Habayit’s Pita Sandwiches Are Small & Expensive, But Perfect
There is not much to draw you into Habayit, a small Kosher restaurant tucked into the corner of a small strip mall on Pico near Bundy. Their little rectangle of signage states, simply, “Kosher Restaurant 310-479-7173″; sharing space with other cleverly named establishments like “Coin Laundry” and “Food-Mart”. I’d like to pretend that at some point I would have been lured in by the “FALAFEL” sign with an arrow hung high on a neighboring lightpost, but I was really there because back in May The Find got all gushy about the place- writing about their falafel as if it was the best that ever existed.
Truth be told, I love falafel but I’m not big on falafel platters. For me falafel is meant to be eaten in sandwich form, and I was hoping Habayit would deliver. Because you can have the greatest falafel in the world, and still have your falafel sandwich ruined by dry pita or poor layering.
Like most Kosher restaurants, Habayit’s menu is not cheap. The meat platters, which come with 2 sides, are all $16 and up. And the falafel platter is $10.95. But to ease the pain a bit, they give you free pickles! Can’t argue with that. But to keep lunch below the $10 limit, pita sandwiches are your only option. (Can’t argue with that, either.)
Their falafel pita ($7.45) is textbook Israeli style, with a small but super fluffy circular pita that is slit at the top to make a pocket. It comes topped with Israeli salad (cubed cucumbers and tomato) and tahini smeared inside, with a little cup of homemade green hot sauce on the side that you’ll feel compelled to dip your sandwich in. As promised by The Find, the herbed falafel were absolutely perfect- crunchy on the outside, green and moist on the inside. But even more importantly the sandwich was layered with care, creating a perfect balance of flavors and textures in every single bite. The only complaint is the price. The falafels themselves are very small, and you only get three or four of them in your pita- which is less than filled to the brim. If this sandwich was $5 I’d immediately declare it the best falafel pita in all of L.A. But for $7.45 (up $1 since the L.A. Times article), your wallet will need a little bit of coaxing for every visit.
Fans of Israeli falafel will also be excited to know that Habayit does a sabih sandwich as well ($7.45)- and it is every bit as good as the falafel. (In some ways, even better since a good sabih is a bit harder to come by.) Fried eggplant, hard boiled eggs, creamy hummus and Israeli salad, once again perfectly layered inside that amazingly pillowy pita. Small? Yes. Pricey? Yes. Delicious? Definitely yes.
With sandwiches this small, you might need to supplement your lunch a tad bit. And for that, I’d recommend splitting an order of fries ($3) with a friend. They’re “homemade”, which means they were likely potatoes just a few hours earlier (and taste like it too.)
The Find also had great things to say about their shisklik chicken, kebabs, and fried schnitzel, but at $9.50 for a small pita sandwich I don’t think I can bring myself to pull the trigger. Thankfully the falafel and sabih makes that decision a whole lot easier.
THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- I love Israeli style falafel on pita, and this is the perfect specimen
- The pita bread they use is perfect
- It would be hard to find a better falafel in L.A.
- Finally! The perfect sabih I’ve been looking for.
- The sandwiches might be small, but they are perfectly proportional
- Good layering! Each bite is perfect.
- Their green hot sauce is excellent
- Their fries are fresh cut and delicious
- Kosher food is expensive, but totally worth it when done well.
THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- The falafel are way too small. And you only get three or four of them in a sandwich. Definitely not enough!
- The pita bread might be good, but they don’t even stuff it to the top.
- $7.50 is waaaay to much for a sandwich this small
- The sabih is too simple. I’d like it to have a bit more flavor.
Habayit, 11921 W. Pico Blvd., 310-479-7173