Sunday, May 2, 2010

Dimitri's Souvlaki

Okay, I promise this is the last of the Christchurch posts. From my last trip, anyway. I'll be back next weekend! ;-) I doubt most of you mind, though; I have far more readers in Christchurch than Wellington (thanks, Google Analytics).

Dimitri's is a bit of an institution in Christchurch - in my opinion his are far and away the best souvlaki in town. For people from other parts of the world (including, apparently, the North Island of New Zealand, which I wouldn't normally relegate to a category such as 'other parts of the world', since I live here now) souvlaki are more commonly known as kebabs. Anyway, Dimitri's has been keeping the people of Christchurch well-fed for years, though there was an uproar last year when the lease on his premises wasn't renewed. Fortunately for Christchurch he found a new spot just round the corner - and this was my first visit to his new store.

It was Sunday lunchtime on Anzac Day so town was pretty quiet (all the retail stores have to be closed until 1pm on Anzac Day) but Dimitri still had plenty of customers. I was pretty impressed by the interior - really fresh looking in blue and white, with funky exposed bricks - sadly none of my photos turned out so you'll have to imagine.

The menu was the same as always, though! I think prices have gone up a little since he's moved but it's still very reasonable - $9.00 for a single souvlaki but that's a pretty generous serving - or just $11 for a double.

As in the old store, the grills are completely visible to the customers - and I'm always impressed by how neat everything seems to stay. I didn't manage to snap Dimitri but he was there - I have never been to his store when he hasn't been there, and surely it's impossible for him to be there all the time, but he's certainly around a lot. Maybe that's his secret to success. He's always super friendly, too.

Good to see that things stay the same - the ubiquitous meal ticket. ;-) It's an unbeatable system, I guess.

Mr Cake and I both ordered a single falafel souvlaki. There are a couple of generous balls of felafel under that pile of fresh lettuce and tomato - and I love the tzatziki. The whole thing is fantastic - the pita bread is fresh, warm and nicely crisp yet soft (if that makes any sense); and the fillings all mixed up and combined are great. I always want to finish the whole lot, even though it's really too much for me.

Sorry, Dimitri; this is as much as I can do!

We were dining with a friend who is intolerant to gluten, and she has previously established that this platter is safely GF - they cook all the bread (and the felafel) on one grill and keep the meat on the other so the meat stays uncontaminated by evil gluten. :-) The platter includes a wider variety of salad and some delicious feta as well.

They also have baklava, which I fortunately had asked for to take away. Much(!) later that day we sampled this; it was everything baklava should be, ridiculously sweet and syrupy, full of nuts and lots of layers of pastry. I hope Dimitri continues to serve for many years to come!

Dimitri's Greek Food is located at 79A Cashel Street, Christchurch, ph 03 377 7110.


  1. I was in Christchurch a few years ago and had a chicken souvlaki from DIE for delicious!! I asked them to open a store in Wellington and he laughed... :(

    I'm going down for a wedding in February so will be on the lookout for his van (I hear he's running his shop from a van since the earthquakes).

  2. Nicki, I wish he'd open up shop here too! Alas, he is loyal to my hometown... Just as well I have excuses to go back often! Yes, I think his caravan is parked in Riccarton somewhere these days and he's still doing a roaring trade. Hope you manage to track him down. :-)

  3. You can't beat Dimitri's! I love their chicken souvlaki, always delicious.


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