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Falafel in Los Angeles

David Ritter Feb 9, 2005 08:59 PM

Where can you find the best falafel in the Los Angeles area?

  1. CharlesKochel Nov 24, 2012 11:41 PM

    Main Street in Venice next to Exhale is to Die For Falafel.

    3 Replies
    1. re: CharlesKochel
      Servorg Nov 25, 2012 02:51 AM

      I assume you are referring to Vardo Cafe http://www.vardocafe.com/ ?

      1. re: Servorg
        CharlesKochel Nov 25, 2012 12:29 PM

        correct, sorry I could not remember the name. The few tables outside are nice and they have some funky beer selections.

        1. re: CharlesKochel
          westsidegal Nov 25, 2012 01:33 PM

          have you tried any of their other menu items?
          the menu looks terrific to me, and it is geographically desirable.

    2. w
      waterman Nov 9, 2012 05:43 PM

      My favorite so far is Sunin in West Los Angeles.

      1. u
        upstarter Nov 6, 2012 04:04 PM

        I recently tried the felafels at a place I have loved for years and can honestly say that they're the best I've ever had. Poulet de Jour in Hermosa beach has reliable rotisserie chicken, hummus , and other standard "Mediterranean" fare.

        Their felafels though are truly "great." Try em out. I think they're parsley based because they're green on the inside.


        1. c
          ChefRoux Nov 5, 2012 01:05 PM

          If any of you venture to Orange County, try Sahara Falafel on Brookhurst at Orange in Anaheim.
          The best in O.C for sure.


          1. e
            Eliorr Nov 4, 2012 12:56 AM

            another option I just remembered b/c I saw some living social deal for it in my email is Itzik Hagadol. Their falafel, although not the main part of the menu is pretty good.

            15 Replies
            1. re: Eliorr
              westsidegal Nov 4, 2012 08:55 AM

              when i make the trip to Itzik Hagadol, even though their falafal is good, i focus on their "arrray" of 20 salads which is beyond good. That "array" is what, imho, makes Itzik Hagadol a destination restaurant.

              i especially adore on the many varieties of eggplant salad that are included in the array. there is nothing like it anywhere else, especially now that the Magic Carpet restaurant on pico has closed.

              1. re: westsidegal
                Eliorr Nov 4, 2012 11:07 AM

                I totally agree. Not much of a falafel person myself so when I go there also mainly eat the salads. But to the point of the question, the falafel is also good. It is worth the trip.

                1. re: Eliorr
                  westsidegal Nov 4, 2012 02:30 PM

                  i would not drive from my house in Playa del Rey solely for the Itzik Hagadol falafal, although good, not drive-worthy imho.
                  i do regularly drive there for the salads, though. imho, that salad array is VERY VERY drive-worthy.

                  1. re: westsidegal
                    kevin Nov 4, 2012 05:01 PM

                    ok, i'm going to make the salad excursion to itzik hagadol.

                    and i still have to try the new kosher joint on melrose for its falafels.

                    1. re: kevin
                      TonyC Nov 5, 2012 09:56 AM


                      1. re: TonyC
                        kevin Nov 5, 2012 12:07 PM

                        that's it i was about to say ta-meen but couldn't quite remember.

                        yet, that's the name. thanks.

                        i'll hit it up soon and report back.

                    2. re: westsidegal
                      kevin Nov 4, 2012 05:02 PM

                      i still stand by Habayit for their falafels.

                      1. re: kevin
                        latindancer Nov 5, 2012 09:32 AM

                        <I still stand by Habayit for their falafels.>


                        1. re: latindancer
                          kevin Nov 5, 2012 12:06 PM

                          I really like their falafels. Every time I have gone they have been perfectly fried to order, the green salsa is great, the hummus is good (not exceptional but about as good as it gets for West LA and that's enough for me).

                          The only problem is a falafel and hummus plate is 10.95 or 11.95 which is not cheap for a plate that has about 5 falafels, some hummus and tahini and israeli salad.

                          but i have not tried the melrose joint yet.

                  2. re: westsidegal
                    kevin Nov 4, 2012 05:00 PM

                    damnit, i so fucking miss The Magic Carpet. Why did you have to remind me of it ?

                    I still wish there was a joint like that, as well as their melawach.

                    1. re: kevin
                      westsidegal Nov 4, 2012 05:47 PM

                      a heart knows a heart, i think that i'll still be mourning the loss of Magic Carpet when i'm on my deathbed. one of the very few restaurants for which i'd actually leave the westside.

                      i adore well-prepared eggplant.

