Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Best Falafel in... Yes, Paris!!

Where to find good Falafel in Paris? The other day I was at an expatriate social mingle in Paris, and a member who had lived in Israel for over 10 years said he hadn't yet found anything comparable in Paris. I guess if one wants the real thing, go to Israel, of course. If they want at least the closest imitation they can get in Paris, then just walk down Rue des Rosiers.

Here you'll be accosted by men trying to persuade you to eat at their Israelienne place, or to buy a falafel pita at their street window. In fact, last night, some friends and I went there after drinks at a bar, and the men from two shops facing each other even started fighting over our business! One was quite disappointed when I told him that I had tried both, and preferred his competitor.

So, what makes a good falafel pita? Why choose one of these shops over another? It all depends on what one likes, of course. For myself, I have done an experiment and taste test. One day we went to Rue des Rosiers and actually bought one falafel pita from each of the 4 following listed shops, and we compared them all. We looked at how much falafel to veggie ratio there was, what kinds of sauce they use, and how much grilled eggplant one gets, the quality/taste of the falafel, and other factors.
In the end, our research led us to prefer Mi-Va-Mi, as they put falafel
at the bottom and the top of the pita (so you get more falafel than you do at L'as du Fallafel), we liked the sauce they use (though Chez H'anna has a great sauce too), and they give you extra grilled eggplant for free if you just ask, and the falafel is really tasty. A friend of mine, though, prefers Chez H'anna over all the others on this street, as she likes their 'special sauce', which is a bit different than all the others. In the end, none of us preferred L'as du Falafel over these two, which was a surprise since we've heard other people say that it's the best on the street: we don't agree at all.

Here are the places to try if you want to do your own taste test, or, just go to Mi-Va-Mi or Chez H'anna like we do, and be sure to ask for the extra eggplant. I've put them in the order of preference that we had, the first being our favorite, and the last being our least favorite:
  1. Mi-Va-Mi (very good) - will give you extra eggplant, and has more falafel per pita than the other joints. 
    23 Rue des Rosiers
    75004, Paris
    +33 (0)1 42 71 53 72
  2. Chez H'anna (also very good) - has a 'special sauce' that some people prefer.
    54 Rue des rosiers

    75004, Paris
    +33 (0)1 42 74 74 99
  3. L'as du Fallafel (good, and some people's preference) - pretty good, and a classic in Paris.
    34 rue des Rosiers
    75004, Paris
    +33 (0)1 48 87 63 60
  4. Le King Falafel (terrible!) - not good at all, and the servers are jerks. I don't recommend it. 
    26 rue des Rosiers
    75004, Paris
    +33 (0)1 42 77 93 13

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