Pick a pita, any pita

Pita - the Greek word for pocket - is a staple of Middle Eastern food and one of the best-known and most versatile flat breads. The secret to this light bread's convenient shape is in the cooking process; it's baked in a very hot oven that turns the water in the dough into steam and causes the flat rounds to puff up into two layers. This pit is the perfect edible container for a wide range of fillings, from salads to deli meat to deep fried balls of falafel (a small croquette of ground chickpeas and other veggies, seasoned with spices). Luna Delphian

Pita the Great
This little takeout shop really stands up to its name. With an array of pita sandwiches to choose from, you can never go wrong here. From the warm pita menu, choose from big pita falafel, spicy big pita, classic pita, mushroom, broccoli, cauliflower,eggplant and fish (JY420). From the cold menu, you get your choice of tuna, baba ghanouj (a puree of broiled eggplant usually with garlic, lemon juice and tahini), hummus or cream cheese (JY420). Sets start at JY800 and come with your choice of: a pita, falafel (six balls) and a drink; pita, fries and a drink; or pita, salad and a drink. They make the pita bread right in the store, so it always comes warm and fresh.

Open 11:30am-6pm weekdays. Closed Sat, Sun, holidays. ATT Shinkan 2F, 2-11-7 Akasaka. 03-5563-0851. Nearest stn: Tameikesanno, across from Akasaka Twin Tower.
A wide selection of pita fillings at Diet Deli.

Good Honest Grub
"Our chicken/shrimp pita sandwich is one of the best there is," beams Don Foley, owner of this quaint little organic restaurant, tucked away in Ebisu. He's not joking. Good Honest Grub uses romaine lettuce, a California tradition, and their homemade dressing is divine. Try the Caesar salad pita sandwiches (JY1200).

Open 11:30am-midnight weekdays, 8:30am-midnight. 1-11-11 Ebisuminami, Shibuya-ku. 03-3710-0400. Nearest stn: JR/Hibiya line Ebisu stn.

News Deli
With over 80 different deli fillings to choose from, News Deli satisfies even the pickiest pita eaters. From French to Italian to Japanese-style stuffings, they have them all. Their pita bread is imported directly from the Middle East, so it's a bit spicy.

Open 11am-12:30am every day. SJ Bldg 1F, 3-6-26 Kita-Aoyama. 03-3407-1715. Nearest stn: Omotesando stn, Exit B4.

Photos by Maki Nibayashi

Diet Deli
"The 'diet' in Diet Deli doesn't mean losing weight. We used that word to describe eating habits," explains Taro Shimane, owner of this new little shop in Sangenjaya. A unique cross between fast food and natural-organic restaurants, Diet Deli is not just for the weight and health conscious; it's for anyone who wants to try something different but healthy. Their specialty pita bread batter contains a bit of mochi-gome , which makes it thicker and chewier than your ordinary pita. Choose from dry curry, niku-jaga (stewed beef and potatoes) and fruit salad in yogurt sauce (JY360).

Open 10am-10pm Tue-Sat, Sun 11am-8pm. Closed Mon. Purumie Taishido 1F, 2-23-5 Taishido, Setagaya-ku. 03-5481-1033. Nearest stn: Sangenjaya stn, four min walk.

Down to Earth
Disappointed by Japan's lack of falafel eateries, Down to Earth's owner decided to open one himself. With the falafel, you get deep-fried eggplant, sliced onion, tomato, cucumber and yogurt-sesame sauce (JY700). These tasty Middle Eastern sandwiches keep you going back for another leisurely lunch in Daikanyama.

Open 12-3pm and 6:30-11pm every day. 2-5 Saruraku-cho, Shibuya-ku. 03-3461-5872. Nearest stn: Daikanyama, seven min walk on Hachimata-dori.

An extremely popular café among the Nishi-Azabu locals, Beach uses grilled chicken with guacamole and a tart raspberry-vinegar sauce. This light pita is the perfect prelude to their freshly roasted coffee and espresso.

Open 11:30am-4am every day. Moriguchi bldg. 1F, 1-15-1 Nishi-Azabu. 03-3478-8777. Nearest stn: Chiyoda line, Nogizaka stn.

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