While my last post explored the horrors of abominable customer service in my pursuit of hummus, today I come to you with far better tidings. Thankfully my run of hummus denial is now over.

Amir’s Falafel is located in Studio City at the corner of Ventura & Colfax. Situated in the middle of a typical mini-mall, don’t let it’s humble appearance dissuade you from venturing inside, for once you do you will be richly rewarded. I used to eat at Amir’s all the time when animal flesh was my thing but I all but forgot about the place when I went vegan. I was reminded of Amir’s when Mr. Meaner of quarrygirl.com wrote a great review of it a few months back. Surely if the meaty stuff I’d had at Amir’s was as good as I’d remembered it, their vegetarian offerings would be equally good, right? Right indeed!

Still bearing a grudge of unrequited hummus love, I knew what I was after when I walked through Amir’s doors. While they don’t have a large menu, they’ve got a number of customizable options for vegans to enjoy, from pita sandwiches to a nice variety of Israeli style salads.

'Amir's Falafel in Studio City

I went for the Falafel Plate, a generous assortment including a green salad with pickles, hummus (at last!), carrot salad, tabouli, beet salad and falafel. As pictured on their menu the plate would usually come with a nice looking cabbage salad, though it appears to be made with something creamy which may or may not be vegan, so I asked for the beets instead. I’m sure if I would have asked what the cabbage salad was made of they would have told me, but I actually preferred the beets so it worked out nicely for all involved. Along with the plate they also served two nicely toasted pitas, tahini, a spicy green sauce and amba (more on these in a minute).

Everything you see here was awesome. I am in love with their cute little bite sized falafels, fried fresh right in front you. I think this is the perfect size for a falafel, a concentrated little ball of love that you can pop in your mouth or eat out of a pita without it breaking off and crumbling all over the place. The folks at Amir’s know how to fry them to just the right shade of crispiness too… crunch crunch crunch all over the outside while still soft and chewy and chickpealicious on the inside. I’m not a falafel expert, but this is probably the first falafel I’ve had anywhere that’s actually had me craving to go back for more.

The hummus is very good, thick and creamy just the way I like it. While it might not be the best hummus on earth, its humble and common nature is both comforting and delicious. And best of all, served without attitude.

'Amir's Falafel in Studio City

Both the beet and carrot salads are great, mildly spiced yet full of flavor. The tabouli is pretty good but maybe a bit plain. The green salad is fresh though it didn’t come with much of a dressing on it, so that’s what I used my tahini for, a fine tactic.

Back to the other saucy condiments. The green stuff, I don’t know what it’s called but it’s fantastic. They make it with cilantro and chili and it’s supposed to be spicy. The weird thing is that I don’t find it spicy at all even though others, such Mr. Meaner, have described it as “hot as hell”. Either way, the stuff rules and I suggest putting it on everything.

The yellow/orange sauce is the amba, a glorious concoction born of an incestuous meeting between Indian & Iraqi Jews made of pickled mango. It’s pungent, it’s pickled and it will make you pucker your face in delight. Like the green sauce, you’ll want to eat it all over everything. I like to tear off a section of pita, lather it up with some hummus, stuff it with a falafel or two, then drizzle both sauces all over that sucker and dig in.

Amir’s Falafel is in no sense of the word a fancy place. I already mentioned it’s in a strip mall, sandwiched between a Subway and an adult video store, but if you’re up for relatively cheap, quick and tasty Middle Eastern food, Amir’s has got you covered.

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15 Responses to “All’s well that ends with hummus!”
  1. quarrygirl says:

    great review! i need to get that falafel plate sometime. i’ve been there dozens of times, and i keep ordering the falafel sandwich because it’s so good. i totally agree with you on how awesome the falafel balls are…they are TINY and cooked just right! seriously, they fit like 9 balls in one sandwich…dude!

    DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON THE GREEN SAUCE!!!!! that stuff is the best hot sauce i’ve ever had, full stop. i think it’s pretty hot, but also full of so much flavor.

    i really love amir’s! now you’ve got my mouth watering, and it’s nearly midnite! DAMN.

  2. FoodEater says:

    quarrygirl: There is no greater compliment to me than knowing that I can set my readers mouths watering near midnight :)

    One of these days we should have a tiny falafel ball face stuffing contest.

  3. VeggieGirl says:

    Falafel!! Hummus!! Holy yum.

  4. JennShaggy says:

    I totally forgot about this place! I lived at Vineland and Ventura for my first year in LA, and I used to eat there all the time.
    Now I kind of hope I have an excuse to go to the valley, which are words you rarely here out of my mouth…unless it’s because I’m going to Vinh Loi. That’s a whole other ball game.

  5. quarrygirl says:

    jennshaggy: i still gotta try vinh loi!! foodeater raves about that place as well. about time i made the drive, i think.

    foodeater: it’s so on! falafel ballz all up in it.

  6. So funny, I passed by this place (for the first time) on Sunday Morning!

    Still contemplating Saturday evening…great, seriously.

  7. You have me craving falafel now! And your plate looks so bright and fresh and pretty. I am so, so glad to hear that you had a good hummus experience this time around. I wish all my old favorite restaurants would have vegan food too so it would be easier to eat out with my family.

  8. scott says:

    if you order the fries make sur eyou do it a day ahead of time, it takes them forever to make them.

  9. scott says:

    ps… how do i get to add a pretty little picture next to my name?

  10. SCVegan says:

    There is no good falafel in the SCV. Those salads look so good, too bad I have yet to find a place like that out here.

  11. sarah says:

    Hey: Has anyone here had Falafel Palace in northridge? It’s at prairie and reseda and I’m there allll the time. If you haven’t had a falafel that knocks your socks off you should go there- the staff are great and vegetarian friendly and the food is absolutely ADDICTIVE. Especially the falafel itself. They’ve been at that location for 30 years so you know it’s gotta be good.

  12. Also check out Sunnin on Westwood. Our favorite “discovery” on our last LA trip.

  13. heaven! I want to stuff my face with that plate. I haven’t had good falafel since I moved here (with the exception of making it at home but thats no fun! I wanna just EAT it hehe) I will take your star recommendation and run with it!

  14. FoodEater says:

    JennShaggy: The Valley’s got a lot going for it these days… even if it’s just the food!

    quarrygirl: Any time you are up for Vinh Loi just let me know (I will never turn down a visit to my favorite of all restaurants!).

    teenage glutster: Agreed, our food fight fest was awesome! So nice to finally meet (and eat with) you :)

    scott: http://en.gravatar.com
    You’ll need to associate the account with whatever email address you normally use to post comments on blogs with, then whenever you comment on a blog that has gravitars enabled, you’re image will show up automatically.

    sarah: Thanks for the reminder, I used to eat at Falafel Palace all the time when I lived in Northridge. It’s located right across the street from my first ever apartment!

    Michael Natkin: Thanks for the tip on Sunnin. I’ve never been there but after reading your review it sounds like I’m going to have to check it out. I sure do love me some fried cauliflower…

    Happy Herbivore: Glad I could help! Let us know how the face stuffing goes. Sounds like you need to be included in the “tiny falafel ball face stuffing contest” as well!

  15. Tracy says:

    This sounds fabulous! Yummy!

    P.S. How do you make a styrofoam plate of food look so dang appetizing?? styrofoam! you are amazing.