Aybla Grill – Mediterranean

Lizzy Caston

Aybla @ SW 5th and OakLocation: Three Locations – SW 9th and Alder; SW 5th and Oak; SE 43rd and Belmont

Description: Quality Mediterranean and Greek Food including lots of vegetarian and some vegan options. The Gyros especially, are highly recommended.

Aybla is open later than most carts (5:30 PM) making it doable for an early dinner before a movie or to grab dinner to go on your way home after work. Aybla is also open on Saturdays from 12-4 PM, yet another rarity in the Portland food cart realm.

I’ve heard lots of feedback that Aybla’s gyros are just about the best in town and I’m happy to report that they are quite tasty, fresh, and the meat is tender and well portioned. Overall I’d say the gyros here are a very good value for the money (regular gyros $4.50, giant “enough for 2 meals” super gyros are $6.00). Gyros come in either the grilled lamb variety or with seasoned chicken served in a billowy thick and soft Greek style pita and include tzatziki sauce, and chopped onion, tomato, and parsley. Feta cheese can be added for $0.50. Another delicious pita sandwich is the traditional grilled skewers of ground seasoned lamb known as kafta kebobs.

Salads include a standard Greek salad ($4.00 large, $2.00 small), or traditional Tabouli ($3.00).

The Mezzas here are also quite fresh and much better than average. In the $3.00 – 6.00 range, most of them can be ordered as sandwiches or full plates and include things such falafel, hummous, baba ghanouj, the Greek spinach phyllo triangles known as Tyropita, and vegetarian Dolmades (grape leaves stuffed with seasoned rice). Plates come with a delicious Syrian seasoned rice made with rice and roasted wheat berries.

Vegetarians will be quite happy with Aybla’s variety, and many dishes can be made vegan by simply requesting them without feta or tzatziki sauce.

I also adore the owner and cook Saied Samaiel. Born in Syria, Saied learned to cook professionally on the Greek Island of Crete where he lived and worked for over a decade. This experience, coupled with his professionalism in the kitchen and friendliness with his customers (not to mention his killer food) are outstanding features that keep me returning to Aybla time and time again.

[Updated Jan 2011: Aybla opened a 3rd cart at Good Food Here at SE 43rd and Belmont in Fall of 2010]

Sample Menu: See the Aybla Website

Hours: Mon-Fri 11-5:30 , Sat 12-4

Phone: 503-490-3387

Website: http://www.ayblagrill.com

E-mail: ayblagrill@hotmail.com

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Comments

  1. They also have a new cart on SW 2nd near Stark or Oak. (Or did the one above move?)

    And yeah, I recommend the gyros as well. I don’t have a lot of gyro experience to judge by, but theirs are surprisingly tasty. I’ve had both lamb and chicken, but I prefer the lamb. Haven’t tried their other Mediterranean fare.

  2. Also, just noticed a typo: it’s “Aybla”. And they have a Web site of sorts.

  3. Wow, tODD, you are a wealth of information (and have a terrific eye for editing). Merci Mille Fois.

    I will update.

  4. I just finished one of Aybla’s superb “Super Lamb” gyros a couple minutes ago. I don’t often eat gyros anymore, I don’t like the lamb-based filling usually, but this cart is an exception.

    As is typical with excellent homestyle ethnic cooking, the difference here is largely with the ingredients. Not just the meat – they make great falafel, too – but the very high quality feta, superb pitas, all the details are right. They buy local and organic “when possible” and it shows. Even the baklava is fantastic, most commercial baklava is too sticky sweet for me, dripping with syrup, but theirs has great pastry, tons of flavor and no dripping goo.

    I have never gotten a bad meal from this cart and recommend it very highly for carnivores and vegetarians alike.

  5. Based on the write-up I gave it a try. Glad I did; The falafel was delicious as well as the dolmades. Yumm!

  6. Definitely the best cart Lebanese/Mediterranean I’ve had, glad to know they’re open “late” and on Saturdays.

  7. Definitely recommend it!! I’ve had both the falafel and the lamb gyro here and I’m never disappointed. I’m a gyro lover, has made the ‘what do I want for lunch’ question a no-brainer. :)

  8. This place is great! They are the top rated food cart on a new local business listing site.

  9. Finally made it here. Man, that was a good gyro. The lamb was served in flavorful chunks that had been crisped nicely. The seasoning was terrific, as was the tangly, garlicky tzatziki. I would like to get back to explore the other sandwiches.

