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Good falafel in Baltimore?

  • d

I'm craving some garlicky falafel like I used to get in Brooklyn. Any recommendations for good falafel in Baltimore?

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  1. Cypriana on corner of Calvert & Baltimore Street. It's a weekday-only place (I think) that serves the business crowd. Sidewalk seating in warm weather, otherwise it's take-out.
    Their greek salads are tasty too.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Sam

      I second the motion for Cypriana. And it is weekday only, unfortunately.

    2. l
      luckystar1305

      Definately Cypriana's....

      They have 2 locations. As mentioned, Calvert & Baltimore St. The other is located inside of the University of MD Hospital on Greene St. I believe they are open 7 days/week til 11pm. Its not easy to get to (and parking is a b*tch), but definately worth it. Unfortunately, their prices did go up (close to $8 w/tax).

      There's also a place in Towson called the Cedar deli, a bodaga-ish place that has falafels that are subpar (their sauce is a joke) but they also sell frozen pre-made falafels that you can cook yourself (which is what I end up doing).

      1. All the Egyptian pizza and Al Pacino locations have very good falafels as well.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ko

          I must respectfully disagree with this review of Egyptian Pizza's falafel. I have been spoiled by my holy grail falafel joint -- Mamoun's in NYC on MacDougal -- since I lived near there in the 90s. I usually go back once or twice a year. Egyptian's and Al Pacino's falafels are oversized, dry, overly herby, and blackened. A nice dark brown tone to the outside is ideal, but the 7 or 8 times I've tried Al's & Egyptian's, they're always burnt to a crisp. I have lived in Baltimore for 12 years and haven't had a great falafel yet. Always hopeful!

        2. Mediterranean Palace on York road in Govans between Northern parkway and the Senator cinema has delicious falafel. The combination platter is fantastic. The owner makes his middle Eastern bread from scratch and it is the best I have ever had, better even than Bacchus in Bethesda. This place is a hidden gem and I hope chowhounds check it out.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ken

            This has been closed for years too...
            .....resurrecting threads from 5 years ago.

          2. FYI - There was a recent post that Cypriana's has closed their Calvert Street location and will be using the Baltimore Street location (inside UMMC) as their mainstay. Though their falafel is great and they are open late, it is not convenient unless you are an employee of UMMC or a patient (or are visiting a patient). I was lucky enough (said tongue in cheek) to have been visiting someone there for 13 straight days. Needless to say, I had my fill.

            If you don't want to deal with the hospital traffic (and I wouldn't blame you), I'd try Shapiro's Cafe in Mt. Vernon.

            1. I respectfully disagree with the recs for Cypriana below. Their falafel was not especially hot or crispy and the falafel balls were typically too large to be properly cooked. My general impression of their falafel in pita was that it was too large and gloppy.

              Shapiros cafe on Preston Street in Mt Vernon has excellent falafel and stuffed grape leaves -- also good schwarma and corned beef.

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              Cypriana Cafe
              120 E Baltimore St Ste L1, Baltimore, MD 21202

              1 Reply
              1. re: lawhound

                I agree with Lawhound. I went to Cypriana yesterday at UMMC and was completely disappointed. As said above, the falafel was soggy and honestly not very flavorful. I totally agree that the falafel balls were too large to be properly cooked. Furthermore I asked for no onions (as I hate raw onions) take a big first bite - onions.

                I'll give them one more chance, maybe with a gyro.

              2. King's Grilled Kabob, on The Avenue in Hampden, has great falafel. The rest of the menu is fantastic as well, by far the best pita in Baltimore.

                2 Replies
                1. re: edresner

                  Always hoping to find good falafel here in Baltimore, I took edresner's recommendation last week and tried King's Grilled Kabob's falafel on the Avenue. Sorry to report (and maybe it was an off night?) that the falafel was the same dry, overcooked, over-sized kind that seems to be de riguer here in B'more. I'll keep looking... Tahina's is next followed by Sunshine Grill.

                  1. re: elspeth mcdoodle

                    Haven't tried the falafel at KIng's Kabob, but I ate there Friday night and thought that the freshly made bread/pita and baba ganouj were better than that served at any restaurant of its type, much better than Bacchus and even significantly better than Lebanese Taverna. My lam kabob was better than those served at Maiwan Kabob and The Helmand. To sum up, this place is a treasure, not to be missed.

