Falafel in Israel

Falafel in Israel

Widely considered the most Israeli dish, and the most popular food in Israel, no trip to Israel is complete without eating Falafel. And we assure you, once you eat your first Falafel in Israel, it won’t be long before you will crave another one. As a delicious, relatively healthy, and very affordable dish, eating Falafel is certainly one thing to enter your Israel bucket list.

The origin of Falafel

The roots of falafel are not known for sure. The most common hypothesis is that it originated in Egypt, around the first half of the first millennium AD, where it was made from Egyptian Broad Bean. Falafel was developed by the Copts as an alternative dish to a meat dish during the holidays when eating meat was prohibited.

Later the dish spread north to the Levant countries where it was mainly prepared from chickpeas. Today, falafel is common all over the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Yemen. In addition, it became quite a popular dish in many other places, as a result of the migration of many people from the Middle East to Western countries, who opened falafel restaurants all over the world.

Due to the widespread distribution of falafel over such a long time, many versions of the food were created. However, today, there are two main types of falafel: small balls of coarsely ground hummus grains, or medium-sized balls made of pea grains, which are mainly common in Egypt and Sudan and are called Ta’amya.

Israelis have adopted the Lebanese version of falafel made from chickpeas. With the arrival of Jewish immigrants from Arab countries, the popularity of falafel grew and it became popular and relatively cheap. Today, it is considered the national dish of Israel, as the Falafel is a big part of Israeli culture, making numerous appearances in local songs, movies, and more.

Best Falafel restaurants and stalls in Israel

Falafel balls, Israel
Falafel balls

The magician (HaKosem) – Tel Aviv

The Magician’s falafel is undoubtedly one of the best-known places for falafel in Israel and one of the favorites in Tel Aviv. The place offers falafel balls with a divine taste that are packed into a meaty and plump pita along with a salad and a fried eggplant.
There’s always a line at the entrance, but while you’re waiting here, you’ll be rewarded with hot and insanely delicious balls that have just come out of the oil. To cap it off, don’t give up on a glass of lemonade and a slice of eggplant inside, for a truly delicious meal.

Falafel Musa – Netanya

Falafel Musa in the center of Netanya is a very locally famous falafel shop that operates since the 1950s. The real treat here is the preparation process of the dish, mainly because the balls are yellow and uniquely large and they are packed into a pita with original toppings such as hard-boiled egg, spicy tomato salad, chickpeas, and pea stew with cumin and vegetable patty.

The Yemeni falafel – Jerusalem

Located on the outskirts of the Buharim neighborhood, in a place that looks like a hole in the wall in an old Jerusalem alley, is the most special falafel place you will find in Jerusalem, if not in the whole country. And the real story here is not in the excellent falafel balls, but in the pita alternatives, because here the golden balls are packed in either Yemenite lachuch, in a malawach, or even inside a jachnun.

Although it might sound a bit strange, we assure you, it totally works. The employees toil behind the tiny counter, and the size of the entire place – from the counter to the door – is a maximum of 2 square meters, but you will never forget this falafel dish.

HaZkenim falafel – Haifa

The HaZkenim falafel in Wadi Nisnas in downtown Haifa has accumulated huge fans from all over the country, drawing visitors who come all the way to Haifa just to taste the delicious falafel prepared here, considered by many to be the top falafel in Israel. This falafel has prominent cumin flavors, the pitas are always warm and the tahini is perfectly thick. The modest selection of side dishes that includes vegetable salad, pickled cucumber, and cabbage salad also serves as a great addition to the balls themselves.

Turkish falafel – Acre city

This falafel is located outside the old city walls of Acre city inside a tiny blue-walled shop. The place is operated by the third generation of the same family, and the second it opens up in the morning, you can see a line of regular customers from all denominations and religions waiting for their dish.

Falafel Waki – Beit Shean

In a small shop located right at the entrance to a high school, you will find the legendary falafel of Beit Shean, uniquely served inside a soft baguette bun with tomato, white cabbage, and pickle. This place has been around for 50 years and generations of Beit Shan natives have grown up on those legendary falafel-filled baguettes, making it one of the most unique places for falafel in Israel.

Falafel Arafe – Acren city

In this small falafel shop, you will find the greenest falafel balls in Israel. The place has existed since 1959 and behind the counter, 3 family members work in perfect synergy to serve a long line of regular customers. Everything ticks by quickly so that even if several dozen people are waiting in front of you, you will receive your falafel dish in a few minutes. Each falafel dish contains no less than eight balls whose taste is relatively very spicy, and are known to be as addictive as it gets.

How to make Israeli Falafel

A falafel machine, Jeruasalem
Falafel-making machine


  • 2 cups of dry chickpeas
  • 5 stalks of coriander
  • 6 stalks of parsley
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • Half a teaspoon of hot paprika
  • A quarter of a teaspoon of black pepper
  • Half a teaspoon of soda powder for drinking
  • 3 teaspoons of water
  • Olive oil

1. Place the chickpeas in a bowl, cover them with water, and let them soak for 12 to 24 hours.

2. Wash the soaked chickpeas and grind them in a food processor with the coriander, parsley, garlic, and onion until a thick spread is created.

3. Move it to a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients except the oil.

4. Mix everything and leave it for 20 minutes.

5. Form the mixture into small balls with your hands and set them aside.

6. Heat oil for deep frying and fry the balls until they turn golden. Remove to absorbent paper and serve immediately.

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