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Best Falafel In Toronto

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Wanted to do a quick poll to see where people are enjoying falafels from in Toronto.

Yummi's at Yonge and Eg used to be decent (never my fave though) but I went there a few weeks ago and it was not so "yummi". I would have enjoyed a falafel from the old food court staple Aida's a WHOLE lot more.

My favourite falafel on the planet is from L'As de Falafel in Paris (love the eggplant!). Looking for something in Toronto that's pretty accessible (along the subway line... no treks to Richmond Hill or Thornhill!)

Curious to hear people's thoughts on this...

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  1. Red and White near Yonge & Wellesley is my current favourite. Ghazale is an old fave, but I've heard that it's inconsistent recently.

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    Ghazale
    504 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S1Y3, CA

    Red & White
    519 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4Y1Y3, CA

    1. Ugh. The linking software won't allow me to remove an incorrect link. It's not particularly Mac-friendly I think.

      -----
      Ghazale
      504 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S1Y3, CA

      Red & White
      519 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4Y1Y3, CA

      1 Reply
      1. re: xtal

        The way to work around it is to be very exact with the name of the restaurant and/or address, so that's the only location that comes up. I've added the correct link but I can't remove the other.

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        Red & White
        519 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4Y1Y3, CA

      2. I love L'as de Falafel. I have yet to find anything here equivalent so I can't help you out there. I can torture you by posting a picture of our falafel from L'as! I miss their schwarmas too. For my falafel and schwarma fix but again nowhere helpful to you since it's way off the subway line, is in London Ontario at Barakat's. Sarah's in town does an okay schwarma in a pinch but not something I would say satisfying if you're comparing to L'as!

         
        4 Replies
        1. re: fickle

          I loved Barakat's while I was at Western! Have you ever tried their Beef Kebab wrap medium rare? It's delicious! Shwarmas were excellent and their garlic sauce is KILLER!

          1. re: gtafoodie

            I haven't tried their beef kebab wrap yet, I'll have to check it out next weekend when we're down there for my MIL's bday bash. She lives 2 blocks away so it's quite handy to swing by. We always pick up a container of the garlic sauce (it is killer!) and the purple cabbage to bring home.

            1. re: fickle

              I definately second that.Barakat was great although I hate when the premake the shwarmas for the late night crowd. I always had the Mala salad with extra of all the sauces...my fav was the purple cabbage as well.

          2. re: fickle

            Having just returned from paris I have to agree...though am still searching

          3. If you're willing to travel, SABABA, in a Strip mall on the North side of Steeles just west of Yonge, IS AMAZGING. and so cheap.

            4 Replies
            1. re: LemonLauren

              +1 for Sababa. I get my parents to bring it downtown every w/e. Best value. Solid Humus and Tcheena (I usually get 80% Humus with 20% Tcheena and a table spoon or 2 of their red hot sauce on top). They also have a little grocery store where you can buy Israeli pickles,olives, Chalva, Bisli and Malt Beer.

              1. re: DDD

                I third the motion for best price/quality:
                - great falafel and a full range of pita sandwiches...I combine eggplant and falafel with some teheena, hummous and hot sauce,,,
                -terrific lentil soup (which sounds ghood today with the snow)
                -nice family running it as well, father Sam from Haifa once upon a time

              2. re: LemonLauren

                Sababa's a great deal. Not the best felafel I've ever had but definitely reminiscent of an Israeli bus stop felafel. Cheap. Always cooked through. Decent hot sauce.

                1. re: LemonLauren

                  Sababa does have great falafel. If you're in Thornhill there are actually a ton of great Middle Eastern spots. My favorites are Bagel Nash and Shoom Shoom both in Longos plaza on Bayview, people also like Miva Me, although I say it's just ok.

                  -----
                  Sababa
                  390 Steeles W, Thornhill, ON L4J6X6, CA

                  Bagel Nash
                  7355 Bayview Ave, Markham, ON L3T, CA

                2. Hole in the wall Lebanese (?) take-out place with a couple chairs. Falafels are made fresh on order. Very busy during lunch.

                  -----
                  Eat a Pita
                  6 Cumberland St, Toronto, ON M4W1J5, CA

                  1. My favorite is Mediterranean Gardens, 1440 Yonge 1/2 block South of St Clair on the West side, 416 929 7795. Very fresh ingredients. They try to use organic as much as possible. Run by a friendly Israeli family.

                    1. Despite what everyone else says, I think Ghazale is very sub-standard as far as falafels go. They pre-make them and then give you a microwave-zap to heat it up, which doesn't treat the vegetables well.

                      I lean toward an old stalwart of Laila Falafel (http://www.hyperadvantage.com/laila/) which is across the street from Ghazale. The amazingly friendly and patient older gentleman who owns the joint pretty much runs it himself and to his credit I find the food excellent, in particular the falafel. He will make each falafel fresh for you on your order, and no microwaving -- your veggies remain crisp and cool, which plays well off the hot and tangy falafels themselves.

                      Back about 10 years ago in my late teens he explained to me piece by piece all the food he sold, what was tastiest, how it was prepared etc. Quite a treat for a budding mind and he continues to this day to be one of the most pleasant shop keepers around. I can thank him for my love of pickled turnip.

                      Another amazing tip: A large container of fresh made hummus at his store costs about 4 bucks, and he'll throw in a bag of fried pita chips if you ask nicely. Its about twice the quantity of the regular pre-made garbage hummus you get at the grocery store, and about fifty times as good.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: ryth

                        I second Laila. My falafel orders are always made fresh to order and the service is adorable. I think they have a two-for-one special sometimes; and if I order to eat-in for myself he'll make the second one while I am eating so it's fresher when I take it home.

                        I find the Bloor St. Ghazale to be over-rated and was extremely disappointed with how my falafel was made (microwaved! ripped up pita!) and subsequently fell apart on my only visit to the College St. location.

