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Falafel in Los Angeles

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

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  1. r
    rabo encendido

    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.

    Falafel-Arax
    (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

    1. 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

        BINGO!
        Old Country Chix Sandwich too!

        1. re: Augusta

          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. Sunnin on Westwood and Santa Monica.

          6 Replies
            1. re: r

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

            2. re: davesch7

              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

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

              2. re: davesch7

                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

                  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. Falafel King in Westwood Village.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Chowpatty

                    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

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

                    2. 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

                        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

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

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

                          1. 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. 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.

                              Elena's
                              1000 S. Glendale Ave.
                              Glendale
                              818-241-5730

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Josh

                                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

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

                                  1. re: echoparkdirt

                                    this is the joint in glendale, right ???

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

                                  8717 W. Pico Blvd., LA

                                  1. 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. 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

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

                                      2. 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.

                                        -----
                                        Habayit
                                        11921 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

                                        11 Replies
                                        1. re: ldodb

                                          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

                                            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

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

                                              1. re: Discokill

                                                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

                                                  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

                                                    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

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

                                                  2. re: Servorg

                                                    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

                                                        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

                                                          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. 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

                                                  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

                                                    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

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

                                                      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/371230

                                                      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.

                                                    1. re: GK in SO

                                                      Hayat > Arax > Joes > Skafs > Zankou

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

                                                    2. 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

                                                        +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: echoparkdirt

                                                            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. 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

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

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

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. 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

                                                              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

                                                                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

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

                                                                  1. re: Eliorr

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

                                                                    There is. It's in your wallet.

                                                              2. 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
                                                                http://www.yelp.com/biz/pita-kitchen-...

                                                                Father Nature's Lavash Wraps
                                                                17 N De Lacey Ave
                                                                Pasadena, CA 91103
                                                                (626) 568-9811
                                                                http://www.yelp.com/biz/father-nature...

                                                                1. 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

                                                                    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

                                                                      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

                                                                        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

                                                                          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: TonyC

                                                                              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.

                                                                          1. re: westsidegal

                                                                            i still stand by Habayit for their falafels.

                                                                            1. re: kevin

                                                                              <I still stand by Habayit for their falafels.>

                                                                              Why?

                                                                              1. re: latindancer

                                                                                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

                                                                          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

                                                                            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

                                                                              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

                                                                                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

                                                                                  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 ???

                                                                                  Thanks.

                                                                                  1. re: kevin

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

                                                                        CR

                                                                        1. 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.

                                                                          ~Upstarter

                                                                          1. My favorite so far is Sunin in West Los Angeles.

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

                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Servorg

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

                                                                                  1. re: CharlesKochel

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