Pita Souvli

Pita Souvli
1940 S. Alma School
Chandler, AZ 85248
(480) 907-5893

We were sitting at home unpacking one night when some friends called. They wanted to know if we would join them at Pita Souvli. Being somewhat hungry and always up for a new restaurant we said “sure, why not?” We found the restaurant almost by accident. It’s near the Mountainside Fitness right next to the Cactus Bike shop. This is a store front that has almost no exposure to the main parking lot. It’s not easy to find! Insiders tip: there is rarely used parking directly in front of the door on the very south side of the shopping center.

Pita Souvli is done up in a very modern, but not overly modern motif. It has nice bright colors and a cool stone bar. There are high top and regular tables through out the restaurant giving everybody a chance to sit as they wish. It’s a smallish intimate restaurant perfect for a date or just to meet friends.

The menu includes standard Mediterranean fare including humus, tzatziki and many types of souvlaki. Appetizers start at less than $4 while meals go up to $13. This is a pretty inexpensive place to have a nice lunch or dinner.

I like humus, tzatziki, gyros and all manner of Mediterranean food. I will state up front that under no conditions will I eat dolmades (stuffed grape leaves). Unfortunately eating Dolmades gives me the feeling that I’m eating a cigar butt. This isn’t a reflection on any particular restaurant, just one of my personal peccadilloes.

The humus was very good. I prefer mine with a bit of tahini added, but it was very good. The tzatziki was a little thin but also very good. Both appetizers were served with hot fresh pita bread sliced into wedges and sprinkled with herbs. Not bad, now to see about dinner.

We ordered the chicken breast souvlaki platter. The platters are served with roasted potatoes, a Greek salad, a side of tzatziki and pita bread. In too many restaurants the Greek salad is a weak side of wilted lettuce designed to take up space. Here, we were in for a surprise! The very friendly and personable waitress brought out several large, delicious looking platters of souvlaki heaped with food. The chopped roasted potatoes seemed odd at first on a souvlaki platter, but they were excellent. The heavily seasoned chicken was flavorful and tender. The Greek salad was fresh and delicious.

We didn’t have room to try the obligatory baklava, but perhaps another day.

I would rate this restaurant with four stars. I would recommend trying it.

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The Cypress Grill

The Cypress Grill

1065 W Queen Creek Rd
Chandler, AZ 85248

SWC of Queen Creek and Alma School

The food wasn’t very impressive. This corner eaterie  was a disappointment. I love all types of Mediterranean food. Its one of my favorite cuisines, but The Cypress Grill couldn’t even match the tastes of Pita Jungle. I shared the chicken souvlaki entree. The dish came with 2 average sized kabobs of cubed chicken breast. The meat was lean, but it was marinated too long in a salty liquid with dry, store bought herbs. The rice was mostly tasteless and the tzatziki sauce came right out of a jar. Surprisingly, the salad was the most disappointing. Greek salad is so easy to make with a lemon vinaigrette. I found the dressing too sweet to tolerate and the lettuce possessed a bitter quality not normally found in this type of lettuce mix. My son had the gyro platter. He said he liked the gyro meat and the rice but didn’t touch the salad or tzatziki sauce. I won’t be returning because you don’t need to be fancy or expensive to offer good food. If I want kabob, I’ll go to Pita Souvli up the street, Pita Jungle a few miles away or hike up to Haji Baba for authentic souvlaki. The entire experience was sad considering I can walk to the Cypress Grill.

Greekish food  earning two stars

Original Review: Sunday, June 24, 2012