                        I also enjoy College Street Falafel (College, just north of Ossington). The falafels are the right texture of crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

                        1. re: nicopop

                          I agree with Ghazale being overrated,I mean they microwave (Shwarma/Falafael) it in front of you,it is such a big put off.....

                          1. re: warlock

                            i agree, the blatant microwaving is not acceptable!

                            1. re: wontonfm

                              Interestingly, I lived in Ottawa for 2 years and EVERY joint in the city pre-fries their falafels and microwaves them. In fact in many places they don't even warm them up, but crush them into the pita cold (which while different certainly ruins the crispy texture pleasure of eating one).

                              That said I found the shawarma in Ottawa to be a far superior beast to Toronto. Fresher higher quality chicken in even the worst places I found, and that peculiar garlic spread they use is tops... as long as you don't have to go on a date later in the week (it seriously has THAT much of a lingering aftertaste).

                        2. re: ryth

                          I was at Laila's yesterday and REALLY enjoyed my falafel. It was so tasty and fresh and overall delicious! I kind of want another one today.

                          I happened to be at Bathurst and Bloor yesterday and had a vague memory from this thread that there were two falafel places near each other and that one was a lot better. But for the life of me I couldn't remember which one was the better one. I chose Laila because I was already on that side of the street. I'm glad I did!

                          My only complaint is that I wish the falafel came with more interesting toppings other than lettuce, tomato and parsley. Despite that it was yummy.

                          WON
                          http://whatsonmyplate.wordpress.com

                        3. Thanks for the recs! I'm surprised there hasn't been an overwhelming majority on one place. Can't wait to try some of these places.

                          1. Mr. Pita at Dundas and Runnymede makes a mean falafel. The falafel balls are made on the premises, and they fry them only once you order. The hummus and hot sauce are delicious, and they have pickled beets as a topping, too (my favourite). The guy who owns the place is delightful. Give it a try!

                            1. King Falafel (Moroccan) at the SW corner of Bathurst and Eglinton. Their falafel is a thing of beauty, and they actually use a frying pan to cook them up in. They also have a great homemade tahini, so just ask for a small container of it and have a treat dunking your falafels in the paste. Their pitas are pretty small, that's the only thing.

                              My first choice would've been Sofra Grill up at Dufferin and 407, as they used to make amazing falafels back when they opened a year ago. Unfortunately, the falafels have been fairly shoddy the past couple of times I went, so I'll reserve judgement for now.

                              Sababa's really good, but you gotta make sure you have a fresh batch.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: Chester Eleganté

                                I love King Falafel. You're right about the size of the pitas, but I still prefer theirs over most other places wraps. There pitas are pretty thick and in the shape of a cup which I find makes for a cleaner and tastier meal.

                                1. re: Chester Eleganté

                                  I definitely have to third the King Falafel rec, I recently had my first and was pleasantly surprised. What I liked especially was the texture of the falafel - so nice and crispy outside, meltingly soft inside, and really well seasoned to boot. I've had hockey pucks before, and these were on the other end of the spectrum. I also like how soft and fluffy the pita was. A solid product all around.

                                  1. re: sgogo

                                    Is there a reasonable seating area in King Falafel? And what kind of fillings do they have to go with? (I tend to get bored with just tahini, lettuce and tomato----Tov Li and Red & White have spoiled me.)

                                    1. re: Ediblethoughts

                                      I think that there are 4 or 5 tables, but there's also a small, attached cafe with tables. I'm not quite sure how they deal with it. The quality is great at King Falafel--you see the same women, since it's a family operation. Definitely only a few fillings--tomato, lettuce, tahini--but, as I said, the quality of everything is high.

                                  2. re: Chester Eleganté

                                    I've been eating at KF since they first opened back in 1978. Used to always be amazed at how he seemed to always have fresh red ripe tomatoes all year that didn't taste like wood and the best hot sauce i've ever had in a felafel place. Things have chanegd some over 30 years but he's still pretty good and the closest thing I've seen to the felafel in Israel.

                                  3. I still think the Jerusalem on Eglinton still has the best Falafel balls by far. They are far crunchier than anywhere else I've tried. I normally take out an order of 1/2 dozen balls, small humous, small med salad, bag of pita and an order of garlicky fried tomatoes. When put all together, it's hard to find a tastier (albeit messier) sandwich!!

                                    7 Replies
                                    1. re: robb

                                      Since I moved from Parkdale, I really miss the Tuesday 2 for 1 Falafel special at Ali Baba's on Queen West. Really tasty hot sauce, pickled red cabbage and best of all - two for $2.99 !

                                      I haven't tried the other Ali Baba locations but I can vouch for the Parkdale one.

                                      marie

                                      1. re: mariecollins

                                        The Ali Baba's on Dundas West (s. of Bloor) also has this special. They make them a bit smaller, but they're still fresh and I like that the way they heat them up.
                                        You sometimes have to ask for the cabbage, but they'll definitely include it if you do. A couple of the staff have issues with packing the pita well, but overall, worth it for the price.

                                      2. re: robb

                                        I second Jerusalem. I love the crunchiness of the falafel and the spices inside the balls are evenly distributed. We usually order take-out and and my husband will put any leftover garlicky fried tomatoes on just about anything- pasta included.

                                        Jeruslem's dinner for 2 @ $34.00 is a bargain with three skewers of meat (beef, lamb or chicken), pita, 6 falafel balls, humous, baba ganouj, med salad, rice, olives and pickles, fried tomatoes (aforementioned) or fried eggplant, and tabouli. It definitely feeds at least 3 people. You can add extra skewers on a la carte.

                                        1. re: sherry f

                                          me va me...on steeles, east of bathurst...in a little plaza. A friend told me to check it out and naturally I did...oh my god...HEAVEN. I took home three salads as well..tabalouh, a smoky eggplant and a turkish salad. YUM...YUM...

