Thursday, August 12, 2010

It's All Greek to Me at Athena Gyro! - CLOSED

Athena Gyro and Grill
24000 Alicia Parkway
Mission Viejo, CA 92691

I love getting recommendations from people on where to go and blog about. This is one of those times. Amanda wrote me to tell me about Athena Gyro, and since it was close we had to put it on the list. I think that we have only had one other Greek restaurant on the blog so far, and wanting to get some diverse posts, we headed out on a Friday night.

According to their web site, Athena Gyro is owned by Mr. Gurel. He has operated restaurants in Greece, England and in the bay area. This is his first stab at a restaurant in Orange county. The restaurant is located right off of Alicia Parkway and Jeronimo. The place is kind of hidden in the middle of the strip mall. Let's see if it is worth finding.

We wanted to try two appetizers, and this was our first, the Humus with Pita Bread. This was not only presented well, but also tasted fresh. Every time I have humus, I wonder why I never pick up any in the store, because it is really good. This humus was chopped a little more roughly than others that I have had, but it worked well.

Our second appetizer was the Keftehakia Souvlaki, ( I know I butchered the name when I ordered this, but the waitress said I was close enough). Beef and lamb grilled in meatball form, served with tzatiziki sauce. This had a great flavor to it. I love lamb, and it is so infrequently that I get to have it, so it always is nice to come back to it.  The sauce paired with the meat was very good, but I did not like the sauce too much when I tasted it alone.

This is the Greek Salad that came with my meal. It is your basic dinner salad with feta cheese added. Like the other items so far, this was really fresh. One of my few complaints of the night would be about this salad. The lettuce was cut in long strips, and was hard to get on the fork. Not sure why they would cut the lettuce this way, but it was awkward in a salad. I am not much on oil based salad dressings, but this one worked here.

So you are in a Greek restaurant and you are not going to get a gyro? Not on my watch! We got the Beef Gyro. This was a very good gyro. It was a little heavy on the lettuce and tomato for me, but I tossed that aside easily enough. The meat was seasoned well, and the sauce was again very good with the meat.

Since this was our first time here, we wanted to sample a little bit of everything, so we could not pass on the Zorba's Combo Mixed Grill. This plate featured lamb and chicken kebab's, gyro slices, Greek meatballs, and chicken gyro slices. This was the Mount Olympus of meat, (see what I did there, Mount Olympus is the highest mountain in Greece, I know I did not have to explain that to you, but I did it for the other people reading this). So anyways, I really liked the lamb kebab the best. The meat was flavored the best, and Katie even liked it, even though she did not know she was eating lamb. You should have seen her face when I told her, it was priceless. The chicken kebab was the only thing that was a little dry. Even the rice was good, I mixed it with the sauce. Very good plate of food, and I recommend it for people who are skeptical about Greek food.

For dessert we got the Baklava. I let Katie pick this dessert. I am usually not too big of a fan of this dessert, but it was made well and was not too overly sweet. You could really taste the honey on this one. There was also no shortage of walnuts on this either. Very good end to a fine meal.

Athena Gyro really impressed us with their freshness of ingredients, and the presentation of the food. The service was good as well, but a little inexperienced. The food prices seemed to be good, the Zorba's feast set you back about $15, (the most expensive thing on the menu), and the gyro was $6.50. The atmosphere was casual and relaxed. As with all Greek people that I know, they are all proud of their heritage, and take pride in showing their culture off to other people. This seems to be the case here also. Thanks again for the tip on this place Amanda.

Out of five olive branches, (the Greek symbol of peace), five being best to zero being worst, Athena Gyro gets 3 solid olive branches.

To view their web site, click here:

Athena Gyro Greek Food & Grill on Urbanspoon


  1. Great post as always babe, and yes, I was pretty shocked I was eating lamb, but that is a testament to how well they prepared it. This was one of my favorites recently w/ Roman Cucina - I don't know this Amanda gal, but thank you from me too for a really yummy recommendation! Their gyro was the bomb! :)

  2. I first stumbled across Athena last year. I was checking out Rumbi when they first opened and decided to try them. I'm addicted to their Gyros, but I always order them plain with a side of Tziziki sauce and onions, then I dress it myself at home. If you get a chance, try the Avgolemono soup!

  3. Foodie- Thanks for the tip on the soup, I will have to give it a try when it cools down. Rumbi, is not still there is it? Thanks for the comment.

  4. yay, just saw this! Glad you enjoyed it. Katie, you're welcome!

  5. Amanda, I was hoping that you would read this. We have been back a few times since, and it has been good everytime. Thanks for the tip!

  6. Just came across this review. I'm a fan of Athena not only because the food is decent for a strip mall greek place but they would offer free delivery locally as well (unlike those rip-off delivery services)

    After trying to place an order for delivery with no one answering their phone and their web-site down, I decided to take a ride over.
    I can confirm that Athena Gyro of MV is no longer with us.

    Amanda's husband.

  7. JB, That is not very good news at all. Wish they could have made a go of it. I know it was not the food that killed this place, so it had to be the location. It was kind of tucked away in the middle of the strip mall, and not visiable from the street.

    Thanks for the info. If you guys have any other tips, please pass them along.

  8. You've been inside that place. If I was looking for a place to eat and didn't have a recommendation on the quality of the food, I would have passed it by.

    With the new opening of the Meat House over there, I sent an email over to Santa Monica Seafood to check out space there as well and they agreed on the potential. With a butcher and (hopefully) a fishmonger that little strip mall could have some potential.

  9. Still mourning the loss of Athena Gyro. I hope they open up nearby. It's the best Greek food I've had. Just posted a comment on your Piccolino post regarding Sashimi in the same plaza. JB and I will have to check out Piccolino!

  10. JB - Good to know about the Meat House, I will have to stop by and check it out. Thanks for the comment.

    Amanda - I will ty and find a new Greek place in the area. Hope you enjoy Piccolino. Thanks for the comments!

  11. Looks like they reopened further down Alicia!!

  12. Amanda - I got a coupon in the mail for this place. I was hoping that it was the same guy running it. We are going to check out the new location soon. Thanks for the info!

  13. I cannot wait to try it! I loved their saganaki!