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JOE'S FALAFEL freshly baked lafa Studio City

louiselovitz Jun 5, 2012 06:34 PM

When my son and I decide to get out of Sunland-Tujunga
to grab a bite it is usually late at night,
but this time it was before 10
so we drove into the Valley to JOE'S FALAFEL
a new place across from the Nissan dealer
by the Hollywood Fwy bet Lankershim & Barham.
What is extra special at JOE'S FALAFEL,
besides all the great Mediterranean fresh foods,
is the special freshly baked pita called LAFA.
Made right before your eyes. SO GOOD.
Joe also brought us each a falafel on a toothpick
piping hot so wonderful crispy and fluffy.
We had falafel sandwiches and split a beef kafta.
Everything was so fresh and delicious.
Of course we will be back to JOE'S FALAFEL again and again !

Thank You

3535 Cahuenga Bl W
Studio City

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  1. n
    ns1 RE: louiselovitz Jun 21, 2012 02:00 PM

    I was in Universal and stumbled upon this place in yelp. 76 5* reviews is hard to ignore.

    They do have a machine which they use to make fresh lafa bread for their sandwiches - I will have to try this next time.

    We got our usual middle east feast - combo grill + vegi combo. Gives us a sample of everything...and everything was great.

    stuffed grape leaves - best i've had, not as pungent as others (may be good, may be bad, you can decide).
    falafel - very crunchy, airy interior.

    combo grill - chicken/kefta very well seasoned, shish actually underseasoned in comparison. Great rice and they have HOT SAUCE. Garlic sauce not as good as Zankou, not as spicy as Skaf's.

    Overall good place/value and will come back.

    8 Replies
    1. re: ns1
      SIMIHOUND RE: ns1 Jun 22, 2012 02:20 PM

      Thanks for the rec. I found the link at http://joesfalafel.net/.

      1. re: SIMIHOUND
        ns1 RE: SIMIHOUND Jun 22, 2012 02:24 PM

        this is the middle eastern place that i've been to where i finished the rice. hot sauce makes it a winner.

        the orange rice actually reminds me of the NYC halal cart.

      2. re: ns1
        Servorg RE: ns1 Jun 22, 2012 04:14 PM

        Gotta go to have the knafe http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/YetYHI... if this is anywhere even close to being as good as it looks.

        1. re: Servorg
          ns1 RE: Servorg Jun 22, 2012 04:27 PM

          what's knafe?

          1. re: ns1
            Servorg RE: ns1 Jun 22, 2012 05:37 PM


            1. re: Servorg
              Dogbite Williams RE: Servorg Jun 22, 2012 10:14 PM

              I've only had knafeh from one restaurant, so I have no basis for comparison, but I love Carnival's version.

              4356 Woodman Avenue
              Sherman Oaks CA 91423

        2. re: ns1
          bruinike RE: ns1 Jul 7, 2012 07:32 AM

          Is their pita bread homemade as well? The laffa sandwiches tend to be big for me. I like pillowy fluffy pita like they have at Papa Cristos and am always looking for new places that make it in-house.
          Thank you!

          1. re: bruinike
            ns1 RE: bruinike Jul 7, 2012 10:03 AM

            Dunno. Feels soft and pillowy. Comes out in white paper wrapper, not prelabeled plastic bag for what it's worth.

        3. Mr Taster RE: louiselovitz Jun 22, 2012 02:44 PM

          This is great to hear.

          Several years ago there was a thread on Chowhound (I believe? Maybe LA Weekly) lamenting the lack of freshly made pita in our city. This is certainly welcome news.

          Sure, we've got places serving stellar felafel, but it just knocks it down a few pegs when it's served on pita from a plastic bag (even if it is warmed up a bit on the grill before serving).

          For what it's worth, I do like the freshly made sangak at Kebab Mehaleh on Pico. Even the stuff in the plastic bags they sell at the adjacent "marts" seem fresher than the flat loaves (by whatever name they're called) that you generally find at places like Jon's.

          Mr Taster

          3 Replies
          1. re: Mr Taster
            ns1 RE: Mr Taster Jun 22, 2012 04:06 PM

            the pita bread here was exceptionally soft and pillowy, and served in a paper wrapper and not a plastic bag.

            1. re: ns1
              Mr Taster RE: ns1 Jun 22, 2012 04:19 PM

              I didn't mean that it was served in a plastic bag. What I meant was that prefab pita is pulled out of a plastic bag from the supermarket (as opposed to being freshly made).

              Mr Taster

              1. re: Mr Taster
                ns1 RE: Mr Taster Jun 22, 2012 04:26 PM

                I know what you meant - I usually get the whole bag when I do take-out...as if they just went to the store to buy a bag of pita for me.