                2. This might be a hike, but Tahina's in Owings Mills has faabulous falafels. They are green inside (not brown) -- sign of a true falafel. They have a super crunchy and aromatic coating of crushed coriander seeds that just gets crunchier after deep frying... deeply satisfying. I always want to pluck these from my rollup and eat them with my fingers. The place hums along like a Chipotle, but the service is friendlier, kinder, more personal. I once met a weightlifter who professed he couldn't get enough of the place and would load up on the hot wraps (loaded with meat, of course).

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                  Chipotle
                  14925 Shady Grove Rd Unit L, Rockville, MD 20850

                  1. So far, the best falafel I have eaten (outside of the NYC area) is at the Sunshine Grille in Fork, MD. It come complete with a mythology. As the owner tells it, he served a Greek version of falafel that was handed down to him. An Egyptian patron told him that it wasn't even close and gave him his recipe. Whatever the origin, it is spectacular. In fact, so good, that they have sold out on occasion (when I needed it most). http://www.sunshinegrille.com/

                    1. Max's in Wheaton. Worth the drive. As close as you get to an authentic Israeli Falafel and Schwarma stand. Kosher so closed Friday nite and Saturday

                      1. Shapiro's Cafe right off Charles St and W Preston.. love love love the falafel and other food, though the pita itself used to fall apart a lot.. might have changed now but honestly its worth it, please go!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Turkeybone

                          Second Shapiro's!! Went on saturday and was very pleased. No problem with the pita falling apart :)

                          1. re: jeninfocus

                            I had Shapiro's again recently. It is great. Kosher Bite and King's are also good. There are a lot of good suggestions in this thread. I will try the place at the JCC next.

                        2. I hate to keep this nay-saying going in this chain, but I didn't think Shapiro's falafel was all the rage either (though if you happen to be there and hungry, go to soup's on next door, it's amazing). Hands down best falafel I've had in Baltimore is at the farmer's market, the same people serve them Saturday at Charles Village and Sunday under the JFX, and they are awesome. Not authentic middle eastern to be sure, because they're served in a whole wheat wrap with seasonal fruits and vegetables on top, but the toppings are awesome, and the falafel itself is wonderfully crispy and flavorful.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: oliviainbmore

                            While I agree that the falafel at the JFX market is delicious, I've had extremely hit-or-miss service, and I don't ask for a whole lot in terms of service from a cart/stand. Last time I tried to order, the woman who took my order got all my toppings wrong and gave me the blankest stare I've ever seen when I tried to point out what had happened. Yeah, it's early in the morning, but come on...

                            Too bad about Cypriana; I haven't been there in several years, but the falafel used to be quite good.

                          2. Kosher Bite - so yummy!!!!

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                            Kosher Bite
                            6309 Reisterstown Rd, Baltimore, MD 21215

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Prettypoodle

                              I am coming back to this thread with some good news: I had excellent falafel recently at a place down in Locust Point on Fort Avenue called Baba's. The gentleman who owns the place is delightfully friendly and all of the dishes I tried were tasty --- tabouli, hummus, lamb soup with orzo... We also tried the falafel sandwich. The falafel itself was crisp, moist-yet-grainy, and drizzled with a tangy tahini sauce. Even the coffee is delicious. The owner says it's a special roast made even more special with a bit of cardamom, which complements the mellow nutty flavor really well. To respond to oliviainbaltimore, I don't think this thread is naysaying as much as an honest exploration for good falafel in the Baltimore area. Sounds we've got a few good options now! I am eager to try the JFX market version. Thanks for posting that.

                              1. re: Prettypoodle

                                I tried Tov Pizza's falafel instead. It was pretty good, but now I will have to try Kosher Bite. thanks for the suggestion PrettyPoodle. Your handle cracks me up. You must look like Andre the Giant.

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                                Tov Pizza
                                6313 Reisterstown Rd, Baltimore, MD 21215

                                Kosher Bite
                                6309 Reisterstown Rd, Baltimore, MD 21215

                              2. I agree with shnacks post about Tahina's in Owings Mills. It's a Mediteranian flavors fast food joint, but VERY TASTY and fresh. Besides yummy falafels they are the only place I know that have Eggplant fries which are wonderful too. REALLY worthy place to try.

                                1. I really like the falafel at the Eden Cafe at the Jewish community Center on Park Heights Ave. I think that they make great Israeli style falafel. I wouldn't recommend much else there though.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: LittleNorthwest

                                    Coming to town and wonder if there are any updates on this post?
                                    Who's got the falafellest falafel nowadays?