Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Olympic In Every Way

My love for falafel is nothing new. I have definitely talked about falafel and all things pita a few different times on Miss Menu. But this love has grown exponentially in recent weeks. After reading about Olympic Pita on Midtown Lunch a few months ago, I can honestly say I am completely obsessed not only with this place, but with falafel in general. I'm not sure how I managed to work in this part of Midtown for almost three years, and never hear of it. I have since been 3 times in the past month, and there are no signs of stopping!

Olypmic Pita offers something a lot of pita and falafel/schwarma places do not: Laffa. What exactly is laffa? It's a freshly-made, over-sized pita baked in a tandoor oven (think nan bread in Indian cuisine). The laffa at Olympic Pita puts even the best-tasting store-bought pita bread to shame.
As soon as you open the door to the restaurant, you can smell the laffa baking.

I went for lunch with a few friends (ME, JS, MF, GL, and ER), and after perusing the menu, it was pretty obvious what I was going to order. We started with an order of hummus, which came with a fresh laffa for dipping. The best way I can describe this combo is "heavenly." The hummus is garlicky and creamy, and topped with a great tahina and olive oil. Although it doesn't say it anywhere on the menu, the laffa keeps coming out as long as there is hummus left - so be sure to ask!


Every lunch or dinner order comes with a trip to the salad bar included in the price. You are allowed to fill up one small plate with a delicious assortment of coleslaw (creamy and tangy varieties), Israeli salad, pickles, etc. Just be sure to grab the smallest size plate in the stack...I got yelled at by the waitress for taking the medium size by accident!!


For my main meal, I ordered a falafel laffa, which comes with hummus, harisa (very spicy red sauce), Israeli salad, and...wait for it...FRENCH FRIES! Yes, I have had fries in a pita before, but those fries were always bland and soggy and didn't add much to the pita. Olympic Pita's fries were actually really good on their own. And, even better smushed in with falafel and covered in hummus! The falafel is delicious...a little spicy and a ton of flavor. ME, JS, and MF ordered the schwarma laffa and said the meat had a really good flavor. I am curious to try the schnitzel laffa, but always have a hard time turning down the falafel!
If you couldn't tell by the pic above, these things are massive...Olympic-sized if you will! :) After the salad bar and the hummus/laffa appetizer, we all decided to eat half of the laffa and take the other half home.

So, obviously I think the food is out of this world...I've stuffed myself silly each time I've been. No matter how full I feel, I can't wait to go back! But, I also want to share a few Miss Menu pointers that may not be apparent, but will make your experience even better:
  • There is take-out and there is a sit down restaurant...no casual tables like a lot of lunch places. When it gets nice out, I definitely plan on picking this up and eating in Bryant Park!
  • The sit down prices are more expensive than take-out - it's a little pricey for lunch, but you'll definitely leave satisfied...and maybe with another whole meal out of it!
  • When you do take-out, they give you a plastic container for the salad bar, so you won't miss out on that
  • Do not expect service with a smile - the waitresses are a little rough around the edges, to put it nicely!
  • Tip is included in the bill (which probably explains the above statement!), so definitely no need to throw in extra $ for tip on top of the total
  • Olympic Pita closes early for Shabbat (it's a Glatt Kosher restaurant), so be prepared to be rushed if you are still lingering by about 2pm on a Friday
Sure it may sound like there are a few negatives about Olympic Pita, but I can 100% assure you that the laffa alone makes it worth a visit.

Olympic Pita
58 West 38th Street
b/t 5th & 6th Avenues
website
Menu Pages listing

1 comment:

Stephanie and Mike said...

Mike and I tried this place today... it was great and everything you described it to be! Thanks for letting us know about it.