In Westwood Village, restaurants come and go, but Falafel King has managed to withstand the test of time. After more than 30 years in business, Falafel King still serves freshly fried falafels and shawarma to hungry UCLA students and locals alike.
This is Falafel King’s current location in Westwood, having moved twice since its original hole-in-the-wall location near Stan’s Donuts.
The menu is limited to falafel, shawarma and shish kabobs. With such few offerings, you would think the menu might be more permanent looking than just being handwritten on a chalkboard. Maybe that’s part of Falafel King’s charm – at least this time there was a visible menu. I came here once and the blackboard was empty so I wasn’t sure what the prices were.
Plates come with your choice of rice and sides. The tomato rice actually has a slight bit of heat to it – not hot enough to set my mouth on fire, but enough that it was too hot for my daughter. Sides range from tabbouleh, dolmas, four or five different eggplant dishes, and more.
There’s also cheese and avocado that can be added to your falafel pita (for an additional charge).
A few pieces of fried potatoes accompany all pita sandwiches and plates. I am crazy about these potatoes and would, in my younger days, order a basket of them to go with my falafel.
There’s also a fresh salsa bar, which is perfectly normal these days but was pretty unusual 30 years ago.
I’m not a fan of parsley, so the tabbouleh was a bit wasted on me. From what I could tell, the tabbouleh was fresh and bright tasting.
The chicken shawarma was a bit drier and not quite as flavorful as I remember it to be. We ordered it with baba ghanoush and eggplant tomato, rice and pita. The leftovers tasted even better the next day, especially once the chicken was mixed in with the rice.
The real stars here are the falafels, as well as those potatoes. The falafels are fried to order so they are hot and crunchy, contrasting nicely with the salad and tahini in the pita. The falafels far outshine the meat dishes – probably why their name is Falafel King and not Shawarma King. Here’s to hoping that Falafel King will be in business another 30 years, bringing freshly fried falafels to a new generation.
Location – 1010 Broxton Ave., Los Angeles, 90024
Website – none
Kid-Friendly – Yes
Kid’s Menu – No
Pesco-Vegetarian Friendly – Yes
Vegetarian/Vegan Friendly – Yes
Gluten-Free Options – Yes