Olympic Pita Wins Me Over With Laffa & French Fries
When Olympic Pita first came to Midtown in February of last year, I was pretty excited. The Brooklyn location was pretty well known, and has a lot of fans (plus has been mentioned by at least 4 Profiled Midtown Lunch’ers)- but I couldn’t help but be put off by a few things. First, the back is a sit down restaurant with most items on the menu costing over $10 (a Midtown Lunch no-no). They had a take out counter in the front, where you could watch them bake beautiful looking fresh laffa bread, but all of those sandwiches (with the exception of the falafel) were over $10. You could buy a cheaper sandwich on pita, but why would you want to eat something stuffed in pre-packaged pita, while there’s amazing looking laffa staring you in the face.
At the time, Kosher Deluxe’s shawarma on pita was (barely) under $10, so I was of the opinion that I didn’t need Olympic Pita. Plus if they were going to charge that much for a sandwich, there were cheaper places to get good falafel and shawarma sandwiches, like Pick a Pita on 38th btw. 7+8th (and they’ll even put fries in your sandwich!) Since then, Kosher Deluxe has raised their prices (a shawarma on laffa sandwich is now over $10) and so I finally caved in and tried the Olympic Pita falafel on laffa ($6.50), the only item on the menu worthy of a Midtown Lunch distinction… and all I can say is- wow. What the hell took me so long! ?!
$7 is expensive for a falafel sandwich. There is no shortage of cheap falafel sandwiches available in Midtown, but that being said, there are a few reasons why this could be the best one of them all- even at the price.
1. The bread. The fresh baked laffa at Olympic Pita could possibly the best bread in Midtown. There’s a reason they put the oven in the window. It looks amazing, it tastes amazing. This alone could be the deal breaker… leaving the other plusses of this sandwich as just icing on the cake.
2. The salad bar. You can load up on the salad/pickle bar both in a separate container *and* on your sandwich. I seem to remember Kosher Deluxe requiring you to do one or the other- but I’m not positive. Either way, the salad bar at these Kosher places is a huge plus, and helps to justify paying the higher prices when you could get $4-5 falafel sandwiches at multiple carts in the area.
3. French fries on the sandwich are free! Oh, you heard me right. The magical “french fries on the sandwich” that Pick-a-Pita charges for, and Moshe’s Falafel refuses to do (even though they sell fries on their cart) is FREE at Olympic Pita. When they told me, I almost didn’t believe it. I asked two different guys, plus the lady at the cash register, at least 5 times, “It’s free right? Totally free? Really? French Fries? Are you sure?” and pretty much didn’t believe it until the fries were on the sandwich, and I was walking out the door. At this point, I almost didn’t even care what the thing tasted like- I was sold. You give me the best bread in Midtown, let me load up my sandwich PLUS a separate container with stuff from the salad bar, AND you’ll add french fries to my falafel sandwich for free? Olympic Pita- you are the greatest place in the history of forever.
4. Oh yeah. And the sandwich is huge.
What more do you need to know? Oh… right. The thing tasted good too. Real good. And between the salad bar, and the giant sandwich, it could even be split between two lesser sized people. Midtown Lunch’er DDR has mentioned the mango sauce a few times as well, but unfortunately they were out because they had been closed the week before for Shavuot- so I didn’t get to try it… but be sure to ask for some if that kind of thing interests you.
There are a few downsides to the place… I wish one of their shawarma sandwiches on laffa were available for under $10, and I wish the tables in the main part of the restaurant weren’t only for waiter service but those issues are easy to ignore when free french fries are involved.
- The bread
- Free french fries in your sandwich
- Free salad/pickle bar in your sandwich, and in a little container on the side
- Did I mention the bread?
- There are no seats for you to eat your food, unless you sit down and order from a waiter
- The price
Olympic Pita, 58 W. 38th St. (btw. 5+6th), 212-869-PITA