                                        2. re: robb

                                          I *finally* made it to Jerusalem and really enjoyed their falafel. The sandwich was the perfect size and very fresh. Definitely up there on my quest for the perfect falafel.

                                          1. re: wontonfm

                                            how would you say the Jerusalem one compares to L'as in Paris? i haven't had many falafels in toronto, only the one from Sababa (mostly on recs from this board and found it disappointing). maybe nothing will really compare (agree with you on the eggplant), but obviously want as close a substitute as possible :)

                                            1. re: auberginegal

                                              Jerusalem doesn't compare! Granted I haven't had L'as in about 4 or 5 years, but nothing has compared to it at all.

                                              Jerusalem is very good but more basic than L'as.... no eggplant sadly.

                                        3. Jasmine (on west side of Yonge, south of Wellesley) came highly recommended from friends, and I'm so glad to have been tipped off to it. The falafels are wonderful, and were made fresh while I watched. I've told a few of my co-workers, and they've also become addicted to Jasmine's falafels.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: gjoa21

                                            Jasmine's falafels are good, but their beef shawarmas are even better. It has to do with how they marinate the meat before cooking. The guy's a master.

                                            1. re: Moorepark

                                              Thanks for the Jasmine's tips, I'm going to stop by and see if it's open today.

                                              1. re: Moorepark

                                                I had the mixed shawarma plate from Jasmines and found it very boring. Much prefer Red&White across the street. Altough a couple of coworkers decided to give them a second try and had their chicken shawarmas wrap and said that it was much better then the plate. Red&White is still our go to place though.

                                            2. Jerusalem (on Eglinton Ave. W.) does a nice sit-down falafel, and Sababa and Me-Vah-Me are pretty good for take-out, as others have advised, but I'm especially partial to the falafels at Tov-Li, on Bathurst St. south of Wilson Ave., in the heart of the Orthodox Jewish district. Being strictly kosher, it closes on the Jewish Sabbath and all Jewish holidays, even the obscure ones you didn't know existed. I've often arrived, hungering for a falafel, only to find it shuttered. So don't go between Friday sundown to Saturday sundown, the Jewish Sabbath. But when it's open for business the falafel balls are always freshly made and freshly deep-fried, the pitas are invariably fresh, and - a major plus - the salad fixings heaped upon the falafel balls (you get to pick from among a half-dozen salads or so and I always pick them all), are freshly made and add immeasurably to the taste of the sandwich. The price: $3.95, and there's a large, cheerful sit-down area - or you can take out, though I think falafels should be eaten immediately. There's a branch of Tov-Li farther up Bathurst St.( it's actually the original Tov-Li location), in a plaza somewhat below Steeles Ave. W., with the same tasty sandwich but a more cramped sit-down space. Lots of street parking at the southern location. By comparison, all the falafel joints - and their sandwich efforts - on Bloor St. W., between Bathurst and Spadina, are pretty dismal places, especially Ghazale, which was decent enough at one time (though it tended every now and then to smell up the whole right side of the Bloor Theatre next door) but has been coasting on its inexplicable rep for a couple of years now.

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: juno

                                                I have found the Tov-Li between Lawrence and Wilson, not so great, but the further north one, below Steeles, has much crispier falafel balls and fresher side salads, and I find the crowd a little less pushy up north. I agree with you, Tov Li (north branch) is the best kosher falafel in the city.

                                                1. re: sherry f

                                                  Totally agree about the Lawrence location. Not only are the customers pushy but the layout of the restaurantt is poorly conceived and the staff are incompetent. I live just north of Lawrence and it's faster for me to get a falafel from the Bathurst-Finch location than the Bathurst-Lawrence location. I still don't fnd the balls crispy enough at either location but it is a good sandwich!

                                                  1. re: robb

                                                    I recently reported that I fell in love with a falafel at me-va-me....I have been going to Tov-Li for years...i.e..when they werent even a sit down restaurant. Just a take-out counter, and a few stools for people to eat their falafel over a very simple counter. (this goes back to probably 1990). ANYWAY....I rarely try out a new falafel place coz Im happy with tov li. I did try the falafel guy inside the what-a-bagel place once...but went back to tov-li.
                                                    You really cant even compare the tov-li falafel with the me-va-me falafel.
                                                    The Me-va-me..is twice the size and they put all sorts of delish goodies in there for the same price.

                                                    1. re: robb

                                                      Yes, I suppose the southern Tov-Li patrons do play rough sometimes, butting in, interjecting themselves, crowding the counter with their incredibly detailed food orders, taking up more than their share of table space, but you have to get into the spirit of the place. Use your elbows, but cheerfully. Smile broadly as you do it. It can be very effective in clearing space around you. But I've noticed little difference in the table manners at the southern and northern Tov-Li locations. They can be pretty rough up north as well (though it's a somewhat older, ever-slightly-more-civil crowd up north). Nevertheless, I've also noticed precious little difference in the quality of the sandwich and its condiments at the two locations. As for the quality of the service, well, maybe the staff is a lttle more cranky at the southern location, but - as you point out - look at the overly exhuberant crowd they have to put up with all day. Still, in my view, the sandwich makes it all worth while. The rest of the menu might be good as well, but I've never stuck around to find out. It's something of a madhouse during the busy hours at both locations, so I just gobble my falafel in my own little corner of the place - and flee.

                                                2. I have always had a great Falafel at Tov Li for many years and just recently had a falafel in thier new store on Bathurst just across from the Baycrest. The service at the new store was horrible and to add insult to injury the falaffels were cold and tasted lousy. One bight and I threw it away.Hard to believe that both stores are run by the same owners. The one up north is definitely the right choice. The south location needs some expertise in how to make falaffels and as well some counter people with good manners.

