In a country where your fast food options often vary between dripping slabs of kebab, humdrum pies and sandwiches packed with glazed cold cuts that you only really look forward to at 5.30 am when you’re about to keel over after clubbing, it’s appetizing to be given another easy option that’s a tad healthier and, by international standards, very tasty. Enter crunchy falafels, tucked into non-greasy Arabic pita bread and enhanced with condiments.
As is often the case with popular places such as Falafellas in central Athens, where people are willing to queue for a good 15 minutes to grab their slice of street food heaven, you wonder why it took so long for someone to come up with the idea of making the beloved Middle Eastern snack a food trend in souvlaki city. There have of course been a handful of places serving falafels in the capital, but none of them have taken off – and continued to fly high – in the same way.
Perhaps it’s the smart location, just round the corner from the throbbing Agias Eirinis Sq and just a stone’s throw away from Monastiraki Sq as well as Ermou St, the city’s central shopping high street. Or it could be the sleek, contemporary, trendy and chilled out hipster vibe of this hole-in-the-wall joint, set up by friends Aris and Giorgos (aka Falafellas).
I’ve eaten at Falafellas twice and always accompanied by friends, and although I probably wouldn’t take the time to queue there on my own, their food is definitely satisfying enough to hit the spot on an afternoon of rushing around the town. The crisis-friendly prices definitely help raise the already broad appeal of the honorary ingredient, oblong chickpea patties seasoned with cumin and fried to a golden crisp, accompanied by various tasty condiments such as hot sauce, grilled marinated eggplant, tomato, yogurt and finely sliced cucumber, all stuffed into a giant pita bread, for only around €3.50. And that, washed down with cold beer or other refreshments priced at around a euro, definitely has most people coming back for more.