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Joe's Falafel

PHOTOS: Holly Liss

Going to a hyped up restaurant can be like lucking your way into bed with a supermodel. Society tells you that this will inevitably be the best experience of your life. Expectations are high. Like, very, very high. High enough that we actually feel pretty bad for whatever uni-infused truffled asparagus or street taco that’s been on every Top 10 list in the city that we’re about to put in our mouths. And it begs the question: does reality live up to expectations?

Hint: it often doesn’t. Luckily for Joe’s Falafel though, they don’t play that game.

First of all, Joe’s is in the Valley, which is basically the strip mall of Los Angeles. Secondly, it’s in an actual strip mall. On what’s basically a service road to the 101. The crowd is unimpressive to non-existent because there’s a decent shot you’ve actually never heard of Joe’s. But all that means for you is the opportunity to park at the restaurant itself, which is a true a miracle in this city. But the real miracle here is the food: the staples of every other Mediterranean spot in LA, all just done a bit better than the competition, at the same damn price.

With kabobs, pita, rice, hummus, and salads, the menu looks nearly identical to your standard Zankou Chicken, and so does the place itself. But everything just tastes so much better. The kebabs are worlds more tender, the pita fluffier, and the salads with a delicious dressing as opposed it, you know, no dressing at all. Joe’s is the perfect solo lunch spot or dinner with a few friends when everybody wants some shwarma and not an ounce of hassle.

This place might not look like a supermodel, but let’s face it: it’s what on the inside that counts.

Food Rundown

Beef Kebabs

Just perfect. A flavorful char without allowing the meat to get tough.

Lemon Chicken

The most popular dish here. The chicken is delicious, though we question if the “lemon sauce” isn’t just some honey mustard with a little lemon juice. We’re not complaining. Just confused.

Kafta

Not overly seasoned, allowing the beef to be the star. Big portions, as well, which will always win us over.

Chicken Kebabs

A flatter cut of meat, opposed to the usual chunks, allowing for a little extra char and seasoning. Would be a must-order any place that didn’t have those beef kebabs.

Pita And Hummus

Fluffy, thick pita dipped into a generously flavored hummus. Doesn’t get much better than this.

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