                                                  1. Hi All,

                                                    I really like the falafel from A La Turque . . . It is located at Church and Wellesley ( North West Corner ) . . . I find their food very fresh and their produce they put in the wrap is really good . . . The place is extremely clean and the family that runs the place are so very nice!! . . . The other day the owner gave my wife a falafel and a stuffed grape leaf to snack on while she waited . . . This place is worth checking as their prices are pretty decent with portions that are big...

                                                    SB

                                                    1. We've been getting take out from Falafel World in Bloor West Village once a week for at least 12 years. The owner, Hafiz is a /total/ sweetheart.

                                                      He's got a microwave but I've never seen him use it. His tabbouli and houmos are amazing, as are his falafels and baba ghanouj. We always order the chicken plate, comes with the cabbage salad, tabbouli, houmos and pita. The portions are very generous and it's been consistent since the first time I tried it. (2396 Bloor Street West, just east of Jane) (416) 769-9336

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: zukeeper

                                                        Both my wife and daughter, who consider themselves specialists in this area, claim that House of Mana-Eesh, a Lebanese Bakery at 2059 Lawrence Ave. East, has the best falafels they have ever eaten. Only $4 each and they are huge, the people are very friendly and helpful and will even make you whole wheat on request. My favourite is the #8 which is called Spicey Cheese which is more like a panzerotti than a falafel.

                                                      2. I like Joe's - Richmond Hill on Yonge, east side, just north of Elgin Mills. It's family owned and operated. Try the falafel with hot sauce and some sour cream, lettuce and tomato chopped up - so big that you have to watch the drips! They also have great crispy fries and if you get them on the right day, you can get some amazing fresh chopped salads for take-out.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: xssnrg

                                                          I'll second Mystic Muffin.

                                                        2. Mystic Muffin - a small take out place on jarvis and richmond - Used to come here for lunch a lot when I worked close by. They have great falafel wraps. Try it with their eggplant. Great value too.

                                                          1. At the suggestions of various posts on good falafel, I went to the Tov Li on Bathurst N. of Lawrence and while I'm out of practice in evaluating falafel (I got out of the habit of eating them in the past 7 or 8 years), I found the falafel experience with all the fillings of beats, coleslaw, hot sauce, hummus, etc. very satisfying. I also enjoyed the mushroom barley soup and the spinach/cheese boureka. My companion had the grilled veg & avocado and enjoyed that also (nicely vinegary, tangy grilled veg).

                                                            However, I'm hesitant to go back because of all that styrofoam and plastic--soup bowels, cups, plastic forks, etc. It's one of the reasons I avoid food courts. I could handle the paper plates but the plastic/styrofoam really bothers me. Yeah, I know, price of eating cheap food...

                                                            6 Replies
                                                            1. re: Ediblethoughts

                                                              I share your annoyance at the paper. plastic and styrofoam dining utensils at Tov-Li. But I suspect that these throwaway utensils are a consequence of the fact that Tov-Li is strictly kosher in a heavily Orthodox Jewish neighborhood, and the neighborhood insists on such an arrangement. Perhaps someone who knows more about this requirement than I can enlighten me further. Anyway, I enjoy the falafel so much there that I''ll sit still for eating it off an hilariously thin paper plate. But - though I'm told the rest of the menu, like soups, salads and kosher pizza, are always fresh and tasty at Tov-Li (they all look wonderful) - I can't bring myself to try them so long as their freshness and tastiness are blunted, to my mind at least, by utilitarian cardboard, styrofoam and the like. Mind, it doesn't seem to bother anyone else. That place is almost always humming. So I just find my little corner of the room and crouch over my falafel sandwich, one of this city's great $3.95 noshes - and get out of there before I hunger for something more that'll necessitate a lacing of styrofoam.

                                                              1. re: juno

                                                                Yeah, it does seem that just eating a falafel alone won't leave too much of a plastic footprint... but it's really hard to not go for those other things (if it was closer to my house it might be a tad easier...).

                                                                But you have a point on there possibly being a Jewish tradition reason for the plastic. Still, it doesn't really help my comfort level with the waste.

                                                              2. re: Ediblethoughts

                                                                Tov Li is next on my list. Sounds yummy.

                                                                WON
                                                                http://whatsonmyplate.wordpress.com

                                                                1. re: Ediblethoughts

                                                                  Went to check out Tovli today due to the Toronto Life Newtonbrook neighbourhood write-up. Was disappointed to see it was closed, no sign posting their hours, i even called but no answer. I believe Sat is a holy day for them but i was pretty sure the review said its busy Sat nights. Does anyone know their hours?

                                                                  1. re: Little T

                                                                    Both Tov-Li kosher outlets on Bathurst Street, one north of Lawrence, the other south of Steeles, are closed for the Jewish Sabbath from Friday at sundown to Saturday at sundown. That's why they're busy on Saturday nights after the sun goes down- everyone's ready for action after 24 hours without a decent falafel. Also closed on all Jewish holidays, even the obscure ones you didn't know exiisted. The local kosher crowd know the drill (and the hours). Outsiders should call in advance if they're unsure of when the sun rises and descends. Damn good falafels.

                                                                    1. re: juno

                                                                      Belated thx Juno, okay the sun wasn't down yet when i went so that's why, so hope to try again.

                                                                2. My vote goes to Sofra Grill or Me Va Me Express (on Steeles, east of the actual Restaurant which is on Bathurs), both in Thornhill. Both use long "hot-dog" type pitas, so it's easy to eat. Very fresh and tasty ingredients, and fantasticly fluffy yet crispy falafel balls.