                      1. re: westsidegal
                        Eliorr Nov 4, 2012 10:18 PM

                        Did you try Urban Garden on Fairfax? I am curious to hear how it is haven't had a chance to go yet.

                        1. re: Eliorr
                          westsidegal Nov 5, 2012 10:52 AM

                          haven't tried it yet.
                          it is very far from any of my usual stomping grounds, so unless several other people go first and rave about it, i'm very unlikely to venture there when i know that for sure i can get good eggplant at itzik hagadol.

                          1. re: westsidegal
                            kevin Nov 5, 2012 12:09 PM

                            ok, ok, ok.

                            if itzik has a myriad varieties of eggplant that can somewhat, slightly, if i may squint remind me of the eggplant caviar, and other eggplant dishes at magic carpet, i'm so there.

                            is it possible that the chef or proprietor of The Magic Carpet has resurfaced somewhere else in LA ???


                            1. re: kevin
                              westsidegal Nov 5, 2012 01:05 PM

                              none of my restaurant intelligence sources have found any such resurfacing.
                              believe me, i have my ear to the ground.
                              if YOU find something out, PLEASE TELL ME!

                2. d
                  dmax Nov 2, 2012 10:24 AM

                  I love falafel at these 2 places - Father Nature's falafel is not the usual rock hard golf ball - it's a soft patty and fresh made - plus their sauces for dipping are amazing - try the spicy tahini.....

                  Pita Kitchen
                  14500 Ventura Blvd
                  Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
                  (818) 990-7006

                  Father Nature's Lavash Wraps
                  17 N De Lacey Ave
                  Pasadena, CA 91103
                  (626) 568-9811

                  1. e
                    Eliorr Nov 1, 2012 09:07 AM

                    YOu can try Hummus Bar 18743 Ventura Boulevard Tarzana, CA 91356 and now they are also opening on 3rd street in santa monica. When I was there it was good and they also have a pretty good selection of other food.
                    Problem with flafel is that if it is not fresh is will almost always taste dry, you need to make sure that wherever you go ask them to make it fresh, likely you will get pretty good flafel in most places. Don't let them reheat the old one in the oil.....

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Eliorr
                      westsidegal Nov 1, 2012 03:26 PM

                      also, don't let them reheat the old one in a microwave oven (which is what was done right in front of my eyes to my falafal at the "old" sunin one the west side of the street.)

                      1. re: westsidegal
                        kevin Nov 1, 2012 05:02 PM

                        I concur. I've never been a fan of the falafel sandwich at sunnin lebanese cafe. though i did enjoy the other dishes on the menu.

                        1. re: westsidegal
                          Eliorr Nov 1, 2012 07:20 PM

                          There should be a delete function for places that reheat falafel in a microwave.

                          1. re: Eliorr
                            Servorg Nov 1, 2012 07:58 PM

                            "There should be a delete function for places that reheat falafel in a microwave."

                            There is. It's in your wallet.

                      2. k
                        karen339 Oct 31, 2012 12:56 PM

                        Loved the falafel at ta-eem on melrose was as good as any in Haifa imho

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: karen339
                          echoparkdirt Oct 31, 2012 10:00 PM

                          ta-eem is my new crush

                        2. l
                          loreeLB Aug 14, 2012 09:48 AM

                          the best place used to be in the valley but gone now LOL eaten at Sunnin when there was one in LB the falafel was FAB, since same family owns it i would imagine Westwood is the same. Have not EVER had a bad experience there....

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: loreeLB
                            westsidegal Oct 31, 2012 07:04 PM

                            i have had horrible falafell experience at the "old" sunnin on the west side of santa monica blvd.

                          2. a
                            AlkieGourmand Aug 12, 2012 09:05 PM

                            Arax's falafel is really good and the best I've had in LA. I like stopping in there for falafel, hummus, and grape leaves.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: AlkieGourmand
                              LAgirl2 Aug 13, 2012 07:19 PM

                              +1 for arax. i really like their falafel---not greasy w/ a nice crunchy outside. their shwarma is very good as well. small place (maybe 3 booths), can be a wait for lunch on the weekends, but worth it. the family that runs it are very friendly (especially if you go there on a regular basis). but also, this is an armenian falafel place---so it might be somewhat different than an israeli or other style of falafel.

                              1. re: LAgirl2
                                echoparkdirt Aug 13, 2012 10:00 PM

                                but have you tried elena's?