  10. The super gyro is the best in town, in my opinion. Completely fresh, amazing with perfect feta.

  11. Quick, fresh, and tasty. Wish we had carts like this in NYC.

  12. Jason Wax says:

    I had lunch at Aybla for the first time this afternoon. I eat lunch at the SW 9th and Alder carts about 2-3 days each week, and I’ve puzzled over the long lines at Aybla while I wait for my food at Samurai or Julia’s. I don’t expect much from gyros. But the super lamb gyro I ate today was delicious, full of bright, clean flavors, and golden caramelized lamb. And despite its large size and overly generous filling, it was wrapped up so expertly that I managed to eat the entire thing while I walked back to work without spilling a single morsel.

    What else is good at Aybla?

  13. Aybla now has a cart in the South Waterfront area as well. I’m trying to limit myself to once a week but it hasn’t happened so far.

  14. Thanks, Updated! I also just now noticed the photos for this post are all messed up. I’ll fix those pront

  15. Unfortunately they’ve closed the south waterfront cart. :-(

  16. I have eaten at the Aybla cart in the South Waterfront area on SW Gibbs and it is SUPERB! We all agree that this and the Rip City burger place are some of the best food in the city hands down. We have a few restaurants to choose from, but we still prefer their food and service!

  17. I have eaten at the Aybla cart in the South Waterfront area on SW Gibbs and it is SUPERB! We all agree that this and the Rip City burger place are some of the best food in the city hands down. We have a few restaurants to choose from, but we still prefer their food and service! Aybla was only closed for a month in October while they were on vacation but it’s back and operating with YUMMY treats.

  18. Their cart on 2nd closed last year. Now they have a cart on SW 5th. Yum!

  19. I finally found a spot to park after getting yelled at & my truck being kicked by a lady who apparently thought she had the right of way, none the less it was all worth it, never had lamb before, the only thing I could even compare it to is a well marinated tri-tip Central Cali style, I guess its rich I don’t know what you would call it besides delicious, the lamb gyro came so quickly and it was so hot I kept it in my pocket to warm me, the two ladies working were friendly and smart, I might have to park farther away and just skateboad in because I will be going back for sure!

  20. hi,thanks for your good work.

    i just like to let you know i did open onother two carts in 5 and oak.

    one is calld senora mixcan grill and one aybla.m.grill.

    thanks

    chef saied.

  21. Very good Gyros!

    (Just a correction) you said, “the Greek spinach phyllo triangles known as Tyropita.” They are actually called Spanokopita. Tyropita is the cheese filled phyllo triangles.

  22. I have been known to drive all the way from Wilsonville just to go to the Aybla Grill to pick up food for dinner. I especially love the falafel sandwich and the tabouli. Yummmmmmm.

  23. I’m with Shari…I have driven from Banks to eat at Aybla and I honestly think their lamb is the best in town, inclusive of brick and mortar joints. It KILLS me that they’re rarely open by the time I get into town. :(

  24. Calabrese says:

    Yesterday was my second trip to Aybla’s. I am rarely downtown during week days but yesterday was one of the exceptions. I got a lamb gyro. Loved everything about it (meat, tzatziki, parsley, pita, veggies). My one quibble is that the pita was not well rolled and it was a fight to keep from losing the generous fillings. As good as any standard gryo from a Greek joint back East.

  25. SilverWings says:

    Aybla Mediterranean is delicious! Now also @ SE 43rd Ave & Belmont. Aybla actually cooks Mediterranean food the way it should be cooked. You get a great value here with the taste, portion size, and surprisingly low cost. The menu is vast and you can choose from $5 sandwiches to $8 plates. I had the large gyros and gave away almost half of it since it had so much food in it. This place does not skimp on the meat. Vegetarians will be happy here too. I’m a food cart junkie and I’m thrilled to have Aybla at my “home pod” near where I live.