          2. Hypnotic23 RE: louiselovitz Jun 24, 2012 05:42 PM

            I just returned from a dinner at Joe's, had to give it a try from the recommendations on here. As I walked in the owner greets you with a warm welcome and asked if it was my first time, I replied with a yes and he cooked me up 1 falafal to try, very tasty and will order that in the future. I'm a fan of gyro meet or beef shawarma so I went for the plate of that with a side of the homemade Lafa bread. This came with a nice mediterranean salad, hummus and rice. The food was wonderful and I shall return. In small talk I mentioned all the great reviews here on Chowhound and as I said this, another fellow chowhounder was finishing her meal too and commented she was there from these chowhound reviews, beautiful woman too if she happens to read this ;.) Here's some photos I took, give it a try...

            5 Replies
            1. re: Hypnotic23
              ns1 RE: Hypnotic23 Jun 24, 2012 07:17 PM

              I actually also went back yesterday for the lafa bread and it is indeed splendid.

              the chicken shawarma lafa sandwich was awesome. the kefta was good but the wrap was far too big for the kefta, so it was not as balanced as the chicken.

              fried cauliflower was definitely not worth $6. it was literally a cauliflower head cut up and then thrown in a deep fryer, served with tahini. no batter or anything.

              1. re: Hypnotic23
                carter RE: Hypnotic23 Jun 27, 2012 11:24 AM

                Stuart - is Joe's in the space that was formerly Quizno's, or just another spot in that same mini-mall?

                1. re: carter
                  Hypnotic23 RE: carter Jun 27, 2012 02:42 PM

                  Hi Carter, how have you been? It is in a mini strip mall, directly across the street from a Nissan Dealership. I don't recall if I saw Quizno's or not. This is an Arabic influenced Middle Eastern Restaurant. While the food is good here, my first stop will still be Pita Kitchen on Van Nuys & Ventura Blvd.

                  1. re: Hypnotic23
                    ns1 RE: Hypnotic23 Jun 27, 2012 03:01 PM

                    What does pita kitchen do well?

                    1. re: ns1
                      Hypnotic23 RE: ns1 Jun 28, 2012 05:57 PM

                      Pita Kitchen is just a well known go to spot for Israeli's style food. I personally love the meats carved from the spit, either Chicken or Lamb/Beef together, try their combo plates, you'll really be glad I suggested this spot.

              2. g
                GK in SO RE: louiselovitz Jun 27, 2012 07:50 PM

                Based on the OP's review, I tried Joe's a week or so ago.

                Since I love falafel, and since the name of the resto is "Joe's FALAFEL", I of course ordered a falafel sandwich.

                I have tried many, many falafels over the years, and I must say, this is the BEST I have ever had!!!!

                From the warm, fresh, yeasty and soft lafa bread that it came wrapped in, to the veggies used (VERY fresh and crunchy), to the falafel balls (perfectly fried, crunchy, and seasoned just right...none of that funky saffron, cinnamon or other weird spices that some places use in their falafels), to the tasty hummus and tahini used to sauce the sandwich, the combination of all these wonderful ingredients combined to make Joe's falafel practically a life-changing experience!!!!

                Since this is near my office, I plan to return many, many times. Do yourself a favor and check them out for yourself.

                1 Reply
                1. re: GK in SO
                  ns1 RE: GK in SO Jun 28, 2012 09:11 AM

                  I will only say that I still prefer Hayat's falafels down the street.

                  but in terms of sandwiches, I bet the pita/lafa puts Joe's sandwich over the top.

                2. n
                  ns1 RE: louiselovitz Jun 29, 2012 11:17 AM

                  revisited this place, the lafa bread is definitely where its' at. Not my favorite gyro, meat was sliced way too thick and I like a bit of char (which it didn't have).

                  chicken shwarma fantastic once again.

                  re: falafel, crunchy and airy but not as spiced as I'd like it to be.

                  Major points for delicious hot sauce and breads.

                  Other sauces are very weak. tahini is runny and not flavorful. Garlic sauce not as pungent as others.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: ns1
                    Hypnotic23 RE: ns1 Jul 6, 2012 07:55 PM

                    I just returned to Joe's for a Falafal Laffa sandwich and a half order of grape leafs, food was delicious. The addiction is all about the hot sauce, I asked for 3 extra helpings of this sauce since you only get it in a small sample container, it's addicting!

