100 Favorite Dishes: No. 85, Falafel at Zabak's
This year leading up to our annual Best of Houston issue, we're counting down our 100 favorite dishes in Houston. This list comprises our favorite dishes from the last year, dishes that are essential to Houston's cultural landscape and/or dishes that any visitor (or resident) should try at least once.
Photo by Gary R. Wise
There's a reason that we keep giving Zabak's so many Best of Houston awards, and it's not just because we like the always-smiling family who runs this Galleria-area restaurant. Zabak's great falafels are one of the many reasons, too. After all, Robb Walsh once called them "the standard by which Houston falafels are judged."
Falafels can so often be dense hockey pucks of unidentifiable origin, but never at Zabak's. Here, the little discs are lightly crispy on the outside and softly crumbly on the inside, with a fine texture that's not too compact nor too loose. And like breaking open an agate, the dark brown exterior of the falafel parts to reveal an interior of aventurine green, thanks to copious amounts of parsley and fresh jalapeños among the ground chickpeas.
The falafels here are best enjoyed tucked inside a sandwich with lettuce, tomato, tahini and za'atar along with a few dashes of hot sauce -- in case the falafels themselves weren't already hot enough for you. If they are, just get a creamy pool of hummus to cool your palate between bites; it's an excellent pairing for a Houston summer day.
The list so far:
No. 100: Dumplings at Heights Asian Cafe
No. 99: Mixta Pizza at Friends Pizzeria
No. 98: Veggie tacos from Radical Eats
No. 97: Bean pie from Conscious Cafe
No. 96: Swiss chard crepes from Giacomo's Cibo e Vino
No. 95: Eggs Mia Bella at Mia Bella
No. 94: Mulligatawny soup at the Queen Vic
No. 93: Helado de Lúcuma from Pollo Bravo
No. 92: Black bean burger from Natachee's
No. 91: Chupacabra pizza from ERA
No. 90: Roast chicken from El Norteño
No. 89: Eggs El Salvador from Brasil
No. 88: Frank the Pretzel from Eatsie Boys
No. 87: Caldo Tlalpeño from Tacos del Julio
No. 86: English pea soup at Brasserie 19
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