32-34 Rue des Rosiers,
Phone: +33 1 48 87 63 60
You don’t exactly think of fallafel when you think of Paris, but the city of love just happens to house one of the best fallafel shops in the world. (Even better than the fallafel in Israel!) L’As Du Fallafel is God’s gift to Middle Eastern mezze, though you’d never know it from looking at the ugly green and yellow exterior or no frills dining room, equipped with plastic forks and knives, located in the heart of the Jewish Quarter in the Marais.
You can get your fix of fallafel from the take-out window out front, where an admittedly formidable line often forms, especially during lunch hours. But if you have the time, I highly recommend waiting it out to eat inside. There is another fallafel joint just across the street, and the line’s usually much shorter (if there’s a line at all), but it’s a much paler and greasier shade of flavor (I know. I’ve broken down and tried it), so I’d wait. The payoff is huge.
The dining room itself is bare bones, though they do have table service (and even a wine list), and more importantly, a menu with some seriously good Middle Eastern spreads. Everyone freaks for their signature Fallafel sandwich stuffed with a flurry of crazily flavorful ingredients, cabbage slaw, hummus, harisssa, tahini, and Baba Ghanoush. But I’m a purist and my favorite way to go here is the Deluxe Platter, which comes with Fallafel and all of its glories fillings, each to savored on their own, the likes of curried mushrooms, roasted red and yellow peppers, grilled aubergines, tahini, tomato-stewed green beans and chopped cucumber and tomato salad. I haven’t even mentioned the Fallafel yet. These sesame-spackled nuggets are crusty on the outside, moist and garlicky within.
Oh, and drink a Maccabee beer or even an Israeli wine. The kosher roses on the menu are surprisingly tasty. Both go perfectly with this supremely comforting fallafel, ingeniously crispy on the outside, moist and herbaceous within. Believe me, this is the best hangover food money could buy. Lest I forget the Lamb Shwarma, juicy, tasty and shredded, though it pales in comparison to falafel, so why not go meatless for a night?
Skip dessert at L’As Du Fallafel and stop across the street at Florence Kahn for outstanding Prune or Fig Strudel, Hamantashen, Homemade Halva, or even grab a loaf of their fresh-baked challah or bagels for later.