Goodness gracious, great balls of… chickpeas! Falafel is sizzling-hot right now in L.A., owing to a recent wave of falafel-centric restaurants that are putting a super healthy spin on the Middle Eastern treat. These three spots are elevating the typically greasy, bready indulgence with the use of health-conscious oils and abundant sustainable produce.
Why We Like It: The cube-shaped falafel at this new Grand Central Market stall seem to be almost an excuse for showcasing Santa Monica Farmers Market produce. The fritters, crafted from local Koda Farms chickpeas and delicately fried in non-GMO canola oil, have no greasy residue.
How It’s Served: Choose from “red” (tomato, cabbage, pickles), “green” (cauliflower, fennel, cilantro) or “orange” (carrots, treviso, dill) toppings for your grilled flatbread sandwich ($10) or salad ($12), which is a beautiful mix of lettuces, herbs and shaved beets.
Yummy Extras: Eggplant salad with plums, sunflower butter and Thai basil ($7).
Why We Like It: This no-frills Atwater Village shop uses organic chickpeas and spices and sources pesticide-free greens from local Arreola Farm. The generously sized falafel balls are fried in non-GMO sunflower oil and bursting with green herbs.
How It’s Served: In folded, charred flatbread ($8) topped with malfouf (cabbage salad), hummus, tahini and house-made pickles, or alongside those goodies on a plate ($10).
Yummy Extras: Organic dates with olive oil, sea salt and rose water ($4).
Why We Like It: Everything at this tiny Melrose storefront is organic, vegan, gluten-free (aside from the pita) and approved by a holistic health coach. You can choose from original, sweet potato, kale, spicy and crunchy falafel varieties, either fried to order in organic grape seed oil or baked upon request.
How It’s Served: In addition to the pita sandwich filled with hummus, Israeli salad, cabbage and tahini ($8), you can also get your falafel stuffed into a cabbage leaf ($8.50) or served over a variety of colorful salads ($8.50 to $13.50).
Yummy Extras: Smoky baba ghanoush and quinoa tabouli ($6).
Madcapra at Grand Central Market
317 S. Broadway, Los Angeles
3143 Glendale Blvd., Los Angeles
7751 1/2 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles