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Falafel Experts

j
jason Feb 27, 2006 12:51 PM

For those of you truly familiar with Israeli Style, like one that can be found in Paris, L'as Du Falafel, with scrumptious red cabbage slaw and buttery chunks of fried eggplants, garlic infused chili, with 2-3 pieces of fries sprinkled on top.

I am a recent Los Angeles transplant, and though I've only found one place that can ever compare to L'as Du in New York City, entitled Azuri Cafe, which makes authentic israeli falafel in a similar fashion, i still have yet to find something similar in Los Angeles. I've tried a few falafel joints around here: Alladin, Falafel King, Zankou, and the highly reviewed "Eat a Pita", but to be quite frank, all their falafels taste like crap. Granted, most of these aren't genuine Israeli falafel, in fact, the owners are primarily Lebanese, Egyptian, Iranian, etc, but I'm sure, if an israeli falafel stand do not exist here, I can find one of the arabic variety that is up to par, at least in quality, with Azuri and L'as Du.

For the love of GOD, please help!!!!!!!!

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  1. j
    JBC Feb 27, 2006 01:23 PM

    I have never been to N.Y., Israel or have eaten at a Israeli style restaurant in Paris, so I don't know "exactly" what you're looking for; however, I have eaten falafel/schwarmas in L.A. for many years. I can recommend the food at:

    Sunnin in Westwood - It has been recommended here many times. A tiny Lebanese that opens at 11:30 and that is a good time to arrive soon after to grab a stool at their counter when dining solo. Check out their website link below. Price points:

    Falafel 4.50
    Shawarma 5.50
    Beef Kebab 5.50
    Add Fries 2.00

    Entrees - They have 11, 9 are under $10.

    If they don't bring any of their green hot sauce in a jar, ask for it. I don't know if they have more hot sauce options, never asked but should have.


    Sunnin
    1779 Westwood Blvd. (near Santa Monica Blvd).
    Westwood
    (310) 477-2358

    Also, I have friends who highly recommend "Sham" in Santa Monica: a Syrian (?) restaurant. I have yet to go myself but I have reviewed their excellent website and strongly suggest you do the same. The do have Falafels and french fries.

    http://www.sham.la

    Link: http://www.sunnin.com

    5 Replies
    1. re: JBC
      l
      Lucy Feb 27, 2006 03:31 PM

      I second Sunnin. They have the best falafel in town.

      1. re: Lucy
        w
        wilafur Feb 27, 2006 05:28 PM

        sunnin is lebanese though, not israeli.

        1. re: Lucy
          e
          epoptefendum Feb 27, 2006 07:58 PM

          sunnin is mediocre + i know arabic food well

          1. re: epoptefendum
            westsidegal Feb 24, 2007 11:01 AM

            they reheat their falafal in a microwave oven which is kept next to the fryer, so the falafal is soggy.
            if you order a falafal sandwich, they will wrap this soggy, reheated falafal in a huge piece of cold white pita bread, put on the conidments, then wrap the whole thing in a piece of foil and heat it on the grill.
            this means that when you unwrap your 'sandwich' you have a gross soggy mess of saturated white bread wrapped around the soggy falafal.

            1. re: westsidegal
              n
              Naama Feb 24, 2007 06:17 PM

              Another strike against Sunnin from me, particularly if you're looking for it to be akin to Israeli falafel...

      2. d
        duckduckgoose Feb 27, 2006 01:42 PM

        Haifa on Pico near Robertson is Israeli and you might be able to find more what you're looking for there, but to be honest nobody makes exactly what you're looking for that I know of so you might go for a slightly different experience. I tend to get the plates at these places so I can build the pita myself. At sunin you could order french fries and a side of falafel and babaganoush for instance. I also like Magic Carpet on Pico - it's yemenite. I also love Eat a Pita though.

        1 Reply
        1. re: duckduckgoose
          e
          ethan Mar 1, 2006 12:37 AM

          not what youre looking for i agree, but i do love their falafel

        2. b
          BigDaddyindaValley Feb 27, 2006 03:23 PM

          While I am not an expert, Falafel Palace at 9255 Reseda Boulevard (cross Prairie) in Northridge makes terrific falafel, with the fixin's you describe - and I believe the owner is Israeli.

          1 Reply
          1. re: BigDaddyindaValley
            s
            Snackish Feb 27, 2006 08:38 PM

            Yeah, I am no expert, but Falafel Palace has a cabbage bar - with both red and white pickled cabbage and other pickles - and you can pick 2 toppings for your falafel. I was hoooooked on the very rich eggplant chunks - though they have several kinds of eggplant topping and a surly staff (except for the owner, who is a charmer), so be sure to point and gesture at what you want.

