Thursday, January 17, 2013

Zante's in Gulf Gate: "Gyro" Gonna Love It!

Anatomy of a Gyro
Anatomy of a Gyro
First things first, I am aware that there is a major controversy about something related to this topic, so I did some heavy-duty research (aka. I looked on Wikipedia) and can confirm with certainty…that the correct pronunciation is “yeer-o”. Or, kind of like “euro”, if you’re more comfortable relating to European currency. :) With that said, take another look at the title of this post, and tell me that didn’t make you laugh a little. I am seriously my own endless source of amusement.

Moving on! When it comes down to it, there are really only two food items that I am super particular about to the point where I will actively seek out the restaurants that serve the best ones in any city. Number one is “The Gyro”. I was introduced to this delicious Greek gem in an airport (of all places) many years ago. I had no idea what a gyro was (and yes, I pronounced it “jy-roh” the first time), but I knew I didn’t want the same old airport food. So I went out on a limb…and it was love at first bite.

But what is it?

According to Wikipedia, a gyro is “a dish of meat roasted on a vertical spit. It is also commonly served in a sandwich, called pita gyro or psomaki gyro depending on the type of bread used, with tomato, onion, French fries and optional sauce, wrapped in pita or sandwich bread.” I call it meat deliciousness wrapped in a blanket of wonderful topped with crumbled goodness, but I guess their description works too.

The Pursuit of Gyro-ness

Zante's Gyros exterior frontUpon my arrival in Sarasota and starting a new job, one of the first things I asked my co-workers was “Do you know where I can get a good gyro?” Not many people did (actually, not many people even knew what a gyro was). I had driven by one or two Greek restaurants but I was always on my way to somewhere else and the opportunity never arose for me to try them out. Then I moved to South Sarasota close to the Gulf Gate area, and discovered Zante’s Gyros. Clouds parted, angels sang, the whole nine yards. This looked like a winner.

Zante's Gyros exterior sideAs I mentioned, Zante’s Gyros is located in Gulf Gate, specifically at 6500 Superior Avenue. While unassuming from the outside, this quiet corner restaurant serves one of the best gyros I've ever had. It's a casual atmosphere where you order at the counter and can sit in the open, well-lit inside or the patio area around the side that is is nicely decorated with lights.

“I’ll have the jy-roh…jeer-oh…gear-ooo..."

John and I have been to Zante's quite a few times and have now mastered the art of ordering. Our first visit, we both got our own gyro and had to take 1/2 home because it was so much (and we needed to save room for BAKLAVA!!)! Our next time around, we arrived with a game plan. By splitting several items, we got all the key dishes and exactly the perfect amount of food. Allow me to elaborate using this photo...

Top Left:
Rice Pilaf

Bottom Left:
Greek Salad
Gyro platter, Vienna hot dog, Greek salad, Rice pilaf Top Right:
Gyro Platter

Bottom Right:
Vienna Hot Dog
Splitting the Gyro Platter gave us each a really good portion of gyro to enjoy. I always get a hot dog because...well, because I like hot dogs and they have one available. Plus they have a hot dog club where you get a free hot dog after buying 10! The Greek Salad is a staple with any gyro and the pita bread is delicious with the tzatziki sauce (closest I can pronounced it is like "t'zee-kee". Don't worry, it's a hard word. You won't be shunned). Finally, John absolutely looooooooooooves the rice pilaf, which is strange because he doesn't like it when I make it...

The only thing we don't split is dessert...yes, the baklava (pretty much like it's spelled "bah-k-lah-vah")! Oh, it is so good. They're not huge pieces, but it is very sweet so one is always enough for me. Though I have seen John eat two before and start eyeing a third before I hurried him out of the restaurant. For those allergic to nuts, sorry for your loss; this dish has a delicious crunchy layer that might make you look like a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon. The official Wikipedia description says it is "a rich, sweet pastry made of layers of filo pastry filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with syrup or honey."

Finally, because I didn't have enough room to put them up farther in this post, here are some pictures of the restaurant inside and patio.

Zante's Gyros exterior side
Zante's Gyros interior

Zante's Gyros interior

Zante's Gyros interior

I hope this post inspires you all to have your own gyro adventure at Zante's! Comments about your own love affair with "The Gyro", suggestions about where to find other great gyros in the area and questions about pretty much anything are always welcome!



Additional info
Zante’s Gyros
6500 Superior Avenue
Sarasota, FL 34231

P.s. For those wondering...the second food item I'm super particular about is "The Cuban" (as in, sandwich). Stay tuned, as my hunt for the best in Sarasota is still in progress!


  1. You've talked me into it! I am particularly interested in your next post - I LOVE Cuban sandwiches! I have heard that the "best" Cuban is a place in a strip mall on the 4900/5000 block on Fruitville, but I have yet to test this theory. Happy hunting!

    1. Yes! Next to the hot dog place, right? Apparently it is a combination computer repair shop & Cuban restaurant? Not sure if I heard that right, but I definitely plan to check it out. There are also 2 other places (one in Burns Court, another in LWR) on my list.

    2. The best Cuban is made in Ybor, at this little authentic Cuban deli owned and operated guessed it! Cubans. Seriuosly though,awesome sandwich!

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks, Dr. Kirk! I have told pretty much EVERYONE at work about it & it makes me laugh each time. :)

  3. "Gyro" right... I do love it!

    I have another idea for your blog!
    An awesome Sarasota restaurant and catering/event venue:

    Polo Grill in Lakewood Ranch.
    Tomorrow night they have live entertainment from the Florida Blues Brothers!
    I <3 all things local!

    1. LOL! I love your adaptation! I have friends that are loyal patrons of the Polo Grill but I haven't had a chance to check it out yet. Sounds like a fun place, though!

  4. Stephanie ... looking forward to your presentation tomorrow - looks like it will be a lot of fun. You've been pinged!

  5. aww it is really a mouth watering pictures. my mouth is full of water.
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