Falafel from a hole-in-the-wall

Written by on April 21, 2011 in I Eat Haifa, I Eat...Out with 0 Comments

(No website found at time of publishing) – Hadad Street in the Wadi

How I heard of this place: In the past fourteen years of visits to the area, I have been to plenty of falafel stands and shops throughout Haifa, in uptown, downtown, and down-down-town. The first memory I have of this particular shop is from my visit three years ago, when my sister, brother-in-law and (at the time) seven-month old nephew made our way down to the Wadi for falafel.

Type of cuisine: Pockets of pita are created for falafel sandwiches and koofta kebabs (ground beef, parsley and strongly flavored with cinnamon), as well as schwarma and other such Middle Eastern street food.

Ambiance: This small shop, near the famous baklava bakery, can fit maybe ten people inside, standing comfortably. The floor-to-ceiling window at the front opens up to allow for lines out the door and onto the narrow street, where neighboring falafel joints’ lines and patrons can also be found. A mini barquette lines the right side of the wall as you enter and continues across most of the back wall, hosting napkins and spicy sauces in plastic containers. Mirrors above the barquette create a sense of increased space and patronage, as the owner and chef fries up falafel balls and offers samples to incoming guests. To the left as one enters the space, is the kitchen, in plain sight, where a large bowl of hot oil and falafels float until they are golden and ready; and a glass display front on the counter with sides and toppings – everything from pickled vegetables, to salads, to tahini sauce with parsley.

What I ordered: On this visit, my brother-in-law and nephew surprised the rest of us with a box of 21 slightly pressed falafel balls, organized, standing in three rows. A side of tahini with fresh parsley mixed in was offered along with the fresh, warm, mini pita bread.

What I loved: The falafel, here, is one of my favorite in town! Perfectly golden and crispy on the outside, soft and flavorful on the inside. The melt-in-your-mouth consistency, and the slightly green tinge of fresh herbs adds to the flavor and the experience. These falafel are in no need of acoutrements, nor pita. Just take a box-full, sit in a park or stand outside the establishment and enjoy!

Why I loved it: I love the feeling of being in the Wadi, bustling with people, food in the streets, and people calling down from balconies in their apartments above, to get the attention of the hair dresser, who has left his shop to talk with his friend at the fruit stand, or the owner of the falafel shop as he is laughing heartily with the baklava shop owner. It is a very Middle Eastern experience that just cannot be beat!

Cost: Low to average (14NIS-30NIS per well-portioned sandwich)

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