            The falafel are greenish on the inside, crispy brown on the outside, light, and without a hint of cinnamon, which so many places seem to use.

            The also have a lovely smokey baba ghanoush, a chopped eggplant salad, a proper (mostly herbs) tabbouleh, etc.

            I do not think they serve falafel with fries on top, but you can get a falafel-fries combo plate.

            Good luck.

          2. j
            Jerome Feb 27, 2006 03:52 PM

            in the valley try amir's in studio city, try aroma in the west valley, i don't know if tempo is still around but you can try it, try carnival in sherman oaks, try sunnin on westwood blvd just north of santa monica blvd.

            you WILL like one of these. aroma and Tempo are israeli run, carnival is lebanese but has a huge israeli clientele and half the waitresses are israeli, sunnin is lebanese, and amir is hebrew-speaking, but I never asked if he was an arab or a jew or a druze for that matter.

            7 Replies
            1. re: Jerome
              e
              erika Feb 27, 2006 05:16 PM

              hey jerome, where in the west valley is aroma? i looked it up on verizonsuperpages, but there's no listing. thanks for the 411

              1. re: erika
                j
                Jerome Feb 27, 2006 06:15 PM

                I think this is right
                AROMA BAKERY CAFE
                18047 VENTURA BLVD
                91316
                ENCINO

                1. re: Jerome
                  l
                  Loretta Feb 27, 2006 06:38 PM

                  i think aroma cafe has the worst food in the world. they make their hummus with mayonise

                  1. re: Loretta
                    d
                    Das Ubergeek Feb 27, 2006 10:34 PM

                    I've never had their hummus but their salads are divine. Be prepared for a noisy, raucous wait and hurried service, though. You can order in English or Hebrew, Hebrew is actually more prevalent at that place.

                    They certainly don't win my "worst food in LA" vote.

                    1. re: Das Ubergeek
                      l
                      Loretta Feb 28, 2006 04:43 PM

                      Salad was okay but the food...smoking etc...it is just a place to go for cheap where you can sit all day and smoke and drink coffee

              2. re: Jerome
                t
                Tarz Feb 28, 2006 03:41 PM

                Jerome's right, you have to go to the valley (SF Valley).

                Try:

                Falafel Express
                On Reseda, on the SW corner of Reseda and Burbank in a weird building with bad parking. Kosher. Wonderful falafel and even better shwarma. All the pickling stuff and vegetables.

                Amir's Falafel
                There are two Amir's--this one is in Encino, in the mall with Sav-on, south side of Ventura, just west of Louise. When they're making it fresh, the falafel is great, with all the pickled vegetables. Yemeni and Israeli.

                Pita Kitchen
                Wonderful and always packed, south of Ventura on Van Nuys. Everything is great.

                Carnival
                At Carnival, on Woodman, north of Ventura but South of the 101, a Lebanese place, everything is wonderful, but this is more of a restaurant so you're better advised to get the lamb chops, french fries, fattoush salad and lentil soup.

                Those are the best in the valley. But there are many, many along Ventura. If you don't go into the Valley, you're missing out on some of LA's best chow, especially if you're looking for Israeli food.

                1. re: Jerome
                  d
                  Diana Feb 24, 2007 08:30 AM

                  Tempo IS still around, and pretty good. What about Golan in North Hollywood/Van Nuys

                2. h
                  Herschel Krustofsky Feb 27, 2006 06:31 PM

                  I've tried just about every falafel place in the 818,323 and 310 area codes. Due to demographics, the best falafel is in the Valley.

                  Tops (by far!) & also the most genuinely Israeli is AMER'S FALAFEL, 17334 Ventura Boulevard Encino, CA 91316-3904. (818) 995-6332 . It is exactly what you were describing. It's in the Sav-on Drugs shopping center at Ventura Boulevard and Louise.

                  http://maps.a9.com/?mimg=511cb3651585...

                  As mentioned by a previous poster, AMIR'S FALAFEL in Studio City is also very good. They are not related.

                  1. i
                    Inihaw King Feb 27, 2006 09:57 PM

                    I've been to L'As De Falafel in Paris, and I've found few joints that serve comparable falafel. I have to disagree with the previous post about Falafel Palace; I find their falafel mealy, dry, and severely lacking in flavor. Amir's on Ventura is decent, with small falafel similar to what they serve at L'As, and their pickled vegetables are serviceable.

