The Falafel Drive-In
2301 Stevens Creek Blvd.
San Jose, CA 95128
One of my favorite places to visit during the Lenten season and before Santa Row Farmers’ Market trips. Featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, this little falafel shack (said in the most loving way) serves up the best falafel sandwiches and banana shakes. Anyone confused? Never heard of a falafel? Well, you clearly haven’t lived, and should soon. A falafel usually refers to those dark fried lumps you see at the top right picture. They are fried balls of spiced beans (what kind? I know not…), typically happiest between a pita pocket, smothered in tahini sauce and drowned in lettuce and tomatoes. No animals were hurt in the making of this sandwich – perfect for Ash Wednesday (which is coming up soon) and those Lenten Fridays. Anyway, college student budget friendly, excellent outdoor seating that is well shielded from the rain, large portions for hungry appetites, and a change from the typical American affair. And no, this is not a paid advertisement. For about $7, you get a huuge falafel sandwich and shake. What a deal! And fresh pita chips on the side are only $1.75 or so. Need more falafel balls? You’re in luck, because its like $0.25 for a couple. Amazing, no?
The only downside to this place is that the lines usually wrap around the sidewalk if you go during peak lunch hours. It is THAT good, and the crazy thing is, people will actually WAIT for it too. Oh, and for falafel newbies – be warned! Do not wear your Sunday best because falafel sandwiches are messy, but I guarantee that you will master the technique required to eat a falafel after the second or third time, so fear not. Always ask for extra hot sauce – it is the equivalent of La Vic’s Orange Sauce (review coming soon), except for a falafel not a burrito. It’s THAT infamous and THAT worth it. To further prove my point – I hate spicy foods. I hate Sriracha in my pho, I hate Tapatio in my taco. But this hot sauce, I will close to drink out of my falafel sandwich. I exaggerate, but you get my mean.
In addition, they also serve gyros (although I do recommend another place that’s even better), hummus, salads, trademark diner plates (burgers and the like), and baklava! Check the place out for yourself – it is a must stop-by in San Jose… especially if you happen to be conveniently visiting Valley Fair or Santana Row. So try the Falafel Drive-In and see for yourself. Then come back and let me know so I can be jealous.