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Falafel in Paris


winodj
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So I was out with friends wandering around Paris today and we decided to get some food... one of the guys knew a great Falafel place and we went to "L'As du Fallafel" in the Fourth Arrondissement... It's pretty famous apparently - its in the Jewish district - and has the best falafel I have ever had.... and inexpensive too. The best deal is with the sandwich menu. We each ordered the Fallafel Speciale (with extra salad and such in the sandwich) and an order of fries between the four of us. With icewater, the tab ran to 7 Euros a piece for a filling, quick meal.

Theres a picture of Lenny Kravitz eating there on the back wall too. I know that it isnt Gourmet, but its damn good.

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Why wouldn't it be "gourmet?" Has that word become so pejorative that if it's really good food, it can't appeal to gourmets? That a French restaurant serves ice water, now that may be news.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

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Yippeeeee! Another L'As du Fallafel fan! I too heard about it from a friend who said it was a "great falafel place," and ohhh, yes indeed. When I was living there and my boyfriend came to visit, we ate there four times in two weeks--a lot, considering that we were cooking at home most of the time! He too is a fan of the "Fallafel Speciale," with its chunks of fried eggplant. We now live in Seattle, and despite my research on falafel in the Puget Sound area (and willingness to drive for it), I've never found anything that even comes CLOSE to L'As. Those little crispy balls of fallafel, two kinds of cabbage slaw, tomato/cuke salad, hummus, tahini sauce... :wub: Sniffle, sniffle. I miss it.

By the way, if you're back in the neighborhood of L'As, check out the Jewish pastries and such at Sacha Finkelsztayn, the yellow-front boutique across the street from it. I used to love their "Gateau Reine de Saba"--a fairly thin, moist, crackly-topped chocolate cake--and the Sacher torte is sometimes nice too, albeit unorthodox and lighter than usual. Very popular spot. AND...if you're seeking a fabulous boulangerie, check out Au Levain du Marais on rue de Turenne, just north of the intersection with rue des Francs-Bourgeois. Great baguettes and baguettes de campagne, sandwiches, pain au chocolate (warm from the oven at 4pm, in time for the schoolkids' snack), mousse au chocolat in a cookie cup, chausson aux pommes, and more.

She blogs: Orangette

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Its one of my favorite parts of Paris (the fourth).... just about 500 meters from the Centre Pompidou. Any restaurant will serve free ice water, you just have to ask for it. They get asked a lot when its 40 degrees Celsius like its been the last couple days (100+). but its the first time I found the Jewish neighborhood.

Unfortunately, my budget is so tight that I don't get the chance to eat out often. I usually cook or go to a friend's.

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Eau de Paris is a perfume. "Eau de robinet" is more comprehensible to a server in a cafe.

Anti-alcoholics are unfortunates in the grip of water, that terrible poison, so corrosive that out of all substances it has been chosen for washing and scouring, and a drop of water added to a clear liquid like Absinthe, muddles it." ALFRED JARRY

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I remember visiting the Marais district a couple of years ago, and a few blocks away from the big square around the park, we found the most amazing looking and smelling falafel joints. I was so sad that I had already eaten at one of the touristy places on the square. I still regret not having that falafel!

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I trust that was not l'Amroisie on place des Voges to which you refer. :biggrin:

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Is falafel really that much of a gastronomic experience that so many people pine after it? I've been in the Middle East, and eaten some of the best falafel in the world, but the memories are not thatfond.

Anti-alcoholics are unfortunates in the grip of water, that terrible poison, so corrosive that out of all substances it has been chosen for washing and scouring, and a drop of water added to a clear liquid like Absinthe, muddles it." ALFRED JARRY

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Question answered!

Anti-alcoholics are unfortunates in the grip of water, that terrible poison, so corrosive that out of all substances it has been chosen for washing and scouring, and a drop of water added to a clear liquid like Absinthe, muddles it." ALFRED JARRY

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Is falafel really that much of a gastronomic experience that so many people pine after it? I've been in the Middle East, and eaten some of the best falafel in the world, but the memories are not thatfond.

In spite of my response to the word "gourmet," I think the opening post questioning the gourmet worthyness of felafal goes to the heart of your question. I don't think a simple felafal sandwich, or even felafal on a plate will ever be considered haute cuisine. If it ever achieves that status, it will be because of the preparation and serving and more likely becuase of the way it's incorporated into a dish, but I don't think a dish has to be haute cuisine in order to be memorable enough for people to long for an excellent example of the genre. I enjoy good felafal, but I doubt it will ever rock my socks off, though.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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  • 1 year later...

<bump>

on the rue de rossiers there are a bunch of falafel places. across the street from "the world's best falafel" is a delightful deli with gorgeous thick potato pancakes - my horrible french (hopefully slightly made up for by my earnest efforts, and engaging smile) notwithstanding, i acquired us a warmed potato cake as we perused the falafelerias. i had been looking for L'As, but had no address. we ended up eating at "world's best" one day to go - and sat precariously on fences as we licked tahini and eggplant from our wrists. the next day we ate inside. i had a plate - all the same stuff, but i think i prefer the experience of the sandwich better. like eating an ice-cream cone vs. from a cup.

may not be the "world's best" but it's the best i've ever had by far.

falafel is not gourmet imo, but the highest form of any cuisine is surely a treasure.

Edited by reesek (log)

from overheard in new york:

Kid #1: Paper beats rock. BAM! Your rock is blowed up!

Kid #2: "Bam" doesn't blow up, "bam" makes it spicy. Now I got a SPICY ROCK! You can't defeat that!

--6 Train

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I have had falavels in beirut,cairo and israel.Its wonderful fast food and the one in rue rosier,paris is definetily very good ,even though its not auhentic.its jazzed up .Its a delightful new version. By the way the best was in beirut.

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That a French restaurant serves ice water, now that may be news.

Had a whole pitcher of it last week at Terminus Nord and only asked for "eau de Paris".

It's actually easy to get "eau de table" these days, many places serving it in a variety of decorative bottles. Ice, however is another matter. You may be just using the word "ice water" meaning cold water, but ice is certainly a rare find in France. Even with a drink at a bar, you're lucky to get more than one cube!

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Ice has always been rare in France. If there's one thing that separates the French from the Americans, it's temperature. The French are, as a rule, not only prone to suffer a warmer stuffier room than Americans, but abhor ice. There's a belief that too cold a liquid will shock the stomach and that ice cold water will ruin your palate and digestion. Drafts are also something to be avoided at all costs. So I was shocked to see ice cubes in a glass when someone ordered a Perrier a couple of weeks ago in Paris.

Eau de robinet has always been available in most places, but it's now commonly seen on tables in many restaurants and often freely offered by many waiters. Tap water in Paris is passable, but doesn't taste quite as good as that of NY. On the whole, I don't think many bottled waters taste as good as NY water. Mrs. B often prefers bubbles. Eau gasseuze is still cheaper than champagne. :biggrin:

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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