                    The best falafel I've had though, has been at the Pita Kitchen in Sherman Oaks, on Van Nuys Blvd, by Ventura. They also have the bite-size falafel a la L'As, but their fixings are much more flavorful and complementary. It's a must try.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Inihaw King
                      e
                      epop Feb 24, 2007 07:59 AM

                      the falafel place in paris was nothing special. Azuri and Najib's in NYC are far better

                      1. re: Inihaw King
                        Veggietales Feb 24, 2007 01:14 PM

                        Pita Kitchen is really delicious... Their falafel is perfectly spiced, nice crispy exterior. I love that the owner still takes orders at the counter.

                        I saw Shaq taking a to-go order from there once.

                      2. j
                        jason Feb 28, 2006 12:24 PM

                        Thanks for all the replies and I am eager to try all your suggestions. You guys are great!!

                        1. c
                          Caplock Feb 28, 2006 09:13 PM

                          Elena's makes very light and fluffy falafels the two times I tried it. Very fresh, very tasty. Didn't try much else.

                          Elena's Greek Armenian Cuisine
                          1000 S. Glendale Ave.
                          Glendale, CA 91205
                          (818) 241-5730

                          1. v
                            video louis Mar 3, 2006 04:29 PM

                            FLORA FALAFEL
                            12450 Burbank Blvd.
                            North Hollywood ['Valley Village']
                            818-766-6567 West off 170 2mi.

                            The Israeli Flag and young SABRAS
                            ['cactus'-native Israelis ] Shwarma,Falafels
                            Salads, ...speak Hebrew if you can & GLATT KOSHER.
                            I think this is what you are looking for.

                            1. e
                              epop Feb 24, 2007 08:03 PM

                              i went finally to falafel palace in northridge, finally, after a year's wait.

                              sorry to say it is very average, nothing like Azuri or Najib, mentioned above. the place is dusty and ugly and while the falafel at least is fried when ordered (that puts it above most places) the falafel itself is nothing to write home about. the fixins were ok but definitely not comparable for someone who has had a good one in Israel or, again, the 2 places mentioned above.

                              disappointed, i have to find another place to try./// at least we make perfect ones at home

                              1. l
                                lrwm Apr 29, 2009 12:22 PM

                                FALAFEL GRILL in Agoura Hills is the best! Get the falafel sandwich and ask for extra matbucha. So good!!!!!!!!!!!

                                1. Thi N. Apr 29, 2009 02:58 PM

                                  I don't have Israeli for you, but:

                                  My third favorite falafel in town is Sunnin's medium dry, half-dense, well-herbed, well-spiced version.

                                  My second favorite falafel is Arax's meaty, moist, very pure-intense chickpea version.

                                  My very favorite falafel is Simon Cafe's version - lush, pudding-y, and completely overwhelmingly gorgeous. A friend of mine who I sent there claims she realized she'd never *really* had a falafel until she had this one. Simon says something like: most other places use a mix of some sort, that they modify. He starts with whole chickpeas and grinds himself, and uses this magic tahini that he imports from Lebanon, or something like that.

                                  Eat a Pita is depressing. Zankou's falafel tastes like eating desert sand. I have no idea why people recommend these falafels.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: Thi N.
                                    r
                                    Rosiepigs Apr 29, 2009 04:30 PM

                                    where is this simon's?

                                    1. re: Thi N.
                                      n
                                      ns1 Apr 29, 2009 04:43 PM

                                      Love Arax falafel

                                      1. re: Thi N.
                                        e
                                        epop Apr 29, 2009 04:49 PM

                                        I don't know about the other falafels but Sunnin has a bad one. A falafel isn't supposed to be herby, as that only absorbs the oil...

                                        1. re: Thi N.
                                          westsidegal Apr 29, 2009 10:26 PM

                                          if you go to sunnin, be sure to ask them NOT to give you the falafal that they reheat in the microwave next to the friyers. ask for the freshly made stuff.
                                          also, do yourself a favor and don't let them make it into a sandwich for you.

                                        2. purplescout Apr 29, 2009 03:40 PM

                                          Great falafel at Hummus Bar & Grill in Tarzana (note that there is no bar).
                                          Also amazing mediterranean salads

                                          As a Valley Girl, I am proud that we are the worthy destination for at least one genre of chow!

                                          1. w
                                            whatsfordinner Apr 29, 2009 05:26 PM

                                            Jason are you out there? Did you find anything in LA that compares with L'as du Falafel?

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