Every falafel stand has its own variation on the falafel recipe, usually stemming from a particular region in the Middle East. But what about the pita bread? Do they just pick up a pack of pitas at the nearest market? Not at Falafel STOP in Sunnyvale. Their pitas are all freshly baked in-house. They are thick, spongy and well worth the trip all by themselves.
This isn’t to say their falafels aren’t worth mentioning. They are quite good and have a subtle, mildly spicy lentil taste. They are small, round, crispy and brown—as opposed to the typical green shade I’m used to.
As far as ambience goes, Falafel STOP is a simple, comfortable, no-frills walk-up stand with mostly outdoor seating. The small kitchen is visible to anyone placing an order. You can even watch as they pour the falafel flour into a grinder to form the falafel balls before deep frying them.
The falafel sandwiches are larger—and, at only $5.50 apiece, are a steal. Instead of just iceberg lettuce and sliced tomatoes, the sandwiches are filled with mixed veggies, pickles, sauerkraut, parsley, oil and a particularly thick and flavorful tahini spread—it’s a truly tangy, flavorful experience. I would’ve never imagined putting pickles in my falafel sandwich before, but that briny, salty punch is the perfect complement to the meaty, spicy falafel flavor.
Their hummus is mildly tangy and quite liquidy. Rather than ordering the hummus plate ($6.75), I recommend the masabacha, a popular dish in the Eastern Mediterranean, which is basically hummus served with additional spices and some whole, cooked garbanzo beans. It’s also $6.75. Both dishes are served with pickles and sauerkraut. Remember what I said about pickles in the falafel sandwich? They’re even better in the hummus.
The adventurous should try the sabich, a traditional Israeli sandwich, for $5.55. The sabich is served in a pita with hummus, crumbled hard-boiled eggs and fried eggplant—and of course, mixed veggies, pickles and sauerkraut. It’s a heartier than the falafel sandwich, and has more complex flavors, too—that eggplant adds just a dash of bitterness.
For dessert, they serve one item: Cream Bavaria for only $3. It’s a lightly sweet, fluffy, vanilla pudding with lady fingers, chocolate syrup and nuts.
1325 Sunnyvale-Saratoga Rd.; Sunnyvale