                                1. re: echoparkdirt
                                  LAgirl2 Aug 14, 2012 07:48 AM

                                  no, i haven't tried elena's yet. a couple of friends of mine had lunch there recently and really enjoyed the food (i don't think they tried the falafel, but had some of the greek dishes)

                            2. g
                              GK in SO Aug 12, 2012 09:03 PM

                              Joe's Falafel; see this thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/852663

                              Best I've ever had.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: GK in SO
                                ns1 Aug 13, 2012 09:25 AM

                                Hayat > Arax > Joes > Skafs > Zankou

                                didn't mean to reply to GK, meant to reply to the OP.

                              2. Golem Apr 4, 2008 04:06 PM

                                Moishe's at Farmer's Market is very good. Also, when you're in the Valley, try Amir's in Encinco: http://www.amersfalafel.com/ It's on Ventura Boulevard, near Louise Avenue. Delish.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: Golem
                                  holleygolitely Apr 5, 2008 05:21 PM

                                  Does anyone in L.A. make falafal like they do at L'As du Falafel in the Marais in Paris? It has really fresh veggies on top, like red cabbage and radish perhaps and the pita is fresh out of the oven. Just wondering?

                                  1. re: holleygolitely
                                    apple7blue Apr 6, 2008 09:33 AM

                                    Yes exactly that . . . eto . . . I cannot tell you where though, my memory does not serve me, I just remember having it and thinking it was weird that they had red cabbage and radish . . .

                                    1. re: holleygolitely
                                      a_and_w Apr 6, 2008 09:34 AM

                                      Not that I've found thus far in LA, but I haven't yet exhausted the possibilities. Here's my thread on the subject:


                                      If you find yourself in NYC, check out the place Azuri Cafe that I mention. It's the only place in the US that gets compared to L'As du.

                                  2. l
                                    ldodb Apr 4, 2008 10:09 AM

                                    One option you definitely want to consider is Habayit. It's on pico, a tiny hole in the wall place thats run by an Israeli family. Their daughters are typically the servers and the wife is usually in the kitchen. Half the time everyone in there is speaking hebrew. The falafel is always cooked made to order and their hummus and tahina is excellent. You should definitely not overlook this place. Although it seems as ill have to go check out Falafel arax sometime.

                                    11921 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

                                    11 Replies
                                    1. re: ldodb
                                      a_and_w Apr 5, 2008 11:29 AM

                                      Love Habayit for Israeli-style falafel. Didn't realize those beautiful ladies are his daughters -- he should be very proud LOL! I also really like Sham for falafel.

                                      1. re: ldodb
                                        latindancer Aug 12, 2012 08:45 PM

                                        Cannot figure out why anyone would recommend this place.

                                        Totally disagree.
                                        The falafel is dry and tastes like it's been sitting around for awhile and the pita is stale.

                                        1. re: latindancer
                                          Discokill Aug 13, 2012 03:22 AM

                                          Looks like it was sitting around for about four years to be exact. Maybe it was better when it was fresh.

                                          1. re: Discokill
                                            Servorg Aug 13, 2012 08:12 AM

                                            I tried the falafel from Habayit once, and that was it. Really nothing about it to recommend a second visit, and it's in my local area so if it was at all good I would have been happy to put it in to my regular rotation.

                                            1. re: Servorg
                                              latindancer Aug 13, 2012 08:43 AM

                                              I went there, bought it, based on the recommendation on CH, and I took one bite and threw the entire thing away.
                                              I didn't want to waste the calories. I was put off by the overly oily falafel and the really stale pita. It went all downhill after that.

                                              1. re: latindancer
                                                latindancer Aug 13, 2012 08:47 AM

                                                Haifa on Pico used to serve a delicious falafel. I haven't been in there in a few years to see if they're still good.
                                                It's a good day for one....perhaps I'll give it another try.

                                                1. re: latindancer
                                                  echoparkdirt Aug 13, 2012 09:58 PM

                                                  there's got to be a good Israeli falafel in Pico-Robertson area....

                                              2. re: Servorg
                                                kevin Aug 13, 2012 10:46 PM

                                                i wholeheartedly disagree with this one. habayit is some of the best falafel i haven had in LA, with our even without that addictive and spicy green sauce.

                                                but you do have to get it as a plate with the hummus rather than as a sandwich.

