Pita is a traditional leavened flat-bread served across the Middle East, Mediterranean, and North Africa that consists of a wheat-based round of fluffy bread that can be separated into a pocket and stuffed with whatever you’d like. We’re here to tell you what you can put in a pita, and offer our recommendations for where to go on your next culinary adventure. Away we go!
Sabich is a reworked version of a traditional Iraqi dish, and moves the tasty goods from a tray into a pita, or into a salad bowl in some cases. While anyone who makes sabich adds their own flair to this delicious dish, but every version includes a hardboiled egg, usually simmered low and slow, moist pieces of flavorful eggplant, creamy hummus or tahini, and amba, a sauce of pickled mangoes.Optional are the crunchy pickles, zesty Israeli salad, chopped parsley, and fiery zhug sauce we usually add on. Oved’s Sabich in the suburb of Givatayim claims to be the best in the universe, and while we haven’t tried the sabich on Pluto, we aren’t going to argue. You can find it at Sirkin St 7, Giv’atayim.
Falafel, how can we snack you? Let us count the ways….Served on the side of a main dish, dazzling us with a rich tahini drizzled over you, stuffed into a pita with crunch salad; however you’re eating falafel, it won’t be bad. Falafel is simple in both ingredients and execution, so if it’s well-made, there is nothing better, and if it’s bad, it might be enough to scare you off falafel for years. These simple treats are made by deep frying balls of chickpea batter with a simple mix of herbs and spices. That’s it. That being said, there is certainly an art to making good falafel, and in Haifa, a turf-war between two neighboring restaurants has long battled for falafel supremacy. We learn towards Falafel Hazkenim on 18 Hawadi, and invite you to do the same.
A mix of grilled meat roasted on a vertical spit until it’s dripping juice and sizzling temptingly. Shawarma can be made with a number of meats, including lamb, chicken, turkey, and beef, and is basted so that the meat is tender and perfectly paired with crunchy salads and bold sauces. Shawarma can be found on almost every street in Israel, but it’s worth finding a great restaurant to enjoy all the toppings fully. Hanamlia at the Caesarea Harbor is the perfect stop if you’re spending the day sightseeing, and it’s right in the center of all the highlights the city has to offer.
Another delicious meat dish that we can’t get enough of, musakhan is a mix of roasted chicken and carmelized onions, topped with fried pine nuts and usually served on a fluffy taboon bread, it’s just as good inside a warm pita. The meat is flavored with savory suman, adding just a bit of bite to the earthy flavors, and a yogurt sauce on the side gives the dish just enough sour creaminess to perfectly complement the flavors. This is the national dish of Palestine, and that many votes for how tasty it is can’t be wrong. Our top choice for where to sample it for yourself is in East Jerusalem at Philadelphia, E-Zahra St 9.
This traditional Spanish dish may not top the list, but it’s certainly the most unique entry and worth a taste. A dish made of raw fish cured in citrus juice, usually a mix of lemon and lime, and served with raw onions and cilantro on the side, this dish shines on its own but put it in a pita and…wow. While there isn’t much competition for the category of “Ceviche in Pita”, Panda Pita in Tel Aviv uses fresh ingredients and unique combinations that have kept them busy and helped them acquire a cult-like status in Tel Aviv foodies. Check them out at Malan Street 47, and try a tour of Shuk HaCarmel to see where they got their start.
Known as the “Jerusalem Mix” in English, this dish has storied origins and many a vendor near Machane Yehuda claims the honor of inventing this mix. Whoever made it, we aren’t going to argue that it’s a culinary revelation, bursting with meat and fresh juicy flavors. Filled with seasoned chicken hearts, spleens, livers, and all sorts of lamb, the Middle Eastern spices shine through for a fantastic flavor explosion. While this dish is no longer limited to the streets of Jerusalem, it is still the best place to find an authentic and delicious version of the dish. Hatzot at 121 Agripas is one of the vendors who claimed to have invented this dish, and even if they didn’t, they’ve perfected it by now. If you’re looking for a more full market experience, why not try a tour and cooking class of Machane Yehuda?
Kebabs are, at their most basic, a Middle-Eastern version of meatballs that can be made in a number of endlessly delicious ways. They can be baked, grilled, or pan-fried, cooked with any spices or veggies sound good to you, shaped into long cylinders or delicate balls of flavor explosions, served in a pita or on its own….the list goes on. The only two constants are that when well made, there is nothing more satisfied, and the meat is finely chopped or ground. Every culinary culture has some version of this dish, leaving a lot of room for interpretation, but we’ve never gone wrong with Eyal Shani’s pita paradise of Miznon. This celebrated Israeli chef puts an emphasis on quality meat that shines through all the accompaniments, and while every option is great, try the kebab. For us. Our favorite location is at King George St 30, Tel Aviv-Yafo.