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Looking for FRESH pita

jaybee Mar 26, 2009 08:09 AM

We just moved from the middle east to NoVA, and I'm having a nightmare of a time finding fresh pita. I've been to Lebanese Taverna but the pre-packaged pita is borderline stale to me. I'm not expecting hot, right out of the oven pita, but I would like something decent. I've looked in all the supermarkets to no avail. Can anyone help? I'm also looking for decent tahina, zattar, etc but I can order those online if need be, or I can go to NY.

Thanks for helping a newcomer.


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  1. littlew1ng RE: jaybee Mar 26, 2009 08:10 AM

    hi! there's a new pita place in the arlington courthouse square. i haven't been there so i don't know how fresh the pita is but i would assume it's homemade if the whole concept of the eatery is based on pita.

    2 Replies
    1. re: littlew1ng
      MikeR RE: littlew1ng Mar 27, 2009 05:19 PM

      That's The Perfect Pita, a sandwich and "pizza" shop. I suspect that they use pita from their own local bakery, not baked on the spot in the store. It's available packaged at Whole Foods.


      1. re: MikeR
        littlew1ng RE: MikeR Apr 3, 2009 08:02 AM

        is it good?

    2. littlew1ng RE: jaybee Mar 26, 2009 08:11 AM

      oh and also, at mourayo in dupont circle, very good fresh-baked pita. at cafe 8 in eastern market they have homemade ekmek which is similar to pita, at least to me, and it is very good, although the rest of their food isn't outstanding, it's all good for the price.

      1. w
        weezycom RE: jaybee Mar 26, 2009 08:16 AM

        Try Meditteranean Bakery on Pickett Road in Alexandria. They may have some of the things you want

        352 S. Pickett St.
        Alexandria, VA 22304

        1 Reply
        1. re: weezycom
          justaddwater RE: weezycom Mar 27, 2009 11:04 AM

          You can expect "hot, right out of the oven" pita at the Mediterranean Bakery, it comes out every hour or so. Their hummous is the best in the area. They have everything else you can expect from a top notch Lebanese goods supplier including fresh almonds when in season.

        2. h
          hamster RE: jaybee Mar 26, 2009 08:29 AM

          I know that Yekta market in Rockville has lots of fresh flat breads, although I remember mostly Afghani type stuff. They probably have some of the other items you're looking for as well.

          1. c
            comestibles RE: jaybee Mar 26, 2009 09:25 AM

            You can get fresh pita at the Moby Dick's House of Kabob places. Pita comes with their meals, but you can get some to go. There are several Virginia locations.

            1 Reply
            1. re: comestibles
              chicken kabob RE: comestibles Mar 26, 2009 04:39 PM

              I've had great pita (and chicken kebobs) at Moby Dick....

            2. j
              Jacey RE: jaybee Mar 26, 2009 09:34 AM

              Levante's has really great bread. It's baked in house and comes out warm!

              1. c
                crystalginger RE: jaybee Mar 26, 2009 09:41 AM

                I've had great pita/naan at Ravi Kebab on Glebe Road N. in Arlington. I believe they make it fresh there and throw it on the fire again before giving it to you.

                1 Reply
                1. re: crystalginger
                  bmorecupcake RE: crystalginger Mar 27, 2009 04:36 PM

                  They don't have pita at Ravi Kebab, just naan. In Baltimore, Egyptian Pizza is the only place I can find good fresh pita. There are a lot of Egyptian Pizza clones around here. Maybe there are some clones in D.C., too. The kebab places have more naan-like bread. Good fresh pita is something I always crave, but it's so hard find.

                2. alkapal RE: jaybee Mar 27, 2009 07:33 AM

                  the best local pita i've bought was found by my lebanese law partner in vienna. there is a small lebanese grocery and the owner bakes the bread there, and you can even get it while it is still warm from the oven. ooooh, it is good.

                  it is in a unit in a light-industrial complex (long white building, where you have to walk up steps to reach the landing which runs the length of the entire building (so trucks can easily load). i'm guessing that it is no more than a half-mile off of the main drag (maple avenue/123) on the right side of mill street n.e., just a little way after you cross over church street.

                  i am not *certain* it is still there, but it is worth a look -- for super-fresh pita.
                  for zataar, go to lebanese taverna market at intersection where lorcom lane enters lee hwy/rte. 29 in north arlington. they have a good little grocery for all kinds of middle eastern foodstuffs. takeout, too, and lebanese cookbooks and an olive bar. http://www.lebanesetaverna.com/market/ their "toum" garlic paste is so fabulous with a marinated roast chicken, along with the turnip pickles.

                  <by the way, one of the best pastries shops in northern virginia is close-by to lebanese taverna market, "pastries by randolph" -- get their croissants, or the coffee cake thingy with the almond paste -- swoon! http://www.pastriesbyrandolph.com/
                  next to that is a good wine shop "arrowine" http://www.arrowine.com/ with excellent cheese selection, and wine and cheese tastings. get on their email mailing list

                  just up the way on lee hwy is A-1 indian grocery (across from the mcdonald's between glebe and george mason drive http://www.yelp.com/biz/india-a-1-gro... , and a little further, the heidelberg bakery -- good german breads and cook cakes. http://washingtondc.menupages.com/res... >.

                  getting back to lebanese-mid-eastern grocery items, there is also "gourmet basket" in mclean for mid-eastern food, coffee, rakwi (?) coffee pots, fresh cheeses, near the total wine store. superb vegetarian kibbeh, too (made with pumpkin around a pomegranate and walnut filling). they also do catering. http://www.lebanesegourmetbasket.com/...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: alkapal
                    alkapal RE: alkapal Aug 24, 2012 06:48 PM

                    the lebanese place in vienna baking great pita is now selling it at places all around nova. i just got some at lebanese taverna takeout @ lorcom & lee hwy. it is from "the wooden bakery."

                    much, much nicer than that from "king of pita."

