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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Kebab of the Month - Saranda

Funnily enough, my most viewed and commented upon blog entry so far has not been that on the gourmet delights of Prague Food Festival, nor the fine wines of Viniční Altán, not even the ever contentious subject of Indian food with my review on Curry House, but in fact the one on the Pasha döner kebab. In retrospect, perhaps I should have saved myself all the time and expense of food festivals, farmers' markets and fine dining and simply set up a blog devoted to the delights of the humble döner instead...

Well dear readers, you have spoken and I have duly listened. I will endeavour to up my ongoing quest for the perfect kebab and try to report back here more regularly than the originally intended once a month. Kebab of the fortnight from now on perhaps – after all, there is a lot of gyros ground to cover out there...

Unfortunately for all you fellow döner lovers, I do not bring good tidings on the kebab front this week.

Despite having a long list of promising kebab joints to visit, this week I instead took a spontaneous detour to Saranda (can’t for the life of me find a website), a newly opened Greek taverna just on the intersection of Dukelských hrdinů and Milady Horákové (am I the only one reminded of Parker in Thunderbirds by the latter street name??).

Saranda is primarily a small, cheap-and-cheerful taverna, with all the Greek classics such tzatziki, moussaka, stuffed peppers, souvlaki, dolmades, baklava etc on the menu, with mains typically priced in the 150 – 200kč range. Unfortunately there wasn’t much out on display when I poked my head round the door here, hence the relative paucity of photos in comparison to my last kebab review. They also have a little hole-in-the-wall on the side for takeaway gyros, which is where I was bound for this occasion.

I ordered a gyros here for a pretty reasonable 59kč, the only choice of meat on offer again unfortunately being chicken. Voilá the kebab in question:

Oh dear, the dreaded circle-shaped pita bread. I find these virtually impossible to eat and still retain any element of personal dignity whatsoever – messiness pretty much always ensues. I prefer the slightly more manageable pocket pita instead, which at least only has one end for all its contents to spurt out of. As for the filling, I found the chicken crispy and well done (which is how I like it) and the salad nice and fresh, though I wasn’t really a fan of the big chunks of green pepper inside – just too crunchy in comparison to the rest of your standard kebab squidge.

What really spoilt the dish for me though was the copious amount of tzatziki sauce both on top and underneath the filling. Normally I like my kebabs loaded with sauce, but this version was pretty potent, being really thick, garlicky, and in short simply too overwhelming for the kebab as a whole – I was tasting it for ages on my breath after, even having cleaned my teeth about half a dozen times afterwards. Luckily for me Mr K was away at the time, I suppose...

Due to the circle-shaped bread and excess sauce, I’m giving Saranda’s gyros a lowly 5/10 – there are definitely better options about in this city, and this kebab wasn’t in itself enough to tempt me back for another. That said, I would like to come back and try the restaurant sometime, which pricewise compares very well to some of the pricier Greek places in town, such as Zorbas or Olympia.

And so the kebab quest continues...


  1. i've never managed to eat a kebab without looking like a pig. perhaps it's done this way to humiliate the poor eater?:)

  2. right I was looking around at other people when I was eating my first couple of kebabs to see if they had perhaps developed a better technique of eating it but everyone was dirty all over too -- to my relief!

  3. That's a ridiculous amount of tzatziki shown in your picture, though it would be great if they'd put that much on the side so you could add as desired, then eat the rest with another pita.

    The "round" pita is, in my experience, something from Greece toasted and eaten with oregano/lemon/olive oil on its own. The oblong (non-perforated) pita tends to be more of a Middle Eastern thing, the round non-perforated version seems to be a Turkish thing. You say "doner", I say "gyros"? They are different, even in their original home fora.

    Green pepper in gyros??? That's a first for me. I've been trying to get pizzerias here to put green pepper on my pizzas for YEARS and even my Czech boyfriend has trouble explaining what "green pepper" is. Nice creativity, but wrong sandwich guys...