Los Angeles Falafel Filter
August 2, 2007 4:58 PM   Subscribe

Los Angeles Falafel filter: I want good, vegetarian Middle Eastern food up to the Dearborn standard, ideally on the west side of LA (Palms neighborhood), but I'll roam from Culver City to Hollywood (or around Amoeba) to find a great pita place.

Further help narrowing it down— the falafel should be spicy, but not over-garlic-ed. It should come with hummus and tabouli, and the tabouli should be fresh and primarily parsley. The falafel sandwich should ideally be wrapped in the pita, not stuffed in a pocket (though pocket is acceptable). The best are the Syrian-style with the fries in the sandwich, and a slather of baba ganoush for good luck.

But let me know if you've found the perfect mujadara or sfouf or halva or even some great baklava.
posted by klangklangston to Food & Drink (19 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
i always dug falafel king in westwood village
posted by ThFullEffect at 5:04 PM on August 2, 2007


Also, if anyone knows of anything that fits that description a bit farther south.

(Thanks, Klang)
posted by The World Famous at 5:05 PM on August 2, 2007


Sunnin is a great place for authentic and yet inexpensive Middle Eastern food. Not being an expert, all I know is that it's freaking delicious.
posted by hindmost at 5:23 PM on August 2, 2007


Eat-a-Pita on Fairfax appears to have recently been shuttered, so that's my main recommendation right out.

Zankou Chicken, by definition, obviously isn't a vegetarian restaurant, but their falafel, especially spread with their addictive garlic paste, may still fit the bill for you. (Caveat: I assume the garlic paste is vegetarian, but I cannot vouch for the total absence of any animal product in there. All I can tell you is that I can eat spoonfuls of the stuff.) Also, I really like their tabouleh (it's very heavy on the parsley), but for some mysterious reason I believe it's not available at the new westside location (though double-check on that).
posted by scody at 5:30 PM on August 2, 2007


Oh boy are you in for a treat. Look no further than Gaby's Mediterreanean!

Its on the corner of Venice Blvd. and Mentone in Palms. I walk here from my apt for dinner all the time. I'm a vegetarian so I always hit up the falafel sandwhich. Their hummus and baba gannouj is fantastic and the outdoor decor is pretty nice. And its dirt cheap.

On Fri and Sat nights it gets a little hectic and the service starts to suck, but you can bring your own beer - but be careful, the liquor store next to Gaby's is outrageously priced, despite looking like a hovel.
posted by AsRuinsAreToRome at 6:05 PM on August 2, 2007


Seconding Zankou!
posted by k8t at 6:10 PM on August 2, 2007


Gaby's hummus, tabouli, zataar, fattoush, and shwarma are all great.

There are two locations. One is in Venice or one of the beach towns close by. I used to live right by the Palms/Culver City one too, and walked over as much as possible. I miss it more than any other restaurant!

Here's the menu.
posted by TheClonusHorror at 6:21 PM on August 2, 2007


dude. there is this place near lincoln (exit on the 10), right across from santa monica college, i have no idea what it's called. they have the best goddamn falafel in the city. small white restaurant, maybe a half-block down from subway. (i mention this because both places tend to be packed around lunch.)

zankou is great, but i dont know if they are in west LA. anyway, their tarna is better than their falafel, and they usually have good tabouleh. i prefer their glendale spot as opposed to the one in hollywood, also.
posted by phaedon at 6:53 PM on August 2, 2007


Nthing Zankou--there's a branch on Santa Monica just east of the 405 in West LA....but the Ecuadorian parking lot attendant
enjoyed playing chicken (yeah, NO SNARKS!) with single female drivers who were trying to leave the lot as of last November. Go to the ones on Sunset, Van Nuys in the Valley and Colorado in Pasadena.
posted by brujita at 8:52 PM on August 2, 2007


Zankou is okay, but in Hollywood, I think Al Wazir Chicken is better. There's something about Zankou's falafel that's just too dry or something for my taste.

