Falafel, Etc. -Fremont
A friend who lives in Union City took a couple of us to dinner tonight at Falafel, etc. in Fremont. A search of Chowhound didn't seem to pull up any earlier posts about the place, so I wanted to share my enthusiasm about it.
All three of us had a falafel platter ($9.95), however with slightly different variations. The platter came with 6 freshly fried falafels, which had a shatteringly crisp exterior, yielding to a tender and flavorful bright green chickpea and herb interior. Their website says they use a bit of baking soda in their recipe, which would explain the lightness of each ball. Though fresh from the fryer, they were not at all greasy. Along with the falafel came mezze of a smooth hummus, presented with a sprinkling of pine nuts and a nice quality of olive oil on top, as well as tabbouleh. However, instead of the tabbouleh, I swapped out for what they called a "Greek salad" (though the restaurant is owned by Arabs from Nazareth, Israel). The salad was simple but very tasty, with crisp iceberg lettuce, a few olives, tomato, cucumber, a nice herbal homemade vinaigrette, and a sprinkling of feta on top. Additionally the plate held a few slices of house-pickled turnips. My dining companions both claimed the tabbouleh was excellent, but I didn't try it myself.
The plate was served with warm, pillowy pita bread which tasted homemade. There is a condiment bar that offers tahini, onions with sumac, yogurt with mint, hot pepper sauce, pickles, and hot peppers. I thought the onions tasted great with everything, though the sumac was not as strong a flavor as I've had elsewhere.
The menu held lots of other dishes that I look forward to exploring on future visits, though I may have trouble not just ordering the falafels again. I would never claim to be a falafel expert, but I certainly know what I like, and these were tasty enough that all of us kept eating long after we had declared ourselves full.
This is a nothing fancy restaurant, but the space is clean and comfortable, the food clearly made with care, and there is a lovely outdoor (but covered) patio with a fountain. I don't know that I would travel from Alameda specifically to eat there, but I will most definitely be looking forward to eating there again when I am in the area.
39200 Fremont Blvd.
Fremont, CA 94538
My husband adores the knaffee, but it's the only place we've ever had it so I have no idea about its authenticity (or quality, I meant to say). It's too rich for me to eat more than a bite or two.
One of the great things at Falafel Etc. is the amba (spiced mango sauce), which is delicious with their kebabs etc.
I love having this place just around the corner and periodically smack myself for forgetting to go there.
I had a falafel to go here today and it was delicious. First of all, as I was carrying the bag out, I
noticed it was heavy. When I bit into it, it had a falafel patty, nice and flat and it was hot and
crisp on the outside. It was filled with sliced cabbage, slightly pickled onions, tomato and a few
bits of sliced white onion It was packed to the brim but still easy to eat without falling apart.
I didn't realize that they had put a small container of tahini dressing in the bag and It was under
the napkins. Next time I will eat there and get to try the condiment area. A good deal for $7
with an iced tea.
Very rich for sure, basically a warm slab of sweetened cheese topped with buttery pastry. For me, it's essential that it be served warm. And that it not be reheated in a microwave which just ruins the crispy filo pastry.
I'll have to get over to try the amba. I've read about amba but never tasted it myself.
Fresh, fluffy pita bread, wish more places went to that trouble. I remember eating at Habibi, also in Fremont, some years ago. When asked how my food was, I was honest and said the cardboard-like bread was terrible and took the falafel sandwich down a notch. Then I was informed that a relative owned the bakery . . . oops.
I noticed on website's dessert menu that kunefe or knaffee is available. Hope someone tries it and reports back.