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Zaina - Pioneer Square, Seattle

Billy Bob Feb 23, 2009 12:27 PM

I was wandering around Pioneer Square during lunch hour and decided to give Zaina a try for lunch. Boasting the best Falafel in the world, how could I go wrong?

I was a little worried at first since they weren't that busy at 11:50, but a decent size lunch crowd showed up after noon. I ordered a Falafel sandwich, Baklava and Turkish Coffee. I did a search on this board after getting back and it looks like most of the feedback on Zaina was positive, but I must say I will a little underwhelmed by my Falafel sandwich. Doing my best Clara Peller imitation, "Where's the Falafel?" The sandwich was big, but mostly filled with lettuce and sauce and very little Falafel and what Falafel I did find was fairly mushy and lost in the other ingredients.

The Baklava and the Turkish Coffee were excellent. I will probably give Zaina another try just based on all of the good feedback here, but I sense I am still searching for my "goto" Falafel spot.

Billy Bob

PS For a full review and pictures go to www.taoofchow.wordpress.com

  1. c
    christy319 Feb 25, 2009 06:59 PM

    I tried Zaina 3 times (with 3 different menu items) based on good things I'd heard and each time it was bad. Soggy salads, mediocre falafel, weird meat. The sauce they put on the falafel tastes like mayo--yuk.

    3 Replies
    1. re: christy319
      Billy Bob Feb 26, 2009 07:28 AM


      Where is your "goto" place for Falafel?

      Billy Bob

      1. re: Billy Bob
        christy319 Feb 26, 2009 08:53 AM

        Unfortunately I don't have one. I've been ruined by L'as du Falafel in Paris. Once I had that nothing else has measured up. I liked Halluva but I think he moved to Portland. (Or is soon). I think Mr D's in the Market is allright.

        1. re: christy319
          hallava Mar 5, 2009 07:41 PM

          oh we did move to Portland, for 2 weeks. We couldn't sleep at night thinking about all the suffering falafel fans and the torment they must have been feeling, so we took pity and came back. We're in Georgetown, and it's 'Hallava', accent on the second 'a'. Hallava is a Russian slang term and has nothing to do with the play of "Hell of a...." Come by, Tuesday through Friday 11am til 2pm. Thank you.

    2. seattledebs Feb 23, 2009 03:40 PM

      I used to work around the corner from Zaina. I liked their cauliflower sandwich. The cauliflower is roasted and gets a lovely flavor. The lamb sandwich was satisfying too, but not earth-shattering.


      1. c
        clearskies0810 Feb 23, 2009 02:01 PM

        Does Zania still serve up Huka?

        1 Reply
        1. re: clearskies0810
          terrier Feb 23, 2009 02:05 PM

          If you mean nargila or hookah, no. The smoking ban killed it.

        2. terrier Feb 23, 2009 12:41 PM

          Best falafel in Seattle is served out of a mercurial yellow truck that goes by Hallava Falafel, usually parked in Georgetown around Airport Way and Corson Ave. Good luck finding it, or its current hours.

          Zaina's baba ghanouj was pretty darn good last time I had it. Definitely my favorite thing there.

          6 Replies
          1. re: terrier
            equinoise Feb 23, 2009 01:41 PM

            I'll put Mawadda Cafe up against Hallava for best falafel.

            Zaina's falafel is not in the same class; last time I tried it was buried in iceberg lettuce and unmanageable to eat.

            1. re: equinoise
              terrier Feb 23, 2009 02:06 PM

              I will have to get down there to Mawadda, then. I've basically given up on falafel here.

              1. re: terrier
                GreenYoshi Feb 24, 2009 08:16 AM

                I've been down to Mawadda a couple of times now.
                Their falafel was ok, but I liked their gyro better.
                I found their falafel balls to be a little dry.

                I look forward to trying their kefta.

                Also love their samosas.

              2. re: equinoise
                Billy Bob Feb 23, 2009 03:15 PM


                You described my Zaina Falafel better then I did. Where is Mawadda?

                Billy Bob

                1. re: Billy Bob
                  equinoise Feb 23, 2009 08:27 PM

                  On Graham just west of Rainier. Really nice garlic sauce, kufta kebab and chai as well. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/556547

                  Cafe Mawadda
                  4433 S Graham St, Seattle, WA 98118

              3. re: terrier
                hallava Mar 5, 2009 07:36 PM

                Hallava Falafel is at 5609 s Corson (s corson and airport way in georgetown, next to the playfield. Tuesday through Friday 11am til 2 pm. We are currently searching out a new location which will allow us to build a covered seating area and be open many more hours. Keep your eyes peeled.

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