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Best falafel in lower Manhattan?

  • n

Got a hankering for my favorite fried food, Israeli-style preferred. Where to indulge in lower Manhattan? Thank you!

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  1. When you say Lower Manhattan do you mean like the Financial District/etc or do you mean below 14th Street?

    1 Reply
    1. re: kathryn

      Either! We'll be staying in the FIDI, but willing to travel for good fried food :-)

    2. IMHO - Taim is the best. They have the original location on Waverly at 7th Ave (West Village) or Spring at Mulberry in Nolita.

      There are other places but if I leave my hood (UWS) for falafel... that is were I go

      1 Reply
      1. re: dyrewolf

        Taim is very good. And they have a truck, so check their website for days and locations: http://www.taimmobile.com/

        Their hummus is excellent too.

        By the way, get the falafel sandwich "with everything" for the full experience.

      2. While Taim is not exactly Israeli style, I would recommend it over the more Israeli Mamoun's (but not by much) and Azuri (midtown). The balls are smaller and come in 3 flavors, Harissa, green, and red (with red peppers). Green is closest to Israeli style but I much prefer the spiced Harissa. Get the platter which comes with 3 of each, 2 salads + hummus + the pita comes with za'atar spices.

        If you do insist on Israeli style sandwich tho Mamoun's may be more satisfying.


        1 Reply
        1. re: Ziggy41

          +1 to both of these
          Fyi taim west village location is a tiny space, best for take and go
          Definatly worth going to both taim and mamoun's if you can

          1. re: foodwhisperer

            Haven't been there yet the menu looks awesome! I'll be in tribeca sunday, thinking i'll pickup dinner there- if you have any specific recs i'd appreciate it

            1. re: Ttrockwood

              Nish nush is great. Can't go wrong w just about anything (the menus pretty tiny - falafel or salad w falafel).

              At taim, while I love their falafel I think they're too good for/get lost in a sandwich (much as I LOVE their "fixins") and prefer them on a plate. Their best sandwich is IMO the sabich.

              1. re: Ttrockwood

                The hummus is the best I've tasted. The pea soup is delicious. I usually get the classic falafel but the harrissa falafel is good.
                The lemonade with nana ( mint) is great. They are Yemenite Jews and make Yemenite style falafel. Delicious.
                Ba 'Al has very good falafel also as alepanazzi points out.The owner is Palestinian, so the style is a bit different from Nish Nush. I eat at both places.
                Mamoun's was good back in the days when Mamoun himself was making the falafel. The size of the pita bread is about half the size that it used to be. There are hard pieces inside the falafel balls quite often these days. I'll pass on Mamoun's.
                If anyone gets to Paterson, NJ, on Main St. heavy Syrian and Palestinian area, the falafel are amazing. They don't put the falafel in the pita pocket they roll it up in the homemade pita. Falafel sandwich there is $2.50.

            2. It's not fancy or one of the most well known places but for me nothing can beat Ba'al falafel... On sullivan between broome and spring.

              1. Alfanoose is really good, and it's on Maiden Lane, perhaps quite close to where you're staying.


                1. I vote for Mamoun. Taim was good, a little more refined, but the service was nasty when I was there. Mamoun has always been my favorite for a cheap, filling, tasty, sloppy falafel sandwich.

                  1. Another vote for Alfanoose. Excellent food.

                    1. i only eat taim's falafel.

                      1. I'd add Hoomoos Asli on Kenmare St. to the list. Fresh and authentic (Israeli).

                        1. I must be the only one on the planet who thinks Mamoun's is dry and tasteless.

                          Taim, Hoomos Asli, Alfanoose are far better.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: jaba

                            You're not. Perfectly ok if drunk and broke (though I prefer cheeps even in that category). Certainly not worth seeking out. I put it in the category w dollar slices and dirty water dogs - things people have nostalgia or faux-stalgia for but not things I'd tell someone to go out of their way for.

                            1. re: tex.s.toast

                              It has been years since I had Mamoun's. I stopped eating there because it's dry, tasteless, and, I guess to deal with crowds, they were pre-frying falafel and would just snag them from a rack rather than fry them up to order. No idea if they still do that practice.

                              1. re: Silverjay

                                I also don't get the love for Mamoun's. Perhaps it was the first introduction to falafel for a lot of people, but if you grew up eating moist, flavorful falafel, then you want to leave Mamoun's to the drunk kids on Bleecker and head to Taim instead. I like Alfanoose for Middle Eastern food downtown, but falafel is not their strongest point.

