MELBOURNE | My list of best Melbourne Falafel is a result of several years eating falafel in this city. My first experience with falafel was eating Lebanese style ones while living in London. Soon after, I discovered the joys of Palestinean style falafel, also while in London.
The Middle Eastern creation is so simple. Deep-fried balls/patties made from ground chickpeas, broad beans, or both. Despite this similarity, there are lots of different versions around, depending on the exact cuisine, and the preference of the person making it.
In Melbourne, we’re blessed with several great places to enjoy a variety of different falafel. My list, updated as at late 2021, reflects my experiences eating falafel in Melbourne. I’ve placed them in alphabetical order, and to me they’re all worthy of being called the best Melbourne falafel.
What’s your favourite type of falafel? Are any of your favourite spots listed below? Are there any places that you think should be on the list?
Lebanese institution A1 Bakery has been around since the 1992, and are popular for their affordable and delicious Lebanese dishes. The falafel pizza, which sees falafel spread on the base, then topped with lettuce, tomato, pickled turnips, pickled cucumbers, mint, parsley and tahini sauce, is a must try.
The falafel wrap – falafel, pickled cucumbers, pickled turnips, lettuce, tomato, and tahini sauce wrapped in a fluffy house-made pita, is also great.
Egyptian-born Nabil Hassan opened Half-Moon in 2003, and it didn’t take long for his cafe to become known for the falafel. They’re made Egyptian-style, with broad beans rather than chickpeas, mixed with a generous amount of coriander and parsley. Go for one of the combos, which gets you falafel with other goodies like fried cauliflower and baba ganoush.
This Fitzroy North spot is from mother and son Teresa and Troy Christou. Given the name Just Falafs, you bet that it’s falafel that’s front and centre on the menu. It’s an assortment of pitas, mixed plates, and packs, along with a few sides.
My favourite is the haloumi pita. Falafel, hummus, local haloumi cheese, layered with golden fried cauliflower, pickled cabbage, sumac pickled onion, topped with pickles and tahini.
Kazbah Egyptian Street Food
Tony Carne opened Kazbah Egyptian Street Food at the start of the year, wanting to show people that it’s possible to eat vegan food without compromising on anything. After five years living in Egypt, Tony knows his stuff, and all of his food is very good.
Try the meze plate for a taste of several things. It comes with falafel, tempura fried cauliflower, hummus, baba ganoush, three different salads, house made flat bread, and pickles.
The Left-Handed Chef
This Israeli restaurant is known for the many delicious dishes that owner/chef Ehud cooks up, inspired by the food he enjoyed growing up in Israel. The Left-Handed Chef is best known for Ehud’s wonderful falafel and hummus, and can try both together in a pitta pocket generously packed with hummus, falafel, Israeli salad, and tahini.
The Melbourne outpost of this popular international chain sells some of the best pita pockets in town. Miznon’s “cheekypita” sees a fluffy Alasya Turkish bakery pita filled with a falafel ‘burger’ patty, tomato steak, sour cream, chili, onion, pickles. It’s one of the best pitas on the menu.
The Makool family started Oasis in Murrumbeena over 20 years ago, and these days they also have a Fairfield location. The cafe section (there’s also a great grocery section), offers offering things like shawarmas and falafel, Lebanese BBQ and Lebanese pizzas, and breakfast classics with a Lebanese twist. The falafel wrap is a winner every time.
The Pita Man
This Israeli hummusiya, opened by chef Roy Shmidel in Caulfield in September 2020, has a big focus on street food favourites done right. The fluffy and brilliant pita is made on site, as is the hummus and falafel.
You can order two different kinds of falafel at The Pita Man. The most popular green version contains parsley and cumin. There’s also a red version with harissa and dried chilli paste. Both are fantastic.
Tahina’s Northcote and Fitzroy locations are both popular with locals. They see Tel Aviv born owner/chef Roy Sassonkin and his partner Natalie Powell serving up a mouthwatering menu of Israeli street food bites that are completely vegetarian or vegan.
All of the food is really good here, but the two things that I order most are the falafel pita pockets. The pita is filled with your choice of green (parsley, coriander, mint) or red (chili and red peppers) falafel, along with house-made hummus, pickled cabbage, tahini and Israeli salad.
Teta Mona has been popular with Brunswick East locals since opening in 2014. It’s owned by brothers Antoine and Bechara Taouk, who learned how to cook from their Teta Mona, and by working at their grandfather’s Lebanese bakery, Cedar Bakery.
Everything is delicious here, but their falafel is particular notable for being baked, not fried. Their DIY falafel wrap is fantastic. The brother’s mum’s recipe yellow and green pea falafels, mixed pickles, tahini, and pita.
Very Good Falafel
Friends Shuki Rosenboim and Louisa Allan started Very Good Falafel as a farmer’s market stall called Shuki & Louisa, and became so popular and busy that they opened a bricks and mortar location in Coburg.
The name tells you all that you need to know. You can get their green falafel in a pita, or on a mixed plate with dips, pickles and salads. Either way you can’t go wrong.
Wazzup Falafel was started by Jordanian/Palestinian refugee Ahmad Alalaea in March 2021. He started his business with the aim of introducing Melburnians to the joys of Palestinian style falafel, which is different to the kind of falafel that most are used to in Melbourne.
It’s hard to explain what makes Palestinian falafel unique, but when you eat it, you notice it’s pretty special. Beautifully spiced with a crunchy exterior and smooth interior. Try the special wrap (falafel, hummus, tomatoes, pickles, baby rocket, cucumber, fresh mint, fried eggplant, cauliflower, chips, spicy sauce).
Have you tried any of these best Melbourne Falafel spots before? Check out my Melbourne City Guide for more tips on where to eat and drink, and what to do in Victoria’s bustling capital.