This is my Istanbul

The things that shape how I experience the city

This is my Istanbul: Falafel House March 26, 2010

Filed under: Places — Rebecca @ 9:30 pm
Tags: , , ,

One mistake that a lot of folks back home make when considering Turkish food is the assumption that Turks eat hummus and falafel. While these are pretty standard fare southward in Syria, northwestward in Greece, and even eastward in Armenia, by and large hummus is not considered “Turkish cuisine.” Nor is falafel.
The exception to this rule is down in Antakya/Hatay, a little province in the very south, right next to Syria. Actually, it was part of Syria until 1939, when it joined Turkey after a fun and intrigue-filled international political wrangle. This is partially why its traditional food includes hummus. While it was fairly easy to find my go-to hummus place in Antakya (great little hole in the wall called Hummus ve Bakla, they serve 2 things: hummus and bakla), it took a little time to find my place in Istanbul.
Luckily, I have found my Istanbul hummus and falafel place, and it’s even cheap and centrally located. What more can one ask for? Falafel House is an embarrassingly huge part of my Istanbul. It’s located just off Taksim Square, which makes it perfect for after-work falafel dinners, picking up take-out hummus on the way home from an evening out, or meeting folks from other far-flung parts of the city. I am so glad it doesn’t deliver to Fatih, or I’d probably only eat falafel.
Although Falafel House’s location is absurdly convenient, it’s only a small part of what keeps me going back. The food, quite simply, is amazing. Falafel House is run by Palestinians who’ve set up shop in Istanbul, and they know how to do hummus, falafel, tabbouleh, fuul, and a few other Middle Eastern staples. The hummus comes generously slathered on a plate, topped with olive oil, with pickles and spicy red sauce on the side. The falafel is fried fresh and served still-steaming plain, in a wrap, or, my usual choice, in a pita pocket with lettuce, tomato, pepper and yogurt sauce. Phenomenal. The prices are quite reasonable as well: Two falafel pitas, two Diet Cokes and a plate of hummus to split will set you back a princely TL 16, total. Hummus to go is something like TL 4. And, if you’re a student, there’s a 20 percent discount. Score.
I end up at Falafel House absurdly frequently – they recognize me when I come in and know both my eat-in and to-go orders. I’ve chosen to embrace it, and my new goal is to get a special named after me. I think I can swing it with the falafel pita, hummus side and Diet Coke. We’ll see.
Falafel House certainly isn’t a tourist must-visit, and isn’t the kind of snazzy place written about in restaurant guides of the city, but is definitely an essential part of my Istanbul. If you’re passing through and missing falafel, or live here, I highly recommend it.

Falafel House
Sehit Muhtar Cad. 19
Talimhane
(From Taksim, find the Simit Sarayi on Tarlabasi, turn in down the pedestrianized street about a block. It’s on the left)

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4 Responses to “This is my Istanbul: Falafel House”

  1. [...] definitely been mentioned on this blog before or should be in the future, including Bodrum Manti, Falafel House, Akdeniz Hatay, Dubb (protip – top floor at Dubb has stunning views of the Hagia Sofia, and [...]

  2. Elizabeth Says:

    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for this recommendation. I was having a really terrible day, and going to Falafel House with a friend of mine, silly as it sounds, changed everything. This is one of the best falafel wraps I’ve ever eaten (right next to Maoz in Paris and the Main Street Deli in my California hometown). Seriously. Your willingness to share this potential secret is almost saintly.

  3. Jilly Corleone Says:

    Maoz in Paris cannot compare to L’AS du Falafel in the Marais section of Paris… enough said. And if you ever venture to New York City, try Taim on Waverly Pl or Spring St ( SOHO)…very, very good .

  4. Assie Says:

    Hi there
    We were in Istanbul for a week 18 -27 April 2013 and discovered two other falafel restaurants! Yes!!! We only tried Kikero Falafel he is near Galata Tower. To get the directions to his place go to his website. http://www.kikerofalafel.com His place is extremely neat. We loved his falafel. We have been to the falafel House as well, but I would like to give Kikero Falafel a fair shot.
    Thank you


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