Testimonials
The best hookah products in the DMV hands down! For months I would go here and just buy the hookah products such as starbuzz and some hookah accessories but figured I would try them out for lunch.
Not only is it a chilled place but the food is amazing! The gyros are great and chicken kabobs are juicy! (other places on Rockville Pike tend to only feed you dry chicken kabobs). I recommend everyone to try this place if they haven’t yet, you won’t regret it!

Khaled T. – Rockville, MD



I have eaten here three times and every time had a memorable meal. The lamb and chicken kabobs are tender and cooked just right in a savory marinade, the saffron rice is perfect–fluffy, light and buttery, and the salads are always fresh and crisp. The mast-o-khiyar is mintier than most kabob places’ recipe, and the gelato is out of this world, especially the densely rosewatered Persian vanilla. ( I’ve never had the buffet so can’t speak for that. ) –It’s true the waitstaff can be grumpy, but don’t let that stop you from trying the place. They seem to like you better on your second or third visit. =)
Seema F. – Philadelphia, PA



This place reminds me not to judge a book by its cover. Sam’s has some amazingly juicy and flavorful kebabs in addition to many delicious homemade Persian dishes. I can’t think of a place I’d rather get koobideh or kashkobadenjan. One of their daily specials that I’ve been lucky to catch a few times consists of chicken served with rice, lentils, currants, and dates: I absolutely love it. Although the decor and atmosphere are lacking, the authentic food makes up for it. Give it a chance and I doubt you’ll regret it.
Elissar K. – Kensington, MD



I started off with a strawberry bubble tea from the grocery side which was pretty good. Then I moved off into the restaurant to order the Sam’s Special #1. It’s kobide, barg, and chicken kabob. Delicious! The rice was soft, fluffy, and mixed in butter with saffron grounded up on top. I love it. and the meat was delicious. A huge proportion too! The service was excellent, and our waitress was extremely friendly. She gave us complimentary humus. Although it was real good, I think the pita bread is what kept me from finishing my main course.
Phi N. – Glenmont, MD



We love this place for gelato, of all things. We used to go to their original place down the Pike, and just went tonight after some disappointing Vietnamese pho, and it was wonderful. I had a small cup of ginger and Persian vanilla (made w/rosewater), and both tasted just great. My husband had the pomegranate, and he wasn’t disappointed. Since Dolcezza Gelato in Bethesda where we live in so expensive and pretty mediocre, it’s a treat to find a place on the Pike that sells amazing Persian pastries and other foodstuff, has a tasty cafe, and wonderful gelato as well!
Barbara F. – Bethesda, MD



My boyfriend is from Iran and lives in Baltimore, we were taking a road trip to DC a few years ago and searched for a place to eat on the way, we found Sam Cafe and Market online and decided to give it a try. Having lived in Istanbul for a few years, i immediately loved the market side, it is colorful and is well stocked with both Turkish and Persian groceries, teas, gifts, and goodies. On the other side of the market there is a very small cafe with outdoor seating available, the menu is not terribly extensive but has the most popular Persian offerings which are homemade on the premisses. After lunch or dinner, stop back by the other side and try the gelato, also made on sight. I love the Persian vanilla, the owner always asks me suspiciously if i am sure, because it is not like American style vanilla, it has a rose flavor and is an acquired taste, i love it though. We have made a few special trips there and will continue to do so.
Dana B. – Henrico, VA



I stopped by one evening after dinner with some friends at Ba Le. One of our buddies is a regular of Sam’s, so he introduced all of us to this magical land. If you could imagine the scene in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory where the kids and their guardians first see the candy land, complete with a flowing chocolate river – that’s exactly what we were like. We tried and bought gelato (they had some seasonal flavors), dried fruit and nuts, specialty candies/snacks, hookah flavors, you name it! Did you know that they also have bubble tea? …YES.
We love this place as much as it is eclectic and amazing (which is a lot).

