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Falafel, Baba Ghanoush & other Middle Eastern delights

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hbkawachi Mar 2, 2010 09:33 PM

I live in Tokushima and while there is a lot of good Japanese food here, the choices for foreign cuisine really suck. I'm going to be in Tokyo from 3/21 to 3/25 and I'd like to get some Middle Eastern food, especially Falafel & Baba Ghanoush. Does anyone have a recommendation? I'll be staying in the Shinagawa area but am willing to travel to any of the 23 wards or even out to Kichijoji or Mitaka.

Thanks!

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  1. gkanai RE: hbkawachi Mar 3, 2010 03:54 AM

    Hands down the best pitas and falafel is at Pita the Great:

    http://pitathegreat.net/

    4 Replies
    1. re: gkanai
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      hbkawachi RE: gkanai Mar 3, 2010 05:00 AM

      Thanks, gkanai! I didn't know about that place and I'll be sure to go.

      Anybody know of a place to get Baba Ghanoush?

      1. re: hbkawachi
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        lost squirrel RE: hbkawachi Mar 3, 2010 06:23 PM

        Do some searches for foreign markets in the Gotanda area - I believe there may be a Halal market or two. Good luck! Let us know if you find anything.

      2. re: gkanai
        Silverjay RE: gkanai Mar 3, 2010 07:00 PM

        I can't believe that guy is still around and still in the same slightly wacky location he's always been. I haven't eaten there in years. He makes everything himself, including the pita bread. I'm assuming he's still got irregular hours so I would call or have a back up.

        1. re: Silverjay
          Robb S RE: Silverjay Mar 3, 2010 07:14 PM

          I was by there a few weeks ago at 1pm and he was there all alone, but somehow it didn't look like the place was open.

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        jet lagged RE: hbkawachi Mar 4, 2010 12:12 AM

        Cicada which is a high end tapas restaurant in Minami-Azabu has the best hummous. It actually is better than many I have had in Israel. Middle Eastern restaurants are tough-even in Tokyo. There is a high end Turkish in Nakameguro whose name escapes me that has what you want as well.

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          hbkawachi RE: hbkawachi Mar 4, 2010 12:54 AM

          Thanks for all of your detailed replies. I'll call "Pita The Great" to check if they're open and since I'll be in Shinagawa, I'll be sure to look into Halal markets in the Gotanda area as it is a nearby. You've all been a great help !

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            coldicott RE: hbkawachi Mar 4, 2010 06:19 AM

            Hate to be argumentative, but that's what the Internet's for innit? I wouldn't agree that Pita the Great is the best place. The falafel is the cumin kind, and fairly light on the seasoning since cumin-rich food doesn't seem to go down too well here. That's why most falafel in Tokyo is the herbal kind. PtG sandwiches are rammed with sauce, but skimpy on the veg. I'll agree that the pita breads are great though.

            For me, the best falafel by far is Kuumba du Falafel, a newish place near Shibuya: http://metropolis.co.jp/dining/dining... - lots of quality veg, nice herbal falafel, and in the evening they do some great salads.

            The best place for an all-round falafel, hummus, baba g nosh-up is Shamaim's in Ekoda - all-you-can-eat, great quality and still only ¥2,100. http://r.gnavi.co.jp/fl/en/g868500/

            Close to Shinagawa there are two places for Israeli grub - David's Deli, which does fantastic hummus and tabbouli, but the pitas aren't always fresh and the atmosphere is rubbish; or King Falafel, a take-out stand that serves falafel and shakshouka either as pita sandwiches or as bento (which make much more sense than you might think.

            )

            www.davidsdeli.co.jp
            http://veg.tokyogigguide.com/index.ph...

            12 Replies
            1. re: coldicott
              Silverjay RE: coldicott Mar 4, 2010 06:34 AM

              Actually, I never liked PTG falafel as well and I didn't like his hummus, which wasn't ground so well and had too many chunks of chick pea skin. This was like 6-7 years ago though. I just made my own after that.......I have always wanted to try Shamaim's. It was just never convenient for me. Good to hear that it is tasty and reasonable value.

              1. re: coldicott
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                Uncle Yabai RE: coldicott Mar 4, 2010 07:25 AM

                David's Deli is not a bad facsimile of the real thing, but much better exists outside of Japan. As for the atmosphere, it HAS to be rubbish. Good falafel and dinky, crappy eateries go together, by definition.

                1. re: Uncle Yabai
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                  coldicott RE: Uncle Yabai Mar 4, 2010 12:05 PM

                  Didn't know that. Thanks Uncle Yabai. In that case, David's Deli is fantastic. Not only does it do impressive hummus and tabbouli, but it has a brilliantly awful atmosphere. You'll love, love, love the stick-on stained glass windows. You'll be wowed by the gazillion security cameras covering every millimeter of the place. You'll be dazzled by the oversize TV screens which might be playing a violent Hollywood movie, a Britney video, or if you're really lucky, the 10 second loop of a DVD title screen, with the same catchy jingle playing until you stick a fork into your eyeball just to take your mind off things. Try to get a seat on the second floor, where you will be alone and left alone.

                  1. re: coldicott
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                    hbkawachi RE: coldicott Mar 4, 2010 04:00 PM

                    Thanks a lot, Caldicott. David's Deli is exactly the kind of place I was looking for. Not only do they have falafel, etc. they have kasha varnishkes! I never would have imagined I could find that in Japan! I know where I am going to be eating in Tokyo!

                    1. re: hbkawachi
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                      hbkawachi RE: hbkawachi Mar 27, 2010 10:51 PM

                      Thanks for all your advice, looking at my schedule and the part of town I was in, I ended up going to David's Deli. I had the falafel and baba ghanoush and while they were really expensive, they were very good. I also ordered a piece of pita bread and it was baked to order. In all my years of eating middle eastern food (mostly in LA and Portland, OR), I've never had freshly baked pita. Yum!

                      1. re: hbkawachi
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                        epop RE: hbkawachi Feb 18, 2011 12:10 AM

                        in case you make it to Nara there is a guy working hard (in the main thoroughfare) to make falafel, including homemade tahini and pita bread.

                        1. re: epop
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                          hbkawachi RE: epop Feb 18, 2011 12:25 AM

                          Thanks, Nara isn't that far, at least compared to Tokyo! And I'll be in Tokyo in March again and intend to go back to David's Deli as it was good.

                          1. re: hbkawachi
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                            epop RE: hbkawachi Feb 18, 2011 09:10 AM

                            I think it is called Shalom Garden. I still wonder why this Israeli ended up in Nara.

                            1. re: epop
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                              hbkawachi RE: epop Feb 18, 2011 02:11 PM

                              Yes, that is kind of an odd place for an Israeli to end up! Thanks for telling me the name.

                              1. re: hbkawachi
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                                epop RE: hbkawachi Feb 18, 2011 03:43 PM

                                If you find out why please let me know.

                                Nara is not my favorite place in Japan so I won't be going back.

                                I enjoyed everywhere else.

                                1. re: epop
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                                  hbkawachi RE: epop Feb 18, 2011 05:59 PM

                                  I'll be sure to ask if and when I get there! Sorry to hear it wasn't your favorite place, I prefer it over Kyoto, which many people love.

                                  1. re: hbkawachi
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                                    epop RE: hbkawachi Feb 18, 2011 08:47 PM

                                    Too many deer and temples.

                                    Kyoto is a mixed bag.

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