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Best / Worst Falafel in Vancouver

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slugsunderfoot Jan 20, 2010 07:02 PM

Visited the State of Israel not too long ago. One can find deplorable falafel there ( especially in Tel Aviv ) as well as superb falafel ( East Jerusalem ) - but what struck me especially was how much more FLAVOURFUL the ' superb ' falafel in Israel was than the ' best ' falafel I have found here in Vancouver. Even the best falafel here does not come close ( IMO ) to the Ace Falafel THERE ( and there is no way that I have located the ' best ' in Vancouver, regardless ). So my question is: WHERE in Vancouver can one find REALLY GOOD falafel ( obviously I am not looking hard enough ) and which places should totally be avoided even under the most extreme of circumstances ? ( I can think of more than one )

  1. fmed Jan 20, 2010 07:37 PM

    I'm not a falafel guy, but I bet Nuba makes a good one.

    1. p
      Philx Jan 21, 2010 12:39 AM

      There is a little place across from Best Buy on 8th Ave that makes a nice one; choice of 3 salads with the falafel. At least one of the guys there is from Israel not sure if he is from East Jerusalem though.

      8 Replies
      1. re: Philx
        grayelf Jan 21, 2010 03:53 PM

        I can vouch for the falafel at the Nuba on Seymour (bonus: they add avocado to the wrap!). Another one I used to like for the flavour and the crunch was Habibi's but we haven't been for a while (change of ownership/name, switch from veg only to meat threw us off). I've been hearing good things about the place Philx is describing (Falafel Plus) but that's not an area we find ourselves in at lunchtime and it's only open till 8 pm per link below. For places that are still open, I thought the pita wrapped falafel at the egregiously named Falafully Good on Oak at 16th was pretty decent both times I went. There have to be really stellar versions out there somewhere, right??

        Here's a thread that's pretty up to date http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/500934

        1. re: grayelf
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          slugsunderfoot Jan 21, 2010 04:43 PM

          - thanks for the link grayelf. next time i choose to start a thread- i'll do a search first !
          yes, as pointed out by someone ' in the know ' on an earlier post- the problem with the falafel in vancouver is that- for the most part- it is NOT prepared to order. in East Jerusalem one can purchase a FIRST- RATE falafel sandwich from a sidewalk cart for 5 shekels- and the falafel balls themselves are fried up before your eyes per order. there is a deep, rich, crunchy / smoky flavour to the garbanzo ' meat ' that just CANNOT be duplicated in pre- cooked, ' nuke to order balls. SO MANY TIMES the falafel i have tried in vancouver has an over- salted, gummy, high on baking soda, devoid- of- texture feauture to it that is quite off- putting.
          - yes, nuba ( both locations ) is good.
          - ditto for the late, lamented habibi's.
          - the oak @ 16- th location is very good- and they include a cold beer with the sandwich for minimal cost.
          - saba's falafel is quite good as well, with lots of intriguing fillers.

          CANNOT WAIT TO TRY FALAFEL- PLUS ON CAMBIE !!! obviously- this place is a winner. going to head over there very soon.

          1. re: grayelf
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            vandan Jan 21, 2010 05:36 PM

            i believe that habibis is completely out of the resto biz, but still manufacture their tubs of hummus etc..., maybe thats what you were saying anyways?

            1. re: vandan
              grayelf Jan 21, 2010 06:08 PM

              Yeah, that is what I was saying, vandan, but not very clearly. I believe you can still get Habibi's falafel in certain stores premade -- I used to take it to work and make my own version of falafel in pita using flour tortillas :-). Obviously not as good as made to order but the flavour was/is there at least.

              1. re: grayelf
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                Philx Jan 22, 2010 04:58 AM

                When I was at Falafel Plus (thanks grayelf - couldnt recall the name) they deep fried the falafel to order - only took a few minutes and you could taste the difference as compared to the nuked variety.

                1. re: Philx
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                  slugsunderfoot Jan 26, 2010 01:38 PM

                  ok... i was at FALAFEL PLUS on 8- th @ cambie this a.m. and had the basic falafel in a pita. i did not request anything precise in respect to the order- except that i agreed to added heat in the sandwich. i placed my order and sat down. there was a TV on quite loud PLUS a CD playing at the same time- excessive. i did not complain, however. the falafel itself was excellent- easily the best falafel i have had, ever, in vancouver. the spicy, garlicky tahini plus the grilled eggplant made a tremendous difference, and the falafel ' meat ' itself had the consistency and flavour ( for the most part ) i was searching for. one thing however: important to request that your falafel balls be deep- fried to order. mine were indeed FRESH- but i DID hear the sounds of a microwave oven in motion as my sandwich was being prepared. regardless- my vote for the best in the city !

                  1. re: slugsunderfoot
                    grayelf Jan 26, 2010 08:48 PM

                    Thanks for the current intel on Falafels Plus, slugs. Will have to arrange one of our many trips to Home Depot around lunch there soon.

                    1. re: slugsunderfoot
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                      Philx Feb 17, 2010 08:06 AM

                      "but i DID hear the sounds of a microwave oven in motion as my sandwich was being prepared."

                      I noticed that but in fact it is the deep fryer beeping; it has its own timer. I asked the guy about it and he said the fryer only takes about 3 mins and they pretty much always cook to order rather than reheat.

          2. eastcoastgirl_westcoastlife Jan 27, 2010 10:56 AM

            Your post is a coincidence, as I was just having a discussion with a co-worker yesterday on where to get good falafel in Van. Of course Nuba is up there, and their new location (Corner of Cambie and Hastings) is lovely. If you don't want to dine-in you can get take away for pretty quick at the counter.

            My all tim fave though, is a little hidden gem in the Harbour Centre Called Casablanca. They are a Lebanese family-run take out eatery, and the food is fantastic. Delicious falafel, and the BEST shawarma I’ve had outside of Ottawa. Give it a shot :)

            1 Reply
            1. re: eastcoastgirl_westcoastlife
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              slugsunderfoot Jan 27, 2010 03:09 PM

              - thanks for that- will do !

              - the new nuba location is where ' jackson's beef house ' existed for many years.

            2. 1
              12pines Mar 6, 2010 07:41 AM

              I completely agree with your Israeli falafel review. I had the most flavourful experiences in Jerusalem (nearby the German Colony?) and find Tel Aviv to be hit-and-miss.

              Falafel Plus on 8th just past Cambie does a great job. Just don't head over on Friday night or Saturday as they're kosher and, therefore, won't be open. You might also consider giving Falafel King on Denman (between Pendrell and Comox) a try. I've never tried the falafel but consider their shwarma to be the best I've tasted outside of Israel. And always with hot sauce. I moved out of the West End years ago, but still drive back over the bridge for their #5.

              1 Reply
              1. re: 12pines
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                vandan Mar 6, 2010 10:43 AM

                agree falafel king is great, and also one of the hardest places to walk on by as the sumptuous waft from the place seems to envelope the entire block

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