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Good, falafel Union Square, not Rainbow?

I'm craving a falafel, but feel like venturing out from Rainbow Falafel. Anybody with suggestions for a cheap and yummy falafel in Union Square?

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  1. There's a Chickpea on like 14th and 2nd or 3rd.

    1 Reply
    1. Maoz on Union Sq. East has had some great write-ups, although I haven't been there to try it yet.

      1. Maoz is soooo good! I love the cauliflower and all of the other fixins' at their salad bar. Try it out. I think they're better than ChickPea.

        6 Replies
        1. re: ChowDiva

          I personally find Maoz a bit disappointing. I have also heard rumors that the company is very politically oriented, which I find to be somewhat distasteful in a restaurant. Mamoun's near NYU (or there's a new one on St. Marks) is the New York classic and only costs $3 or so. Really delicious lentil soup, too. This would be a 15 min walk from Union Square, at most.

            1. re: Neu FM

              I honestly do not understand what the attraction is to Mamoun's aside from hype and price. The falafel itself is very dry, the bread is unremarkable and the sauces don't quite work. Perhaps the Palestinian falafel I ate as a child is a different style from Israeli falafel, but I really cannot understand why anyone would choose dry, bland falafel over moist, crunchy and flavorful ones.

              1. re: JungMann

                I'm confused -- Mamoun's is not Israeli-style. I do, however, agree that there's much better falafel to be had in the city.

                1. re: a_and_w

                  When I was at NYU, I heard a lot of people favorably compare Mamoun's to the falafel they had in Israel. In fact, I thought the owners were Israeli.

                  1. re: JungMann

                    Weird...I've never had falafel in Israel, but I've had lots of Israeli-style falafel, and it's very different from what Mamoun's serves. As I recall, Mamoun's doesn't even put the standard cucumber/tomato salad (let alone cole slaw, fries, etc.) on their sandwiches.

          1. I didn't hear back soon enough, darn it, and my craving got the best of me. I went to Rainbow and boy, was I disappointed. I had tabouli with my falafel and it was so salty I couldn't eat it. And the falafel itself was way salty as well. I have no idea what happened, maybe this is an isolated incident, at least I'd like to think so as my memories of this place was good. After today, I really do not want to go back. Thank you for the suggestions as I will definitely try them soon!

            2 Replies
            1. re: ny.frenchfry

              rainbow was terrible the last time i had it as well. i hate wasting food, but most of my lunch went in the bin. maoz was no better - dense, dry, oversalted patties. next time i get a felafel craving, i'm going to try the new branch of olympic pita that recently opened on 12th or 13th and university.

              1. re: wleatherette

                Wait...what?! They've opened ANOTHER Olympic Pita in Manhattan? If so, that's easily your best bet in the area...

                ETA: There is indeed an Olympic Pita Express on 12th btw 5th and University. Try the falafel in laffa...

            2. I don't care for Chickpea, although I know many disagree. Although the pita is good (they make it there) the falafel is dense and heavy and the salad is uninteresting. I won't try Maoz because they have a toppings bar where anyone can help him/herself, and I just can't do that type of dining in NYC. The next time you have a craving, please try Taim on Waverly, just past Seventh Ave. South. The pita is incredible, the falafel is made to order, and the salads are amazing. It's a 5 or 10 minute walk that is totally worth it.

              1. I personally don't think anywhere compares to Taim in the West Village. I know i's not that close to Union Square but ChickPea is a complete joke in comparison., so it's worth the trip west. Taim has the single freshest pita I've ever tasted, creamy hummus, creative and delicious falafel, and overall the ingredients are extremely fresh and flavorful.

                1 Reply
                1. re: billyeats

                  Your description is dead on. I wish I knew where they get their pita! I heard someone ask once and they were very protective / evasive... It is up there with Queen's Pita, maybe better.

                2. Yess Taim is one of the best places in Manhattan for falafels. For the union square(ish) area I like Murray's falafel on 1st between 15th and 16th. Huge falafel for a good price.

                  1. haven't tried it but everyone i work with loves the falafel at 'push' on 3rd at 23rd...i myself love maoz....

                    1. I had Maoz for the first time in Philly, then in Barcelona. I was overjoyed when they opened in Union Square... I really think they are delicious. The bar of salads (ESPECIALLY the fried broccoli/cauliflower) is amazing, and the falafel balls are perfect-- just enough green, and not dry at all. I lived in Israel and am pretty picky about falafel-- this is the best I've had since I was there.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: peachfuzz8

                        I totally agree. While a bit pricey for falafel, Maoz can be a real treat. The eggplant is tasty, and the salad bar is spectacular. The fried broccoli is a must try!

                      2. maybe too far for ya, but pita city - 7th/19-20th - is great

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: holland_oats

                          I could use a walk! I'll try it this afternoon. Thanks!

                        2. Add another vote for Maoz. I had it last month and absolutely loved it. I'm really picky about my falafel because I grew up eating really good Israeli falafel, and the stuff at Maoz is great (not to mention the awesome toppings bar!)

                          Mamoun's is not good at all. Don't bother with it.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: scarlet starlet

                            Afghan Halal is a cart right outside the Best Buy. Fella with a salt and pepper beard, more salt than pepper, makes a mean gyro. Really good, vouch for that, and I had a bite of someone's falafel that was a tasty treat. Haven't had a whole one on my lonesome but worth checking out. Anyone else had it? Bueller...?

                            1. re: sebastianxx

                              went to taim today on recommendation of this board.

                              it was great. I'll be there again.