Where to get outstanding gyros and souvlaki wraps in Johannesburg

Soul Souvlaki (multiple locations) 

Aiming to fill the gap in the market for authentic Greek street food, Dino Vlachos opened the first Soul Souvlaki store in Maboneng in 2012, serving up fresh, made-to-order souvlaki wraps, which tasted just like his Greek heritage. Even with 10 stores in Joburg today, the freshness of ingredients, quality and consistency is what makes Soul Souvlaki Joburg’s most loved Greek street food haunt. While the lamb and bifteki souvlaki wraps are the most popular, customers can also opt for a single or double chicken, beef, halloumi or giant mushroom souvlaki wrap – all of which come in artisanal pita bread with rocket, tzatziki, tomato, red onion and a dash of freshly chopped chilli in olive oil. All stores follow the same sustainability concept, being built with recycled materials. The casual ambience is enlivened with peppy music, with a focus on curb-side dining to go with the street food theme.  


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NIKOS (multiple outlets) 

Originally established in 2017, NIKOS now has multiple stores across South Africa. However, each one boasts the same bespoke Greek recipes handed down through generations, with the coal-fired grill being NIKOS’ USP, lending a unique smoky flavour to its Greek classics. The ambience at each restaurant is modern and stylish, with vibrant colours and décor that celebrates Greek heritage, while encompassing South African tastes and flavours. Ingredients are locally sourced and all the dishes are made fresh-to-order. Souvlaki and yiros are hot-selling items on the menu, with the chicken yiro being the most popular. Other yiro options include pork, beef, calamari, lamb kofta, pulled lamb kleftiko, falafel, halloumi and brinjal and chickpeas. All yiros come in pita with chopped tomato, red onion and your choice of dip (hummus, tzatziki or tahina).  

Mr Souvlaki (Illovo)  

A family restaurant that is known for its classic, home-style Greek food that is best enjoyed shared with family or friends, Mr Souvlaki originally opened its doors in 2017. Apart from the main restaurant in Illovo, Mr Souvlaki Express has outlets in Norwood and Waverly. The modern Greek restaurant that is known for its welcoming ambience, upbeat vibe and dedicated customer service is also famous for its gyros. As per the restaurant management, you can’t go wrong with the signature ‘Mr Souvlaki’ lamb gyro, while the ‘Mrs Souvlaki’ halloumi gyro is a hit with vegetarians. Other gyro options include beef, chicken, bifteki and falafel, in various combinations. All gyros are rolled in pita with thinly sliced red onion, ripe tomato and tzatziki, except for the falafel gyro which contains hummus instead of tzatziki for a vegan option. 


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The Greek Taverna (Bedfordview) 

Six years ago, Peter Dairopoulos started The Greek Taverna in Joburg, with the look and feel of a typical taverna in Greece, serving classic Greek food based on his home recipes. Today, the restaurant’s vibrant ambience, value-for-money fare and quality food prepared in-house from scratch is what keeps Joburgers coming back for more. Patrons swear by the chicken or pork yiros, while other options include beef, bifteki, lamb, calamari, falafel and halloumi. All yiros come in homemade pita with red onions, tomatoes and tzatziki (or hummus for a vegan option), along with a choice of chips or salad. Diners can also enjoy Souvla Sundays at the restaurant, which is a typical Greek braai with lamb, chicken, pork or linefish that is seasoned, skewered and flame grilled on the rotisserie braai and served with Greek salad and roast potatoes. Owing to the popularity, Souvla Sundays require advance reservations.   


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Kolonaki Greek Kouzina (Parkhurst) 

Started five years ago by Greek chef Vassilios Holiasmenos, Kolonaki Greek Kouzina is a meze kitchen that is heavily inspired by Greek and Mediterranean influences and which celebrates the rich and warm etiquette of the traditional Mediterranean styles of cuisine. Providing Joburgers with a taste of Greece, the restaurant specialises in tapas that are ideal for sharing and it is this concept, coupled with the consistency and quality of the authentic Greek food, personalised service and vibey ambience, that has cemented its spot among the top Greek restaurants in the city. Kolonaki’s souvlaki are hot-sellers, especially the chicken and the mushroom and halloumi. Other souvlaki options include lamb and pork. All the souvlaki options come with pita bread and traditional Greek salad, with a choice of a single skewer or double skewer. Yiro options include bifteki, lamb, beef, pork, prawn and chicken and falafel yiros.  

