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May 4, 2007

The Falafel Saga Continues


A little more than a year ago, I asked everyone about their favorite falafel places. My goal had been to try and visit all of the New York-based restaurants while on various walks around the city, however shortly thereafter I broke my toe and then graduate school started. In short, I've been immobile for one reason or another for quite a while. I also haven't eaten any falafel.

I still maintain that my old haunt, Mr. Falafel on 7th Avenue between 2nd and 3rd Streets in Park Slope, is the best New York falafel that I've eaten thus far. The fixings are great, their hot sauce perfectly spicy, and the falafels themselves have a great balance of outer crunch to inner moistness. However, it is rare that we make it over to the Slope these days unless it's to buy cat food, and that coupled with recent cravings has inspired me to reopen the falafel quest.

First up: Alibaba's on Amsterdam and 85th Street, for no reason other than it is on my way when I walk home.

Initial thoughts: In my opinion, the best part of Alibaba's falafel sandwich was the pita, which I believe was homemade. I also really enjoyed the hummus, which had a great consistency and a nice lemony tang. The falafel itself was good but a little too obviously fried, if that makes any sense. I kind of felt like I was eating some sort of hybrid hushpuppy. Their pickles and pickled cucumbers are awesome. I could sit and eat them all day and not even need falafel.

Alibaba's wasn't bad but it's still not Mr. Falafel. A sandwich runs about $5.50, which isn't too bad but still too much in my book, unless it's fabulous. I'd probably return if I found myself craving falafel on the UWS again, though I would most certainly order to go next time, as the place is tiny and we got stuck next to family of four with a grabby three year old and screaming infant. I guess some things are like Mr. Falafel after all.

I should note that Chickpea on St. Mark's is already one of my favorites, as well as Zaytoons on Smith St. in Brooklyn. Coincidentally, both hold great significance in Alexis' and my relationship-- Zaytoons was where we ate the first time we met (and also where we ate the night before we got married, to commemorate) and Chickpea was the second date-like experience that we had. I guess we have always been a falafel-prone couple.

All that said, Sunday is our first anniversary!!

Posted by callalillie at May 4, 2007 9:33 AM | Falafel Quest , Food


Have you tried Tut's in Brooklyn Heights? It's on Hicks between Cranberry and Middagh. The bread is so good, the falafel is crispy but not too crispy, and the hummus is my fave.

Posted by: jen at May 4, 2007 10:56 AM

5.50!! When did Brooklyn get so expensive? I love that I can get a sandwich at Chickpea for 3.50.
I used to live down the block from Zaytoons but I never had their falafel...I used to go there for the "pitza." LOL.

Posted by: Nani at May 4, 2007 11:05 AM

By the way, Happy Anniversary!!! Mazel tov and here's hoping you get lots of paper (the pretty kind and the green kind, too)

Posted by: Nani at May 4, 2007 11:06 AM

It's so funny you did this just now, because when you asked that question (almost a year ago, when I was still in NY), I answered with my fav place in Denver, Jerusalem. I just ate there last week for the first time since moving back, and had a delicious falafel sandwich. I must have been picking up your falafel vibes!

Happy anniversary!

Posted by: liz at May 4, 2007 11:29 AM

Mmm, I remember Alibaba's pickles. I stand by my assertion that they are the best in that area, but I'm also lazy so they were good considering I lived a block away (well, three if you count avenues). But Mr. Falafel is pretty tasty.

Congrats on the anniversary!

Posted by: dahl at May 4, 2007 12:53 PM

Isn't there a cart somewhere on the UWS that is supposed to have good falafel? There's also some lady with a cart right at the entrance to the Borough Hall station in Brooklyn that always has a long line. If I get brave enough to try cart food, I'm going to give her falafel a shot.

Nancy-- Alibabas is in Manhattan. I agree on 5.50 being a lot. You do get unlimited pickled things, though. At least I think they were unlimited. I kept getting up to take more.

Posted by: corie at May 4, 2007 1:28 PM

If you are looking for a spot to hit on the Uppper West Side for your walk home may I reccomend a particular branch of, "Sido." I strongly emphasize that it is the particular branch on Amsterdam near the corner of 79th and not just any old Sido.
The counter guy is the sweetest and while the pita is standard Pita - the falafel balls are scrumptous!
That and the homeade lentil soup with lemon and red sumac (you have to ask for it) is a standard for me with the balls at .50 cents a pop and a soup with pita and sauce for $4.00.

Posted by: tiya at May 4, 2007 6:57 PM

are you coming to the blogfest?

Posted by: louise at May 6, 2007 10:32 AM

Have you tried Waterfalls on Atlantic Avenue?

Posted by: janine at May 7, 2007 2:36 PM

Azuri Cafe on 51st in midtown. Amazing Israeli-style falafel (and a rather Soup-Nazi-esque atmosphere for New York authenticity).

Posted by: abrooklynlife at May 7, 2007 11:19 PM

I'm a fan of Zaytoons, Waterfall's on Atlantic, and the stunning Alfanoose in lower Manhattan.

Posted by: dalton at May 8, 2007 7:38 PM

I love Kosher Delite on 46th st. between 5th & 6th. Best of all, they have a real, authentic Israeli pickle bar! You get a plate with every order that you can stuff full of pickles and cabbage and peppers and carrots and and and.

Posted by: jukeboxgraduate at May 8, 2007 9:12 PM

I haven't been there in years, but I used to love the felafel at Cinderella in the East Village. I think it was on 2nd Ave around 6th St.

Posted by: matt at May 9, 2007 5:59 PM

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