Downtown Lunch: Sam's Falafel

Midtown workers shouldn’t have all the fun, so to even the score, I’ve brought on Daniel Krieger as an official Downtown Lunch Correspondent to write up some of the tasty stuff you can get in the lower half of Manhattan. He’s a great photographer (insuring good food porn), but more importantly he is a lover of cheap, unique and delicious eats (or as I like to call it- Midtown Lunch’ish food.)

Sam's Falafel

Downtown at Liberty park you can find a pretty nice selection of fancy food for lunch these days. Meridith’s Bread has a stand where you can buy a $7 quiche.  Red Jacket Orchards and Migliorelli’s Farm both have plenty of good looking food as well. But when you want your lunch to be less than a gallon of gas (who would have thought we’d ever say that?) try Sam’s falafel. When I checked it out earlier this week the line was about 8 people deep. Everyone on line who had eaten there before said it was the best they’d had downtown, so I knew I had to wait it out. The line went surprisingly fast thanks to owner Yasser’s 3 man assembly line (although his name isn’t Sam he says people call him that and he likes it.) 

Sam's Falafel
Sam's FalafelFor $3 the falafel is jam packed with lettuce, tomato, fried eggplant, fried onion, and tender fried falafel nuggets. I liked the addition of the eggplant and onion which added some new flavors to the old standby. The entire thing is bursting at the seams and feels like it’s a good pound of food packed tightly into a pita. Is it the best in the city? Probably not, but it definitely beat out the one I had at the 5 Star Dining Truck, and was 50 cents cheaper to boot. With a drink your lunch is a whopping $4.

Sam's Falafel

Take it into the park to watch a game of chess or a homeless man talk to his shoes, two things I like to do at lunch (watch them I mean…not partake.)

Sam's Falafel

Free FooD AleRt! – Sam’s has free fried pita chips to snack on while you’re on line, or he’ll give you some to take with you. Monday through Friday 11:30AM – 2:30PM. Vegetarian only.

Sam’s Falafel, Liberty Park on Cedar St. (btw. Broadway+Trinity Place)

Photos and post by Daniel Krieger



  • yeaaahhh, downtown lunch! There’s a bunch of those halal food carts down in the same area, I go to this one (Zak’s Halal?) that always has a ridiculously long line. Don’t know if it actually tastes better than other street cart food, they all make me want to die after I eat them.

  • Oh, how I miss Sam’s. I used to eat there lots when my office was in the trade center. Makes me sad to think about it. The platters were $3 back then. Nice to see the prices haven’t gone up much in the past 7 years.

  • What a coincidence! Yesterday during lunch, I walked from Water St. to Wall St. to Liberty Plaza to Trinity Place to Battery to Beaver St. and finally to Whitehall St. and took photos of almost 2 dozen street carts.

    Stopped by Essex Deli for a pastrami sandwich.

  • wow $3 for the platter that is pretty low.

    I think his signs are probably the same as when you went there 7 years ago.. looks like he scratched out the 3 and wrote in a 5.

  • Sam’s is the best. Period.
    Do they have a new owner?
    Yasser is an Arabic name and the owner of Sam’s at one time spoke Hebrew. Not mutually exclusive by any means, but I wonder.

  • Sam’s Rules! I have been going there since 1996, though I did take the last 10 years off (until I was downtown for jury duty this past march). “Sam” forgot me, but I sure didn’t forget him! BEST FALAFAL IN NY! Handsdown….

  • What are some of the better falafel carts in midtown (east)? I hear them mentioned periodically.

  • I definitley miss Sam’s. I was a regular when I worked down there. It’s the best cart on Liberty, cheap, fast, friendly… (sigh.)

  • I also used to frequent Sams when I worked in the trade center, and sorely missed them for a few years until we all reappeared downtown. Now that Im in midtown, I will get from Moshes, but its not the same as Sams (and I forget about those free pita ends – they were great).

  • I need to Google maps this place… is it the same as the one TONY just profiled a week or two back? I forgot to write down that one’s name

  • PS If I went here, I would totally order the platter for the sheer purpose of not having to eat it sandwich-style. You see? No burrito.

  • I have no idea if TONY profiled it a few weeks back but I will feel kinda dumb if they did..ha

    I honestly hadn’t heard of it but was taken by the long line when I rode my bike by early this week and could tell that something special was coming out of that little tin cart. The guy Sam (Yasser) was really pretty friendly too like some people said here in the comments.

  • Once again you’ve made me wish I worked downtown, Mr. Krieger. How is the hot sauce? It looks potent.

  • I’ll echo the comments about missing Sam’s. I used to go there all the time when I worked at WTC 2. I think it was 2.50 for a falafel at the time, which was a Godsend cause I wasn’t making squat.
    I really miss sitting in the park there and chasing the birds away from my crumbs until I finished.

  • just ate here today on your recommendation. I’m not too huge on falafel (though I do enjoy it, I came here more for the value proposition – I’m poor), this is actually pretty good. They stuff it FULL of stuff including fried eggplant, which I don’t see other places doing. I don’t know if it’s the ridiculously ominous gray clouds looming today or what, but the sandwich is stuffed way fuller than in that pic. Maybe they were looking to get rid of stuff before the impending rain comes and kills business? Pretty good stuff

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    New to downtown eating. Just had falafel from Sam’s. Hot sauce is hot, as advertised, and the sandwich is big and yummy. Incidentally, the sandwich is now $4, platter $5.

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