Mezepoli (Melrose Arch) 

Established in 2009 by the late Angelo Haitas and Margarita Tsangaris-Scherf, Mezepoli epitomises the Mediterranean way of life. A relaxed, chic ambience with a vivacious atmosphere and no-fuss dining, Mezepoli is popular with young people, families, as well as business associates. Since the focus of the restaurant is sharing plates, the menu has no mains, but offers an abundance of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern mezze. Loyal patrons swear by the freshness, quality and consistency of the food, as well as the fact that Mezepoli offers wine by the glass. In terms of souvlaki wraps or yiros (which come with an option of wholewheat pita), popular choices include the souvlaki chicken roll and the falafel and halloumi yiro. Other pita rolls include the chicken and halloumi, halloumi, falafel and beef fillet. All pita rolls come with red onion, tomato and tzatziki (or hummus instead of tzatziki for a vegan version).  


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Parea Taverna (Illovo and Linden)  

Founded in 1993 by Niko and Mia Nikitidis, Parea Taverna gets its name from the Greek word ‘parea’ which describes a group of people who enjoy each other’s company. This also forms the core philosophy of the restaurant – a Greek taverna setting with a casual, relaxed ambience where people can enjoy traditional, old-school Greek food made as per the owners’ family recipes. On Friday and Saturday nights, patrons are treated to a typical Greek evening, complete with belly dancing and Greek dancers. Another draw for the restaurant is its fresh, preservative-free food, with everything prepared fresh in-house daily. While the beef souvlaki wrap and beef yiro are the most popular choices with customers, other yiro and souvlaki in pita options include chicken, pork, lamb, falafel and halloumi. All pita rolls come with tomato, onion and tzatziki. The vegan falafel pita has hummus instead of tzatziki, besides the other ingredients.  


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Pappas on the Square (Nelson Mandela Square, Sandton) 

One of the longest-running Greek restaurants in Joburg, Pappas was opened in 1988 and changed several locations before its current terrace restaurant, overlooking the vibrant Nelson Mandela Square. The restaurant is named after the Greek word for priest ‘pappas’ – a reference to its founder Athos Pappas, a Greek Orthodox priest. Pappas on the Square is now managed by the second generation husband-wife team of Charles and Ria de Olim, who continue to serve Greek dishes prepared according to the family recipes passed on through generations, as well as eclectic Mediterranean fare. Innovation, quality ingredients, consistency, attention to detail and eye-catching presentation is what defines Pappas, while the relaxed, yet classy fine-dining ambience welcomes patrons of all age groups. Souvlaki wraps or yiros that come in pita with onion, tomato, tzatziki, a side of your choice and either beef, chicken, lamb, calamari or halloumi are hot-sellers, with the beef yiro and halloumi yiro being top picks.  

GREEK-ish TM (Stoneridge Shopping Centre, Greenstone Park) 

In 2016, Greek restauranteur Archie Mouyis opened GREEK-ish, a Greek restaurant with a taverna-like setting serving home-style Greek food, cooked by Archie’s wife Marcia and her kitchen team. The twist in the restaurant’s name stems from the fact that it serves Greek, Mediterranean and fusion cuisine. In line with the restaurant’s motto of ‘simple food made real good’, everything is prepared in-house from scratch – including the pita, flatbreads and the dips. Yiros are one of the signature menu items and sell like hot cakes. The most popular yiros are lamb and pork, while other yiro options include chicken, beef, bifteki, tempura prawn, crumbed calamari, halloumi, roasted vegetables, and falafel. All yiros come in hand-rolled pita with onion, tomato, tzatziki or a choice of another sauce, and are accompanied by a side of fresh-cut chips.   

Orexi  (multiple outlets) 

‘Orexi’, which means ‘appetite’ in Greek, was originally opened as a takeaway outlet during the COVID lockdown in 2020 and gradually expanded to five dine-in restaurants across Gauteng, post the lockdown. Popular as much for its great-tasting Greek street food as for its cosy, lively atmosphere, Orexi encourages a culture of sharing, surrounded by family and friends. Any occasion at the restaurant is celebrated with plate smashing, while belly dancing and live music take place on a bi-monthly basis. All the menu items are tailor-made according to the owner’s traditional family recipes, ensuring the same taste and consistency in every outlet. The signature yiros come highly recommended, while other standard yiro options include lamb, chicken, pork, beef, bifteki, calamari, prawn, halloumi, melanzano and falafel. All yiros come in warm pita with red onion, tomato, crisp rocket and tzatziki, and are available in single or double portions.  


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