                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                  1. re: SMOG

                                                                    Me Va Me begat Yokamuz which begat Sofra. The style is similar. I don't like Sofra's large half moon like pita; I don't like its character and it falls apart on me. (These guys are Turk, (which may show in the salads) and gear their food to what they perceive to be an Israeli taste. All are very successful.
                                                                    I prefer Yokamuz's large Lebanese style pita. But at Sofra I generally can get the counter person to load up the "salads". I sometimes have trouble with the salads in the right hand fridge- they permit me only one-, but I can load up with the ones from the left. salads are fresh and wholesome but not that interesting.
                                                                    The trick at Sofra- and elsewhere- is to get fresh made felafel. If they are reheated, particularly refried-, they will lose their good texture and the spicing taste will change. I am building up the courage to ask them to make them fresh for me. I am not shy about the kefta kebob. I ask them not to overcook. If the fluid runs, they are very good. If they are overcooked- done to that golden tone-they lose texture and the flavour is coarse. Constipation kebab.
                                                                    My best felafel in Toronto come from Nabil (Nasib?) on Lawrence East past Victoria Pk.. Lebanese, and the Lebanese style is not much salad. It is a struggle to get the counter person to put a little more on. I urge you too to try. Also good is Ibrahim, a little further east. He is Moroccan, but his cook is Lebanese and the style is Lebanese, although his main salad is loaded with mint, which is more occan. His shawarma and salads are the best that I have had in Toronto. I leave out the hot sauce, garlic yoghurt and tahina (except for a small bit of tahina in the felafel). There is enough flavour in the rest- and nice flavours- which should not be masked .They put a decent amount of salad in and permit me extra salad. The pickled turnip is not good, far too salty-still- even though it changed recently)
                                                                    Prices are low in the Lawrence shawarma shouk.
                                                                    Nasib closes early; Ibrahim is open to 1-2 AM. Avoid Ali Baba across the street from Ibrahim- I can't understand how his stuff can be so bad. Farhat, also across the street, is a big bore; I don''t understand the fuss I have seen on CH.
                                                                    VVM

                                                                    1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                                                                      That's interesting. Going to Me Va Me and Sofra, I was certain that they were Israeli. I don't think I've ever seen one non-Israeli in there. Are you sure that they're Turks?

                                                                      1. re: SMOG

                                                                        Yep! In any event, their saladim are no kind of Israeli that I have ever seen.
                                                                        Whom do you see in Sea-Hi?.

                                                                      2. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                                                                        Two years ago (and I'm commenting on a post that's a year old), that Yakomoz - Me Va Me - Sofra triumvirate all ranked amongst my favourites. Each, though, have slipped in different ways.

                                                                        The shawarma sandwich cut by the Iranian boss (?) at Yakamoz once was aces, the chicken perfectly crisp in some parts and succulent in others, spiced assuredly, the rest of the oversized pita informed with the positive aspects of the Iranian/Israeli/Turkish influences. Since then, the chicken has never been as sterling, the aforementioned boss not to be seen, the assemblage sloppy, the prices higher, the waits much longer.

                                                                        Sofra had the best falafel in town when they opened, fantastic spicing, made to order, feather-light with the outside beautifully crisped. They've long since decided to cook large batches in advance, almost completely ruining the appeal (they also only permit one of the special dips as a topping now). COLD/REFRIED FALAFELS ARE GARBAGE, REGARDLESS OF PEDIGREE! Why do the majority of these places not accept this? Oh right, because people will still order them anyway. Good work. I think their kebob is still pretty good though (haven't had it recently) and the cold salad platter (as takeout, ideally; choice of six for $10.95) remains an excellent deal.

                                                                        Me Va Me, I'll only go to the Express location, on occasion (though less and less). I agree that the texture of the Me Va Me and Sofra pitas are not up to par. I much prefer the fresh round pitas (with a spongier chew) of say, Sababa and Hanna's. I should add though that a common problem with the round pita sandwiches is that at many places they will usually stuff the bulk of the toppings at the bottom and finish with a sauce at the top, so there's a real uneven dispersion as you eat your way down (i.e. a glob of hot sauce/tahini, then plain meat, then a bunch of veg by itself, then a glob of hummous).

                                                                        Anyway. King Falafel, King David, Shawarma Empire, and Ibrahim's are all good Toronto falafels. Tov Li makes it well too but I don't care for the singular overload of the white cabbage. Besides, their cheese-less pizza (their adaptation on the bruschetta, with an abundance of chopped veg) is the go-to choice.

                                                                    2. Ali Baba at Dundas in Roncesvailles
                                                                      or Falafal World close to Jane on Bloor (in the West Village)

                                                                      1. I don't know about Falafel but if you want the best shawarma I've ever tasted - try NASIBS

                                                                        They have good Falafel too. Ask for the 'turkish salad' and Hummus on them too.

                                                                        IM TELLIN YOU GUYS - GO HERE AND GET THE CHICKEN THEN THE BEEF SHAWARMA AND ASK HIM TO TOAST IT. EVERYTHING ELSE WILL SUCK AFTERWARDS. ITS LOCATED AT LAWRENCE AND PHARMACY - IN THE GHETTO PLAZA NEXT TO THE PORN STORE. SOUTH-EAST CORNER OF PHARMACY & LAWRENCE. MAKE SURE TO GET THE TURKISH SALAD, ROASTED TOMATO, HUMMUS, HOT SAUCE, TAHINA, EXTRA PARSLEY, CABBAGE, AND EVERYTHING ELSE HE NORMALLY PUTS ON IT.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: DanDan_Mian

                                                                          Thank you for this DanDan - my office is very close and I am really looking forward to trying this out!

                                                                        2. When on Bloor West Laila's is the best for a Falafel sandwich, IMO. But if I wanted a plate I would go to Sarah's down the street. However, the last time I went I was somewhat disappointed. I'm hoping it was just a bad day at Sarah's.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: redcoconut

                                                                            I tried Laila's twice in the past week and am happy with the discovery! The falafels are indeed fried to order, well spiced and packed in a good pita. The gentleman manning the shop is also very friendly.