Jueli L. – Rockville, MD



Driving back from a quick drop in at my parents’ party, my husband and I came upon a strange and marvelous sight. Across from Wintergreen Plaza, along Rockville Pike, was a huge sign 30 feet in the air, proudly proclaiming “Bubble Tea, Kabobs, Gelatos and Hookahs”. Nearly causing an accident on 355 as we turned ourselves around and stopped in on Sam Cafe and Market [sic] (yes, that’s right, it’s “Sam Cafe and Market”, not “Sam’s Cafe and Market”), we were both mesmerized and terrified by the oddness of the sight.
Sam Cafe and Market is where the old Appliance Land used to be, next to Ba Le (yum!). This space houses both a market as well as a little hidden cafe. As I haven’t eaten at the cafe portion (it’s on the right side of the store, but hidden behind a tall row of shelving units, so it’s easy to just assume it’s their “back room), this review is only for the “Market” side of the store.

The best way to describe the market side is ‘bizarre” in all ways this term can be used. There are gigantic and beautiful hookahs everywhere, limited fresh produce in the back, and a plethora of Middle-Eastern treats and goods. Looking for Turkish delights? They have an entire shelfcase full of different varieties. Looking for homemade pistachio cookies? They have an case full of handmade treats and delights. We found candied dates, three different kinds of freshly baked baklava and a variety of olives! My husband (who loves all things ethnic) had the best time combing through the aisles looking at the various spices, buying jars of ghee and sniffing and tasting everything.

Although I wasn’t brave enough to try to bubble tea (sorry, it just seemed too weird to find boba in a Middle Eastern market), we did try the gelato. Creamy, smooth and rich, the gelato was delicious! Cold enough that it wasn’t melty, with a plethora of odd flavors to try. I tasted the honey and tangerine, which sounded good in theory but I could tell from my tiny little taste that it would quickly become too rich and sweet for me, so I ordered the mango, which was like biting into a frozen fresh creamy mango!

Although Sam Cafe and Market seems a little sketchy and tacky from the outside, the inside is a glorious bizarre of ethnic randomness! The staff was very helpful and nice (although you could tell that they were laughing at how lost and confused we were), and honestly, walking through this place was an absolute trip. Can’t wait to come back with friends and try the cafe part…review update to be forthcoming, I hope!

P.S. It seems that Sam Cafe used to be across the street in the little shopping center behind the IHOP where the Pho 95 is, but moved in the past few weeks to this location.

Fenny L. – Gaithersburg, MD



Great place! The have a wide variety of middle eastern products. There are dry goods, frozen foods, fresh produce and a great baked good counter. The shopkeepers are friendly and helpful in answering any questions you might have.
Don’t forget to try the amazing homemade gelato! My favorite flavor is the Persian vanilla made with rosewater. It is unlike anything else I have tried before. However, if the rose flavor weirds you out, they have many other delicious flavors.

Deborah S. – Silver Spring, MD



This place rocks my socks! Seriously, I love this place. I was very sad when it moved out of the previous premises they held in the shopping center down the street, because I didn’t know where they went to. I was much relieved when I discovered that they had simply moved to a much more prominent location, right on 355.
This review will be just for the Market part of the establishment as I haven’t yet had a chance to eat in the Cafe part (yet). That being said, this place is one of the best places around (definitely the best in Rockville, probably the best in MoCo, quite possibly one of the best in the DC area!) to buy random middle eastern/ethnic/random goodness. I say goodness because that is exactly what they sell. Everything from rose scented water to unique funky ingredients that you have never heard of before, to amazing home made gelato. They offer a small array of olives and cheeses all for exceptional prices. In addition to all that, they are one of the only places around that caters to the hookah smoking crowd. Not even Georgetown Tobacco can compete with this place in terms of selection. *They only sell Three Kings quick-lite coals at the moment, but I recommended to the owner that he stock Coco-Nara as well, so hopefully soon they will sell an alternative to the quick-lite variety.*
And to top it all off, the owner, Sam, is a really awesome guy! He’s helpful, friendly, and if there’s something that you’re looking for that they don’t carry, he’ll do his best to get it for you. Now that’s customer service!

All in all I would highly recommend this place to anybody seeking a fun, unique shopping experience.

Matt H. – Rockville, MD



Just a simple and quick review here. Sam is simply great! I started going there just to pick up shisha and coals but the owner is so nice and helpful that I now try something new every time I go in.
Cat L. – Germantown, MD

844 Rockville Pike Unit B, Rockville, MD 20852 ▣ (301) 424-1600