Is Some of the Best Falafel Ever Worth Not Being Kissed? Of Course!

It was finally a less sweltering day, so lunch at Love Park was perfect. But where to eat? Right on the corner was the self-proclaimed King of Falafel. Although after experiencing what the King is capable of, I might proclaim him that as well.

The tiny cart serves vegetarian and meat sandwiches, platters, and sides. You know what to expect- gyro, hummus, falafel… all that jazz, except done right.

I liked watching the cart guy smash the falafel balls into the pita- was it the King himself? A falafel sandwich is about $4, an insane deal, but I had to go for the full platter. I wanted to try as much as possible.

For $7 I received, 3 rocky mountain oyster sized falafel, hummus, baba ghanoush, salad, tabbouleh, and pita. The whole platter was sprinkled with a red spice- paprika, perhaps?

The pita was not the usual fluffy pocket, it was completely flat. That and the side of salad didn’t do much for me.

But the hummus tasted pretty much like how the ideal hummus in your mind tastes. While the baba ghanoush had an amazing flavor, it was as creamy as the hummus. I prefer mine more lumpy. My lumps, my lumps, my lovely baba lumps…

I always love tabbouleh; the combo of parsely, tomato, and lemon juice is perfect to eat outdoors on a summer day. Like the hummus, it represented the ideal, basic tabbouleh. I was happy it was included in the platter.

I don’t know why, but I was doubting the King’s falafel at first. That was stupid of me.  I might go so far as to say this was the fluffiest most perfect falafel I have ever had. I have had my fair share of falafel, and with my Jewish street cred- this is saying a lot. How does the King get the outside so crisp while keeping the entirety of the innards so cloudlike? It was even seasoned perfectly; herbacious and a teeny bit spicey.

Here is the one drawback to the platter- my breath smelled unbelievably bad. This may have been some of the best falafel I have ever had, but this was also the worst breath I have ever had.  (A special shout out to Alexis and J.P. for still hanging out with me in spite of the stinky!)  I couldn’t quite pin down which component caused the offensive odors, maybe the baba? Either way, pack some gum or risk sitting alone.

THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)

  • Fluffliest, and perhaps best falafel ever!!!!
  • They serve the perfect no-frills hummus
  • I like my baba smooth
  • Cheap sandwiches are a no-brainer lunch to take back to the office or eat outside in the park

THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • Wow, my breath is absolutely repulsive
  • I prefer fluffy pita
  • I like my baba to have some texture  

King of Falafel, 16th and JFK



  • this guys falafel is pretty good, but i think the kosher spot, Glatts Delight i think, has a far superior product. Especially if you get it on the laffa bread and get a side of their hot sauce, its not carolina and is packed with flavor!!

    The Baklava at the King’s spot is banging tho.

  • I’m on a comment kick (work is slow):

    -That looks royally Fergilicious. Now if we could only get Fergie to wear a niqab.
    -I think you’ll find that the Lebanese often do the flat-flat pita. It can be *usual* depending on your pita-orientation.
    -Red spice is probably sumac.
    -Own your bad breath.

  • Nice. Title reminds me something I said. :P. FYI, when I needed just a little bit of food, I would get 3 felafels for a 1$. Just felafel, wrapped in foil.

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    The King’s not bad, but he’s not the king. The Falafel Nazi at 20th & Market is so much better than the King, it’s like comparing a Garces burger to Mickey D’s.

  • Love that you used rocky mountain oysters as a size gauge… you know… because *everybody* knows how big a bull’s testicles are! lol

  • @malty, I have only had Glatt’s shawarma, I’ll have to check out their fafalel. I know they do a week day to-go special for pretty cheap.

    @steve, good call- sumac makes sense. I just bought my mom some, since it was one of the few spices she didn’t yet have in her kitchen.

    @Earl, I totally thought about your profile! I know you were talking about the other guy on 20th. But I can imagine the results at eating from either are equally as bad.

    @arjay, I have also heard of the dude on 20th. I will have to compare for myself. That is quite a claim you are making.

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      What also sets him apart is he serves chicken that’s just awesome. You get 3 pc falafel & some chix & whatever sides he has that day.

      You can only get one plate or sandwich per person on line, though, and you basically get what he gives you. You know if he likes you or not based on what bread he gives you – you get a crappy piece of sliced hoagie roll if you’ve annoyed him somehow, but if he likes you it could be a nice brioche roll or something like that. He’s nutty but it’s worth it.

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    I personally prefer the falafel guy that is usually on the west side of 17th Street between Market and Chestnut. He does sauerkraut and hot sauce. I have had the JFK one before but the last time I went there, there were three large rodent droppings on the can of soda rim, and when I pointed it out to him, he did not seem all that concerned which, of course, concerned me.

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    I’ve been going to this guy for years. I tell my coworkers I go there when I’m down a quart on my garlic.

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    Not sure if anyone has tried the new cart on 20th & Market (across the Falafel Nazi), right by the Starbucks. The prices are insane…a falafel & rice platter w/ sauteed veggies & chick peas, and a small salad costs only $5 w/ a soda included. And I got about 5 balls of falafel. I still think Falafel Nazi is better, but frankly, when you’re looking for a falafel fix for more than 1/2 less than his….you can’t go wrong. Also, if you’re not in the mood to deal with his mercurial nature, it’s a plus.

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