                                                                          2. The best falafel in Toronto would be homemade. To make a good one your have to start with the proper mix. That means with dried chick peas and/or fava beans that are soaked and then ground with the vegetables & spices. Most places start with an oversalted stale powder and the soggy mess that is produced from cooked beans should not even be discussed at a dinner table.

                                                                            I remember having falafels in Israel in 1971. Every stand had a different version. They added some combination of pickles, french fries, slaw, tabbouleh, etc. A falafel was a whole meal.

                                                                            1. Wow. I love falafels too and am glad to have all these suggestions.
                                                                              I went to Pita Break on Yonge by Wellesley and was good, generous and although not inexpensive (I can't remember how much but it was like $6) like Ghazelle etc. The balls were freshly fried and they do this cute thing of cutting the top off the pita and having you eat it as you tell them what you want in it.
                                                                              I think NOW or EYE did a reivew of best falafel in T.O a while back....
                                                                              I know the falafel at College St Falafel is good but wow, does it really have to take 20min to make one????? And it's expensive! Chickpeas do not cost as much as meat but all the plates are the same price ~$10.

                                                                              1. Paramount Foods in Mississauga is fantastic.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: airsey

                                                                                  I find Paramount over-rated. More of a meeting place than quality food.

                                                                                2. A dark horse...Falafel World at Bloor east of Jane. Unbelievable - yes. Just try it.

                                                                                  No pickled turnip or exotica,,,ask him to put some tabouli in it - great tahini sauce.

                                                                                  1. Armenian Kitchen, hands down. Made fresh, super crunchy on the outside while nice and mushy (not dusty) on the inside. All the food is great there.

                                                                                    1. My recommendation is for Falafel World in Bloor West Village.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: whattodo

                                                                                        I love Falafel World on Bloor

                                                                                        But I vote for Falafel Garden in Brampton, roughly Clarence & Kennedy

                                                                                      2. Two good places I've been to for falafel are My Zaidy's Pizza in Thornhill and Shawarma Empire on Lawrence in Scarborough.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: Tiny Dancer

                                                                                          I have not scrolled to see if this has already been mentioned above but - Queen Pita. Hey, it's close to home and handy for take out. If someone can recommend something better in same area I would love to hear about it.

                                                                                        2. We're still trying the eating around the 'hood thing. We finally tried Mediteranean Grill Just south of st. clair on yonge 2 days ago. amazing schwarma.organically/locally sourced meat.maybe the best i've had in the city. as well their falafels are amazing and cheap. crisp not oily, flavourful and light. partner n i can get 2 sandies and 2 drinks for lunch for less than a 12. amazing place. the owner's son is a character. but it rocks. when we move in august will make the trip back up to get these.

                                                                                          1. I don't really have too much experience with falafels, but last night I went to the new Ali Baba at Dundas and Church and it was REALLY delicious! Nicely wrapped, STUFFED with different types of salads (pickled cabbage is amazing) and the falafels were nicely spiced and fresh and crunchy. Best part was that on Tuesdays, it's buy one get one free so it was $3.14 for two sandwiches...!

                                                                                            1. If you're in the Tov Li area and find them closed for religious reasons or just looking for a late night snack, then I highly recommend Orley's Restaurant & Grill at 660 Sheppard W. (north side of Sheppard, just west of Bathurst). Their falafel will be freshly cooked for you, massive in size with whatever vege additions you specify, and reasonable in cost. Just be very clear that you want a falafel sandwich when ordering else you may not get the pita bread. Sometimes there's a language barrier that needs attention, but if you watch the prep you can keep things on track. You can eat in or take out.

                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: torontovore

                                                                                                I had fond memories of Ghazale until going there for the first time in years a couple of weeks ago.
                                                                                                Bland, utterly tasteless, soggy, pre-cooked falafel balls and run-of-the-mill lettuce/tomato fillings. Yech. Heartbreaking.

                                                                                                I tend to prefer Israeli to Lebanese-style (ie stuffed as opposed to wrapped) but I still remembered Ghazale being good.

                                                                                                Tov Li is good, for sure. The What a Bagel (now Bagel Nash) at Bayview/Laureleaf is also really good, as is King David.

                                                                                                1. re: fleisch

                                                                                                  Falafel World Bloor near Jane, North side gets my vote. Food is always good, owners are very nice.

                                                                                                2. re: torontovore

                                                                                                  An Orly's Grill that opened fairly recently at Elgin Mills and Bathurst in Richmond Hill. Is this another location?

                                                                                                  -----
                                                                                                  Elgin Cafe
                                                                                                  100 Elgin St, Ottawa, ON K1P5K8, CA

                                                                                                3. Hakotel at Bathurst/Steeles makes an amazing falafel. It is almost immediately next door to Kiva's for reference.

                                                                                                  1. Best Falafel in Toronto is at King Falafel at Bathurst and Eglinton. My opinion is reinforced every time I eat there, which is often. Their tahina is tops and the falafel balls are crisp and flavourful. Don't even get me started about their shawarma.

                                                                                                    -----
                                                                                                    King Falafel
                                                                                                    875 Eglinton Ave W, Toronto, ON M6C3Z9, CA

                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: acd123

                                                                                                      I too love King Falafel.

                                                                                                      1. re: acd123

                                                                                                        I went there today hoping to try the chicken shawarma but found they only had veal; is this typical?

                                                                                                        1. re: superjj

                                                                                                          Yup, thats my pet peeve about the place. No chicken. The falafels are friggin amazing though. Not deep fried in some basket frier either, they have the pot method going on

                                                                                                          1. re: duckdown

                                                                                                            They have never had chicken shawarma. So, yeah, if that's what you want, you're not in the right place. But they do make a really good white meat chicken kebab, which they grill. They put it into a pita just like the shawarma.

