Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Pacific Northwest >
Feb 23, 2009 12:27 PM

Zaina - Pioneer Square, Seattle

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

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. 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

      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

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

        1. re: terrier

          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


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

          Billy Bob

          1. re: Billy Bob

            On Graham just west of Rainier. Really nice garlic sauce, kufta kebab and chai as well.

            Cafe Mawadda
            4433 S Graham St, Seattle, WA 98118

        3. re: terrier

          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.

          1. re: clearskies0810

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

          2. 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. 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


                Where is your "goto" place for Falafel?

                Billy Bob

                1. re: Billy Bob

                  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

                    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.