There is great falafel in St. Louis if you know where to look


Jordan Palmer, Chief Digital Content Officer

When it comes to eating, it’s good to every now and again break out of one’s comfort zone. Recently, I read how falafel had become the most popular food in Israel, so I decided to give it a shot.

Now, I’ve become slightly obsessed with falafel. Where I can find it in St. Louis? How does one place make it different from another? How it’s served?

Recently, I noticed a surge in falafel photos on social media and was so happy to see others enjoying falafel, too. Turns out, that I missed “International Falafel Day” on June 12. So, to make up for that faux pax, here’s more information than you might ever need about falafel, as well as everywhere in St. Louis you can find it on a menu, 12 days late.

So exactly what is falafel?

For those who don’t know what it is, falafel is a deep-fried ball made from ground chickpeas. It’s occasionally cooked using fava beans. Onions and spices, such as cumin or coriander, may also be included, depending on your preferences.

The exact origins of falafel are up for debate. Some food historians write that it was developed in Egypt about 1,000 years ago, while others say that falafel can be traced to India in the 6th century. No matter where the falafel story began, it has become one of the most popular foods in the world, including Israel where it’s been called “the ultimate Israeli food.”

Israeli Falafel Style

With Jews from hundreds of countries calling Israel home, Israeli cuisine is a mix of national and worldwide flavors and techniques. In Israel, falafel is typically served in a Middle Eastern pita bread pocket, topped with salad and hummus – as well as German sauerkraut, Iraqi fried eggplant, Indian pickled mango sauce, Yemeni hot sauce and French fries. The result is uniquely Israeli.

Admittedly, I’ve not found anyone serving Israeli style falafel in St. Louis, but that could also be because I’ve never asked. The good news, St. Louis is home to many places that serve falafel in many variations, making finding your “forever falafel” easier than ever.

Falafel In St. Louis

Today, these fried ground chickpeas balls are not only standard fare at Mediterranean and Middle Eastern restaurants around St. Louis, but they also have rolled onto menus at many of our town’s finest eateries. Some of which you might not expect.

Al-Tarboush Deli, 602 Westgate Ave. 63130

  • Pick Item: Falafel Plate
    • Lettuce, tomatoes, and 4 pieces of falafel with a pita.

American Falafel, 6314 Delmar, 63130

  • Pick Item: Falafel Bowl
    • Three Falafel bites with your choice of toppings; Turmeric Rice, Hummus, Baba Ghanoush, Pickles, Sliced Tomatoes, Black Olive, Persian Cucumbers, Onions and Parsley,

Anthonino’s Taverna, 2225 Macklind Ave. 63110

  • Pick Item: Falafel Sandwich
    • Spiced, fried, smashed chick peas, cucumber, tomato, onion and yogurt, rolled in pita and served with Mediterranean hot sauce and tahini.

Aya Sofia Restaurant 6671 Chippewa Street, 63109

  • Pick Item: Falafel Sandwich
    • Crispy chickpea croquettes with tomato sauce, onions, Turkish pickles, tahini sauce, and choice of side item (Sandwich is Vegan)

Crafted., 3200 Shenandoah Ave. 63104

  • Pick Item – Falafel with Pita

Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh, 8143 Maryland Ave.

  • Pick Item – Various

Gyro Company, 7240 Gravois Ave. 63116

  • Falafel Gyro
    • Falafel balls, lettuce, tomato, onion, cucumber sauce.

Gyro Grill, 6227 Delmar Blvd. 63130 

  • Pick Item: Falafel Pita Pocket

Gyro House,6152 Delmar Blvd, 63112

  • Pick Item: Falafel Plate
    • Falafel & hummus.

J’s Pitaria, 91 Concord Plaza Shopping Center

  • Pick Item: Falafel Sandwich
    • Somun bread filled with falafels (6), organic arugula, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, feta and house-made tzatziki sauce. Served with Himalayan salt potato chips. Substitute dairy for Ajvar for vegan option.

Kohn’s Kosher Deli, 10405 Old Olive Street Road, 63141

  • Pick Item: Side dish

Layla’s, 20 Allen Ave, Suite 130, 63119

  • Pick Item: Falafel Fries

Majeed Mediterranean Restaurant  4658 Gravois Ave, 63116

  • Falafel Sandwich
    • Falafel patties with lettuce, tomato, onion, parsley, pickles and tahini.

Medina Grill, 5 Maryland Plaza, 63198 and 1327 Washington Ave. 63103

  • Falafel Bowl
    • Rice, falafel bites, hummus, cucumber & tahini salad, pickles, turnips, onions, and garlic tahini drizzle.

Olympia Kebob House and Taverna, 1543 McCausland Ave, 63117

Orzo Grill, 11627 Olive Blvd. Creve Coeur, MO 63141

  • Pick Item: Crispy Falafel Bowl
    • Brown rice and quinoa, romaine, red onion, grape tomato, cucumber, red pepper, feta, tzatziki, tahini, greek dressing and parsley.

Phoenicia Mediterranean Deli, 15344 Manchester Rd, Ellisville, MO 63011

  • Pick Item: Falafel Entrée
    • 5 deep-fried ball made from ground chickpeas, seasoned with parsley, cumin, and garlic. Served with two sides.

Pita Plus, 13005 Olive Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63141

  • Pick Item: Falafel Platter
    • Includes 5 falafel balls, mid-East salad, humus, pickle and calamata olives, served with pita.

Ranoush, 6501 Delmar Blvd. and 386 N. Euclid Ave and 12434 St Charles Rock Rd,

  • Pick Item: Traditional Mezza
    • Falafel, fatayer, tabbouleh, kibbeh, hummus, and baba ganoush.

Salt + Smoke, 6525 Delmar Blvd. 63130

  • Pick Item: Falafel Burger
    • Served with local organic greens, red pepper jam and flaxseed mayo on a brioche bun. Vegan without bun. Comes with your choice of 1 side.

Sheesh, 3226 S. Grand Blvd., 63118

  • Pick Item: Falafel Plate
    • 5 pieces with bread.

Small Batch, 3001 Locust Street, 63101

  • Pick Item: Falafel Burger
    • Marinated tomato & cucumber. pickled red onion. aioli. beer bun. fries.

Sultan Mediterranean Restaurant, 4200 Manchester Ave, 63110

  • Pick Item: Falafel Plate
    • Chickpeas mashed with garlic, onion and cilantro with hummus and fresh na’an

Taste of Lebanon, 331 N. Euclid Ave., 63108

  • Pick Item: CC Special
    • Falafel, garlic sauce, and spicy potatoes, all wrapped together in this delicious sandwich.

The Vine Café, 3171 S. Grand Blvd. 63118

  • Pick Item: Falafel Dinner
    • 9 pieces, of their specialty ground chickpeas, garlic and spices served with vegetables and tahini sauce. Not served with rice.

Troy Mediterranean Cuisine, 19 Stonegate Center, 63088

  • Pick Item: Falafel Sandwich
    • Falafel served with tomato slices, red onions, lettuce and tazatziki sauce in either a pita or homemade bread with pickled peppers and pickles on the side

Did we miss your favorite falafel spot in St. Louis? If so, please tell us. Also, send a photo of you enjoying a falafel wrap and the reason why you love that restaurant’s falafel to [email protected] or send us a message on Facebook.

| RELATED: Don’t sleep on Trader Joe’s new Dill Pickle Falafel