                                                                                                            1. re: acd123

                                                                                                              Agreed, their chicken kebabs in pita are amazing. So if you are in search of white meat, then that might be a good alternative to KF's shawarmas, which yes, are not chicken but veal if I recall correctly. Honestly though, who cares what they are. Chicken or veal or beef or lamb. Tasty is tasty so who cares about chicken?! But this is a falafel thread so I digress...

                                                                                                              1. re: acd123

                                                                                                                wow thats cool, i didn't know they did kebabs. i thought it was just falafel sandwich, and beef shawarma(veal)

                                                                                                                their falafels are great! ill stop in again soon

                                                                                                        2. Queen Pita at Queen and Leslie is the best I ever had in the city. Little hole in the wall place but an amazing Falafel.

                                                                                                          -----
                                                                                                          Queen Pita
                                                                                                          1276 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4L1C4, CA

                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. re: etobicokefoodie

                                                                                                            We love the falafels at Queen Pita, The atmosphere isn't the best maybe, but the food is great.

                                                                                                            -----
                                                                                                            Queen Pita
                                                                                                            1276 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4L1C4, CA

                                                                                                          2. In our family, we're all fans of shawarma empire!

                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. re: ctl98

                                                                                                              Shawarma Empire is great. When King Falafel's (Bath+Eg) shawarma are fresh, which is often, theirs are even better than Shawarma Empire. And as much as I love SE's falafel King Falafel's falafel are definitely just as good, if not better. In my opinion at least. But I might be biased as I grew up with it. Still.

                                                                                                              And again, I love Shawrma Empire.

                                                                                                            2. I've only tried a few falafels downtown. They ranked:
                                                                                                              1. Sarah's
                                                                                                              2. A La Turque
                                                                                                              3. Pita Pit

                                                                                                              I rather enjoyed Sarah's - mind you, it was mixed with chicken schwarma. I've been tempted many times to go for Ghazale, but I've always walked by with a crowd that feels like sitting rather than grabbing and noshing. On my list!

                                                                                                              Erin
                                                                                                              http://www.cookiesandtomatoes.com

                                                                                                              -----
                                                                                                              Ghazale
                                                                                                              504 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S1Y3, CA

                                                                                                              A La Turque
                                                                                                              558 Church St, Toronto, ON M4Y2E3, CA

                                                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: ekim256

                                                                                                                I find Ghazale pretty skippable. The balls are pre-cooked and they microwave them to reheat. Flavours are overall okay but overall I wouldn't go out of my way for one of their sandwiches.

                                                                                                                WON
                                                                                                                http://whatsonmyplate.net

                                                                                                                -----
                                                                                                                Ghazale
                                                                                                                504 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S1Y3, CA

                                                                                                                1. re: wontonfm

                                                                                                                  hm good to know. Thanks won!

                                                                                                                2. re: ekim256

                                                                                                                  Haha, falafels at Pita Pit?

                                                                                                                  1. re: duckdown

                                                                                                                    ya! haha my veggie friend SWORE by them so I decided to give it a go. Nothing ventured nothing lost, sometimes chains can surprise you :-)

                                                                                                                  2. re: ekim256

                                                                                                                    Oh god, I tried the Pita Pit falafel many, many years ago and they were terrible. Pure mush. Got totally lost in the sandwich. Never again.

                                                                                                                    1. re: piccola

                                                                                                                      That bad? I didn't enjoy mine, but it didn't scar me!
                                                                                                                      I think that like Swiss Chalet, Pita Pit greatly varies by location. The worst being the ones on uni campuses

                                                                                                                      1. re: ekim256

                                                                                                                        Haha no, not scarring. But they stood out as a complete waste of money, especially considering how much good falafel is out there.

                                                                                                                  3. Another vote for My Zaidy's in Thornhill. You can always depend On Sababa for a great quick sandwich (their pita is the best I've had in the GTA).Jerusalem at both the Eglinton and Leslie Street (At Nymark) locations have been fine. Also got very fresh made-to-order falafel at both King David locations, Bathurst at Dellpark and in the Wilmington Plaza.

                                                                                                                    -----
                                                                                                                    Sababa
                                                                                                                    390 Steeles W, Thornhill, ON L4J6X6, CA

                                                                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: Big Kahuna 1

                                                                                                                      Dr. Laffa: here's another candidate for the GTA's best falafel - if you can find the damn place. A friend guided me to this joint, open just a few months in a bleak light-industrial mall off Magnetic Drive, southwest of Steeles Ave. W. and Dufferin Ave. I'd have never have tracked it down myself. Iraqi/Moroccan/Israeli/Vegetarian/Kosher is how it bills itself. In my view, that word "kosher" seems to add about 20-25% to the bill, but if the food's good and plentiful you shouldn't mind too much. And Dr. Laffa is all that. It's clearly a dive - such desolate malls are good start-up places because the rent's cheap - with a short menu that's not too communicative, unless you can read Hebrew. What makes Dr. Laffa distinctive are its taboon ovens, which turn out fresh laffa - a much tastier version of the commercial pita wraps that plague most falafel joints. In fact, everything seems to be made fresh from scratch when ordered. You can get your falafel at three price levels: standard-issue in a pita wrap (but why bother when fresh laffa is on call?); in a fresh laffa wrap; or on a plate (six or eight falafel balls, I forgot to count) with four or five tasty salads and a huge fresh-baked laffa, which is how I had it ($6). You then tear off a piece of laffa and make your own sandwich or two. It's one substantial lunch - I didn't feel much like dinner that night. Also a good job on hummus plates and a few other Middle East dishes. Casual but cheerful, if rough-hewn, service -standard for such joints in the Middle East, my friend assured me - and rather exotic clientele, who seem to have discovered this place shortly after its opening. About six high-top tables. Real plates and cutlery, unlike "strictly kosher" joints that deal in throwaway paper, cardboard, styrofoam and plastic tableware. Though the menu doesn't say so, it seems taxes are included in the prices. Closed Saturday. Otherwise, hours are from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., according to the menu, though the takeout menu says 9:30a.m. to 7 p.m. As I say, not too communicative - and very, very dive-y, though clean enough. Kinda fun. Did I mention the laffa? Wonderfully tasty - takes falafel ball wraps to a whole new level. I'll still take Tov Li for falafel when I'm farther south, but this seems to be the place when you're up in the north country near Steeles and Dufferin - if you can find it. Even harder to find than the recently-lauded Goody's Diner.

