The Falafel Place

shapeimage_1510 Stars! Wednesday, December 8, 2011.

Falafel Place; 1101 Corydon Avenue

Hours of operation: Mon-Sun – 6 am – 9 pm

Bacon & Eggs – $7.50. Coffee $2.35, free refills. Breakfast served all day.

“All breakfasts served with hash browns or a potato pancake and toast. Fried onion & garlic is available by request. Yam Hash is available for an additional $1.00.”IMG_1095-filtered

Cash only!  Wheelchair accessible.

The Falafel Place is fantastic, and totally unique in Winnipeg. The diner atmosphere, preserved through a couple of moves over the years, is as greasy spoon as you can get without actually being greasy. You won’t feel like you need a shower after eating there, but you may feel like a nap to placate your full belly.

IMG_1094-filteredAmi Hassan and his crew are breakfast masters. Not only is breakfast served all day, but the variety and quality are exactly what I look for in a restaurant. I’m equally in love with their corned beef hash as I am their vegan hash. Their specialties cannot be beat, particularly the latke and falafel. I love having hummous with breakfast.IMG_4822

In previous years, Leif and I didn’t review the Falafel Place as favourably as we do now; this was because we focused on their breakfast special at the expense of the rest of the menu – their bacon and eggs are good, but nothing to write home about.

But you don’t go to see Ami just for eggs. You go for the home made hot sauce; for the falafels; for the rotating selection of local art on the walls; for the real cream in the container, no single servings; for the cool music; for the real butter on the toast; for the diner feel; for the celiac/vegan/kosher-friendly dishes; for the freshly squeezed orange juice; for the lack of MSG; for the real maple syrup; for the awesome booths; for the painting of the cover to Blind Melon’s Soup; for the lack of fluorescent lighting; for the wheelchair accessibility. (And the home made jams! Ami gave us some fresh Mango Compote for our toast! Leif)IMG_5186

But really, you come for the atmosphere. Ami is right at home on the grill, shouting orders at his staff, often from clear across the restaurant. Sit at the counter if you dare, just to take in the spectacle.

To be fair, there are a few downsides to the Falafel Place. Their Sunstone coffee is hit-and-miss, the knishes take a long time to cook and it’s often so busy you have to stand and wait for a table – or, if you’re found meandering at your table after your meal while it’s busy, you will get the boot and be told to leave. Truly, these minuses are squashed by their pluses. Definitely worth the wait.IMG_1087

We love the Falafel Place! Congratulations on being selected the best breakfast of 2010.

April 24 2008 THE FALAFEL PLACE AND DELI

1101 Corydon Ave. Hours of operation:

Mon – Fri     6:30 AM – 9 PM

Sat              6:30 AM – 9 PM

Sun             6:30 AM – 9 PM

_MG_7996-filteredBreakfast Special   $11.03 after taxes and coffee

The Falafel Place is currently in a state of flux. The entire mini-mall it resides in is undergoing construction, and the knowledge that the restaurant is eventually relocating has made a lot of people question its current existence. It’s still there, and they’re still jovial.  The place is famous for its kosher tendencies and excellent latkes. However, it’s the atmosphere that draws people in. The owner/operator/head cook Ami is a brilliant source of positive energy to the customers, willing to chat with anybody. IMG_1090He’s also willing to yell across the whole restaurant above the din of diners to communicate with his servers. Some people might say that yelling across a room full of people is rude, but it’s an inextricable part of the charm there.

Complementing the vocal atmosphere was the art covering the walls. Not just professional photography (all for sale), but many children’s drawings of falafel appreciation. Aside the art are several huge coolers, full of condiments, often getting in the way of the seated customers when the doors are opened. The small restaurant size is charming and easily yellable, but undeniably cramped. IMG_0485The cook space behind the counter was incredibly small for a place as busy as it usually is. I look forward to their new, and no doubt, larger restaurant when they move. I sat at one of the tables and waited a good 15 minutes before I was asked if I wanted coffee. Seriously. It wasn’t even busy, due to the unforeseen ice storm the night before. The coffee was, unfortunately, siphoned from the giant lake of mediocre coffee under the city that so many places draw from. However, on the front door is an advertisement saying that Sunstone coffee is available.IMG_1092_1

Assuming that we did not get the Sunstone coffee, I will ask for it next time. And if we did receive Sunstone coffee, I will be satisfied in the knowledge that the underground water (coffee) table is sponsored by Sunstone.

(When we visited again in May 2009 at the “new” location at 1101 Corydon the coffee was much better. Strong and tasty. Leif)

I really like how not a lot is pre-packaged at the Falafel Place. All the food is made fresh there, and things came in large containers instead of individually-portioned garbage creators. We got a litre of half & half cream for our coffee, sweetened by pourable sugar containers, a tub of jelly and a squeeze-bottle of their delicious homemade hot sauce. The hot sauce is so good that I bought a tub of it on my way out. Yum.

IMG_1091_1The Falafel Place is the only place we’ve reviewed that list their Breakfast Special as just “Bacon & Eggs.” It’s all served with a choice of potato pancake or hashbrowns. I had to have both, the latkes are so good. I ordered the extra garlic & onions in my hashbrowns as well, something I recommend that every restaurant offer. The hashbrowns were consequently delicious, real chunks of potato. Leif’s bacon was tasty and curled up into interesting shapes, but I was disappointed when my sausage arrived as butterflied breakfast links. I hate breakfast links; they’re all gristle and snout. I do appreciate that they were split in half to make them look bigger and to cook the gristle all the way through. On the other hand, the toast was nice and soft, Winnipeg rye. Everyone’s eggs came as ordered, and the latke was superb. (The latkesare awesome! Leif) I always put a dollop of sour cream and a good amount of hot sauce on them.IMG_4821

There were certainly a few complaints about the meal. One person’s toast was cut with an obviously dirty knife and they received extra garnish as a result. The coffee and sausages left a lot to be desired, and the cramped feel to the restaurant is a deterrent. A few minuses, but in the end the pluses outweigh them.

Truthfully, this is the first time I’ve ever gone for the Breakfast Special there. I’ve been there probably dozens of times in the past, and I usually favour the corned beef hash or something more substantial than the ‘Special. This is a place with quality food, to be sure. They specialize in matzah ball soup, potato pancakes and falafels. If you stick with the specialties, you’re in excellent hands. I love the quintessential diner feel and the easygoing atmosphere, and especially the booths. We just may have to revisit the Falafel Place once they’ve moved.

IMG_0524-filteredA little bonus during this breakfast was that a Free Press photographer came and snapped some shots of us with Ami and a tasty-looking veggie hash. There’s an article to be published Saturday, May 17 2008 with Leif and I being interviewed as the Breakfast Connoisseurs. Check us out!