A friend who lives in Union City took a couple of us to dinner tonight at Falafel, etc. in Fremont. A search of Chowhound didn't seem to pull up any earlier posts about the place, so I wanted to share my enthusiasm about it.
All three of us had a falafel platter ($9.95), however with slightly different variations. The platter came with 6 freshly fried falafels, which had a shatteringly crisp exterior, yielding to a tender and flavorful bright green chickpea and herb interior. Their website says they use a bit of baking soda in their recipe, which would explain the lightness of each ball. Though fresh from the fryer, they were not at all greasy. Along with the falafel came mezze of a smooth hummus, presented with a sprinkling of pine nuts and a nice quality of olive oil on top, as well as tabbouleh. However, instead of the tabbouleh, I swapped out for what they called a "Greek salad" (though the restaurant is owned by Arabs from Nazareth, Israel). The salad was simple but very tasty, with crisp iceberg lettuce, a few olives, tomato, cucumber, a nice herbal homemade vinaigrette, and a sprinkling of feta on top. Additionally the plate held a few slices of house-pickled turnips. My dining companions both claimed the tabbouleh was excellent, but I didn't try it myself.
The plate was served with warm, pillowy pita bread which tasted homemade. There is a condiment bar that offers tahini, onions with sumac, yogurt with mint, hot pepper sauce, pickles, and hot peppers. I thought the onions tasted great with everything, though the sumac was not as strong a flavor as I've had elsewhere.
The menu held lots of other dishes that I look forward to exploring on future visits, though I may have trouble not just ordering the falafels again. I would never claim to be a falafel expert, but I certainly know what I like, and these were tasty enough that all of us kept eating long after we had declared ourselves full.
This is a nothing fancy restaurant, but the space is clean and comfortable, the food clearly made with care, and there is a lovely outdoor (but covered) patio with a fountain. I don't know that I would travel from Alameda specifically to eat there, but I will most definitely be looking forward to eating there again when I am in the area.
39200 Fremont Blvd.
Fremont, CA 94538