                                                1. re: kevin
                                                  loblaw Nov 2, 2012 05:21 PM


                                                  1. re: kevin
                                                    will47 Nov 5, 2012 06:28 PM

                                                    I thought Habayit was excellent; one of the better ones I've had in LA (and, as others have said, fried fresh). I'm pretty sure they'll do it as a sandwich, but could be wrong (haven't been for a while).

                                                    I think Skaf is also pretty good.

                                                    Does anyone know what region most of the places in NY are from? I have had some pretty good falafel in LA, but I am occasionally nostalgic for NY hole-in-the-wall falafel.

                                                    1. re: will47
                                                      Eliorr Nov 6, 2012 09:04 AM

                                                      In NY they are either Israeli/Lebanese/Egyptian that was my experience. There is a growing trend of clean, stylish falafel places in NY. Soomsoom, Maoz, Chekpea, each has multiple locations. I am pretty sure they will land in LA sooner or later. They position the falafel as a healthy vegetarian cuisine. And a big part of it is an open salad bar, westsidegal stay tuned!

                                          2. a
                                            Arthur Apr 29, 2005 09:21 PM

                                            I've always been partial to the falafel at Noura Cafe, 8479 Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood. Excellent food there all around!

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: Arthur
                                              Frommtron Apr 4, 2008 05:41 PM

                                              Noura is closed down, as well as the sister restaurant, Eat a Pita.

                                              1. re: Frommtron
                                                perk Aug 13, 2012 07:25 AM

                                                I used to LOVE Noura!

                                            2. j
                                              Jerome Feb 10, 2005 06:21 PM

                                              My favorite type mixes ground fava beans (fool/polim) with the chick peas (humus). You can get these at Carnival on woodman in sherman oaks and at Sunnin on Westwood.

                                              Although I like me and Me (or is it lavelee) the stand at Rosewood and Fairfax, I prefer the turkish salad there to the felafel.

                                              1. j
                                                jacqueline Feb 10, 2005 03:38 PM

                                                I have always found the falafel at Haifa to be extremely delicious.

                                                8717 W. Pico Blvd., LA

                                                1. j
                                                  Josh Feb 10, 2005 02:20 AM

                                                  I've had falafel from all the restaurants mentioned around town, and none of them come close to the pillowy, huge, golden falafel at Elena's in Glendale. They're fluffy, not oily or hard, like at Arax.

                                                  1000 S. Glendale Ave.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: Josh
                                                    D. Tochs Mar 2, 2005 06:03 PM

                                                    A strong second for Elena's! I was thinking of that when I saw the original posting. I don't know what it is about their falafels, but I find them irrestible: not doughy; well-cooked without being greasy; and a perfect crunchy texture. If only their humus were as good... Oh well, they're allowed to misfire on something.

                                                    1. re: Josh
                                                      echoparkdirt Aug 12, 2012 04:21 PM

                                                      I adore the falafel at Elena's and find them better than zankou or arax

                                                      1. re: echoparkdirt
                                                        kevin Aug 13, 2012 10:44 PM

                                                        this is the joint in glendale, right ???

                                                    2. m
                                                      MC Feb 10, 2005 12:25 AM

                                                      I love the falafel at Cafe Dahab on Westwood Bl! They're Egyptian-style with herbs mixed in, not too crispy and not too soft, not too small (like those Israeli places), and they're a little flattened- a nice change.

                                                      1. x
                                                        Xericx Feb 9, 2005 10:21 PM

                                                        The version at Sham restaurant in Santa Monica is excellent! Freshly fried and crispy/fresh!

                                                        1. s
                                                          snackish Feb 9, 2005 09:45 PM

                                                          I'm no expert, but I like Falafel Palace in Reseda. Made to order, green on the inside, cheap, hot, crispy. They have a nice pickle bar too w/pickled cabbage and different pickles.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: snackish
                                                            Noclue Feb 11, 2005 03:33 PM

                                                            I like Falafel Palace as well. I was just there yesterday. Falafel was crispy and hot.

                                                            James (BTW, the poster's my brother and has my rec on Falafel Palace already)

                                                            1. re: snackish
                                                              jencounter Apr 4, 2008 03:14 PM

                                                              Thirded. If I'm not making it at home, this is my next choice.

                                                            2. c
                                                              Chowpatty Feb 9, 2005 09:26 PM

                                                              Falafel King in Westwood Village.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: Chowpatty
                                                                Noclue Feb 11, 2005 03:35 PM

                                                                I use to go to Falafel King in Westwood when I was in college. I remember the falafel was ok, but the fried potato chip on top of the falafel was really tasty.

