Cheap Eats

Super Middle Eastern pita pockets.

Gold medalist: Olympic Pita's super shawarma.
Anyone who's confined his pita-sandwich consumption to MacDougal Street and street carts is likely suffering from a common misperception: If you've had one shawarma, you've had 'em all. Disabuse yourself of that notion by ordering the succulent Yemenite-Israeli poultry version at Olympic Pita, a bustling kosher restaurant in Midwood, Brooklyn.The flavorful amalgam of chicken and turkey is sliced off the spit and rolled up in a pita or -- better yet -- a sesame-seeded lafah, the blistered and blackened brick-oven bread resilient enough to contain the juicy, flavorful meat and the awesome sauces (a dangerously spicy, cilantro-based zhoug and a sweet-and-sour mango condiment called amba). The sandwich price ($6.99 for pita, $7.99 for lafah) includes a salad bar, with all manner of crunchy shawarma add-ons like sour pickles, radishes, pickled turnips, and delectably oily deep-fried eggplant.

Happily, shawarma is nondenominational, which makes for an easy transition from the Israeli to the Lebanese version, rendered to delicious effect at Karam in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. The flavor-packed meat is loaded onto a pita, then slathered with a garlicky white sauce that permeates the whole shebang once it's rolled up and smooshed in a sandwich press. Then it's unwrapped, garnished with parsley, pickled turnips, lettuce,and tomato and re-rolled into a $4 meal that will make you forget about falafel forever --that is, until you get to Alfanoose, a low-key Lebanese-Syrian falafel joint near Wall Street that shares Karam's technique of rolling (burrito-style) rather than stuffing fresh, tasty ingredients into a pliant pita. We love the everything-in-one-bite effect, which works equally well with falafel, shawarma, and Alfanoose's signature vegetarian kibbeh, an egg-shaped croquette of bulgur wheat filled with Swiss chard and chili peppers($3.25-$4.75).

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· OLYMPIC PITA, 1419 Coney Island Ave., Brooklyn, 718-258-6222
· KARAM, 8519Fourth Ave., Brooklyn, 718-745-5227
· ALFANOOSE, 150 Fulton St., 212-528-4669