By Isadora Pennington

Falafel, a fried ball of chickpeas or fava beans, is a popular vegan dish with ancient origins. The truth behind its creation is hazy, although its origins can be traced back to Pharaonic Egypt where it may have been invented as a meat substitute during Lent. The dish’s long and complex history is a testament to its steadfast popularity. Throughout the years the recipe has remained more or less the same, though with some evolution brought on by technological advances and cultural influences.

Not only is it tasty, but it is also a great source of fiber, protein, complex carbohydrates, and vitamins, which makes it a viable meat alternative for vegetarians and vegans. Served hot, typically as a street food, one usually finds them wrapped in pita or served on a plate alongside salads and other sides.

The dish is a longtime favorite of mine, and throughout the years I’ve had the pleasure of tasting some of Atlanta’s best falafel dishes. This month I stopped by a few of my favorite restaurants to sample their versions of this classic meal, so whether you’ve tried these delectable patties of tasty fried goodness or are looking for a new spot, I recommend stopping by these great local restaurants.

Ali Baba
Falafel Wrap: Deep fried chickpeas (garbanzo and fava beans), vegetables, tahini, and a blend of seasonings served in a pita with hummus, babaganush, pita, tabouli, grape leaves and Mediterranean salad. 1099 Euclid Ave. NE, 30307. or (404) 223-1445

Aviva by Kameel
Falafel Kameel Style: Hummus, baba ghanoush, tabouli, cabbage salad, tahini, hot sauce. 225 Peachtree Street, Suite B-30, 30303. or (404) 698-3600

Falafel Pita Wrap: traditionally served with chickpea fritters, hummus, labne, Israeli salad & pickles, zhug, tahini, herbs. 99 Krog Street, 30307. or (404) 506-9999

Mediterranean Grill
Falafel Plate: falafel, rice, tahini, salsa and salad. 985 Monroe Drive NE, 30308. or (404) 917-1100

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.