Josh and I were roaming the Marais and decided that we must visit L’as du Falafel, a Kosher falafel stand which is Zagat rated and written about in many Paris tour guides as being one of the best places in the world to get falafel. Customers line up to order their falafel or shawarma sandwiches at a window and pay for their order while they wait. Each falafel costs 5 Euro, shawarma costs 8 euro, and the line averages about a half hour wait at every moment that the resaurant is open. Customers have a choice of Tehina, slaw, red cabbage, eggplant, and Hummusto top off their falafels. The falafel balls were fresh out of the fryer and It definitely tasted very good, but to be honest- I’ve tasted much better falafel in Israel! They were chinsy with the amount of Hummus and I found the choices for toppings to be limiting. I was disappointed that I couldn’t put french fries in my pita! Sorry Paris, you definitely deserve credit for having some of the best bakeries, but this world famous falafel was kind of disappointing after all of the hype. They do definitely score points for giving generous portions. They loaded the pita until it was overflowing. Loads of people walked around the streets in La Marais holding falafels in their hands, the way pedestrians in NYC walk around the streets with ice cream cones and fro yo on a summer day. I also found it humorous that most people were eating their falafels with forks!
9 months later….
Tonight, I sat inside L’as du Falafel for the first time. Every other time I had been, I took my falafel to go and walked around La Marais with it, or sat on a bench and ate out of my bright yellow napkin wrapped mess of a falafel with a fork. I never thought to get a table inside, since it doesn’t really seem like the sit down kind of place to me. I went to a party with a few of my French friends tonight and we were all starving when we left the party. They all wanted to drive over to L’As du Falafel for a late night dinner. This must be the hot spot where French Jews go for a late night craving. Its the hardy kind of food that fills all sorts of cravings (and I’m not only referring to pregnancy cravings people!)
When you order a falafel to go, it’s 5 euro, but inside prices (la place) are always slightly more expensive then take away prices (emporter). The whole tabled ordered falafels, 7.50 euros each. Despite my living in a new country and trying new foods, I still remain a picky eater, so I ordered just a pita bread with falafel balls, chummus, and eggplant. The waiter was perplexed at my bizarre order and my friends laughed, but hey- I know what I like! Everyone else ordered all the works- Chumus, Tehina, eggplant, israeli salad, and cabbage.
Their falafels were stuffed and overflowing with everything, but mine had just 4 falafel balls, a few pieces of eggplant, and a minimal amount of chummus. I thought that since I ordered fewer ingredients, that they would just give me a larger portion of each one. I told them that although I think L’as du Falafel is very good, I have had significantly more delicious falafel in Israel. They all disagreed with me and insisted that L’as du Falafel is the best. It is very representative of the Parisian mentality to believe that their own of anything is better than the rest. The restaurant was opened by Israelis and it is the first falafel restaurant in Paris to open. This is what has turned it into an original and unique concept among Parisians as well as tourists.