The falafel and spicy sauce lift an otherwise nondescript sandwich at Milo's Pita Place.
'falafel' on Serious Eats
Though missing the vibrant array of toppings that some of the newer Mediterranean places serve, the falafel sandwich at Oasis Cafe succeeds thanks to a warm and fluffy pita and some exceptionally crisp falafel balls, which hold their crunch even when drenched with tahini.
Finding falafel in the Loop is about as easy as picking a random storefront and walking in. (I am only slightly exaggerating.) But finding the fried specialty elsewhere in the city requires a little more planning.
The crispy orange stained exterior houses a creamy and well-spiced interior where "sweet" is the operative word. A quick dip in one of the many house-made sauces results in a bite that is more balanced than the sum of its parts.
Nini's Deli in Noble Square presents an immediate surprise upon walking in: one look at the shelves and you realize it's a gourmet and organic grocery store masquerading as a run-of-the-mill corner deli. Likewise, Jose's Homemade Falafel Pita ($5.50) looks pretty standard, but the freshly fried falafel have a slightly different, though no less pleasing, spice profile.
Albany Park and adjacent North Park make up an area that's well known in Chicago as ethnic melting pot of cultures. Billed as "one of the most diverse zip codes in the nation" (both share the 60625 code), these north-side communities are home to sizable Central American, Indian, Middle Eastern, European and East Asian populations, and boast a food scene that's equally as multi-cultural. While there's plenty of food options to choose from in the area, I recommend Orga Tea Cafe & Grill for a Falafel Sandwich ($3.75).
Oh, Thanksgiving, why are you only once a year? What injustice is it that you're not once a month—nay, once a week? I raise my fists to the sky in desire of piles of turkey and cranberry sauce! I shake them at the heavens in deep, deep sorrow and internal rage! Luckily, there is hope. Jaffa is the only lunch place I know of in the Loop that carves a giant turkey right off the bone in front of you.
Chef Paul Virant's wrap at Falafill is one messy sandwich, but it's a mess of the best kind.
Located just west of the Damen/Milwaukee/North intersection, this Sultan's Markets is a long-time staple of the neighborhood for good reason—it's as delicious as it is reasonably priced. The falafel sandwich costs just less than four dollars, giving it one of the highest taste to cost ratios in the city.
If you were struck by some hunger pangs while looking over The Best Falafel in the Loop slideshow, but don't particulary want to make the trek downtown today, you are in luck.
We're not that interested in diets, but if you're looking for an area to load on lunchtime vegetables, downtown is a surprisingly good place to do so. In fact, though we may be famous for deep dish and overloaded hot dogs, one of the most common dishes to found downtown is a vegetarian dish. We speak of falafel.
If you're in the mood for Mediterranean food for lunch that doesn't cost an arm, a leg, or a kidney, I Dream of Falafel will fill that fried-chickpea-hole in your heart. And if you're not in the mood for chickpeas, they have lots of meat too.