Spreading Falafel Love

by jenna on October 29, 2010

If I had to choose just one sandwich to eat for the rest of my life, it would most likely be falafel. I just can’t get enough of those crispy fried chickpea nuggets, drizzled with tahini and served in a warm, chewy pita. I mean, it’s like the best… right?

The absolute best falafel I’ve ever had in my life was at L’as du Falafel in the Marais district of Paris. You stand outside a small window, shout your order in, and only seconds later are handed a gigantic pita, stuffed to the brim with sizzling falafel patties, creamy tahini, beets and hot sauce.

It simply can’t be beat and every other day, while walking back to my Left Bank apartment from hot yoga, I would stop and order one of these pitas, savoring every last crumb on my two mile walk home.

I will say though, for the record, that Zunzi’s in Savannah has the second best falafel I’ve ever had in my life.

Mom and I stopped at Zunzi’s this morning before embarking on an all day walking (and shopping!) tour of downtown Savannah. We needed our strength and she promised great things from this local hole in the wall that specializes in fast, fresh South African food.

I was so proud of her for knowing about it! My mom is so cool.

We got there exactly at twelve and there was already a line wrapping around the building, Brenda’s style. The folks behind the counter were fast and incredibly friendly—the owner asking me if it was my first time in and offering me a sample of his sweet iced rooibos tea, which I ended up ordering because it was absolutely delicious.

I was starving and could have eaten anything on the menu, but went with the falafel. Mom went with the Oliver’s plate, which featured a noodle salad topped with chicken, sausage and their “special” sauce.

It was definitely enough to feed a large family, but the flavor was amazing. I don’t know what they put in the secret sauce, I could have drank it through a straw.

Would that be going too far?

Okay, disregard. Anyways, the food was delicious and incredibly cheap. I highly recommend stopping here if you’re in Savannah, and then later hitting up Back in the Day Bakery for an iced chai….actually, that’s exactly what I did today!

Thanks, Zunzi’s!

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{ 61 comments… read them below or add one }

Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) October 29, 2010 at 3:38 pm

Oh what a score! So glad you found the 2nd best falafel…nothing can really compete with an apt in Paris, hot yoga, and falafel there :) That sounds amazing!!

When I lived in NC & SC I will also say the food, in restaurants, is pretty cheap! Glad you found a bargain, too. Living in San Diego, no, the food is not cheap here. What about So Cal is cheap? ha! nothing!

Hope you have a super Halloween Weekend whatever you end up doing!

:)

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Alexia@ Dimple Snatcher October 29, 2010 at 3:42 pm

the first boy i loved introduced me to falafels around this time last year. we’d go a cheap spot in new york’s west village. so so good. i haven’t been there in a whileeeee.

soon. maybe tomorrow actually.

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Liz October 29, 2010 at 3:44 pm

I think I’ve had falafel from that place in Paris!

My fave, though, is Falafel Palace in Cambridge, Mass.. They also serve amazing schawarma.

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Liz October 29, 2010 at 3:49 pm

Yup, looked it up, that was definitely the place. :-) It was gigantic. As I recall, they also had some sort of cookies available. And I used a secret dirty bathroom (not really for customers) my Parisian friend knew about. Ah, memories..

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Amanda October 29, 2010 at 4:06 pm

Falafel!!!!! You should write a how-to-make-falafel post….just throwin it out there.

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Jessica @ How Sweet It Is October 29, 2010 at 4:14 pm

I just had falafel for the first time last month. I LOVED IT! You must recreate it!

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Meaghen October 29, 2010 at 4:16 pm

I can’t remember if you got a new lens recently or not, but your photos lately have really been incredible. I love the one of the restaurant front. The lighting is perfect and the photo has an almost vintage feel to it!

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e m l October 29, 2010 at 6:00 pm

I thought the same thing. I feel like I’m standing outside on the sidewalk looking in almost…very quaint and trendy at the same time.

