The spices in the masterpiece of hummus spread over freshly made pita bread make me melt. Back in my hometown, there’s a cute family-owned Arab restaurant my friends and I would visit on occasion. This summer, I found a place just like it in Gainesville.
It started with my hummus cravings and continued into determination to find a restaurant that served authentic Mediterranean food. Before the end of Summer B, my friend helped me find Falafel King.
Falafel King is a restaurant that provides delicious Mediterranean food to a Gainesville audience.Although the restaurant does not serve chicken kabob (my all-time favorite) they do offer delacacies like kafta kabob, hummus, falafel and pita bread.
UF students will love this place for its prices, which manager Chassan Chehab says range from $6 to $9.
“You can buy a sandwich for $5.50 and a platter for $8.50 so it’s a reasonable price,” he said.
Falafel King’s most popular dishes are the Gyro, hummus and the falafel (which is popular among vegetarians). The Taboleh is a popular salad made with lots of parsley, crushed wheat, tomatoes and onions, mixed with lemon juice and olive oil. Chehab says he enjoys a gyro with a “combination of beef and lamb.”
Although the restaurant is small, it’s usually busy. Because many orders are via phone, you might have to wait a bit for your food sometimes. Don’t worry, though – Falafel King offers customers a delivery option through 2dollardelivery.com.
This family-owned restaurant has been around for 27 years. Its owners moved from Lebanon. Chehab believes that the Gainesville community “needed this kind of food in Gainesville.”
The restaurant features a dining area in the front of the store and a mini-supermarket toward the back. There, customers can find specific spices and other ingredients that they may not find at a usual market.
“The place is divided into two sections and people listen to Arab music and the back has a supermarket and people can get food to make recipes,” Chehab said. “When people can’t find some items for their recipes, they come here.”
If you have a big appetite and a platter doesn’t completely fill you up, the restaurant also offers several desserts like Nammura, “an exotic, freshly baked semolina-style pastry” and Pistachio, “a freshly baked flaky puff pastry filled with pistachios,” according to the restaurant’s online page.
If you’re tired of campus food and looking for something exotic to eat, or just miss home-cooked Arab meals, stop by Falafel King.
3252 SW 35th Blvd.
HC Recommends: chicken platter with hummus, pita bread and basmati rice
Details: Falafel King is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on Sundays from noon until 7 p.m.