Good luck, klang. And welcome to L.A. There are tons of great middle eastern restaurants around the city, if you know where to look.
posted by MythMaker at 9:20 PM on August 2, 2007


Zankou is Armenian-owned, BTW.
posted by k8t at 9:39 PM on August 2, 2007


Yeah k8, I know--this was one of their employees.
posted by brujita at 10:11 PM on August 2, 2007


There's a newish hole-in-the-wall falafel place named Bella Pita in Westwood Village (960 Gayley). I think its quite good. They cook all the falafel fresh to order (Unlike Zankou generally, which does have good falafel when they're fresh), and they've got a condiment bar so you can add whatever you want.
posted by Spurious Packets at 11:40 PM on August 2, 2007


Oh boy are you in for a treat. Look no further than Gaby's Mediterranean! It's on the corner of Venice Blvd. and Mentone in Palms.

Off topic, but I used to live at Venice and Mentone many, many years ago when I was in grad school. All I remember was a McDonalds. Looks like the neighborhood has improved. ;-)
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 10:30 AM on August 3, 2007


"Oh boy are you in for a treat. Look no further than Gaby's Mediterreanean!

Its on the corner of Venice Blvd. and Mentone in Palms. I walk here from my apt for dinner all the time. I'm a vegetarian so I always hit up the falafel sandwhich. Their hummus and baba gannouj is fantastic and the outdoor decor is pretty nice. And its dirt cheap.

On Fri and Sat nights it gets a little hectic and the service starts to suck, but you can bring your own beer - but be careful, the liquor store next to Gaby's is outrageously priced, despite looking like a hovel."

While it'd be cool to see you and the rest of the folks from my neighborhood, you're kinda dead wrong about Gaby's— it was what prompted me to post this question. The hummus was watery, everything was under-spiced, the falafel was gummy and the tabouli was gritty. Recalling something that one of the Iraqis from the party store where I parked for school back in Michigan said: "People only come here to sell falafel if they can't make it in the Middle East. Back home, they'd have their hands cut off for selling this shit." I'm kinda worried that the West Coast is for all the folks who couldn't make it in Michigan.

I don't mean to bag on ya, and I appreciate the answer, but what I'm looking for is a place explicitly BETTER than Gaby's. The BYOB is a plus, and I wouldn't mind eating there again (it's really close, and relatively cheap), but that's not good Middle Eastern food.
posted by klangklangston at 11:11 AM on August 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


Hmm, well now I'm afraid you'll hate Zankou. But if you're interested in an update, I went last night (after posting in this thread) and can report that the westside location (on Sepulveda at Santa Monica) is indeed now serving tabouleh. I can't attest if it's better than Michigan's, but I like it.
posted by scody at 1:30 PM on August 3, 2007


This might be a question to ask the people over at ChowHound's LA board, but here are my suggestion:

There's a hole in the wall place in Westwood, on Gayley, a little south of In N Out on the same block called Bella Pita. I don't usually care for falafel, but they have THE BEST FALAFEL I've ever had. They fry after you eat it, they make their own pita, and there's a little salad-bar type thing you go to afterward to fill your pita with hummus, yogurt sauce, etc.

In the same neighborhood, further south near Santa Monica Blvd, there's Shamshiri, which I think is Persian. Their lunch specials are a great value and the portions are huge. They're an omnivore establishment, but their daily soups/stews are usually vegetarian and they have lots of vegetarian options on the menu. The BF (a vegan) and I (non-discriminatory) like it a lot.
posted by nakedsushi at 3:04 PM on August 3, 2007


(This thread makes me want to drive 60 miles from Riverside for lunch in LA...)
posted by growabrain at 9:10 AM on August 4, 2007


Second for Sunnin Lebanese Café. I consumed some of their tabouleh earlier today, and can attest to the fact that it was "fresh and primarily parsley." They are definitely all about the food - if you've been there already, you'll know what I mean.

[I'm not an expert on Middle Eastern cuisine...not even close. Though I do miss Jerusalem Garden, I've never had Middle Eastern food in Dearborn. Not yet, anyway.]
posted by splendid animal at 2:27 AM on August 9, 2007


« Older My Pixma is hanging it up, what's a good...   |   Did my new RAM kill my video adapter? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.