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chelsey @ clean eating chelsey October 29, 2010 at 4:17 pm

Why have I been to Savannah so many times and have never found these places you have spoken of?

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katie October 29, 2010 at 4:36 pm

falafel in paris? who knew!

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Laura (Starloz) October 29, 2010 at 4:38 pm

what an incredibly delicious experience, i’m craving falafels now!

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Hope October 29, 2010 at 4:38 pm

Wow, I totally just finished my lunch which was homemade falafel with salad, hummus and hot sauce in a soft chewy pita – I was thinking to myself that this would probably be my favourite food of all time, then I log on here and see your post about falafel!
Yum!

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Estela @ Weekly Bite October 29, 2010 at 4:41 pm

Falafel is a true favorite of mine!! I only wish I could make it as good as some of the restaurants!!

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Jasmine @ Eat Move Write October 29, 2010 at 4:56 pm

Before I even read the whole post, I was groaning. My husband said, “What?” I said, EatLiveRun is writing about falafel. Falafel and I have a love affair and I swear I could spend my whole paycheck on going out to eat it. Sigh… Love that stuff. And, seriously, there is too much of a good thing. I mean, it’s FRIED, afterall.

Looks amazing… and now no matter what I eat tonight, it won’t compare. Thanks Jenna. :p

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Cara Craves... October 29, 2010 at 5:03 pm

Yummers!
I love chickpeas served in any fashion!

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Morgan October 29, 2010 at 5:05 pm

ZUNZI’S!!!!!!! I dream about this place.

Despite the fact that Savannah is the most amazing city in America…It happens to hold the best place to eat as well….. Zunzi’s! I’m so glad you know of this amazing place and the special sauce….you could bathe in it, literally. BATHE IN IT. My favorite thing there is the Conquistador. But I can take some chicken on top of anything with the special sauce and I’m a happy camper.

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Jess October 29, 2010 at 5:52 pm

As if I weren’t missing Savannah enough (it has been over a year! I was there every weekend last summer!), the knowledge of all these fantastic food places that I never knew about is making me think I’m taking a weekend trip. And SOON.

Especially if it means I can have what may be the world’s second best falafel. I’ve yet to find fabulous falafel in my city.

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Dana @ my little celebration October 29, 2010 at 5:57 pm

I’ve only had falafel on its own, either drizzled with tatziki sauce or tahini. I’ll have to try them in a sandwich sometime though…

Great post : ) Makes me want to go to Paris real bad.

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grocery goddess jen October 29, 2010 at 6:00 pm

Yet another reason to visit Savannah again!

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e m l October 29, 2010 at 6:01 pm

Your blog has taken quite an (amazing) change. Did you ever consider just starting from this new stance with the baking viewpoint and getting rid of your old posts or did you always want to keep that with you?

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Krystina (Organically Me) October 29, 2010 at 6:35 pm

I absolutely love falafel. Pair them with plump kalamata olives and stuffed grape leaves and I’m a happy girl.

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Nej October 29, 2010 at 6:47 pm

Jenna, if you started you’re blog this very day now: what would you call it? Do you think you’ve reached a different place that a completely different name would be attached to it? Interesting to think about. And are you home? I thought your mom was in Florida (where you grew up?).

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Kaitlin With Honey October 29, 2010 at 6:59 pm

I would choose the same sandwich! Well, that tied with a Thanksgiving sandwich, maybe? I mean, those are hard to beat.

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Meghan October 29, 2010 at 7:22 pm

You have to eat at Papillote in Savannah. It is the best French food and the owners are soooo nice. I wish I was there to eat along side you… http://www.papillote-savannah.com/

Ooooh, and Rocks on the River is fabulous too. I love their curried chicken salad is so yummy!

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Camille October 29, 2010 at 7:36 pm

Ooh, I love falafel! I need to find a good falafel place in my town…

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Susan (Mom Swim Bike Run) October 29, 2010 at 8:12 pm

You clearly have a way with words, I’m convinced I have to eat there. NOW!

