There are, apparently, two schools of thought when it comes to Parisian falafel.
Wait, you say, people are actually debating falafel? And, wait, what exactly is falafel?
Falafel is, according to the translated sign in one of the leading restaurants, “a vegetarian food, fried in oil, that is very healthy.” Hmmm…
In reality, it’s a bunch of crunchy veggiliciousness and fried chickpea goodness, all stuffed inside a pita.
Anyway, from all I’ve read on the Internet prior to coming to Paris – the two key falafelarias are Maoz and L’As du Fallafel. So, we decided to try them both out and see which was better.
L’As du Falafel
We tried this one on our first night in Paris. The service is very Soup Nazi-ish from the guy outside. “What you want? Falafel? How many?” You are expected to answer these questions, hand over your cash (don’t even think about getting out your credit card, even though they are technically accepted) and move to the back of the line by the window. Then, hand your ticket over to the guy in the window. If you look American, he will say, “You want spicy?” If you look like a native, he will say, “Piquant?” Either way, just say yes.
The best thing about Maoz is that you can put your own condiments on your falafel. We’re not just talking ketchup – you can pile on peppers, pickled carrots, cabbage, coriander sauce and more.
Apparently, people have been complaining about the cleanliness and etc of L’As but I can’t speak to this as I never went inside. All I know is their falafel was just better. All the ingredients were well-distributed throughout the pita and just tasty. The staff was super fast at putting it together and getting you on your way so you can eat every last speck of it before getting on the Marais metro stop. At Maoz, the staff was just one sad-looking girl who got the already cooked balls of falafel out of a plastic Tupperware and poked a couple down into the bottom of the pita. The condiments were good but because the meager portion of falafel was at the bottom, I felt like I was just eating a coleslaw sandwich for most of the meal.
Maoz was okay, but I wouldn’t go there if they located a store in San Antonio. L’As on the other hand could probably make it into the lunch rotation on a regular basis – kind of like a Mediterranean Chipotle. Of course, it’s also recommended by Lenny Kravitz and we all know that before dining, the first question we should ask ourselves is, “WWLE (what would Lenny eat)?”