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First Rate Falafels?

kathleen Jun 8, 2006 10:48 PM

I still have not found an excellent FALAFEL joint in Toronto! Please help Chowhounds! Where do you get your falafel fix!?

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    vinnie Vidimangi RE: kathleen Jun 8, 2006 10:53 PM

    Prince of Egypt on Danforth and Broadview makes excellent Egyptian style (broadbeans, not chickpeas)

    7 Replies
    1. re: vinnie Vidimangi
      Jason S. RE: vinnie Vidimangi Jun 8, 2006 11:20 PM

      I'm quite partial to King Davids at all 3 of their locations. They use chickpeas, but the ingredients they put together it with (ESPECIALLY ON TUESDAYS) make it a 3.50 well spent. Wash it down with a juice and chase it with a nice flaky boureka and I'm in heaven.

      1. re: Jason S.
        Chester RE: Jason S. Jun 9, 2006 01:27 AM

        what's the deal with tuesdays?

        i agree they are very good, if a little skimpy with toppings though.

        1. re: Chester
          littleparsnip RE: Chester Jun 9, 2006 09:02 AM

          I second the What-A-Bagel recommendation - although I haven't been to the Bayview location.... The joint on Bathurst between Wilson and Lawrence is fantastic -- topped off with a delicious fried onion ring, yum!!!

          1. re: littleparsnip
            Goober RE: littleparsnip Jun 9, 2006 09:15 AM

            Really?? (about the onion ring)....interesting...must go good with the tahina.

            1. re: Goober
              kathleen RE: Goober Jun 9, 2006 06:43 PM

              Thanks for all your responses! I've got ALOT of eating to do!

              : )

            2. re: littleparsnip
              Ben Reiner RE: littleparsnip Jun 9, 2006 09:27 AM

              Agreed, except that when I was there they had a deep fried, battered potato slice. This won big points for me since I hadn't seen that anywhere since I was in Israel for a year

              The King David and Jerusalem at Bathurst/Lawrence (little strip, one block south) also does good falafel. They aren't entirely consistent though varying from great to ok depending on when you go.

        2. re: vinnie Vidimangi
          Goober RE: vinnie Vidimangi Jun 9, 2006 05:02 AM

          What-A-Bagel at Bayview, north of Steeles

        3. a
          AC RE: kathleen Jun 9, 2006 07:44 AM

          The best falafels come from that middle eastern / turkish(?) grocery/take out place in Kensington market. The best part the price is right. Unfortunately, I don't remember the name of it...

          5 Replies
          1. re: AC
            Atahualpa RE: AC Oct 1, 2006 11:12 PM

            The one in Kensignton is Akram's Falafel. I think they're definately the best. They make the Egyptian no-chickpea kind. The spicy is nicely spicy and they are $2. They grill the pita so it's nice and crisp and hot when you get it.

            Ghazali's beside the Bloor Cinema is good too. But, it been a while since I went. I basically haven't been back since I discovered Akram's.

            1. re: Atahualpa
              mrbozo RE: Atahualpa Oct 1, 2006 11:20 PM

              Hmmm, no chick pea? What, then, do they use as the main ingredient? Just curious as to what differentiates Egyptian-style from the other, I assume chick pea based styles.

              1. re: mrbozo
                Atahualpa RE: mrbozo Oct 2, 2006 12:41 AM

                I think they use broadbeans (fava) instead. (Vidimangi seems to have the same memory-- see above in the first post).

                1. re: Atahualpa
                  cookbook RE: Atahualpa Oct 3, 2006 03:05 AM

                  Akram Dow uses mung, soy and fava beans if memory serves me well and his home made hot pepper paste is DIVINE! Definitely the best I've had. His lentil soup is also a keeper!

                  1. re: cookbook
                    eliisadick RE: cookbook Sep 15, 2008 04:55 AM

                    Akram has been closed for awhile now. Reconstruction. i hope they open soon, great falafals

          2. j
            jill RE: kathleen Jun 9, 2006 10:04 AM

            You're not going to believe it, but the Rabba Fine Foods on Harrison Garden Blvd, south of Sheppard ,E of Yonge has great Falafels. They're homemade, nicely spiced and generous with the toppings. And they have whole wheat pitas. I think they're around $4. If I lived there, I'd be eating one every day.

            1 Reply
            1. re: jill
              Dinin' and Dishin' RE: jill Jun 9, 2006 10:41 AM

              I believe it, because I go to the Rabba Foods at the Greenwin Centre at Bloor E and Huntley St. for their excellent Falafels. I haven't tried their Schwarmas, but my friend who accompanies me tells me they are also great.

            2. s
              sake RE: kathleen Jun 9, 2006 10:11 AM

              Tov Li (kosher place). Two locations on Bathurst.

              1. x
                xtal RE: kathleen Jun 9, 2006 10:54 AM

                I have three suggestions:

                i) Ghazale (Bloor & Bathurst)
                A little whole-in-the-wall place with some of the best falafels in the downtown area

                ii) Akram's (Kensington Market)
                Amazing falafels and a great selection of middle-eastern groceries (fresh pitas, tahini, etc.)

                iii) Unkown name (Dundas & University)
                A middle-eastern falafel place on the south side of Dundas, just east of University. I went here recently for the first time, and was absolutely floored by the quality of their falafels, particularly their homemade hot sauce. I'm going back for seconds sometime soon.

