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Looking for Shwarma in SFV

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  • Kathy Koupai Mar 28, 2004 12:21 PM
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I have been craving a good shwarma sandwich for three days now. I used to eat these 2-3 times a week in NYC, and I am having trouble finding a place that compares to Mamoun's in the West Village (fast, cheap, tasty, with a line going out the door). Anyone know of a great, cheap, falafel and shwarma place in the Northridge, Chatsworth or Granada Hills areas (or nearby)? The place across from CSUN-- there's gotta be better. Thank you.

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  1. Have you tried Zankou Chicken? There are only a few locations. I know there is one in Van Nuys.

    5658 Sepulveda Blvd., Van Nuys 818-781-0615


    Almost everything I've tried there has been wonderful. If you don't like garlic, I would say you may not enjoy this place, otherwise, load up on the hummus and babaganoj.

    6 Replies
    1. re: RobL

      This is the gold standard in LA, as far as what you're looking for. I love Zankou!

      1. re: RobL

        Zankou Chicken sounds right up my alley (garlic-- yes!). I'll check to see if there is one closer than Van Nuys, in an effort to avoid the 405. Thank you!

        1. re: Kathy Koupai

          As a former Northridge resident (and current Las Vegas resident), the Van Nuys location is the closest. I found going southbound on Sepulveda sometimes to Zanku is sometimes faster then the 405. Trying to exit the 405 at Burbank to make the left turn to get to Zanku can be a pain (so much so you may need hemroid medication).

          1. re: Eric

            I went to Zancou, and it was great! Thanks to those who suggested it.

            The hummus was possibly the best I've had (garlicky and tangy, with just enough spiciness). I also loved the pickles and the side of garlic sauce. They made the meal.

            Only complaints: parking on Sepulveda Blvd. and no tabouleh.

            I will have to check out the other recs too. Thanks again to all. If anyone comes up with something else closer to Northridge, let me know.

        2. re: RobL

          Zankou is, indeed, great, period. When you evaluate it as value for price -- it hits the stratosphere.

          As for people who don't like garlic . . . hmmm, I know such people exist, but could someone who dislikes garlic truly be called a Chowhound?

          1. re: Dorothy

            I've always loved Pita Bar & Grill on Fairfax. They have great falafel & schwarma that's chicken & lamb. Great free salad bar & a bunch of great homemade sauces including a delish Harissa.

        3. Okay, there is a little place on Victory and Coldwater that is right behind the movie theater next to another resturant. I can't remember the name, but the place is fantastic. They have the best shwarma I have ever tried. Kinda far from Northridge, but worth the trip.

          1. "I am having trouble finding a place that compares to Mamoun's in the West Village..."

            I always preferred Pyramida on the Upper East Side myself. Anyway give the following Israeli-sytle place a shot:

            Crossroads
            5610 Fulton Ave.
            Van Nuys, CA 91401
            818-785-0638

            1 Reply
            1. re: Joe B.

              Highly second the recommendation for Crossroads, adjacent to Valley College and the now under construction Orange Line busway. Not Northridge proximate, but either it or Zankou will definitely satisfy your needs.

            2. Also try Firehouse at Victory and Reseda. Yummy!

              2 Replies
              1. re: moxiela

                Firehouse has Shwarma? I thought they just served Gyros.

                1. re: Creamfinger

                  I'm still working on dining at all the suggested restaurants on this thread. Tried Firehouse today (Victory at Reseda Blvd., city of Reseda, in a cute little building which I almost passed up). Had the falafel sandwich combo (comes with fries and a 24 oz drink for $7.50 after tax). Especially liked the plentiful yogurt-garlic sauce that topped the sandwich-- very tangy and flavorful. The pita bread was warm and yummy, and the veggies inside (lettuce, tomatoes, special red onions) were also fresh and good. Only complaint-- the falafel balls were too large and a bit overcooked/dry. Fries were also good. Would go back to try some of their other menus items. They did not have shwarma, but had plenty of other goods on offer (stuffed dolmehs or dolmadas, grilled chicken breasts, gyros, etc.). Thanks for recommending this one.

                  By the way, Reseda Blvd. in the SF Valley is bursting with small restaurants on every block (Thai, Vietnamese, Mexican, Afghan, etc.), which definitely deserve some exploration. I never realized just how many small-time restaurants we have here.

