Falafel never gets the level of appreciation it deserves really does it? Overlooked more often than Michelle from Destinys Child. Maybe that’s a bit harsh….on falafel. It’s definitely more of a Kelly. Falafel is pretty damn delicious so why do we not go mad for it like we do over pizza or a Pad-see-ew?
Melbourne is home to some of the best Falafel joints around, there are plenty of options to convert that one friend of yours that isn’t a fan. And if they’re still resistant, why not reel off these fun fala-facts: they’re delicious, low in calories, high in fibre, rich in healthy fats and proteins and you can stuff enough veggies and salad in with them to cover your 5 a day quota.
Check out our picks for falafel-y goodness.
The Falafel Man
Let’s be honest if you call yourself The Falafel Man you’ve got to be able to deliver the goods. With their special secret family recipe this little Prahran Market stall has somewhat of an infamous cult following, let’s just say his falafel balls are really good. Crunchy yet soft, with a choice of the tasty fresh salads, homemade tahini and pitas to top it all off, there’s a reason they’re so popular. If you’re in the area you can’t look past this for taste and value for money.
Very Good Falafel
Very good indeed. The double act behind this growing hotspot don’t mess about, they’ve been gaining popularity ever since their days selling at farmers markets. There are no frills, no elaborate recipe. They just make them exactly how falafel should be, cooked fresh and stuffed into one of their freshly baked Israeli-style pittas. It is simple honest food, but the flavours speak volumes. And that warm hummus topped with whole chickpeas and paprika… something else.
City-siders, Tahini offers made to order fresh falafel and tahini wrap with all the trimmings could be exactly what you need to pick up on a busy day. When the Head Chef has flown over from Lebanon specially and is cooking up his family recipes, you know you’re in good hands and even better falafel. Take out or dine in and order a feast of falafels and different dishes, this one is great value for money every time.
Smäk Food House
Not quite your typical falafel entry but you can’t fault flavour. The guys over at Smäk have put a unique spin on a traditional falafel and despite all your apprehension one taste of their Roasted Beetroot Felafel will have you hooked. Did we mention it’s served with activated charcoal and a garlic veganaise aioli? Not a sniff of pita bread and tahini in sight but it most definitely works. Check out these guys for a special twist on a classic.
Zaaki Falafel Bar
Simplicity is key here. There are just 6 mains to choose from, crispy house made fresh falafels each laden with a variety of different toppings. There is, of course, a traditional wrap with hummus, tahini and salad or you can try various different combos, Zaaki Tango Mango is particularly popular. Infamous for their generous servings and friendly service, Zaaki are a local gem.
Pita Bar Ormond
Ideal when you’re in a rush or just can’t be bothered cooking, Pita Bar has a Falafel Combo Deal you’d be a fool not to take advantage of. They even offer a GF wrap so everyone is catered for and have a complimentary pickle bar for that added extra. Great crispy falafel balls laden with their house salads and all the hummus you can dream of. Did we mention you always get a serving of house-made pickled veg with your order?
Half Moon Café
A local favourite, this little café churns out its infamous falafel non-stop for the queues that are usually waiting. And it’s obvious why when you try their fava bean-falafel–light and fluffy with that perfect crispy outer. Make sure you load up your order with their home-made dips and salads because it is all about the smoky eggplant. You can’t beat Half Moon for value for money and quality.
After a meal that's a bit more substantial? Check out Melbourne's best new Middle-Eastern eateries.
Images Credit: Smäk via Instagram.