You already know it – the traditional Mediterranean dish made of fried hummus balls, served hot and crispy; so check out these awesome falafel places on your next trip to Israel
By Ori Shaked
Here’s a fun not made up at all fact – formal statistics shows that you can’t visit Israel without eating falafel. You can sure try to dodge the falafel ball but eventually you will succumb to the undisputed king of the Israeli street food. Why? Because it’s simply delicious, cheap and you can find a great israeli falafel place on almost every street corner, just follow the smell…
Falafel joints are often small, offering nothing but this great dish. You can tell a place is good to eat at by the long lines outside, all day long. The basic traditional falafel is a combination of really hot falafel balls (patties) inside a pita bread and some fresh salad and tahini, and at times some white cabbage. The brave ones add some Shug, a hot Yamen sauce, promises to burn your tongue if not handled with caution. Some places will “garnish” your falafel with french fries, a spread of hummus, pickles and as far as the culinary imagination goes…
Hungry already? Here are some great falafel places you can sink your teeth in:
North & Hasharon
1. Falafel Hazkenim (The old ones) – 18 vadi st, Haifa
Surprise your taste buds with their excellent tahini
There are many tahini fans out there, some of them even call it “the nectar of the gods” and are in a constant search for the perfect flavor and texture. This tiny falafel place is a well-known establishment among falafel enthusiasts and takes much pride in their excellent tahini. Other than the great patties, the extras are narrowed down to fresh salad, pickled cucumbers, cabbage and spicy sauce. Keeping it simple but perfect to the last tahini drop.
2. Falafel Dvora – 30 Hameyasdim st, Carcur
The perfect pita bread, as simple as that
This place sets the standard when it comes to two things: the pita bread and the spicy sauce. The first is simply perfect, made on the spot, literally. The second (spicy sauce) should be labeled as biohazard as it is sooooooo hot, that it will burn your tongue, so consider yourself warned. The patties are delicate and served with few extras as pickles, fresh tomatoes, white cabbage and tahini.
3. Falafel Kaduri – 59 Ramatayim road, near the gas station, Hod-Hasharon
Your friendly neighborhood falafel stand
Located on the main street of Hod-Hasharon, with zero finesse or charm in terms of looks or location, this Falafel stand represents everything that such a place should offer: minimalism, simplicity and great ingredients. It has the distinct unmistakable flavor and texture of the chickpeas it is made of. A great place to eat by the way, literally.
4. Falafel Shalom – 34 Betzalel st. Jerusalem
Over 60 years of tradition makes everything tastier
There is something so right about eating falafel in Jerusalem. The atmosphere, the coexistence of all falafel loving religions in one place, and the special scent of history in the air just makes eating this dish here a picture-perfect experience.
This particular falafel joint has it all: over 60 years of serving excellent orange patties served with the most basic extras: pickled cucumbers, fresh salad and tahini. Going to visit the holy city? This place is right up your alley. And it literally translates to “peace falafel” in Hebrew.
5. Falafel moshiko – 5 Ben Yehuda st, Jerusalem
More than falafel at the heart of Jerusalem
Moshiko is more than your ordinary falafel stand. Your average falafel joint boils down to one dish and some extras. This place offers a whole lot more and now it is a chain of restaurants, where you will be able to get your falafel not only in a pita bread but also in a baguette, making it a full meal. If you can take it, they will make it. You can also get Hummus with falafel, a winning combo that promises to send you to get a nice long siesta.
Tel Aviv & Center
6. Falafel Hakosem (the magician) – 1 Shlomo Hamelech st. Tel-Aviv
It’s all about the attention to details
Located at the center of Tel-Aviv, this place is as close as can be to be called “gourmet”. The secret lies with the small details: the freshly baked pita bread, always fluffy and airy, ready to embrace its content with love and flavor, the great patties, wonderful deep-fried eggplants and vibrant urban atmosphere.
7. Falafel Jina
Because there is no substitute for freshly baked pita bread
Falafel Jina has couple of “branches”. Their revolutionary concept is maximizing the idea of mini-dishes. They offer their semi-hungry clients or the ones who are dieting (yeah, right…) small portions in an almost bite size pita bread. Want a taste? No problem, you don’t have to deal with your guilty pleasure, just order the mini-dish and you are good to go.
Where: 22 Shoken st. Tel-Aviv
8. Falafel Hateomim (the twins) – 184 Ben Gurion st., Givatayim
It’s all about customer service
Located in Givatayim, this Falafel place has a reputation going way back more than 30 years, owned and operated by two twin brothers, identical as two falafel balls, who offer straightforward simple Falafel. This place is all about your satisfaction, It’s a great combination of experience and taking care of what’s really important – the customers.
9. Falafel Hatuka – 4 Histadrut st, Petah-Tikva
It all stays in the family
This authentic stand is an iconic pit-stop for many people since the late 70’s. The team will always offer you a free pattie to check if it is warm enough, and place the exact amount of extras to make your bite perfect – french fries, spicy sauce, tahini, fresh salads and Ambah (an Iraqi sauce, based on mango, for the brave of heart only).
The place belongs to the Hatuka family, who operates it since it was open way back. This is what falafel is all about.
10. Beit Ha Ful (The Ful House) – 55 Herzl st, Beer Sheba
Serving a great falafel for ages
The place is named of the middle eastern cooked fava beans (“ful”), that are put in the pita together with the falafel, and the round crispy fries that people who grew up in this city will never forget.
Meanwhile, they opened a few more branches around, spreading the news and the taste all over.
Hungry? There are many great israeli falafel stands all across the country, many of them have fans who will swear by their patties. You’re most welcome to taste them and become a Falafel enthusiast yourself.