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Where could i find the best falafels and M.E. cuisine in LA?

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My friend has never had a falafel before and i would like to have her first experience be a good one. Preferably one in the UCLA area, but it doesn't have to be.

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  1. I've never been, but there's a Falafel Cafe next to Damon & Pythias in Westwood. I hope it's still there. The place was usually packed during lunch.

    1 Reply
    1. re: chica

      Yes it's still there and it's called the Falafel King - 1 & 1/2 block south of UCLA campus on Broxton with 1 hour free parking across the street.

    2. I think Pita Kitchen (Van Nuys Blvd at Ventura, next to the newsstand) has excellent falafel, and would be moderately close to UCLA. Actually, I went there last night and had the falafel lavash wrap, which was real good, although I think next time I'll revert back to having them as a "plate," so their crunchiness can be more readily appreciated.

      Falafel Palace, in Northridge (Reseda. Blvd near Plummer), used to be my favorite restaurant in the whole world, but the falafel is only part of the picture here. The side dishes, ranging from marinated mushrooms, to two different ways of eggplant, tabouli, avocado salad .... they're all good, and the combo platter gets you a scoop of each of them, plus a few falafels and a stack of pita bread (tip: buy an extra dozen pita and ask them to warm six or seven of them on the grill for you). This is admittedly farther from UCLA than you probably wanted to go, but for an overall first sampling of middle eastern food (in this case, Israeli), I can't think of a better suggestion.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ladelfa

        You mentioned my two favorite places for pita. Highly reco Pita Kitchen...Abe and the crew do an amazing job. High quality ingredients, huge portions and ridiculously cheap prices for what you get. Love Falafel palace for the assortment of pita accoutrements to choose from. I also love their small falafel plate which comes with a little bit of everything, it's wonderful!

      2. Saca's Mediterranean in the Claremont Village (of all places) has some of the best falafel I've ever tasted. A few friends and I have tried here and there to find better but failed. So keep it in mind if you ever find ourself way out east on the 10.

        1. The best falafel sandwich is to be had at Top Falafel (6424 1/4 Coldwater Canyon, N. Hollywood)... I also like Amir's Falafel in Studio City. That said, Top Falafel splits the falafel so you don't get the whole crunch experience -- but it's still REALLY good.

          1. I second Pita Kitchen!

            1. I recently ate at Falafel King, in Westwood Village, after a LOOONG hiaitus, and while it was decent, I would suggest you take your friend somewhere else for their first try.

              They have excellent middle eastern food, including falafels, at Sunnin Cafe, on Westwood Blvd., just north of Santa Monica. Here's a link to Sunnin's webpage, with menu and exact address:

              http://www.sunnin.com/sitemain.htm

              2 Replies
              1. re: DanaB

                i second sunin... just walk down Westwood from campus and it is right there on the right hand side just before Santa Monica Blvd.

                1. re: DanaB

                  sunin makes their falafal in advance and reheats it in a microwave that is located right next to the fryer. this means that the falafal is soggy.
                  also, they assemble the falafal sandwiches with the tahini sauce and wrap them up in tin foil and heat the whole thing over the grill. this means that the bread becomes a soggy mess by the time it is handed to the customer.

                2. Sunnin has very good falafel, fresh out of the fryer. But it is a LONG walk from UCLA. Parking can be tough -- the counterman told me one can park in the lower level Ross lot north up the street.

                  1. you can look at other posts on recent days regarding similar issues but there are some of us
                    that won't go to sunnin. i wouldn't eat their felafel and don't find any of the places in westwood to be decent when it comes to this dish.

                    you should feel great after you eat someone's felafel but if they don't change the oil and pick a decent oil and make their batters fresh with good garbanzos etc. then you come out feeling heavy, a bit off. the places with long lines are often no better than any others.

                    i've heard of one place in the valley but haven't been yet, b/c even that is supposed to be fair, according to people i know that make incredible felafel at home.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: epop

                      What place is that?

                      1. re: Das Ubergeek

                        sorry but my friend is out of town who told me the name but i lost it. it is the one place he will go.

                    2. you might give the hungry pocket on pico and 17th in santa monica a try.
                      they have a very limited menu, but their falafal is great, always prepared to order, never soggy. unlike sunin, there isn't a microwave in the place. the bread is warmed and the sandwich is assembled the second before it is handed to you.

                      1. i'm not walking to whereever i'm going (classes havent started yet) i'm just picking my friend up from her summer school and driving back to Moorpark where we live outside of the school year..

                        I've been to the middle east and i'm looking specifically for falafels that are the closest to the ones you can get there.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Aubstopper

                          pale imitations are about all one finds here. most of it is that most people don't know so restaurant owners don't care.

                          1. re: Aubstopper

                            Then you should definitely pick Falafel Palace. Cruise up Reseda Blvd., eat, then keep going north, get on the 118 and go West out to Moorpark that way.

                            Afterwards, post here and let us know how they measured up.

                            1. re: ladelfa

                              what makes their's great? just curious... i will head up there, but can't for about 10 days. i believe this is the place someone mentioned as well

                              1. re: epop

                                I mentioned it in an earlier post, but they're an interesting choice for pita due to the shear variety of toppings for your falafel/pita sandwich. Also, the food there is very, very fresh....cooked to order and seasoned well and tasty. They must have like 25 different toppings from marinated/roasted eggplant, babaganoush, guacamole, different cheeses, roasted peppers, marinated mushrooms, the list goes on and on. Also convenient on Reseda Blvd which is close to the 101 and 118 Fwys.

                          2. I'm surprised no one has mentioned Moishe's kiosk at the Farmer's Market. I'm a Middle Eastern food fanatic and theirs is the best I've had in L.A.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: omotosando

                              Moishe's is pretty good, but it didn't knock me out the couple times I've had it.

                              I don't know if they're still in business, but Eema's Market in Woodland Hills (on Ventura just east of Topanga Cyn Blvd) used to make fairly decent falafel, and I loved their house hotsauce. Anyone else ever been there? The lady behind the counter was always pretty grumpy whenever I went.

                            2. SUnnin's was the first I had that mixed fava beans in with the garbanzo bean(humus/chickpea) in the felafel

                              Although the OP is asking about Westwood, the title is asking about LA, so for others who are checking, I'd add Amir's in studio city for another goodsource of felafel.

                              1. My friend has been talking about a middle eastern dessert that he had recently....he described it as kinda like a split glazed donut with creme in the middle. Anyone know where I can find them?