                2 Replies
                1. re: xtal
                  sanjay RE: xtal Jun 9, 2006 11:34 AM

                  one other GREAT hole in the wall to add

                  i) Empire (999 Bloor (west of bathurst))

                  by far my favourite place

                  1. re: xtal
                    eliisadick RE: xtal Sep 15, 2008 04:55 AM

                    note.Akrams....see above

                  2. n
                    Nyleve RE: kathleen Jun 9, 2006 11:22 AM

                    My usual falafel fix is Sababa (the grocery/takeout as opposed to the restaurant which is attached). It's in a plaza on the north side of Steeles, east of Bathurst. The pita bread is homemade and always fresh, the condiments are excellent and the falafels are crisp and freshly done. Cheap as mud, I can't remember exactly but it's less than $3 for a falafel.

                    Having said that, I've recently had an excellent falafel from a middle eastern restaurant (sorry I can't remember the name) on Lawrence Avenue in the first plaza EAST of the one where Nasr grocery store is located. I was shopping at Nasr and suddenly had a falafel attack, so went hunting. The place is mostly an eat-in restaurant but does takeout as well. Very very good falafel - the rolled style, not the pocket style.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Nyleve
                      neighborguy RE: Nyleve Jun 9, 2006 06:39 PM

                      I think the place your talking about is called Farhat. While we're at it, I would say any of the places on this stretch (from Pharmacy to Warden) will do a decent sandwich -- shwarma or falafel, usually 2 for five or six dollars.

                      My favourite is Empire (S side of Lawrence, first plaza east of Pharmacy) where they do a fresh, filled and flavourful pocket-style sandwich. Knaffe (sp?) a baked cheese desert with vermicelli/honey top on Fridays and Saturdays if you are into it -- kinda like a cross between cheesecake and saganaki.

                    2. s
                      snoobie RE: kathleen Jun 9, 2006 01:16 PM

                      I second Tov-Li (two locations on Bathurst). Their falafels are fabulous

                      1. f
                        Foodie RE: kathleen Jun 9, 2006 06:19 PM

                        I recommend Sarah's on bloor and Spadina. It's the best I've ever tried!!

                        1. mrbozo RE: kathleen Oct 1, 2006 09:40 PM

                          People have told me that the falafels at Jarash (Bloor near Ossington) and Taboun Zaman (College near Bathurst) are first-rate. Are they better than, say, Empire, Sara's, Al Ghazale, or Akram's?

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: mrbozo
                            flipp RE: mrbozo Oct 1, 2006 10:00 PM

                            I'll always have a soft spot for Cleopatra's Falafel near on Bloor just east of Dovercourt, since it was the first (and second, and third) falafel I ever had and I thought I'd never eat anything else ever again. Haven't been there recently though.

                          2. f
                            Fredster RE: kathleen Oct 2, 2006 03:12 AM

                            Red and White on Yonge near Wellesley, Mr Falafel on Yonge south of bloor and United Bakers dairy restaurant at Bathurst and Lawrence are all top nothc choices.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Fredster
                              KAREN RE: Fredster Oct 2, 2006 09:26 PM

                              after the glowing recs here for Red and White, i tried it a few weeks back. i took one bit and then forced a second, and then threw it out. it was disgusting.

                              1. re: KAREN
                                Fredster RE: KAREN Oct 3, 2006 11:21 PM

                                Must have not been your day as it is usually excellent.

                            2. j
                              jaded RE: kathleen Oct 2, 2006 04:17 AM

                              The best is at Sarah's... fresh ingedients and really good potato salad as a side..

                              1. w
                                wordsworth RE: kathleen Oct 4, 2006 12:19 PM

                                I've never found any felafel that was notable over the rest, so I stick with Sababa, which is as good as any and cheap. The biggest disappoint was Tov-Li. After all the hype, it proved to be both mediocre and expensive.

                                1. duckdown RE: kathleen Jul 28, 2008 09:18 PM

                                  I love falafels!

                                  Sarah's is pretty awesome, and so is Falafel World at Jane & Bloor

                                  1. s
                                    snackboy RE: kathleen Jul 28, 2008 10:58 PM

                                    A La Turque ( I never know if I spell that right and I should as I'm in there enough!!) gets my vote


                                    1. j
                                      jayseeca RE: kathleen Jul 31, 2008 06:41 PM

                                      i've actually really enjoyed falafel from Ghazale with the roasted eggplant in it.. yummmmm.

                                      1. apetimberlake RE: kathleen Sep 14, 2008 08:49 AM

                                        I have to say that most places do not place the kind of time and effort that College Falafel does. All Falafels are made to order. Whenever i go into this wonderful spot on the corner of Ossington and College I get a warm greeting and a fresh Falafel. The Donairs are great aswell, my wife had one the other day and then went back the next week to have another from WOODBRIDGE!.

                                        Great spot!

                                        1. atomeyes RE: kathleen Sep 14, 2008 03:11 PM

                                          I haven't been there for a few years(since i am rarely in the area), but the Bathurst-Lawrence strip has some tasty and cheap falafel.

                                          Try the plaza 1 block south of Lawrence on the west side of Bathurst. There was King David's - not sure if its still around. but its super tasty. you also have to know what kind of salads to order with your falafel. part of the falafel skill is properly stuffing the pita.

                                          i find that many of the Lebanese falafel restaurants don't have the greatest salad and topping variety.

                                          1. l
                                            lily.violet RE: kathleen Sep 14, 2008 09:32 PM

                                            My favourite place has got to be Pita Land on Gerrard & Jarvis (102 Gerrard ST E, Toronto). It used to be called La Zeez but changed its name last year. Their falafels are SO good! I used to not really like falafels, but then this place converted me. They're sort of donut shaped too, so there's slightly more of a deep fried shell.

                                            If you like shawarmas, their chicken shawarma is also my favourite. I ate two last week! I would choose the chicken shawarma over the falafel btw. It's slightly pricier there, but well worth it, promise! $6 total for shawarma and I think $5-ish for the falafel.

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