                  2. mikeop34 RE: louiselovitz Sep 9, 2012 10:30 PM

                    Just tried Joe's this weekend, and like others here, I had a great meal. Split a chicken shawarma lafa, which was delicious and a huge portion. The whole wheat lafa was very chewy in a good way, and the chicken had a nice grilled char to it. Also split some falafel balls and fried cauliflower plate. The cauliflower seemed like it was quickly fried (no breading/batter), so it was a crispy without being greasy or heavy, and it went great with the tahini and hot sauce. The falafel was also lightly fried and packed, so it's not too dense or soggy, and it's well seasoned without being way too salty like a lot of falafel are.

                    The guys working there were all really friendly and helpful, and they gave us mini-falafel samples as we ordered. Later, they brought us a small dish of watermelon to end the meal. Thanks for the great rec!

                    1. Ciao Bob RE: louiselovitz Sep 10, 2012 09:44 AM

                      Finally made it....loved it. That laffa bread is fantastic. Great place, very friendly, darn good.

                      13 Replies
                      1. re: Ciao Bob
                        kevin RE: Ciao Bob Sep 10, 2012 10:00 AM

                        what did you have here ? did you get teh gyros ?

                        1. re: kevin
                          ns1 RE: kevin Sep 10, 2012 10:06 AM

                          do not get the gyro.

                          repeat: do not get the gyro.

                          1. re: ns1
                            kevin RE: ns1 Sep 10, 2012 10:11 AM

                            really, but i fucking love gyros ?

                            on the other hand, when i have gotten shwarmas at a bunch of place i've been severly disappointed.

                            hmm. but ok, i'll just stick to the falafel laffar wrap then, with some of their hot sauce.

                            1. re: kevin
                              ns1 RE: kevin Sep 10, 2012 10:21 AM

                              I love gyros too, which is why I'm telling everyone on this board: do not get the gyro from Joe's.

                              chicken shwarma on laffa bread or bust.

                              1. re: kevin
                                Mr Taster RE: kevin Sep 10, 2012 10:42 AM

                                The only place in LA that I've had gyros worth going out of your way for are the ones at Papa Cristo's. Sign up for their e-mail list and they'll notify you when they have their $5 gyro lunch promos. I've totally converted several of my non-Chowhoundly coworkers that it's worth busting up our lunch hour for.

                                Mr Taster

                                1. re: Mr Taster
                                  ns1 RE: Mr Taster Sep 10, 2012 10:46 AM

                                  thanks for the rec

                                  1. re: ns1
                                    Mr Taster RE: ns1 Sep 10, 2012 11:14 AM

                                    Papa Cristo's tzatziki is outrageously good (I suggest paying for an extra 50 cent container, because you *will* run out early.) And after they shave the gyro meat off the spit, they griddle it for a bit to get lovely crispy edges on the meatloaf. Stellar stuff.

                                    Mr Taster

                                    1. re: Mr Taster
                                      kevin RE: Mr Taster Sep 10, 2012 11:17 AM

                                      yeah, i've been to papa cristo's too many times to count. it is really really really great stuff.

                                      btw, has anyone been to papa george's hy mart in north hollywood ???

                                      1. re: kevin
                                        ns1 RE: kevin Sep 10, 2012 12:21 PM

                                        <3 hy mart

                                        surprisingly enough, my favorite sandwich is the italian on armenian bread. the other stuff is good too, but the falafel are just okay - i mean they do their job (as a filling in sandwiches), but they're premade and microwaved :(

                                        but the sandwiches ARE good.

                                        Here's the exact problem with Joe's gyro:
                                        PC's will "griddle it for a bit to get lovely crispy edges on the meatloaf."

                                        OTOH, Joe's tastes like sysco gyro meatloaf, and there are no crispy edges to be found. The gyro meat could be straight out of the box -> into the microwave -> onto my gryo for all I knew.

                                        1. re: ns1
                                          kevin RE: ns1 Sep 10, 2012 03:06 PM

                                          i see.

                                          did you like the darby dan sandwich at hy mart ?

                                          1. re: kevin
                                            ns1 RE: kevin Sep 10, 2012 03:15 PM

                                            I don't even know what that is.

                                            here are the ones I've tried that are pretty good:

                                            shakloot/Mediterranean madness/veggie baby wraps
                                            italian sandwich on armenian bread

                                            1. re: ns1
                                              kevin RE: ns1 Sep 10, 2012 03:13 PM

                                              oh, yes, yeah, i tried the shakloot. i like the japalenos and searranos they serve on the side too.

                            2. re: kevin
                              Ciao Bob RE: kevin Sep 10, 2012 10:11 AM

                              Chicken Shwarma on laffa bread - A+

                              Fresh made Tabbouleh - A-

                              Falafel Balls - A

                              Grape Leaves - B- (fairly dry)

                              Hot Sauce - A

                              Watermelon Slices (free)

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