In an area filled with many fancy, upscale sit-down restaurants, Souvla is a welcome addition to the Hayes Valley neighborhood. With its cheap, high-quality spit-roasted meats served in either sandwich or salad form, excellent selection of Greek wines, and absolutely delicious french fries this casual, yet elegant spot is a real winner.
It’s the kind of place that’s cheap enough for a random weeknight dinner and at the same time sexy enough to work as a great casual date night spot. There is no waiter service, which sort of takes away from the date night vibe, but it’s done so well that I really can’t complain. This place is a real gem.
Since this visit took place late on a drink-filled Saturday night and we wanted to keep the momentum going, our attention first went straight to the wine section of the menu. They have a limited, but excellent selection of Greek and local wines, but who really needs an enormous wine list anyway? For $22 we were got a large 500 ml tin carafe of Skouras St. George Nemea 2010 Greek red wine which ended up being really fantastic. This carafe was certainly worth every cent of that relatively steep price.
For my meal, I decided to let the cashier make all of my decisions for me. Everything sounded good to me so I figured I’d let the professional do the choosing. He first directed me to the Greek Fries. For $4 plus an additional dollar for a Harissa-Spiked Yogurt Dipping Sauce, we received a massive portion of fries dressed with olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, and mizithra cheese.
These were some damn good fries and that spicy, salty, creamy combination of spices and sauce was downright addictive. Though $5 for fries and sauce may sound expensive to some, I think they were a killer deal since they were so good, generously portioned, and easily shareable.
For my main dish, the cashier directed me to the Superior Farms Lamb Leg Sandwich. For only $12, I received a monstrous and seriously delicious meat-filled pita wrap sandwich. The pita bread was super fluffy and did a great job containing all of the large hunks of lamb meat and variety of toppings which included some more of that harissa-spiked yogurt, cucumber slices, radish slices, pickled red onion, and crumbled feta cheese.
The flavors in this sandwich were bold and excellent the way it was provided, but that didn’t stop me from slathering some extra yogurt sauce from the fries on top. The meat inside was incredibly moist and delicious on its own, but when mixed with all of the other parts it really became something so much more. This was an awesome sandwich and a perfect mid-drinking pit stop meal.
But, even better — the brunch offerings. They have a couple interesting dishes available only during the weekend morning through afternoon hours, but it’s their insanely delicious Lamb and Egg Sandwich I find myself constantly returning for. It’s easily my favorite creation at Souvla.
It uses that same great slow-roasted lamb and mixes it up with scrambled eggs, radish, tomato, onion, garlic yogurt, feta cheese, and interestingly some avgolemono soup. It’s a much saucier ordeal than the other sandwich options and that’s what I love about it. Just a little bit of their tangy, house-made hot sauce and this makes the perfect, hearty, weekend breakfast I’m always looking for.
So if you enjoy nicely roasted meats and Greek flavors as much as I do, be sure to check out the newly opened Souvla in Hayes Valley. I’ve heard that they will be expanding the concept to other parts of the city soon so I’m really excited to have a place as awesome as this more readily available in more places. Also, don’t miss their extra-special brunch offerings and super-satisfying salads.
Got another delicious Greek joint in San Francisco I should check out? Let me know in the comments below.
517 Hayes St. San Francisco, CA 94102