                            2. re: jaba

                              YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

                              Should we start a web community? Is Mamouns-tastes-like-cardboard.com available? I don't know what's wrong with all these people who rave about it. I've rarely encountered such a massive variance in taste with so many other chowhounds. I even wrote a poem about it (in another thread).

                              Bland, bland, bland BLAND BLAND BLAND!

                              1. re: Ike

                                Mamoun's was good "back in the day". They have made their pita bread half the size, basically ripping off the crowds that frequent the place. The falafel is not only bland they don't cook it right. They always have uncooked hard pieces in the falafel.

                            3. Thanks to the overwhelming recommendation of Taim, that is where I went. And it was DELICIOUS! Fresh, fresh, fresh. Perfect proportion of falafel to pita to tahini to hummus to salad. Service was warm and friendly. An excellent falafel experience--thank you!

                              1. Thanks to Justin Bieber and the nice contributors of this board I need to change my answer. Bieber in town means I have a free evening to do some work for CH.
                                I lived in israel, and I would like to believe I know good falafel when I see it.
                                8 month old Nish Nush it is.

                                12 Replies
                                1. re: Ziggy41

                                  Ziggy , I too lived in israel, and I agree Nish Nush is the best. In Israel i always found the Yemenite falafel to be the best in the country. Although, I would usually get a half falafel with harif and tahina on it.

                                  1. re: foodwhisperer

                                    I like it the same way. Talking about harif, Taim still spells Schug weirdly (S'rug).
                                    Last year I went back to Israel and had some great falafel and hummus all over the country, including the famous Hazkenim in Haifa's Wadi Nisnas which was probably the best I ever had.

                                    As for Hummus the hummus in Taim and everywhere else pretty much doesnt really come close to what we had there. The only one that did it for me is Gazala's Place.

                                    1. re: Ziggy41

                                      ive rather recently moved to downtown BK and have been loving my proximity to both sahadi's and damascus, but have to say that as a baba ganoush (the food item, not the restaurants by the same name) fan damascus' is about 10x better than sahadi's. to me, sahadi's tastes like (lightly) eggplant flavored tahini. it costs half as much but its not worth it even at that price.

                                      1. re: tex.s.toast

                                        Is the Sahadi hummus as good as people claim. Being closed on Sundays hurts my chances for a visit

                                        1. re: Ziggy41

                                          Nish Nush hummus is better than Sahadi. The falafel on Atlantic Ave you used to be able to find some made with fava beans ( as the Egyptians like it), I like it also. Paterson NJ has great falafel, beyond great, and great kefta.

                                          1. re: foodwhisperer

                                            Problem with Paterson, NJ is that its in Paterson, NJ

                                          2. re: Ziggy41

                                            I'm not a fan of Sahadi's hummus. It is very heavy on the tahini and a bit gritty. The other items they offer like the kibbeh, pâté and especially their dry goods get me out there every other week, but not the hummus.

                                            The dips at Damascus, however, are heavenly. I don't remember what it is about their hummus, but their baba ghannouj is seasoned with herbs and spices that blow it out of the water. A small container of their baba ghannouj and a hot lahm bi ajeen is the perfect lunch.

                                            1. re: JungMann

                                              yeah - i concur that sahadi's is just too tahini-ey across the board (the labne, on the other hand, is THE SHIT).

                                              Damascus baba ghannouj is kinda idiosyncratic, but yes, the spices are just incredible. im pretty certain that they get 7 dollars a pint, but frankly, its worth the hefty premium.

                                              1. re: tex.s.toast

                                                What is so good about the labneh (or lebany as they spell it)?

                                    2. re: Ziggy41

                                      We will have to try Nish Nush next time! Thanks for the tip!

                                      1. re: noya

                                        What I liked about Nish Nush:
                                        They bake their own pitas. This makes a world of difference. My pita was hot from the oven. In some popular places like Azuri you don't get to choose pitas (white vs whole) but here you do

                                        The falafel balls got that perfect crispy texture outside and inside its a nice blend of herbs and spices. Even tho the menu says "classic green" or something like that, its not really green which I prefer. I'm not a fan of the herby green falafel offered in so many places. Not a whole lot of chickpea is used for that

                                        I didn't get a proper tasting of the hummus because it was part of the sandwich but the fact that you get fresh hummus for free inside is already a plus. Too many places charge extra for it which is ridiculous.

                                        What I didn't like about Nish Nush:

                                        The name Nish Nush

                                        1. re: Ziggy41

                                          you'd probably have preferred the name Nosh Nosh. Usually the really green falafel has a lot lava beans, but Yemenites don't go near fava beans. I strongly recommend you get a hummus plate, the hummus is amazing.