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Gloria October 29, 2010 at 8:26 pm

Oh lordy, L’as du Falafel truly is one of my top 5 meals of all time. You recommended it to me when I went to Paris and I can’t thank you enough! And I ended up finding a ridiculous chocolate shop tucked away in that area that I totally raided… double thanks ;)

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Lacey @ Lake Life October 29, 2010 at 8:31 pm

I’ve never had falafel but now feel as though I won’t be able to rest until I try it ;-)

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Laughter-Loving Stacy October 29, 2010 at 8:36 pm

Oooh I love those! I haven’t had a flalafel in a looooooooong time!

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Elizabeth October 29, 2010 at 8:41 pm

L’as du falafel is the best!!!!! I have dreams about that falafel. Why oh why can I not find something similar at home?! It may just mean I’m meant to live in Paris…. yep, pretty sure that’s it.

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Tessa October 29, 2010 at 8:45 pm

Heaven! I love falafel. Yours looks great!

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Mars October 29, 2010 at 9:11 pm

Hi, i’ve been reading your blog for a few months now but this is my first comment. I admit i have a slight fear of commenting but, well, i took the leap because i happend to be reading this post just after i made my self a vegi-stuffed falafel pita for “lunch.” I took it as a sign that i needed to buck up, face my fears, and comment. So i’m commenting.

That being said, have you ever tried making falafel from scratch? I suspect it wouldn’t be too difficult, but every time i consider the thought it just seems easier to wip by the store and pick up some falafel mix.

Your mini-tour of Savannah is making me want to road-trip out there. I never expected it would be such a funky town. Hope you are enjoying it!!!

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Candice @ ChiaSeedMe October 29, 2010 at 9:27 pm

Well, I’ve only had falafel twice in my whole life, and I really loved it! For some reason I just don’t think about it very often. I’m officially craving it now though. Thanks;)

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Dee October 29, 2010 at 10:14 pm

I love falafels! And whoa! look at that meal(s)! I want to go to Savannah just for your recommendations! :) I’d love to hear more.

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meagan October 29, 2010 at 10:17 pm

It’s past midnight and I have an insatiable craving for falafel now. Sigh!!

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Becky October 30, 2010 at 2:57 am

I was in Paris in August and ate at L’au du Falafel three times in one weekend. It’s been a favorite of mine for at least 10 years. My runner up is Maoz in London, and my second runner up is a place in Bordeaux where they put the fries IN the pita with the falafel. Yummers.

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Christine October 30, 2010 at 3:27 am

I love love LOVE falafel. Best I ever had was from a kebab shop in New Zealand, although I’ve had some pretty good ones in New York. Also, I love when my parents take me to great little places like that, because you’re so right, it makes them seem so cool :) And restaurants are great things to share.

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Lauren at KeepItSweet October 30, 2010 at 4:06 am

it is amazing how those hole in the walls can be the best sometimes!

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Anne October 30, 2010 at 4:56 am

I’ve just gone over your ten best cookbooks post again – took me a couple of hours, hahaha…thanks for that one. I’m taking out three of them from the library, and I literally can’t wait. I agree totally with your food philosophy, I just hate cooking so this is definitely an acquired taste for me…thanks again, the post was really useful :-)

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Carrie October 30, 2010 at 5:03 am

I ate those same falafels in Paris!!! The Marais district had the best food!

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Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin October 30, 2010 at 5:52 am

I can’t believe I’ve never tried falafel! I think I need to take a study break and go on a falafel hunt in my city today!

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Jillian @ Reshape Your Life October 30, 2010 at 6:19 am

That food looks amazing… Maybe I should attempt to make myself some falafel.

Maybe I should move to Savanna? We’re batting 1000 right now with the places you’ve been.

