiting from the great city of Chicago. The food that they serve at this restaurant is truly authentic Greek food. The staff is warm and professional! I was very surprised by the prices. The prices are better here than in a Chicago Greek Restaurant soooo take advantage of this opportunity to eat fresh, authentic, Greek food. Southern California finally has a true Greek Restaurant to call its own. Enjoy this Restaurant and wonderful Greek food because I did! Zito Ellas! :)

 
At 5:43 PM, Blogger OC Paul said...

Aw....it's too bad that you didn't have a good meal at this place. This place is very busy during lunch and I've never had a bad pita. Given the alternative of Daphne's, I'd choose this place every time. Their lunch bundle goes for about $8 and includes the choice of two sides (their seasoned fries are highly recommended). The recommended pita sandwiches are befteki (small seasoned beef patties), calamari and the classic gyro.

 

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