Best Falafel - 2006
If you've never eaten falafel, you're missing an entire world. Literally. Falafel, a fried ball of spiced fava beans or chickpeas, is arguably the number-one food in the Middle East, sold everywhere from street vendors to fancy restaurants. Mandoah "Manny" Ebaid, a tireless, friendly, Egyptian-born restaurateur who runs Hollywood's popular Exotic Bites, provides a menu that highlights the versatility and healthiness of falafel. "This is healthy food that tastes great," Ebaid explains. "It's also a way to introduce people to my Egyptian culture." At Exotic Bites, you can eat falafel as an appetizer with toppings and pita bread ($4.95); as a main course served with hummus, tabouleh, and pita ($7.25); or as a sandwich in a pita wrap with the falafel broken into pieces and mixed with salad and sauce ($5.25). "A lot of people have tried falafel here for the first time, and I will bet that every single one came back a second time," Ebaid says. Chances are, considering how good the falafel is at Exotic Bites, you will too.