                                                                1. re: Chowpatty
                                                                  Arthur Apr 29, 2005 09:15 PM

                                                                  Sorry, can't agree about Falafel King. Very flavorless, dry and overcooked falafel balls. I do like the fresh potato chips, though.

                                                                2. d
                                                                  davesch7 Feb 9, 2005 09:22 PM

                                                                  Sunnin on Westwood and Santa Monica.

                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                  1. re: davesch7
                                                                    r Feb 10, 2005 03:13 PM


                                                                    1. re: r
                                                                      Yummy Feb 11, 2005 01:53 PM

                                                                      ditto again! Sunnin is amazing!!!!!!!!!!!1

                                                                    2. re: davesch7
                                                                      westsidegal Apr 4, 2008 11:18 AM

                                                                      sunnin on westwood likes to make their falafal in batches and then reheats the falafal balls in the microwave oven next to the fryer.
                                                                      if you are ok with this, then you may be happy with sunnin.
                                                                      also, the way they make their falafal sandwiches is to wrap the microwaved falafal balls in a huge piece of cold doughy white pita along with the sauce, wrap the whole thing up in tin foil and put it on the grill to warm. this will turn the bread and everything else into a huge, doughy, steamey, soggy, white-bread mess by the time you open the 'package' to eat it.

                                                                      1. re: westsidegal
                                                                        kevin Aug 13, 2012 10:43 PM

                                                                        yeah, i never ever liked this method for a falafel pita, it just really tasted pretty terrible.

                                                                      2. re: davesch7
                                                                        Frommtron Apr 4, 2008 04:23 PM

                                                                        I'm a big fan of Sunnin in Westwood, too. Honestly, and zero disrespect intended, but I've never heard of an experience with microwaved falafal at Sunnin outside of westsidegal's post. I'm very sure it happened but I've been there a lot and I've never seen it.

                                                                        Personally, I need some green (fava) in my falafal and Sunnin has that. I think their hummus has the best balance of lemon juice and olive oil I've had in the city (never been to Wahib's) and I love the texture. Other mezze are great in my book, too, especially the kibbbeh.

                                                                        The 'rice' is actually revolting and I have seen them perform the steam packet routine with the sandwich, which was lame, however, Sunnin is good enough to warrant a visit and for you to make the call yourself.

                                                                        1. re: davesch7
                                                                          westsidegal Aug 12, 2012 04:25 PM

                                                                          is sunnin still making their falafal in batches and reheating it in a microwave?
                                                                          that's why the microwave was set up next to the falafal fryer in the old place.
                                                                          haven't been back since they moved across the street.

                                                                        2. a
                                                                          Augusta Feb 9, 2005 09:17 PM

                                                                          I'd have to agree...FALAFEL ARAX is my favorite place for falafel's. Parking can be terrible during lunch time and you may not find a place to sit but I think it's definitely worth a trip.

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Augusta
                                                                            russkar Feb 9, 2005 09:42 PM

                                                                            Old Country Chix Sandwich too!

                                                                            1. re: Augusta
                                                                              pell23 Apr 4, 2008 08:31 AM

                                                                              i agree as well! the best falafel i've had in LA. rivals the delicious falafel place on rue de rosiers in paris - one of the best falafels i've had anywhere.
                                                                              also, the man who usually works the counter is so sweet. definitely worth the trip

                                                                            2. r
                                                                              rabo encendido Feb 9, 2005 09:10 PM

                                                                              The type of question where you'll get at least half a million answers.

                                                                              Best falafel I've had is at FALAFEL ARAX, a dinky little place just off Santa Monica Blvd in East Hollywood. Made to order, crispy, hot. Not sitting around under heat lamps a la Zankou.

                                                                              Close second would be down Santa Monica Blvd. a few hops to MAROUCH, a sit-down Armenian-Lebanese restaurant. This is one of my favorite places in the city. Excellent falafel, excellent everything else.

                                                                              Last, but not least, MOISHE'S, a stall at the 3rd street/Fairfax farmer's market does nice falafel, also made to order.

                                                                              (323) 663-9687
                                                                              5101 Santa Monica Blvd
                                                                              Los Angeles, CA 90029

                                                                              Marouch Restaurant
                                                                              (323) 662-9325
                                                                              4905 Santa Monica Blvd
                                                                              Los Angeles, CA 90029

                                                                              Moishe's Restaurant
                                                                              (323) 936-4998
                                                                              6333 West 3rd St
                                                                              Los Angeles, CA 90036

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