21 Places to Get Great Falafel in Philadelphia
When your next craving for these iconic, crispy-fried Middle Eastern treats hits, just refer to this list of the best falafel in Philly.
That falafel are an essential part of any diner’s routine is something we can all agree on, whether you prefer them wrapped or stuffed or served on a platter with tabbouli, hummus, and veggies. There are pockets (heh) of the city with high concentrations of falafel joints, but just about every part of town has a place where you can score these craveable, crispy-fried bean balls. Here are our favorite places to get them in Philadelphia.
Mama’s Vegetarian, Center City
This kosher joint’s falafel is a must-try in the city, and their extensive pickle bar is a thing of beauty. Don’t sleep on the eggplant sandwich, either.
Goldie, Center City, Fairmount, and University City
Michael Solomonov’s vegan falafel joint has made such an impression that it still gets lunchtime lines out the door at its Sansom Street flagship, already has two additional Philly outposts, and scored a Best of Philly award this year.
Saad’s Halal Place, Spruce Hill
This spot just west of University City serves some of the best falafel around, so you’ll want to stay on Saad’s good side by being sure to pay in cash (there’s an ATM on site) and staying off your cell phone. The shop is within a block or two of three different mosques and Muslim community centers, so plan for crowds when you’re craving Friday night falafel.
Naf Naf Grill, Center City and Wynnefield Heights
Just about everything this Chicago-based chain serves, from their falafel to their chicken shawarma, is made fresh in store. Get those crispy chickpea balls in house-baked pita or over hummus, rice, couscous, or romaine.
Al Zaytouna, Italian Market
This halal restaurant at 9th and Christian offers Middle Eastern classics like kabobs, stuffed grape leaves, and foul mudam, plus falafel in platters and sandwiches.
Halal Guys, Chinatown, Northeast Philly, King of Prussia
Halal Guys started as a hot dog cart serving Muslim cab drivers in New York, and now they’ve brought their straightforward menu — gyro, chicken, and falafel served as a wrap-style pita sandwich or as a platter with rice and veggies — all over the world. Find them in Chinatown Square, where you can get late-night falafel till 2 a.m.
Bitar’s, Italian Market
After four decades, Bitar’s just changed things up a bit, slimming down their retail offerings and adding a spacious new dining room — but you can still get their unique take on falafel, which is grilled till crisp rather than fried. We like it in the Owner’s Favorite, a mix of falafel, gyro meat, veggies, and harissa-spiked mayo.
Old Thyme Cafe, Old City
Come here for freshly squeezed juices, perfectly crispy falafel and some Turkish coffee if you’re in need of an afternoon jolt.
Manakeesh, Spruce Hill
One of three excellent spots on this list on a two-block stretch of Walnut Street just west of the Penn campus, Manakeesh’s menu goes beyond Lebanese basics with their namesake flatbreads, fruit cocktails, and an extensive selection of Middle Eastern pastries — but their falafel is also fantastic.
Paprica Grill, Washington Square West
This new Turkish place just replaced kosher spot Hamifgash (which would also be on this list were it still open) on Jeweler’s Row. In addition to chickpea-based falafel, the menu includes khachapuri-esque pide flatbread topped with cheese and soudjouk (dry sausage) and doner kebab sandwiches.
Ka’moon, Old City
This Egyptian spot from the folks behind Easton’s Taza Truck is one of the highlights of the new Bourse Marketplace. Get their fava-based falafel in pita or over seasoned rice with toasted vermicelli noodles.
Makkah Market, Spruce Hill
Hit up Makkah during the day for bulk olive oil, fresh-baked pita bread, or super-cheap spices. And pull up to their window any time of night (or day) for prepared foods. That’s right: 24-hour falafel in Philadelphia is real.
Alyan’s, Queen Village
This no-frills Mediterranean spot on South Street spot is the perfect place to grab a falafel platter before a show at the TLA.
Liberty Choice, Fishtown
At first, this shop right by the Berks stop on the Market-Frankford line seems like any other convenience store with a slate of breakfast sandwiches, hoagies, fries. Look to the vegetarian section of their menu for surprisingly good falafel sandwiches under $6.
Octopus Falafel, Center City
Don’t ask about the menu at this one-of-a-kind food cart with a cult following (there isn’t one, and you’ll get an earful about it from culinary auteur-slash-owner Gus). Ten bucks gets you whatever creation he’s serving that day —typically a creative take on a falafel or chicken platter, often dressed up with fresh fruit, veggies, or microgreens — and not knowing is part of the fun.
Bishos Cafe, Northeast Philly
This solid Palestinian cafe serves falafel several ways, in platters and sandwiches and rice bowls. Take note that during Ramadan, the menu is tweaked, with morning items served at night so their Muslim customers can break their fast.
Kamal’s, Market East
Reading Terminal Market’s resident Middle Eastern vendor offers a sweet option for a veggie-ful meal (something that’s not easy to find among the cheesesteaks and roast pork sandwiches there). Choose three, four, or five items from their veggie list, and be sure to make one of them falafel.
Sahara Grill, Midtown Village
This unassuming sit-down spot just east of Broad on Walnut Street is a well-kept secret amongst Center City diners. Our favorite is the dirt-cheap but delicious falafel sandwich with a fattoush salad on the side.
Apricot Stone, Northern Liberties
Syrian-born Armenian chef Fimy Ishkhanian introduced the Main Line to Middle Eastern fare from the ’80s to the ’00s before she opened this spot on North American Street in 2016. Amid regional classics with an Armenian bent, she sells crisp falafel in pita, with rice pilaf and salad, or on their own with tahini.
Aya’s Cafe, Center City
We recommend the Aya’s Taster at this vegan-friendly Arch Street spot — a platter with a little bit of everything, from falafel to kalamata olive hummus to bruschetta to tzatziki.
Magic Carpet, University City
Magic Carpet runs not one but two vegetarian food carts on the Penn campus, one at 36th and Spruce and the other at 34th and Walnut, where you can dress up your baked tofu, seitan, or tempeh with falafel on the side.