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GOLDEN BALLS OF DELICIOUSNESS at The Golden Falafel Balls in Santa Clara

katya Apr 28, 2009 03:03 PM

Ever since I read THEIR BALLS ARE INDEED GOLDEN in my friend, Dan B.’s Yelp review, I’ve been fixated on visiting The Golden Falafel Balls. Except I kept misquoting it, and I’ve been calling the place, GOLDEN BALLS OF DELICIOUSNESS. My version sounds like an American porno that’s been translated into Japanese.

I had the $9 Veggie Combo plate. That included six falafel balls, hummus, baba ganoush, pita, and a cup of pickles and peppers. The falafel balls were very slightly oily but the insides were perfect. They were cooked to order and piping hot with a nice crust, without being too hard or dry. (Take it from me, no one wants dried out, hardened balls.) Unfortunately the hummus was on the bland side, but the baba ganoush was good. (However, they didn’t hold a candle to the garlicky versions at Gourmet Express’s.) These sides were attractively garnished – it seems weird to mention but they really were.

The pickles and peppers were definitely needed because there just wasn’t enough variety on the plate, and my palate called out for something with a little kick. The combo came with thick Israel-style pita, which was fresh and possibly house-made (which puts it a step above many other Mediterranean places).

There is a glossary of foods on the wall, about as big as the posted menu, describing hummus and the like to the uninitiated.

If you want some GOLDEN BALLS OF DELICIOUSNESS in your mouth of your own, you should know that this place is a little tricky to find. In fact, I missed it the first time. Although the address is on Stevens Creek, the storefront faces Cabot.

Not including places that I have on my Turkish, Persian, or Afghan lists…

Katya’s Israeli/Middle Eastern/Falafel/Greek Rankings:
1) Gourmet Express, Milpitas
2) La Mediterranee, Berkeley
3) Holy Land, Berkeley
4) Shai's, Kensington (closed)
6) Falafel's Drive-In, San Jose
7) Athena Grill, Santa Clara
8) Cafe Nefeli, Berkeley
9) Sinbad Mediterranean Cuisine, San Mateo
10) Armenian Gourmet, Sunnyvale
11) Jerusalem, Santa Clara
12) Old Ironsides Cafe, Santa Clara
13) Daphne's, Sunnyvale
14) House of Falafel, Sunnyvale
15) Olives Greek Cafe, San Jose
16) Krivaar, San Francisco
17) Pita Pit, San Jose

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  1. k
    katya RE: katya Apr 28, 2009 03:10 PM

    Here's the link. It says "food delivery" but there are plenty of tables to sit at here.

    1. c
      Cebca RE: katya Apr 28, 2009 03:23 PM

      Oh man. I was all set to make some super fun delicious balls jokes, but you totally beat me to it.

      1. JasmineG RE: katya Apr 28, 2009 04:10 PM

        This might be my favorite thread title ever. And I love GOLDEN BALLS OF DELICIOUSNESS, so I will keep this place in mind if I'm down that way.

        1 Reply
        1. re: JasmineG
          katya RE: JasmineG Apr 28, 2009 04:52 PM

          Thanks! A friend of mine and I have been wanting to eat here for awhile just because we couldn't resist the name! But their balls are truly delicious.

        2. Melanie Wong RE: katya Apr 28, 2009 04:51 PM


          Golden Falafel Balls - Food Delivery
          5075 Stevens Creek Blvd, Santa Clara, CA 95051

          1 Reply
          1. re: Melanie Wong
            katya RE: Melanie Wong Apr 29, 2009 10:53 AM

            Thank you I clicked on that link in my follow-up but it didn't show up. Go figure.

            Several times lately, seconds after I make a post where I've forgotten to include the link, I click edit, but adding a link isn't an option.

          2. s
            sairuh RE: katya Apr 28, 2009 05:11 PM

            LOL, Katya! I'll have to try these out sometime. You rank them higher than #14 -- which is the House of Falafel off Lawrence, yes? It changed names (owners?) recently, but the falafel was the same, which I liked.

