Of all food parties I imagine having, I never really considered I’d have one involving falafel. But that is exactly what happened when we visited Falafel Yo! in Greenbelt 3 and ordered everything from the menu. There were only three items on there so I figured, what the hey, let’s try all of them.
For the record, I do actually like falafels and have tried making them at home via Ottolenghi’s recipe. (On that note, I am now in the mood to make some again.) This Middle Eastern treat isn’t new to me at all, so I was pretty excited about trying this place out. I just don’t go to Greenbelt that often.
Looking back, I wish I had a good grasp of exactly what I was getting into when I went to Falafel Yo! What was meant as an afternoon snack turned into dinner. I didn’t expect the falafels to be so big!
What on earth is a falafel?
Falafels are a common “fast food” item in the Middle East. Falafel patties are deep fried chubby things made up primarily of mashed chickpeas (aka garbanzos), then seasoned with parsley, coriander, garlic, and Mediterranean spices. One could say they are a vegetarian alternative to burger patties, and they are quite tasty in their own right.
But a falafel can also refer to a sandwich that contains these falafel patties. A piece of pita bread holds the patties inside, while hummus, tahini sauce, and yogurt add more oomph.
Here at Falafel Yo! they don’t stop there. After prepping and frying the falafel patties in the back kitchen to order, the dancing kuya upfront will assemble the pita sandwiches for you.
Inside the sandwiches you also get breaded fried eggplant, fries, delicious pickled red onions called sumac, pickled cabbage, coleslaw salad, and a Mediterranean tomato and cucumber mix. A piece of roasted green chili is their version of cherry on top.
What’s on the menu at Falafel Yo!?
As I mentioned, right now they have three things on their menu, and you honestly can’t go wrong with any of them but I would recommend either the Yo or the Beast, because it has EVERYTHANG you could possibly ask for. Falafels aside, it’s got some really tasty pickled veggies as opposed to the Falafelito’s simple coleslaw and fries filling.
Pictured above is the Falafel Yo (Php 159) classic offering, with six crisp falafel patties nestled inside a bed of super flavorful coleslaw and pickled veggies. Because they are generous with the filling, every bite is falafel-filled.
The Falafel Beast (Php 189) meanwhile has beef mixed into the falafel patties alongside the garbanzos. A more non-traditional way to do it, but there’s clearly more chickpeas in these patties since the beef taste is but a hint. It has all the fillings the classic Falafel Yo does. I love the sumac on top!
Finally, we have the Falafelitos (Php 99) or the junior version for kids. It contains only three falafels and doesn’t have as many toppings so it isn’t as tasty as the ones above, but it is rather filling even for a half pita! (I’m just not so sure if kids would eat something so foreign to them though. We all know how picky kids can be since they don’t know better.)
What amazed me the most about these falafels is the fact that the pita bread itself is quite good. It’s nice and chewy, not soggy, and it doesn’t break apart even with all the filling it contains.
They also offer Lemongrass Juice you can order in three different sizes. It is an amazingly refreshing pairing with the falafel, not to mention the way it was formulated makes it not too sweet. Don’t get the smallest size because it will be bitin. Trust me.
Yay for a new movie-time treat?
Even though Falafel-Yo is situated at the cinema level, I think it would be difficult to eat the falafel sandwiches inside the movie theater because of the potential mess it could create. The sandwiches are packed to the brim as you can see, so sometimes stuff falls off as you devour.
Unless you brought plates inside the cinema, I suggest eating these on a table, which Falafel Yo! kindly provides. Anyway, I like being able to see what part of the falafel I’m eating, so I personally would not bring these inside the theater.
Also, dining in will give you the option to sauce up your falafels. On the table they’ve got Chili Sauce, Tahini (a savory sesame, coriander, and parsley sauce), and Amba (a sour-tangy yellow sauce made with mango, cumin, and turmeric). Any which one is a good pick.
I know some people aren’t fond of Middle Eastern flavors but thankfully I am not one of them. I ended up enjoying Falafel-Yo’s offerings immensely. Much more than I was expecting to in fact!
These would make such amazing pre and post movie grub, and frankly it is such a refreshing change from the usual stalls you see at the cinema. (Even though I still can’t imagine eating these falafels while watching a movie lol.)
I think these are priced just right for what you get. They are HUGE! I actually think I’d buy them even if they were like 200 pesos each, but I’d ask to have some more of that sumac. And the Lemongrass Juice pairing is perfect.
It was so easy to just polish the whole thing off, and I ate everything down to the green chili pepper. This is one of those times you just dive in face-first into the food and forget about being ladylike for a minute haha!
The only thing I want to complain about is the tissue. The black print transfers to the skin when I wipe my hands on that area. Other than that, by all means, let’s all EAT our hearts out at Falafel Yo! Next time I’m in Greenbelt I’m getting myself another serving.
Full disclosure: I was given some GC’s to try out Falafel Yo! but my delight in these falafels are very real. No monetary compensation was received in the writing of this review.