  26. Saied AS ALWAYS BEST FOOD EVER GREAT JOB MY WIFE AND KIDS HAD A BLAST ,MOSTLY LUCY WITH HANNA THEY GET ALONG GREAT SEE YOU SOON FRIEND/FAMILY

  27. the mad greek says:

    i went to this food cart for the first time yesterday for lunch. as a greek, i’m fairly picky about my gyros – the processed meat substance that is usually in gyros is not even close to what a gyro should be like. Aybla’s lamb gyro was different. while still processed, this meat tastes like quality. the spicing is perfect, the flavor and amount of tzatziki is well done, the pita is delicious…all that’s missing is the fries (really!) for a truly authentic gyro, but i prefer mine plain anyway, especially the lamb ones. thanks for making me a believer in american gyros again!

  28. another great night of food at 43rd Belmont my wife loves the gyros and so do my kids great gob Saied

  29. LAST NIGHT WAS MY MOM’S B-DAY PARTY AND SAIED DID IT AGAIN WE GOT 5 GYROS,SAIED HIM SELF WAS NOT THERE BUT ONE OF HIS COOK DELIVERED A GREAT MEAL I AM OFF TO FIND GARLIC FRIES TO GO WITH IT YUM..

  30. Not to be the one downer here, but I’ve had the lamb gyro twice, once at the SE Belmont location and once downtown, and both times the wraps have been super greasy. Oil-running-down-my-arm greasy. Tastes good, but leaves a bad taste in my mouth and gave me a stomach ache both times.

  31. @em are you sure it was that cart many of my friends and family eat there weekly and i have never herd them complain just awe in the size & taste of all his food maybe give him another chance?

  32. SilverWings says:

    @Em re: your comments about Aybla Mediterranean’s gyros; my experience is they always taste great & never greasy. I’ve had two gyros wraps at Aybla the past 5 weeks. Both were fine. This cart gets lots of repeat customers.

  33. We cartiwhores(TM) drove from Seattle down to Portland this Saturday morning. Our goal: Hit as many food carts and pods as possible. Obviously, fewer places are open on weekends, especially downtown. But we did find Aybla open and decided to order a super lamb gyro.

    It would not be a stretch to call this a foodgasm. The lamb is spectacular, but all other elements–tomato, onion, parsley, lettuce, feta, pita–make one unforgettable eating experience.

    In fact, it was so good that we woke up on Sunday, called the number on the Aybla paper menu, apparently woke up Saied, learned the one on Belmont was open on Sundays, and scored another one there. (The Greek salad and dolmades were forgettable.)

    Best. Gyro. Ever. We will make another trip to Portland soon, if for no other reason than to get a couple more of these divine, perfect creations.

  34. We need to get this going, so many failing or bad restaurants out there, I’d like to see the food cart industry explode and reach beyond major cities, a couple here in Forest Grove would be nice!

  35. Heather says:

    I am not normally a fan of Greek food, or at least I didn’t think I was. Now I know that I’ve just eaten it at the wrong places! I tried a Lamb Gyro from Aybla today for lunch and it was absolutely delicious. I will be back for sure.

  36. Just talked to Saied he will have his new location @ 18th ne Couch open on the sidewalk till 10:pm, he will have “End of the world” specials going on…
    Then till 2:30-3:00am he will be roving China town.
    Look for his truck and check it out dont miss out on the BEST gyro in P-town.

  37. I’d love to see one of these in the Beaverton area. There are some employers, including Nike, that encourage regular weekly food cart visits to some of their work locations.

  38. Tonight my falafel had a rock in it! I have always enjoyed dining at your downtown location. However, tonight I was with my family celebrating my birthday and I ate a falafel with a stone in it! I returned the item to the cart and the woman said she was sorry and refunded both my falafel and my wife’s. She told me the falafel is pre-made and it must have already been inside. Needless to say I was not very pleased.

    Regards, Edward from SE Portland

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Portland Food Carts has been here [...]

  2. [...] time but also trying a non staple item to my food consumption roster. I had a chicken gyro from Aybla Grill and it was fantastic! The chicken was tender, the pita was like a cloud, all the ingredients were [...]

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