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A Guide To Sydney Through Its Five Best Falafels

A Guide To Sydney Through Its Five Best Falafels

This isn’t a tale for vegetarians. Falafel is a dish that just happens to contain no meat, but is still a meal worthy of the highest echelons of gastronomy. It can be an individual snack, but is also excellent when put in a wrap. And when you’re looking for falafels in Sydney, you’re totally in luck.

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The most common problem people have with falafel is that it can be dry. If you’re eating a dry falafel, you’re basically not eating a falafel. It should be crispy on the outside, and soft, squishy and flavoursome in the centre. If you’ve been disappointed in the past, or you haven’t ever dabbled, then checking out falafels in Sydney is a great place to ignite your chickpea-packed adventure.

Often referred to as the city of villages, what is most delightful about Sydney is the pockets of culture that surround the CBD, with the sauce of multiculturalism spicing up each little village in its own way.

(Warning: this article contains several instances of the word moist)


#1 Fatimas

Where: 296 Cleveland Street, Surry Hills

fatimas

Surry Hills is a bona fide hotspot, where glazed locals stagger towards food outlets at all times of day and night. Surry Hills is a must for explorers of every kind. While its falafel reigns supreme, there are also a great number of fine dining options, weekend markets, shops with organic veges, Thai and Vietnamese outlets, pubs galore, and one of the greatest street festivals in Sydney.

Before you can utter the final syllable of the word “falafel”, locals will have already pointed you towards Fatimas. Fatimas has been serving up some of the best falafels in Sydney there since 1969, and it is truly a falafel worth writing home about. Priced at a mere $6.50, the falafel roll governs over all other falafel rolls in NSW, perhaps even Australia. But buyer beware: The garlic sauce will haunt you and your travel companions for days afterwards.


#2 Nour

Where: Shop 3, 490 Crown Street, Surry Hills

best falafels in Sydney: Nour sydney falafel with prawn
Image: Nour / Facebook

While this Lebanese restaurant is undoubtedly on the ritzier end of the scale of this list, the falafels at this Surry Hills eatery (yes, Surry Hills again) are still deserving of mention among some of Sydney’s best.

With a bit of a different take on regular falafels, Nour dishes up delicious prawn falafels with black garlic toum (garlic sauce) and caramelised tahini. The prawn tails poke cheekily out of the end of the falafel casing, ready for you to crunch on (or not).

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Other standouts on the menu include hummus (ofc), charcoal octopus and confit cauliflower with smoked almond salsa, mascarpone tahini and black grapes. But you really need to order the 400g lamb shoulder with lamb pancetta, buttered beans, date jus or the 500g wood-roasted spiced short rib. Or, you know, just get both.

 


#3 Sabbaba

Where: 80-82 Hall Street, Bondi Beach

Best falafels in Sydney: Sabbaba

You won’t find too many Australians swimming at Bondi Beach. Sydneysiders know that close by are Tamarama and Bronte, which are much nicer places to moisten your board shorts. But still the streets of Bondi are swarming with locals who know that you’d be hard pressed to find somewhere in the east of Sydney with such an array of cool and comfy street-side cafés.

You’re almost duty bound as a visitor Bondi, and the café choices are many. For falafel, there is only one choice: Middle Eastern restaurant Sabbaba. The most popular menu item, the self-titled Sabbaba (with all the trimmings) comes in at $10.50. You are paying for the location though, and the refreshing flavour makes it worth every cent. Plus, once you walk out the door, you are actually in one of the most beautiful places in the world, which is worth an extra couple of bucks.


#4 Sultan’s Table

Where: 179 Enmore Road, Enmore

best falafels in sydney: sultans table

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Like Surry Hills, Enmore is a bit of a nightspot. It’s the conjoined twin of Newtown, and the area is alive with hipsters, casual alcoholics, artists and wayward souls. If you’re bored and hungry in Sydney after 6pm, then it’s clear you’re not in Newtown or Enmore. Enmore Road is dotted with restaurants and street food outlets. There is also a great live music venue on this street, aptly named The Enmore Theatre, which attracts A-list bands that are too cool to play stadiums.

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The falafel roll at Middle Eastern restaurant Sultan’s Table’s make up your entry-level falafels in Sydney. It’s a solid foundation, you could build an empire on it. The falafel is moist as can be, and the sauces are plentiful and exhilarating. You’re guaranteed not to leave hungry. You can take one “to go”, or dine in for a casual night out (BYO wine!). Perhaps not the place for a first date, but definitely a third or fourth date.


#5 Hijazi Falafel

Where: 53 Wollongong Rd, Arncliffe

hijazi best falafels in Sydney

This one is for the falafel purists. Tradition and authenticity run deep here. All research suggests that this place is famous throughout Sydney, and Australians will make the drive to Arncliffe from all corners to eat here. Arncliffe is a great example of suburban Sydney, and could be earmarked as unremarkable if it weren’t for the high quality of falafel available at Hijazi. Hire a car for the day, take in some of the surrounding suburbs of Sydney, and be sure to make this your lunch stop.

If you’re feeling snacky, you can just get three balls of falafel with garlic sauce for $3; if you want a roll with tabbouleh and pickled turnip (which you do) it is $5. The balls themselves are a delight, and definitely boast the greenest inner. As for the moistness? Well, it is just moistness incarnate. Crisp and zingy, light yet filling, these balls are definitely worth driving to.

After you’ve finished with your falafels in Sydney, if you’re after more eating ideas, check out these two cool new bars in the CBD, bottomless dumplings, or the city’s best late-night eating spots.

(All images: Alex Dick)

Check out Qantas flights to Sydney here.

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