Falafel Stop - Israeli-style falafel in Sunnyvale
This place really doesn't need any more business - the parking lot is already overflowing - but this is too good not to share.
Falafel Stop in Sunnyvale is the first Silicon Valley place I've found that makes a great Israeli-style falafel sandwich. This is falafel with chickpeas only, no fava beans, with cumin as the predominant seasoning. Falafel Stop's are a bit less cumin-y than others I've had in this style, but that's no problem - they're still really good. The pita is the best I've had in the area, freshly baked at the shop and doughier than usual (though not as doughy as the ones at Oren's Hummus Shop). The vegetables (fresh and pickled), tahini, and hot sauce compliment everything perfectly so there's a great blend of flavors; nothing sticking out and overwhelming the other ingredients.
It's a limited all-vegetarian menu that also includes hummus, sabich, masabacha, and chopped salad. I'll be trying the masabacha (hummus with chick peas) next and see how that compares to Oren's. I really like Oren's hummus but not their micro-falafel.
They're on Sunnyvale-Saratoga Road just south of Fremont. There's more information at http://www.falafelstop.us.
Thanks for the report, Michael! I tried a falafel and sabich (both in pita) earlier this week. I really liked the thick pita style, which holds up better to the generous fillings—also how nicely distributed the falafel balls were inside the bread. :) The pickles, tomatoes and tahini were quite nice too, although I found the parsley a bit overwhelming. (Note: I'm not a big parsley fan to begin with; a little is fine, but it was a bit much in the pita.) The sabich was interesting: the eggplant was certainly visible, but I couldn't really taste it—perhaps overwhelmed by the other fillings? The other fillings included an egg salad (tasty) along with the pickles, parsley, tomatoes and tahini. Part of me wonders if they'd be willing to add a bit of the egg salad to the falafel—which I imagine could be delicious.
To update, they now have a meat counter as well as the vegetarian counter. The chicken shwarma is the best I've ever had; there's some fantastic marinade going on there. Meanwhile the falafel sandwiches continue on as the pace setter for Israel falafel in Silicon Valley.
Regular Falafel and Chicken Shwarma are my favorites. The Israeli salad is also great. Very casual place. I would give this place a 6 stars if I could.
Think of it as Michelin Star Rated food with In and Out type atmosphere :-)
My friends raved about the place for weeks, and I finally got to go and try it out for myself. The Falafel are like nothing I have had before. Small, moist, and they layer their pitas with food too. They do the same with their Shwarma's (I get it without the french fries on top).
Now the minor issues. This place is small. It gets really crowded, but they are very good at serving people quickly. The seating is outside, but it is covered. At rush hours finding the seat becomes a bit of a challenge. Again, I suggest getting there at non-rush hours.
The parking lot is very small, but there is parking across the street in the shopping mall.
Haven't been in yet, but did get to pick at some leftovers. The pita is fabulous. I was told it was warm when purchased mid-afternoon. When I tried it seven hours later it was still fresh and dense. The open knit texture and chewy crumb reminded me of a really good English muffin. It was still inflated and had a bigger pocket and more yeasty flavor than Oren's.
Falafel stop is easily the most authentic Israeli style falafel in the entire Bay Area. Only place that has reminded of the ones I had in Tel Aviv.