A sandwich is a sandwich is a sandwich, no? Well, not really. Such is the case of the gyro, the pita, and the shawarma. Although the terms are often used interchangeably by many, there are differences in the types of breads, meats, national origin, method of cooking, and seasonings.
In a nutshell. The Greek gyro uses soft pocketless, thick, pita bread. The meat comes from a spit. The sandwich is garnished with lettuce and tomatoes and topped with yogurt-based tzatziki sauce. The pita, a famous sandwich in the Middle East and the Mediterranean, uses a thin, round, airy, pocket bread. Hummus and tahini are common condiments used. The shawarma also uses meat from a spit and a pocket pita bread. However, it is rolled then flattened on a press once filled.
Here are my favorite places for such sandwiches: Cafe Agora, Best Bread Baking Co., and Jerusalem Bakery.
Cafe Agora has the best gyros in the city. The soft, grilled pita bread is filled with tender slices of delicious, marinated meat roasted on a spit. They have two kinds: mixed lamb and beef and chicken breast. Each is equally fantastic. Fresh shredded lettuce and thick tzatziki sauce are both added to complement the savory meats.
Tucked inside an office and warehouse complex, Best Bread was an instant sensation. The bakery doubles as a lunch spot and usually offers two pita sandwiches: Falafel and Chicken Schnitzel. The falafel, which I call a fried vegetable ball, is very tasty here. It has hints of garlic and herbs. Fried to a golden brown, they are stuffed inside fresh-baked, doughy, pita bread. The romaine lettuce and tahini sauce complement the sandwich. But you can’t just have the falafel. You must also try the delicious Chicken Schnitzel that is made with two pieces of tender, moist chicken, lightly battered, then golden fried. Both the falafel and the schnitzel have that tantalizing crunch on the outside which shifts to a soft inside as you bite down. So good.
Shawarmas at Jerusalem Bakery are made with savory pit-roasted meat that is sliced then stir-fried on a griddle. There are many condiments and toppings to go with your shawarma including pickled beets, parsley, pickles, hummus, and tabouleh, to name a few. The rolled sandwich is then pressed in a panini press for a minute. The result is a slightly crunchy, thin pita filled with yummy goodness. By the way, the in-premise bakery makes all the fresh bread.
262 E Paces Ferry Rd NE
Atlanta, GA 30305
Best Bread Baking Co.
2080 Peachtree Industrial Ct
Chamblee, GA 30341
Jerusalem Bakery Alpharetta
4150 Old Milton PKWY
Alpharetta, GA 30005