Best of Citysearch: 2005 and 2007
Cheap Eats Winner: 2003, 2005 and 2007
Best of Manhattan
Awarded Best Falafel
Mamoun’s is a Middle-Eastern take-out restaurant famous for its falafel. The original location is near Washington Square Park but they opened a second location on St. Marks. They offer falafel sandwiches for $2.50, and also have a number of other vegan items, including stuffed grape leaves, baba ganouj, tabbouleh, and stuffed eggplant.
This location, like the original, is very small, so it only has seating for about 6 people. They also have a table out front during warmer weather.
It’s a shameful fact that up until last week, I’d never been to Mamoun’s Falafel. For someone who went to grad school at NYU and spent two years flitting about Washington Squre Park, it amounts to something of an outrage. Mamoun’s is an NYU tradition: cheap, fast, and flavorful falafel all just a few steps away from classes. Last week, though, I was a perfect Mamoun’s candidate.
I’d gotten my haircut at my new favorite haircut secret, Sei Tomoko (not a secret anymore!), where Japanese hair stylists pound your back into submission (I started laughing the first time they “massaged” me–I felt like a punching bag) and then style your hair with exceptional skill for an incredibly reasonable $40. Afterwards, I was starving and Craig had dinner plans so I sauntered over to Mamoun’s.
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When our Israeli geophysicist friend, Gidon Eshel, provided major guidance for Mark Bittman’s New York Times article on meat consumption.
The esteemed cookbook author offered to take Gidon out to eat anywhere in New York City. Where will you go I asked eagerly. Mamoun’s Falafel, Gidon said.
Falafels descended on us like miniature spaceships in 1971 when this joint opened. The effect was immediate and lasting. Today there is still a line of cheap Middle Eastern places to prove it. Revisit Mamoun’s, where dim lighting and faded ethnographic gewgaws evoke the souks of Beirut and Damascus, to savor an interior unchanged since Dylan sang “Positively 4th Street.”
You and your date can enjoy a cheap pair of falafel sandwiches slathered with tahini and washed down with steaming cups of cardamom tea. You’ll still have money left over for ice cream. There is a second location in the area at 22 St. Marks Place.