Nowadays, walk into most new restaurants and you can expect to see a Chipotle-like assembly behind a sneeze guard: choose an entrée, starting with your choice of protein; then build it into a bowl, salad or wrap of some sort; and top it with fixings. This quick and affordable dining-out trend isn’t slowing down, and you should be excited to see Apola Gyro Grill in Irvine joining OC’s list of fast-casual concepts.
Dive into the Greek joint’s eats with a build-your-own bowl that begins with a base of lemon-butter rice, quinoa or seasoned fries. From there, the combination of layers are a Rubik’s Cube of possibilities. The salad and pita options include premium, hand-stacked gyro meats such as yogurt-and-herb-marinated chicken, spiced beef and lamb, and pork belly (tastes like bacon!).
You can’t go wrong with the traditional gyro Apola, which packs beef and lamb gyro, tzatziki, red onions, roma tomatoes and a handful of crispy fries in a warm pita. Make sure to add a side from the selection of spreads, which includes baba ghanoush (roasted eggplant puréed with lemon, tahini, garlic and herbs, all drizzled in olive oil), feisty feta, paprika dip and skorthalia spread, a potent mix of roasted garlic, potatoes and bread crumbs that will have your breath kicking all day.
Apola opens at 6:30 a.m. Monday through Friday for those who have time to grab breakfast. The pancake combos include eggs with sausage or bacon; also offered are Greek yogurt garnished with honey and walnuts; ham steak and eggs; French toast; and omelets such as spinach-feta and the namesake Apola, with gyro meat, red onions, roma tomatoes and cheese. All are good and pair well with Apola’s fresh-brewed coffee. But a better idea is the Greek breakfast burrito: It’s an assemblage of fluffy scrambled eggs, your choice of gyro meat (we recommend the beef/lamb gyro), hash browns, roasted salsa and feta cheese wrapped in a blanket-sized tortilla. The creamy feta cuts through all the savory flavors while adding a tangy punch.
In a sea of poke joints and build-your-own this or that, Apola is a tasty alternative with its flavorful, spitted gyro eats. And rumor has it the eatery will soon be serving beer and wine—fingers crossed for Mythos!
Apola Gyro Grill, 16569 Von Karman Ave., Irvine, (949) 474-4976; www.eatapola.com.