Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Great Greek fare served with gusto at Pacific Beach family eatery


It's all in the family at Arslan's Gyros in Pacific Beach.
In the European tradition, the small, neat restaurant is proud of its food and its family connection.
Both points are worthy of consideration.
In several meals at Arslan's, we've never been disappointed.
Arslan's Gyros is a friendly, family run restaurant in Pacific Beach.
The food is tasty and fresh, the service is friendly and personal, and you'll see a steady flow of regulars and tourists dining in and taking out.

Son Ved, says his dad, Arslan Redzepovic, after whom the place is named, has worked long and hard to create a user-friendly restaurant that is popular with the critics and the people.  In the multi-ethnic neighborhood of PB, you're likely to hear a hearty please or thank you in Greek -- "parrakallo" or "efkaristo."  Arslan, the owner, is multi-lingual.  You might also hear Mandarin, Italian, Japanese or perhaps Serbian, Croatian, Hungarian or Albanian.

Arslan's plates are pretty, the prices are reasonable, and the quality remains high.This is a place where the chef talks to you while he warms your lamb, sautes your onions and heats your pita bread!

If you think Redzepovic is not a Greek name, you are absolutely right.
Although the family has heritage and relatives with Turkish, Thesolonian and Greek links, the Pacific Beach branch that cooks up the fabulous Greek fare hails from another part of the world.
 Arslan, in yellow shirt, involves
the entire Redzepovic family
in his delightful eatery.
"We're actually from Bosnia," says Arslan. "We first thought of Yugoslavian food but didn't know how that  would go over. We decided on Greek because we know Americans are familiar with Greek fare."

The family has traveled and boasts a long line of good cooks, so accommodating the Greek cuisine was a logical move. The Serbian language is often heard in Greece and the cuisine that Arslan's family grew up with has similarities to the Greek food they now serve.  The Serbian grape leaves stuffed with rice and raisins are reborn as Greek dolmades with a delicious filling of ground meat and seasoned rice. Arslan's offers a gorgeous falafel platter, appetizing dips and specialty items.  If you're hungry for something you don't see on the menu, ask -- you'll probably receive!

Nodding to the Mediterranean love of seafood, Arslan's salmon plate is a generous meal for one hungry person -- or a satisfying split for a couple, with a little falafel or hummus as a side.
The $15 salmon is a fish lover's favorite -- tender, juicy salmon and a beautiful salad with hummus for dipping.  But my favorite is the lamb.  Absolutely melt-in-the mouth tender and deliciously spiced.
The Yugoslav cuisine with which the family is familiar also features sweet desserts sprinkled with sugar and breads filled with delightful surprises, so the baklava is a natural for Vahida, the mom of the family and Arslan's wife.
Ved Redzepovic is a personable, articulate member
of the family, one of Arslan's sons and a good cook.
According to son Ved, "She can do anything. She keeps everything together."
And her baklava is devine.
Business near the restaurant has brought us to this little part of Pacific Beach several times in the last few weeks.
We're always delighted with the freshness of the meat, lamb sliced from a spit before your eyes and wonderful generous portions.
The falafel is the best we have tried since a recent visit to the Middle East.
Besides Arslan, Vahida, Ved and chef Fadil, Ved's brother Sabahudin Redzepovic is a scholar at University of Chicago. He came with his family from Sarajevo and Herzegovina. He's made an entertaining video about cooking and you can find more about him on facebook.
For more about this interesting family and its top Greek fare: go to
or call 619-962-9925.

Coming for the next two posts:
Coming soon:  a two-part piece on cruising tips.
We're getting lots of questions about cruising, since posting our "100th cruise" article. We'll help you navigate through the thousands of choices out there, considering budget, destination, type of stateroom, ship activities, dining options and more.
Check it out this coming Saturday and next Wednesday, for pointers on narrowing the field and  choosing a cruise from the hundreds available. Please tell your friends about us.  We post every Wednesday and Saturday at:

Take time to explore, learn and live!

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