              2. s
                SpongeBobSquarePegs

                In addiiton or Crossroads, I recommend

                Carnival Restaurant
                4368 Woodman Ave
                Sherman Oaks, CA 91423-3031
                (818) 784-3469
                (between Ventura Blvd/Moorpark)

                1. In general, my faves are Carnival and Zankou in the valley and Eat-a-Pita at rosewood and fairfax in the city.

                  1. a
                    anthropocentric

                    Corner Nordhoff and Reseda, in Vons shopping center (right of Vons). Excellent Shawarma, falafel, chicken kabab, served in a home made Laffa (large pita).

                    Excellent, excellent place!

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: anthropocentric

                      I always pass by this place, but have not stopped yet to eat there. Thank you for this. I'll hit it up soon.

                      1. re: anthropocentric

                        Agree Micheline's is good and cheap...I thought this was "the place across from CSUN" she was referring to.

                        Also the Indian place next to Micheline's has a good lunch buffet for around $6-7.

                        1. re: markn

                          Thanks for the suggestions. No, the place I was referring to across from CSUN ("there's gotta be better") is Falafel Palace on Prairie and Reseda. Micheline's is also across from CSUN though and just up the street on Reseda and Nordhoff (next time I'll try to be more specific so people don't get confused). :) Thanks again.

                      2. Pita Kitchen on SW corner of Van Nuys and Ventura, just south of the newspaper stand is quite good, although they rush you with the order, and it's tiny. Cash only!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: taloyd

                          <Pita Kitchen>

                          I've tried this place twice (hoping the 2nd time was better than the first) and came away both times throwing the food out after a few bites.

                          For a place to use the word 'pita' in the name I would naturally assume the pita to be fresh and delicious..it's not. It tastes as if it's been sitting around a little too long.
                          The portions are very good sized and maybe that's why it's always busy.
                          BTW....I used my debit card so it's not 'cash only'.

                          1. re: latindancer

                            My family orders from here all the time, but I hate it...the rice tastes like uncle bens, the chicken is dried out and the beef sharwma is really dry with an odd sponge like texture. Pita's are store bought and standard.

                            Portions are huge, however.

                        2. There is a Zankou Chicken on Chatsworth at Zelzah which means you don't need to get on the 405 at all.

                          For falafel, I go to either Falafelicious on Plummer between Tampa and Corbin or Falafel Palace on Reseda.

                          There is another place on Reseda at Nordhoff next to Von's that gives you a choice between lavash & pita bread.

                          If I really want to splurge, I get the gyros sandwich from Graikos on Rinaldi at Tampa.

                          Have fun exploring the neighborhood!

                          8 Replies
                          1. re: Kalivs

                            The original question was asked 9 years ago and the Zankou Chicken on Chatsworth at Zelzah wasn't open then. Haha. I was so happy when they opened a franchise in Granada Hills. On your advice I checked out Falafelicious on my way to the Northridge Mall and was pleasantly surprised.

                            1. re: granadafan

                              I'm so sorry. Yeah, the best thing about falafelicious is the groupon which makes the meal even cheaper

                              1. re: Kalivs

                                I know the post is old but as long as it was brought back..Because of the talk on this board (yeah the groupon helped) I went to Falafalicious last night and was really surprised how good it was. The food was fresh and delicious and the place was clean. Easy parking as it's sort of hidden away in the mall area too.

                                1. re: SIMIHOUND

                                  is falafellicious a kosher joint ?

                                  1. re: kevin

                                    No it is not a kosher joint.

                                  2. re: SIMIHOUND

                                    I would go for the falafel only, I don't think their other offerings are very good. We were there on a crowded Saturday (that answers the kosher question), and the hummus and salads were over-refrigerated and not very fresh.

                                    My sleeper favorite middle eastern place is Café Graikos in Porter Ranch. Their hummus with ground meat is delicious. For shwarma, Zankou is still the best.

                                    In Granada Hills, I noticed that they are opening a new Lebanese Bakery next to Vrej Pastry, that will also serve falafel and other lunch specials.

                                    1. re: MarkC

                                      I really like Cafe Graikos gyros & Persian burger. There lentil soup is also great

                              2. re: Kalivs

                                In my opinion, Zankou Chicken has better shwarma then Pita Pockets (the place on Nordhoff and Reseda).