It was five years ago I unexpectedly found myself in Istanbul for a few days. This was a great opportunity to eat some new foods. I tried the breads, some street foods, Turkish Delight, and a range of Pistachio pastries. But..it was a sidewalk cafe near a rug vendor where I first had falafel alongside a plate of hummus. I was no stranger to hummus, but falafel, a middle eastern hushpuppy that I come to love.
Five years later and still crave Falafel. Lucky for me Dayton is full of Middle Eastern descent restaurants who are serving great Falafel. Falafel is basically a chickpea hushpuppy. Basically ground dried chickpeas, parsley and cilantro, garlic, onion, other spices and balled together and deep fried. Eat it with tzatziki or a side of hummus. This is where I get the best in Dayton.
Address: 40 N Main St, Dayton, OH 45423
The Falafel Gyro. Think traditional Gyro but with fried falafel balls that are crumbled up in the pita alongside onion, feta, olives, lettuce and tzatziki. It’s basically a greek salad with falafel crumbled atop all sitting on a warm soft pita. I have one of these every month. No lie. Every month. Ask Haitham at the register. If you are feeling extra Greek, grab a piece of his baklava for good measure. This gyro is so big and full you won’t need a side dish, as good as the side salads and fries are, you won’t need them. Grab an extra tzatziki though. You’ll be wanting more of this tart, tangy, and creamy condiment for sure. $7.50 for lunch.
Address: 135 E 2nd St, Dayton, OH 45402
The Falafel Burger. Yes. Burger. Think Veggie burger but with flavor and substance. This falafel is pattied and fried and fills the bun. Topped with chipotle hummus, fresh greens and a tomato jam that would taste good on shoe leather. This entire sandwich is an experience. The falafel has a distinct punch of cumin and I like it. $12 and it’s worth every penny.
Address: 44 W Third St, Dayton, OH 45402
The Falafel Platter. This platter is complete with rice, a salad with feta, olives and tomato, warm pita and a pile of 5-6 falafel fritters. Deep green, crunch on the outside and Dayton’s best tzatziki served alongside. I love the crunch of the salad and it’s red wine vinagrette dressing accompanying the crunchy and creamy falafel. For $11 its a great lunch any day of the week.
The Gyro Palace (Dayton Mall location)
Address: 57 N Springboro Pike, Miamisburg, OH 45342
These guys know Falafel. They call it a wrap, but its basically a falafel gyro and I love it. There is something different about their version. It’s fried perfect and deep green color that comes from all the cilantro and parsley that is blended in. Calling it a Gyro suggests you can eat it politely with two hands, the truth is that it is overstuffed and you are gonna need a fork and extra napkins. At $6.50 its hard to beat the service, taste and price of the Palace south of town. They’ve recently opened up a Brown St. location as well.
Side note: I once had great Falafel from Trolley Stop. It’s not on the menu anymore sadly.
However, on my short list to try is:
Cedar Land Bakery
Address: 4515 Linden Ave, Dayton, OH 45432
5531 Far Hills Ave Dayton, Ohio 45429
Just yesterday they introduced a new menu item- this Falafel Salad!
Where do you go to get Falafel? Have a recipe for your own? Share it in the comments below.