27 June 2009

My Big Fat Greek Gyro: Foti's Greek Deli

Gyro & Baklava $7.40

On the Eastside of Burnside sits a deli that goes sadly unnoticed. Or perhaps it’s not sad at all, because then Ma wouldn’t have been able to tell me, “take your time, dear” as I struggled to pull out my cash. Foti’s Greek Deli has been around for count em’ 29 years. The cutest married couple has owned this place since the beginning. Ma stays at the counter ringing people up and Pops is in back leading the cooks—scurrying around bagging up the food. They sell traditional Greek cuisine, along with other deli staples.

The concept: Greek food made the traditional way—that means seasoned lamb, feta sent from the islands, lots of garlic and a feel that is homey and relaxed. By relaxed, I mean they serve items for here on a paper plate with paper cups and paper napkins. This sense of casualness and routine explains why their customers have been coming back for 29 years.

Their gyros are incredible—flavorful and enormous. They have the largest gyros I’ve ever seen and Tops down, the best in town. And for $5.75, the price is too good to be true. They are even better than the ones made at the Greek Festival in October. Their gyro is filled with sliced and seasoned roasted lamb, tzatziki sauce (a garlicky, spiced yogurt) onion, shredded lettuce, tomatoes and large chunks of fresh feta with paprika. It is one of those meals you just can’t stop eating because the flavor is so intense, but you’re so full your stomach feels like it may actually burst.

I stopped just in time for a slice of their Baklava, $1.65—a traditional Greek dessert. It’s made with layers of phyllo dough and ground nuts soaked in a honey-cinnamon glaze. Baklava differs from each baker, but the owner of Foti’s knows exactly how to make these. They are impossible to eat though and I wished I would have taken her up on the advice of a fork. The honey glaze was literally dripping down my hands.

Also, if you are looking to cook some of your own Greek food at home—Foti’s doubles as a small Greek market, where they sell imported Greek/European foods, wines and olive oils. This place feels like home and I will continue to go there for as long as Ma and Pops keep it open. Don't be affraid to try anything on their menu; its all amazing!

Hours: Mon-Sat 10:00 am-7:00 pm
Closed Sunday

1740 E Burnside St
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 232-0274
Foti's Greek Deli on Urbanspoon

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