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Sep 19, 2007 01:36 PM

Best falafel in Philly?

What say you, Chowhoundies?

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  1. Two clear winners for me: Mama's Vegetarian at 20th and Market, for classic Israeli falafel with lovely soft homemade pita bread. They are closed on all the upcoming Jewish Holidays, so it might be tricky to get there in the next few weeks. The falafel guy at I think it's 21st and Market does amazing falafel sandwiches or platters with an array of interesting amazing salads and toppings that differ every day, like sauteed romaine hearts or marinated red grapes. Thank you.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Bride of the Juggler

      Falafel guy is at 20th & Market, northeast corner adjacent to the grassy lot. Amazing stuff. Get there early or there will be quite a queue.

      1. re: JugglerDave

        Can anyone tell me what kind of platters the Falafel guy has? I always want to try a platter but I end up caving and getting a falafel. Falafel guy definitely gets my vote for best falafel in the city!!

        1. re: sheskrafty23

          I thoguht your only choices are sandwich or platter, falafel (vegetarian) or chicken. Thank you.

          1. re: Bride of the Juggler

            ...and when I was there a couple months ago, the option of insanely hot delicious peppers. Or was that insanely delicious hot peppers?

        1. re: Bride of the Juggler

          Do you know when falafel guy is there? Is it just lunch hours on weekdays, or is he there after business hours or on weekends?

          1. re: Dib

            there is an old article up on his cart that says the hours are 11-2. I've never been there early or late so I can't be sure.

            That cart is in the top 5 felafel I have eaten anywhere in the world, and possibly in my top street meals ever too. I'm always trying to find an excuse to be in that area at lunchtime.. he is so nice and ties up my bag tightly since it goes on the back of my bike.

        2. My personal fave is Philly Falafel (1740 Sansom St., 215-569-8999). Their condiment/"salad" bar is insane, and the fries that come w/ the falafel special are great.

          9 Replies
          1. re: drewlazor

            I really like this place as well.

            1. re: drewlazor

              I find Philly Falafel too bland. My vote is for Mama's, with second place going to the decorated cart at 20th and Market.

                1. re: isadorasmama

                  the felafel, hummus and tahini at mama's are excellent. all three i've never had better anywhere else!!!
                  mama's has two locations: 20th + market, and 6 + south. though south st is usually not my favorite place to spend time (it smells like a freakin carnival, and not the good carnival smells, either), i actually prefer the south st location just slightly. they have meat (does 'al pastor' apply to meat across the ethnic board? they have that vertical open oven thinger there for the meats, and they take shavings off of it) at the south st location. 20th st location is vegetarian only.

                  the elusive felafel guy still has not been around any time i find myself in that area.

                  1. re: rabidog

                    just answered my own question - thanks wikipedia! in middle eastern cuisine, vertically cooked meat is apparently called shawarma. not that that bit of trivia does any good for a vegetarian. :)

                    1. re: rabidog

                      thanks for the info. my husband was in the city yesterday and brought back aliyan's hummus. it used to be our absolute favorite when we were city dwellers. hmmm, not sure it's so yummy anymore. it has a funky, metallic aftertaste.
                      looking forward to trying mama's the next time i make it into town. and i'm definitely into trying the middle eastern version of al pastor!! :)

                      1. re: isadorasmama

                        I always liked King of Falafel which I think is at 15th and Market, opposite the now-defunct visitor's center. Only problem is that the garlic quotient is so high, it's difficult to have it for lunch without insulting the entire office that afternoon! I will have to try some of the others mentioned here, though.

                        1. re: 60s Girl

                          16th and JFK. excellent falafel sandwich

                2. re: Cruz

                  I also am not a big fan of philly falafel, very bland compared to Isreali street food.