Eat Here, Not There: Quick-Order Falafel

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Anne Marie Panoringan

For years, the only connection I had with falafel was from She's All That when Laney asks Zack, "Would you like to super-size those falafel balls?" Falafels have gained prominence since then, especially in OC, home of Little Arabia and more than a few Greek restaurants. Still, too many rely on dry, grainy falafels as their standard--a big no-no.

You could go to Daphne's, the McDonald's of Greek food, which recently underwent a massive makeover on which the jury is still out. Or you can try Pita Hot.

Tasty falafel has a dual texture, the slight crunchy exterior encasing a flavorful and moist (but not dense) interior. It's always light, not heavy in the tummy, and never greasy. With those criteria, I tried a falafel plate my first visit, and a falafel wrap the next time I was there.

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Extreme close-up!

While the balls were more smooshed/borderline UFO-shaped than jawbreaker round, they still maintained the crisp outer layer. Once broken, its fork tenderness is just right. Since these are cooked to order, their integrity remains untouched until you take a bite. I'd ramble on about service or decor, but all you need to know is that it's cheaper than Daphne's and you can customize your plate or wrap with pretty much any combination of sauces, sides or salads. While the 'Pita' in Pita Hot is more room temperature, the falafel is worth a taste.

Pita Hot, 1343 E. Chapman Ave., Fullerton, (714) 449-0100.

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