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Heather (Heather's Dish) October 30, 2010 at 6:59 am

i wish i ate falafel more…my hubby doesn’t like it (GASP!) but that’s because he’s never really tried it. i’m going to have to culture this boy…. ;)

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Amanda@thegrainsofparadise October 30, 2010 at 7:34 am

So random that i’m in Savannah this weekend too! Just might have grab one of those pitas… Looking for a great dinner place too if you have any suggestions? Much aloha! Amanda

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Erika @ Food.Fitness.Fun October 30, 2010 at 8:19 am

I love falafel – I’ve always wanted to make it from scratch but I’m too lazy. Plus, the oil would make such a mess! :-P

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Caryn October 30, 2010 at 8:25 am

Oh my gosh! I can’t believe you mentioned L’as du Falafel! I was so excited when I saw that. I spent 4 weeks in Paris last year and the first place my friend took me when I got off the plane was L’as du Falafel. I could seriously eat it for every meal. I think its time to go back to le Marais. . .

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Kristin (Cook, Bake, Nibble) October 30, 2010 at 9:18 am

I love falafel. My great grandmother was syrian so I enjoyed it my whole life… now I live within like 2 miles of THREE great falafel places! I eat it all the time, it’s pure comfort food for me.

xo
Kris

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notyet100 October 30, 2010 at 9:31 am

platter looks yum,..

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debi October 30, 2010 at 9:39 am

i am confused, i thought your parents lived down the street a mile or two from you when you lived in florida. but you are in savannah at “your childhood home” with your mom?

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jenna October 30, 2010 at 10:41 am

they moved to savannah a year ago..

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Paige @ Running Around Normal October 30, 2010 at 9:51 am

I agree..falafel is the best. So crunchy and tangy and YUM!

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zoe (and the beatles) October 30, 2010 at 10:08 am

falafel = one of the great loves of my life. are are iced chais! i’ve never wanted to go to georgia but you’re making a great case for it now!

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Amber K October 30, 2010 at 10:18 am

I have only had falafel one time in my life, but it was fantastic! I just gotta find me a gluten-free version and I’m golden!

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Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down) October 30, 2010 at 11:12 am

Mm…falafel. I drool at the thought. Can you believe I’ve never tried it?? I think a trip to Paris is in order. ;)

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Jenny October 30, 2010 at 12:14 pm

Looks yummy! I love african food. I’ve yet to try falafel though…

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monicanelsonfitness October 30, 2010 at 1:53 pm

I agree with you. Falafel is a must-have sandwich and it should be available at all restaurants. I have a great recipe I make for falafel “homemade.” I think I will do that soon actually. ;)
Afican food is amazing too-peanuts, beans, potates. yum.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

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Kirsten October 30, 2010 at 2:38 pm

I LOVE Zunzi’s! I dream of the conquistador and their iced tea is amazing! I’m in Savannah now and am hoping to stop by for lunch on Monday!

You should also go to Gryphon tea room, and the pink house (eat in the basement with the bar – it’s so cool down there) Great dinner or drinks spot.

If you head out to tybee go to the breakfast club for breakfast. There is usually a line but worth the wait!

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Natalia - a side of simple October 30, 2010 at 3:10 pm

I’m all over your mom’s plate!! So happy you two are together, I’m sure you must miss her a lot in Cali :)

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tiffany October 30, 2010 at 4:20 pm

Love love love Zunzi’s! I love their chicken spinach salad ….. and a side order of hummus with pita!! And their african black tea!

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Carolyn October 30, 2010 at 11:11 pm

I never went to L’as du Falafel, but visit Chez Hanna (also in the Marais) every time I’m in Paris. It’s got the most amazing toppings! I’ll need to try L’as du Falafel next time I’m there!

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Sarah @ See Sarah Eat November 1, 2010 at 12:01 pm

I totally agree! If I could only have one sandwich forever, it would be falafel :) Both of those places you mentioned sound great. Around here, I’m a big fan of a place called Shiraz Mediterranean Grill and The Pita Pit for my falafel fix. But honestly, homemade is my all time favorite! :)

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