            Of course, some of the best falafel I've had has been from the Flying Falafel, which shows up at the Sunnyvale Farmers' Market. Have you tried them? Both the regular and spicy varieties are delish, served in their thick housemade (I think) pitas. Need to be vigilant as they fill the pita, as they tends towards over-packing the vegetables, which increase the sogginess rate a bit. Alternatively, they sell the balls frozen, which fry up quite nicely (I took a hint from the vendor and used a wok).


            3 Replies
            1. re: sairuh
              katya RE: sairuh Apr 29, 2009 11:15 AM

              I'm sorry, I actually meant Falafel Bite, not House of Falafel. My bad. I only had the chicken shwarma at Falafel Bite, not the falafel.

              I haven't tried Flying Falafel but I'll defintiely keep them in mind! Where/when is the Sunnyvale Farmer's Market?

              1. re: katya
                sairuh RE: katya Apr 29, 2009 11:41 AM

                It's on Saturdays (year-round, except during the annual arts'n'crafts fair in June), 9am to 1pm. The Market takes place on the 1 block of Murphy Ave. that is downtown, and part of intersecting Washington Ave. Flying Falafel's stall is usually somewhere on the part of Washington east of Murphy.

                Iirc, the filled pockets are $7 each (pricey, yeah), containing about 7 balls. Boxes of 16 frozen balls are $13.

                Silly me, I forgot to describe the balls. They're small, about the length of a pingpong ball, but about half as thick. Crunchy on the outside, tender (not dense or dry) on the inside. "Regular" has quite a bit of sesame seeds (which I like), and the spicy reduces the need to pile on the chili sauce. The stall also has this nice sweet sauce, which goes well with the spicy falafels.

                1. re: sairuh
                  katya RE: sairuh Apr 29, 2009 03:26 PM

                  That sounds great. I'll have to check it out!

            2. e
              EzGoing RE: katya May 6, 2009 04:47 AM

              I personally believe Falafel Bite has the best falafels in between San Diego and San Francisco. I travel too often and I am a falafel frequent flyer. Long ago I was a fan of Falafel Drive in. No way Drive in or Golden rank higher than Bite, not a chance. The
              Tahini, hot sauce and Hummus there are uncomparable as well.
              I grew up eating Falafels on street corners in the Middle East, I know my way around Falafel tastes. :D my $0.02.

              2 Replies
              1. re: EzGoing
                rworange RE: EzGoing May 7, 2009 06:50 PM

                So, Falafel Bite changed its name from House of Falafel. New Owners?

                Falafel Bite
                500 Lawrence Expy Ste C, Sunnyvale, CA 94085

                1. re: rworange
                  Melanie Wong RE: rworange May 9, 2009 05:24 PM

                  House of Falafel in cupertino may have objected.

                  Just wanted to mention that Golden Balls prepares/sources to kosher standard. However, it's not certified kosher because it operates 7 days a week (open on saturdays).

              2. c
                Claudette RE: katya May 6, 2009 12:51 PM

                It's hidden on the side street to the right of Bed Bath and Beyond.

                katya - can you please rank Neto's falafels on your list? (It's at the east end of Castro St. in Mt. View.) They make my second favorite falafels (I can't remember right now where my faves are located.) TIA.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Claudette
                  katya RE: Claudette May 6, 2009 05:30 PM

                  I've heard Neto's is really good, but I haven't been there yet.

                  My list is more for overall Israeli/Armenian/Greek (maybe I should take "falafel" out of the name but some places - like Pita Pit are more falafel joint than ethnic). I only had falafel at a handful of the locations listed so my list isn't so good as a falafel ranker, more for overall food.

                  1. re: katya
                    Claudette RE: katya May 7, 2009 09:04 AM

                    Thanks for clarifying.

                    BTW: Neto's is Israeli; beware their dessert case, though - lots of lovely, fattening things in there.

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