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Israeli Falafel

BGRose Jul 17, 2006 12:38 AM

Even though it's been a while, I still remember the taste of the falafels I had on the corners of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. They tasted very different than any falafel I've had here--somehow lighter, yet sharper and more flavorful. Can anyone recommend a place that makes "Israeli-style" falafels? (I've tried several kosher cafes and none of them come close.)

  1. tamasha Jul 31, 2006 08:57 PM

    Taim at the intersection of Waverly & 7th Avenue South (and sort of Perry too, near Doma) is phenomenal, and definitely Israeli. It was my favorite place when I lived in the neighborhood. The service is a little slow, but it's worth it for the food. I love the harissa falafel and the beet salad.

    1. d
      Dave Feldman Jul 31, 2006 03:42 AM

      I've always found falafel and humus to be a particularly lousy combination. I think falafel combines better with something acidic and/or spicy, like Azuri's chopped salad or Ali's hot sauce at Kabab Cafe. When Ali has mercy on me, he doesn't put the falafel on the humus on the appetizer plate.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Dave Feldman
        big o Jul 31, 2006 04:53 PM

        Acidic and spicy -- that's what the bottle of lemon juice and schug are for. Still, much as I'd like to force you to enjoy the combined pleasures of humus and falafel, I ain't gonna.

        1. re: big o
          a_and_w Jul 31, 2006 09:04 PM

          big o, have you tried the hummus at Azuri? Same consistency as hoomos aslii but with a little kick from parsley(?). So good I buy it by the tub and eat it alone...

          1. re: a_and_w
            big o Aug 1, 2006 05:08 PM

            I haven't branched out on humus much since being so thoroughly disappointed by Hummus Place, but I'm willing to take a shot. Thanks for the rec.

      2. b
        big o Jul 28, 2006 02:51 PM

        I prefer Hoomoos Asli to all of the places thus-far mentioned.

        Their "hoomoos falafel" is a nice-sized bowl of humus (for my money, better than that found at Hummus Place) on top of which rest five freshly-made falafels. They serve it with a little bowl of burning schug, some Israeli salad, and fresh pita that is incalculably better than the bagged crap you get at most falafel joints, and still notable when compared to other restaurants' freshly-made versions.

        1. b
          BGRose Jul 28, 2006 12:18 PM

          Thanks for all the responses. I did fo to Azuri's last night and yes, it was falafel just as I remembered it on the streets of Tel Aviv (I recommend the platter, which had the same delicious chopped salad I remembered as well). Chicken shishkebob was equally as good. Owner wasn't quite as awful as I had heard, but he certainly wasn't welcoming. Pitas were more like round slabs of Wonder Bread.

          1. c
            chai18 Jul 27, 2006 10:17 AM

            you could also try ali baba's has great shwarma and felafal

            1. j
              jth Jul 26, 2006 10:28 PM

              Interesting there was just an article about this in the NY Times Dining section


              1. s
                Schveinhund Jul 25, 2006 04:39 PM

                I recently tasted the falafel at Rectangles on the upper east side, and I must say they were great...nice and spicy with parsley in the batter. Crispy too...In fact, I'm going to have to revisit soon...

                4 Replies
                1. re: Schveinhund
                  hana Jul 25, 2006 04:43 PM

                  rectangles is a great restaurant. the food is really really good.

                  1. re: Schveinhund
                    editedby Jul 26, 2006 09:54 PM

                    I liked the rectangles in the east village, but never had falafel there.
                    I went to Azuri and Rainbow over the last couple of days.
                    Azuri was good can't say great, I don't care for the pita he's using; oh yeah he's still a jerk! Rainbow was good, much better than I remembered; there was a short line at lunch.
                    I've been going to Chickpea (14th street) and enjoying the Chicken Schwarma very much; don't care for the falafels though.

                    1. re: editedby
                      a_and_w Jul 31, 2006 04:03 PM

                      You prefer the pita at Rainbow to Azuri's? I strongly disagree -- the former always falls apart.

                    2. re: Schveinhund
                      frankiii Jul 31, 2006 04:03 AM

                      i tried Rectangles in the East Village a year or two ago (is it still open) and found that while some of the items where good it compared poorly to the other eastern Mediterranean places i had eaten at. That said, my palate may be more adjusted to Lebanese and Syrian versions as that is mainly what we have in southern Louisiana. But, i think the falafel was the stand out item.

                    3. e
                      editedby Jul 25, 2006 03:16 PM

                      I found that long post, most of it was unhelpful, except for the fact that it contained this link:

                      1. c
                        Cackboy Jul 19, 2006 02:47 AM

                        There's a long thread on the different kinds of Falafel if you search...

                        But another candidate for Israeli Falafel (my personal favorite kind) is Murray's on 1st and 15th. Chowhounds never seem to mention it, but on both my visits it's been excellent, especially with the spicy green sauce.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Cackboy
                          keith Jul 26, 2006 10:01 PM

                          I would second Murray's. The best Falafel and Schwarma I've found to date. They also serve it (on request) with Amba, the pungent mango-based sauce served on sandwiches almost everywhere in Israel.

                          1. re: keith
                            Pan Jul 27, 2006 08:47 AM

                            Funny, I was quite underwhelmed by their shawarma when I tried it back in January or December.

                            1. re: Pan
                              keith Jul 28, 2006 01:23 PM

                              Interesting. What was it that you weren't fond of? Granted, it's very different from an Arab Shwarma, but I think it holds up nicely against the versions you find in Israel, especially if authentically topped with some Israeli Salad, Tahini, Hot Sauce and Amba.

                              1. re: keith
                                Pan Jul 29, 2006 05:03 AM

                                I found it somewhat dry and tasteless - underspiced, I think. It's hard to remember distinctly because I didn't find it memorable. Maybe I should give it another shot. My standby is Chickpea, because it's closest to me. I didn't like the amba there too much but add tahini and hot sauce to my chicken shawarma or Chickplant sandwich.

                        2. e
                          editedby Jul 18, 2006 07:41 PM

                          What constitutes an Israeli falafel and how is it different from say a Lebanese falafel? I'm told that Egyptians sometimes make falafels out of fava beans as opposed to chickpeas, that's something I'd like to try.

                          1. streamwise Jul 17, 2006 03:58 AM

                            Chickpea is Israeli (http://www.chickpearestaurant.com/ind...). I like their falafel, although I don't know if it is what you are looking for.

                            1. b
                              binkis Jul 17, 2006 12:39 AM

                              Azuri Cafe on 51st between 9th and 10th has incredible Israeli falafel.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: binkis
                                a_and_w Jul 17, 2006 04:04 PM

                                Second the rec of Azuri, which is easily my favorite falafel in manhattan. Two other excellent Israeli-style falafel places are Pick-A-Pita (38th btw 7th and 8th) and Taim (Waverly btw 11th and Perry). I'm addicted to the schawafel at the former, and the latter is almost as good as Azuri with a lot less attitude.

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