                  2. w
                    wayne keyser RE: jaybee Mar 27, 2009 06:56 PM

                    Of the pitas in local supermarkets, the big local commercial baker is King of Pita, 6460C General Green Way, Alexandria - kingofpita.com

                    I'm sure you can get hot-from-the-oven pita there, and if I recall correctly they also bake their own at Mediterranean Bakery mentioned by another poster here (the two bakeries are very close to each other).

                    Mediterranean will probably also have the tahina, zatar and other things you are looking for.

                    Supermarket selections vary from location to location, but I found packaged lebne, and reasonably priced tahina, at Shoppers Food Warehouse at 7 Corners. They keep their Hispanic, Asian and Middle Eastern foods together in a single large section.

                    1. alkapal RE: jaybee Mar 29, 2009 05:11 AM

                      VIENNA -- ali-baba bakery.

                      the name of the bakery in vienna that i mentioned upthread is ali-baba bakery at 303B mill street. it doesn't have a long warehouse style-landing (as i had thought), but steps up to its door.

                      just went yesterday, and boy is the pita nice. the owner is friendly and helpful.

                      i also bought a new product for me, preserved pistachios. i can't wait to try it. also another new product (to me): freekeh. it is a roasted "green" wheat product http://www.ishopindian.com/shop/ziyad... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freekeh
                      i want to make it soon -- like a pilaf. i also bought some date molasses.

                      he sells kibbeh balls in the freezer, cooked and uncooked. he has iraqi (flat) kibbeh-bread combo. his baklava is quite good, and is very, very reasonable. i didn't buy any meat or spinach pies yesterday, but they looked good -- and were a nice size.

                      stop in; he has good prices and many interesting mid-eastern products. beans, tahini, legumes, spices, zataar, sumac, preserved rose petals, all sorts of exotic preserves, coconut oil (people buy it for their hair, but it is food grade), honeys ..... hookahs, tea glasses, etc.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: alkapal
                        Victoria667 RE: alkapal May 11, 2009 08:47 AM

                        To add to alkapal's review above, I DID try some of the meat and spinach pies from Ali-baba, and would HIGHLY recommend them! The beef pies have the usual herbs, spices, and pine nuts all tucked into an excellent little square wrap...for 85 cents/each. Same deal with the spinach pies: inexpensive, excellent bread/wrap, and well-seasoned. I prefer my pies with feta, which Ali-baba only does for special orders. No worries though, I just added some of my own when I heated them up at home.

                        Another must-have: the falafal that Ali-baba makes fresh, then freezes. It reheats in the micro in seconds and somehow retains that crispy outside but moist inside despite the fact that it was frozen. YUM!

                        Final recommendation: the Armenian string cheese. This is NOT something made in-house, but is FANTASTIC nonetheless! It's nothing like that plastic string cheese found in American grocery stores. This stuff is flecked with nigella seeds (look like black sesame seeds) and packs a much more powerful punch when it comes to taste.

                        I plan to stop by Ali-baba's again next Saturday, (one of the days that he bakes fresh pita). If I've cycled enough to warrant a 'treat', I'm going for some of his baklava as well. Will report back! Meanwhile, this place is definitely worth stopping by: 303B Mill Street, Vienna, VA. Enjoy!

                        1. re: Victoria667
                          alkapal RE: Victoria667 May 11, 2009 01:51 PM

                          very cool, victoria, i've gotta get back for some of the spinach pies and meat pies and falafel! and so glad you liked it. he's a very nice guy, too!

                          btw, his pita stays soft for days, but i don't think it has additives at all. i was quite surprised, in fact.

                        2. re: alkapal
                          alkapal RE: alkapal Aug 24, 2012 06:49 PM

                          now this place is selling pita around under the name "wooden bakery." i wonder if the ali-baba was bought out and changed names?

                          1. re: alkapal
                            BuildingMyBento RE: alkapal Aug 30, 2012 10:18 PM

                            Mount of Olives in Baileys Crossroads...they don't have fresh pita? Isn't there another place in the same shopping centre that might?

                            1. re: BuildingMyBento
                              alkapal RE: BuildingMyBento Sep 3, 2012 09:39 PM

                              i am not shopping in that area typically, so i don't know about bailey's-area pita.

                        3. j
                          jribadeneyra RE: jaybee Apr 4, 2009 05:33 PM

                          I also recommend the Mediterranean Bakery on Pickett St -- make sure you pick up one of their fresh bags of pita. Another great spot that used to sell bags of their pitas is Atillas on Columbia Pike in Arlington -- see www.atillasrestaurant.com. You have to ask -- they don't list the pitas for sale on their menu.

                          1. s
                            Sean D RE: jaybee May 11, 2009 09:30 AM

                            I know lots of Middle Eastern restaurants that make their own flat bread. The big problem is that fresh bread (with no preservatives) gets tough in a couple of hours.

                            I used to visit this business in Alexandria - King of Pita. It's located in an industrial park off I-395. I believe their business is manufacturering wholesale Pita for local distribution. They also had a fairly nice Middle Eastern grocery store. They might be a solution for you.


                            1. biscuit RE: jaybee Aug 31, 2012 09:06 PM

                              Mamma's Kitchen in Alexandria, off of Route 1 has excellent freshly-baked pita (sometimes still warm!) out of their wood-fired oven. Food there is very good, specializing in Mediterranean. A welcome break from all the chains in the area.

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