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Worst Falafel EVER - Champion on Pape

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OK, I've been living in and around the Riv' for awhile, and I was excited when this place opened up not too long ago, as there hasn't been any decent falafel around. But even Guss on Queen E. and the guy in Gerrard Sq. is probably better than what I unfortunately encountered today.

Actually, it's partially my own fault. I was pre-warned by my barber Jay at Major League Cuts on Pape that the Shwarma was crap at Champion. However, my son and myself where hungry and two people where lined up for cuts in front of us, so we decided to give it a try.

First thing I noticed was no Tabbouleh, and no Baba ghanoush. So a plate is out of the question. Two Pitas then, I got the falafel, my son the chicken shwarma.

Cheap on the hummus with one wipe of the knife, no pickled vegetables. When I asked for tahini he pulled it out from behind the counter like it was a secret. The falafel was crushed up, it looked uncooked. In fact, I didn't even see him fry it up. I got hot sauce and garlic sauce to.

It actually didn't look bad, but when I bit in to it I got a cold, bland, doughey taste that made me think I was getting something that might be served in a Lebanese prison rather than a restaurant.

It was the most bland falafel I have ever tasted. It actually reminded me of what you would get at the pita pit, only the hot sauce is better there. I even asked for hot peppers and couldn't taste those either. It was a mystery as to what happened to the garlic, tahini and hummus as I couldn't pick up the flavour of any of them. Bite after bite was like forcing down something for the sake of eating, rather then enjoying a meal.Occasionally I thought I caught an odd flavour of a lemon sort of taste, but even that wasn't enough to want to finish it. I managed to force down half.

My son's pita was only any better because it had actual meat on it, though I took a bite and was very unimpressed. Reminded my of a generic shwarma meat that you would get from a microwaveable version. Terrible.

The price was not bad, it all came out to just under $11 with drinks for both. But unless you smoke cigars on a regular bases and have no taste left it's not even worth that.

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  1. You should read my "worst shawarma ever' post. It was about Champion at Danforth and Donlands....

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/570989

    1. LOL oh wow, this is the same place from the "Worst shawarma ever" thread too

      What a disaster

      1. I have a contender for your worst falafel - Sarah's on Bloor St.

        I was there on Tuesday and they should really be ashamed of serving cold and bland falafel balls in a pita that breaks apart. Their toppings are of low quality and their "garlic sauce" - a small swipe that adds absolutely nothing to the sandwich - and the place is filthy.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Pizza Lover

          That's not cool. Sarah's has been one of my favourites for over a decade. Maybe it depends on who's behind the counter.

          Say redcoconut, if you're looking for good, cheap eats in that area, you can't do much better than Pizza Pide at Pape and Gerrard. My favourite is the #11 with Turkish sausage.

          1. re: Pizza Lover

            Yea Sarah's has really gone down hill

            And what the hell is with shawarma places crushing the falafel by squishing it with their hands once the falafel is inside the pita? Sarahs does this and I HATE it

            And yea, Sarah's falafels are now pre-fried and just sitting in a bowl now, they are never freshly made to order :(

            1. re: duckdown

              Okay I had a similar experience recently where they squished the fallafel down which really surprised me....never seen that done before. I can't even recall the name of the place but it's at the corner of Eglinton and Redpath. OMG, it was the worst I've ever had but then again never been to either place mentioned above. The guy there asked me if I wanted some bhaba ganoush on mine - which again was a first for me. That should have been my first clue. The balls were deep fried as I waited but I could tell the fryer wasn't hot enough cuz there was no sound, the balls ended up cold and just plain mush. Icck it was horrible.

              1. re: duckdown

                Do you know or does anyone know if we'll ever see the return of Akram's in Kensington market? It's been shuttered for a year now and doesn't seem to be opening again soon. They had the best I've had in town so far. Fresh and crunchy and cheap.