Random Lunch Question Leads To One Of The Best Pita Sandwiches I’ve Ever Eaten

In between the spam and invitations to things only loosely-related to food sometimes I do get worthwhile e-mails. I recently got one from a downtown lunch’er that opened my eyes to how much it must suck to keep kosher in the Financial District and try to find a good meal. The person was asking where to go for a kosher lunch in the bottom part of the FiDi. I was stumped because while there’s the Kosher Luncheonette (and Milk St. Cafe coming to Wall St.) there really aren’t many options at all (that I’m aware of), especially if you want to actually sit there and eat. Pita Express on Ann St. (btw. Nassau & Park Row) was one of the places I came across, and the mix of Israeli and Middle Eastern food sounded good. Plus all of their sandwiches are under $10, and so I figured I would find out if this place was any good.

I am clearly no expert on kosher eating. Seriously, I think 50% of what I eat has pork in it, or is just straight up pig. But I have eaten a lot of pita sandwiches so that is what I decided to get. Besides, almost all of the platters at Pita Express are way over the $10 mark.

I asked for the shawarma sandwich ($8.95) and while, yes, the prices are a little high I would imagine it’s both because of the higher cost of kosher ingredients and because, well, it’s the FiDi. If you go meatless, the sandwiches are about $3 cheaper, or you can get a vegetarian platter for $7.50. And let me tell you, the salads and hummus in the case at the front looked delicious.

When I first unwrapped the sandwich I wasn’t even sure there was meat in it. The first few bites were all spring mix salad, tomato and cucumber, and tahini sauce keeping the whole thing from being dry. The first thing I noticed was the pita which was fluffy and delicious. It turns out they make the pita (along with laffa that you can get for $1.50 more) in the store, along with everything else they serve. The tahini was also top-notch and above most versions that to me just taste like mayo.

Once I found some chicken hidden beneath the greens, it stole the show. It was juicy, well-seasoned and although the distribution of it in the sandwich was lacking there was a gold mine of it at the bottom. The only downers were that you have to pay extra if you want hummus in your sandwich and although I asked for mine spicy, I spotted evidence of hot sauce but couldn’t taste it.

I couldn’t resist getting a piece of baklava ($3)which turned out to be gigantic. I have no idea how anyone could eat the entire piece in one sitting – not because it wasn’t delicious but because a little bit will give you a massive sugar rush followed by a coma.

The small dining room was packed when I was there, and I’m guessing there are a lot of regulars. I don’t know how often I could justify paying $9 for a pita sandwich since I don’t keep kosher but I’ll definitely be back to try the hummus and get some more of that pita.

THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)

  • They’re kosher AND have tables and chairs!
  • The house-made pita is top-notch.
  • They do magical things with chicken.

THE — (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • Unless you get a pita sandwich everything is on the expensive side.
  • I want hummus in my sandwich!

Pita Express, 15 Ann St. (btw. Nassau & Park Row), (212) 571-2999



  • I’m glad that I could inspire this search. I’ll have to take my intern here.

  • If they’ve got a pita and hummus platter I bet it’d be awesome according to your description

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    @Matt: Yes, thank you for leading me here. I never would have gone down this weird street otherwise.
    @MWinston: They don’t exactly have a pita & hummus platter, but if you buy enough hummus you get pita with it. Same thing basically.

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