Occupation: Analytics Administrator
Location: San Francisco
Favorite Restaurant: King of Falafel
Reviewed King of Falafel: Tuesday, December 10, 2013
I discovered King of Falafel after a job change and a new route to work through lower
Pacific Heights. It was the kind of affordable neighborhood joint that was perfect for picking up a to-go lunch. I quickly became a fan of the Vegetarian Plate with each salad offering a treat in itself. Soon after, I discovered the Spinach Roll and began to create custom plates from the many salads offered behind the huge glass display case. It is possible to visit this place many times and never have the same combination twice. I’ve not once been disappointed with a meal here. As you might expect from the King of Falafel, theirs is first-rate with a nice crispy outside and a pleasing core. These are from an old family recipe and are deep fried in corn oil. They are the only falafel recipe I know of that uses sesame seeds.
Everything has been fresh and top quality and the staff could not be friendlier. The atmosphere is that of a busy neighborhood lunch spot, however the counter help is quick and efficient. There is a scattering of tables spaced close together that they do a good job of keeping bussed. The protocol is to select your drink from the display coolers, order your meal and have a seat. You will soon be found and will be quickly enjoying some of the best Mediterranean food in the Bay Area. There is a good chance you might find a little extra on your plate. A recent Eggplant Platter had a falafel piece thrown in, even though it was not on the menu.
The signage on the Bush Street side of the storefront is a bit confusing as it reads ‘Great City Deli,’ ‘King of Falafel,’ and ‘King of Falafil’ – no matter – this is the place to go for solid, healthy food at a great value.
Occupation: Barber Shop Owner
Location: Mountain View
Favorite Restaurant: Luka’s Taproom & Lounge
Reviewed King of Falafel: Monday, December 2, 2013
I headed for King of Falafel on a nice Monday afternoon at 12pm. I was able to find a good parking spot after only circling the block a few times. My first thought was to have lunch outside but they did not offer outside setting. I entered the restraint at a good time after the lunch crowd and actually had my meal by 1:20. Not bad coming from Mountain View. I stood in line and glanced at the menu and my surroundings and noticed that the restaurant wasn’t very clean. I noticed the patrons in front of me were actually cleaning their own tables (not a good sign). The restaurant seating and atmosphere were very dull with window views only on one side of the restaurant. I was able to get a window seat which was fine but once again I noticed my table was dirty with food on the floors and chairs.
I placed my order with the assistance of the counter help that were very friendly and helpful. I was anxious too try the Baklava since I have some experience with this dessert. I must say that after receiving my meal I was very disappointed in the food. I didn’t particularly care for any one thing. The portion size was good… just enough to keep me going. I thought the Greek Salad was not fresh, the lettuce was wilted and the chicken dry and not very tender. The Hummus was average at best. I did not like the texture of the Dolma and the fact that it was cold. I thought the Baklavas lacked moisture and were very hard. I also ordered a Snapple to drink that was far from cold. My waiter was friendly but did not know the menu well or did not understand my questions about the food. The service for me was nonexistent when it came to checking on me because no one ever did. I had to wave them down for service. Overall, the experience wasn’t a bad one. The cost wasn’t bad, the atmosphere ok, and the people were genuinely nice and friendly. That being said, I would have to be in the area to repeat.
Occupation: Consulting Manager
Location: San Francisco
Favorite Restaurant: La Costanera Restaurant
Reviewed King of Falafel: Friday, December 20, 2013 and Tuesday December 24, 2013
King of Falafel is a decent choice in this neighborhood if you’re looking for a quick bite and some healthy options. The price is reasonable, but this is a “no frills” kind of place. Since lunch was almost impossible to do – we stopped by on a Friday around 5:30pm for an early dinner. The food is seasoned well – I’d recommend the Falafel Plate and Hummus. We ordered the half Falafel Sandwich, a small House Combo Plate and a small Beef & Lamb Shawarma Plate. Unfortunately, all of the meat was extremely dry. In fact, I likened the beef/lamb to beef jerky and left the majority of my plate untouched. The chicken was incredibly dry as well. The Kefta was ok and we could tell it was seasoned really well. The Pita Bread was stale. All in all, it was not a good experience and we left there feeling really unsatisfied.
After reflecting on it – we decided to give them another try. This time we ordered the half-dozen Falafel (instead of the sandwich) and the House Combo Plate (to see if the meat was better at noon versus the end of the day). MUCH better experience. The falafel was good – the Pita Bread was not as stale. The house combo was better too – Chicken and Kefta were seasoned well and while still dry, not nearly as dry as when we went on Friday evening.
The people who work here are very friendly – but from a service perspective, this is more like a deli than a restaurant. I would never consider going back for dinner (do they cook the meat early in the day and then let it dry out by evening?), but if I were in the neighborhood I might stop back in for the falafel plate. I can see why if this were in your neighborhood it might be a “go to” for an inexpensive meal, but I would not go out of my way to go here.