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.

Olympic Pita: Midtown

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.

Olympic Pita: MidtownOlympic Pita: Midtown

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.

Olympic Pita: Midtown

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.

Olympic Pita: Midtown

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 +

  • 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?

THE -

  • 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

33 Comments

  • I never knew about the French Fries in the Falaffel. Damnit.

  • I used to work right down the block, and would get the shawarma laffa with fries and Mango sauce every week or so. (Since I skip the hummus and most of the salad, you need the Mango sauce or the sandwich seems dry). It came to about $12, but always induced food coma.

  • The food is mediocre at this place and overpriced. We came in with two Asian people, one southeast Asian person and an Italian person to sit down and eat. We were not served. We waited 45 minutes for our food to arrive-and of course, it was cold. At times, we wanted to walk out-but we wanted to see how long it would take for them to help us. The racist waitress was a militant *itch and refused to bring our food to us. 30 minutes after we ordered, she tells us “We’re out of Iraqi chicken.” I’m not exaggerating either. And, all of us were very polite and didn’t piss her off-besides maybe the colors of our skin. Meanwhile, her and the other waitresses attended to the Jewish customers with no problem. We saw one table after another being helped and Jewish customers leaving happy. I have never experienced such racism in any restaurant like this before and certainly not in NYC. We should’ve left but we were all in shock of what was happening to us. I know the takeout is different, but the fact that the waitresses, hostess and servers were so rude to us is enough for us to boycott this place.

  • It would appear that the freeness of the fries is really a false economy, as the $7 price tag more than covers the price of an regular falafel with fries on the side.

  • I’m sure “Eater” above is also disappointed that the hamentaschen they ordered didn’t have as much blood-of-Muslim-children in it as the ones given to Jew customers, too…

  • Wow that’s a wopper of a story….. how was the cleanliness quotient?

    Spic and span?

    Wonder if there’s any relation to Geno.

    I’m a guinea but I’m trimmed I wonder if whipping it out will ensure better service.

  • ROFL @ Bossman… hahaha sorry I’m always hesitant to play the race card, but maybe I’m missing something here… did she sneer at you and say “ch*nk” or something? What makes you say it was race? Were ALL the other customers who went there Jewish EXCEPT for your table? I find that pretty amazing, even in NYC…
    Anyways, I actually wanted to comment to ask something. Laffa. What’s the difference between laffa and pita, exactly? I mean besides size, they kind of look similar? Texturally, tastewise, etc.? Anyone? Thanks :)

  • Laffa is an airy bread along the lines of Indian breads.

    Pita is denser.

  • Not being Jewish I’ve never had an issue with this place, but then again I didn’t try to sit there and eat. I just went and got a baby chicken sandwich which was pretty good.

    I also saw my bosses there which was a huge plus for me.

  • So wait. For $7 you get: Sandwich, Fries, and a Side Salad? How is this expensive

  • The sit down menu is different than the $7 take out menu.

  • “Were ALL the other customers who went there Jewish EXCEPT for your table?”

    I’m wondering what the tell was…… bad tips? a plethora of beanies? noses that required red flags on the end? or did he flaunt societal convention and not leavie the requisite open urinal “I’m not gay” zone? NTTAWWT

    P.S. – I mean the gay part…. peepers deserve their wet shoe comeuppance they get when the guy turns and says WTF are you looking at?

    P.P.S – 0r course, there’s only one proper response to that question…….. not much.

    P.P.P.S – Far be it from me to overstate the obvious but it does appear that there was more racism in the comment than in the jew joint.

    I’ll have to excuse me all these P’s have me cross- legged

  • someone had a bad experience at a restaurant and wanted to share it, what gives? if they never went there and just thought all Kosher places were racist…that would be racist. If they went there, got mistreated and felt a racist vibe, then they’re just calling it how they saw it.

  • Perhaps the Waitress was trained in Guantanamo bay?

    Ya lucky ya didn’t get ya nuts connected to the toaster.

    Maybe it was the Josef Mengele T-shirt you had on.

    Eater,deary, like get over it.(note my post ironic use of the american venacular there?)

    Oh, the Place/Food looks lovely.

  • I dunno Rudy, that ‘s an awfully phallic falafel laffa

    (say that 4 times fast)

  • Not to fuel the fire but I happened to be on Coney Island Avenue for business and happened to see Olympic Pita. As it was lunch time and I had been wanting to try it I stopped in for a quick bite. To say that attentive service was lacking is being polite. As the only Gentile in the place (aside from the cooks) and possibly in a 1 square mile radius I didn’t initially feel out of place and once I figured out the ordering system I was happy with my food but….for no apparent reason I was told to pick up all my stuff and move to the front row of tables. Why? I have no idea. The place was pretty empty aside from a few tables of Orthodox men. No one sat at my table, it was being cleaned? For some reason they made me just get up and move as far away from everyone else and just pointed to where I could sit!!!

    I would never have brought this up with anyone except I saw this post and the responses it drew. This place (I know different location/different people, blah blah blah) does in fact seem to treat some customers in a rude/brusk way

  • Also FWIW I have been dating the best Jewish girl ever for 7 years so I don’t want that to come across as being the weird ranting guy. Just wanted to share a strange situation which made me feel uncomfortable (which is hard to do) and turned me off to Olympic Pita. With so many other wonderful places to eat in this great city don’t let it get you down Eater!

  • 7 years?

    Jesus! obviously her mum dosn’t want to have to say ‘My son in law, the accountant’.

  • Dear Sandwich:

    You. Me. Tomorrow, 1:00pm. A table in Bryant Park.

    I’m saving all my love for you.

  • just started at 34th and park…been looking everywhere for a falafel – my all time fav comfort food. headed to mexico city in the am, but will have you upon my return. oh yes, I will.

Leave a Reply

You must log in or register to post a comment.