                                                                                                                      1. re: juno

                                                                                                                        Thank you . Will be lunch today.

                                                                                                                        Aladinn's Palace , Victoria Park and Tempo , has new owners. They have a nicer touvh than previous. The falafel is very good now and they use a pita which is part whole wheat and it is good.

                                                                                                                        PS . Just found Dr Laffa on the computer. Address is 44 Magnetic Drive.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                                                                                                                          I think the address is 40 Magnetic Drive, unit 44-3.

                                                                                                                          Looks great! I shall try, thanks for the tip juno.

                                                                                                                        2. re: juno

                                                                                                                          Finally made it to Dr. Laffa today. Thanks for the tip, juno. They are in their new digs across the street. I *think* the address is now 401 Magnetic Drive, but it was hard to tell for sure. Much larger space, with a dozen or so tables and actual table service.

                                                                                                                          I tried the shakshuka, the falafel laffa and the shawarma laffa. I have no prior experience with shakshuka, so can compare it to anything. It was very tasty, though -- rich and satisfying on a cool day. The shawarma was turkey (dark meat) and lamb fat. Also tasty, though slightly different than any style I've had before. The falafel was excellent -- loved the texture and the fresh, bright flavours. The hot sauce was really good with all the toppings and the chewy, fresh laffa wrapped around the whole thing made the whole thing perfect.

                                                                                                                          Great chowfind -- I'm looking forward to going back.

                                                                                                                          -----
                                                                                                                          Dr. Laffa
                                                                                                                          40 Magnetic Dr #44, Toronto, ON M3H 5S8, CA

                                                                                                                          1. re: juno

                                                                                                                            I made it out to Dr. Laffa today and thoroughly enjoyed it. The place was hopping on Sunday at around 1PM and there was a steady stream of people in and out while I was there.

                                                                                                                            I had the falafel on laffa. Laffa is very similar to naan and made for an excellent wrap for the falafel. It's a lot sturdier than pita and doesn't fall apart or tear. Be warned that it's HUGE. About the size of an average forearm. I ate about half of it and took the rest home for snacking. I enjoyed the falafel balls themselves as well as the various toppings. They also brought out a few salads, one with corn and olives and a bean salad. They were okay, a little too pickled for me.

                                                                                                                            I'll be back for sure but I'm still on a quest to find a local falafel that rivals my favourite falafel ever (L'as de fallafel in Paris).

                                                                                                                            WON
                                                                                                                            http://whatsonmyplate.net

                                                                                                                            -----
                                                                                                                            Dr. Laffa
                                                                                                                            40 Magnetic Dr #44, Toronto, ON M3H 5S8, CA

                                                                                                                            1. re: wontonfm

                                                                                                                              Checked out Dr. Laffa myself; went for the Shawarma (on laffa) instead of falafel. It certainly was huge! Delicious too, and with interesting toppings.

                                                                                                                              Good find!

                                                                                                                              1. re: superjj

                                                                                                                                Went there today. Had a shawarma...menu I think says chicken but cashier said it's always turkey. Regardless, it was huge and good. I split it. Cost $9.99.

                                                                                                                                Laffa bread looks like a Naan bread. Slight chew. Delicious. I'll be back whenever I'm in the area.

                                                                                                                                as TorontoJo said, new address is 401 Magnetic Dr...it's across the street.

                                                                                                                                For those who had the falafel, was it fried on request or sitting there waiting to be served?

                                                                                                                                1. re: LUV_TO_EAT

                                                                                                                                  Mine were fried on request both times I've been there. Well worth a repeat visit for you to try them. :)

                                                                                                                                  BTW, my second visit was a to go order, so I was able to stand at the counter and specify exactly the toppings I wanted. I tried the eggplant this time and didn't really care for it, as it was a bit bitter for me. Everything else was great. Love their green hot sauce.

                                                                                                                                  Oh, and they put 6 falafel balls in the laffa. Serious value.

                                                                                                                        3. I really like the place upstairs on the southwest corner of Dundas & Chestnut St. (Wrap & Grab). For about $4 you get a freshly fried falafel sandwich with lots of toppings (I always ask for extra pickles and turnip and they pile it on). The guys who work there are really friendly and welcoming, and they also sell good baklava and freshly juiced smoothies! No wonder there are big (but quickly-moving) lineups at lunch time.

                                                                                                                          1. New place opened up in Markham at 7605 Woodbine Ave just south of Riviera (just north of Don Valley Hyundai and train track overpass) called PITALICIOUS.

                                                                                                                            Nice family owned place. They have Falafel and shawarma and other specials there.

                                                                                                                            I've been three times as it's very close to my work and have tried both Falafel's and Shawarma's.

                                                                                                                            Falafel's are fresh fried...I don't order it if it isn't.

                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                            1. re: LUV_TO_EAT

                                                                                                                              I was there opening day (couldn't wait to try it, as it is incredibly close to my work as well, and there really wasn't any shawarma in that area until now) and tried the falafel and the chicken shawarma. Both were pretty decent (I don't know if I would say best in Toronto...) and I'm the same way; I only go for falafel if it gets fried AFTER I order.