Falafel Drive In (Middle Eastern cuisine)  $

JaT Rating

2301 Stevens Creek Blvd, San Jose, 95128  (Directions)


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Busy middle-eastern fast food that also serves up burgers and hot dogs

Reviewer: Jason
Total Reviews: 1040
Reviewed: 8/23/2004
Rating: 9
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I'll need to come back and re-review Falafels Drive-In. Wasnt too hungry so I ordered the small Falafel sandwich. It was one of the best Falafels Ive had and its dammm cheap.

A longer review will be posted when I return. I need to order meat to give my full review. From what I can tell, Falafel is the real deal, excellent prices and great tasting food.

  RETURN VISIT for Jason! 7/8/2005 - 9 Rating: I just read my previous review and said I needed to eat meat for a full review? Ahh..I dont think so, I order the large falafel sandwich and completely satisfied. I dont even know if the meat dishes are worth ordering since the falafels are so damm good. The sandwiches are filled to the rim with the green deep fried goodies. You gotta eat the sandwich fast though or else the sandwich starts to fall apart. Good thing its in a paper wrapper.

pita - large pita that holds quite a bit. its the ones you can pick up at your middle eastern/greek delis...great stuff

falafels - crunchy and hot, more on the green looking side. Excellent

toppings - cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, spicey sauce, hummus - all excellent

One day i'll have to try their meat products but its gonna be hard to wean me off those tasty falafels.

Reviewer: Terry
Total Reviews: 739
Reviewed: 8/20/2004
Rating: 9
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Falafels Drive In was quite the find. It looks like an old fashioned burger stand and serves up burgers and dogs but the primary selection is assorted middle eastern and greek food. There was quite the line when we arrived at noon on a Friday (see image #3) but it moved quickly. Even better, our order was served up quickly too.

It was hard to find a table outside, but something cleared up and we got lucky. There was a number of flies, but was still a nice time to be had outside.

The falafel sandwich was tasty. I really like the red sauce they put in it. Its not the normal middle eastern flavor I am used to, its almost a mexican red sauce. A bit spicy, but very tasty. The falafel balls themselves were very soft and moist. They worked well with the sandwich format as they weren't too tough, ruining the pita. I ate it quickly.

I also had to order the hummus. I ordered the small hummus and it also had a bit of the red sauce on top. The hummus itself though was amazing. It seemed to be almost identical to Habibi style. INCREDIBLE. Wasn't too runny, nice lemony taste, yet not too much garlic either. Perfect. The pita bread, out of the bag, was fresh and tasty.

The burgers and dogs looked tasty and a few ordered this so they can't be too bad. I tasted a fry and they were legit. Very greasy and salty. :) I have heard that the shakes here are legit as well and very popular with the customers.

All in all, I rate this very high, nearly the best middle eastern food I've had and nice, quick, and cheap. Give it a try!
Agent Rating

Reviewer: MikeKT
Total Reviews: 4
Reviewed: 7/1/2005
Rating: 9
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Falafels Drive-In was one of our first San Jose eating experiences since the move back down from Washington State. Our real estate agents took us there - possibly to try to show us all that San Jose has to offer. We were both impressed.

The 'drive-in' factor is pretty interesting. While they continue to sell burgers, hot dogs and shakes, the falafel is the main attraction. Inexpensive, large portions, and tasty. They might consider taking it a step further by having your falafel delivered on rollerskates. Actually skip that - ridiculous idea.

The place was crowded for lunch - I assume this is typical. But the line moved at a decent pace, and the orders were turned around quickly. Point? Don't be scared by the long line. You will also want to keep your seating options open. Not many tables for the amount of customers. If you find a seat, consider yourself lucky. If not, eat in your car. Or head back to work. Be warned that parking was a bit hectic - so be prepared to search for awhile before finding a spot.

Falafel sandwiches were freshly prepared - nice hot falafel, fresh pita, flavorful tahini and hummus. We also had a side of pita chips that were really great - I highly recommend them with an order of hummus for dipping. Falafels Drive-In also gets a thumbs up for serving up some great 'spicy' sauce (that thankfully was served on the side).

We will definitely head back to Falafels Drive-In. If you are a falafel fan, you should do the same.

Reviewer: Phuc
Total Reviews: 13
Reviewed: 8/14/2005
Rating: 8.5
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Who knew falafels can be that good. If you had them here, you probabaly wouldn't even mind that you're not eating meat. I've been here a few times for many reasons, the food is great, it's a healthy alternative to other fast foods, and it's right over the overpass where I work.

Most of the time they are busy, probably because the get advertisement through word of mouth or by the newspapers and magazines that they're in. Although the line is long, the workers are efficient and they get that line moving quick.

I always get the same thing when I go there (their menu isn't not that big anyways): the small gyros in a pita, and eight falafel balls (25 cents each.) the gyros is great, kind of messy because the pita falls apart, but the meat is tasty and the white sauce they put it gives it a good cheesy taste. The falafel balls are what you come for. I could eat these all day. Made of beans, veggies and spices, then fried for a crispy outer shell.

I tried the Baba-Ghannouj once, while it's not bad, it's something of an aquired taste, not for everyone. Not something you can eat a lot of at once either. It's basically an eggplant blended with other stuff. The Koubby, a meatball of ground beef, spices and pine nuts, with a crunchy outer layer, was different, but also average.

They also make fresh banana shakes, which was a little above average.

I recommend trying this place out, it's healthy, cheap, and if you've never had Middle-Eastern food before, it's a great place to start.

Reviewer: Grace
Total Reviews: 42
Reviewed: 11/8/2005
Rating: 9
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I stop by Falafel's drive in all the time after class to grab one of their combos. They have a combo where you get a large falafel and a banana shake, and that's what I usually get. Their banana shake is the best out of all their shakes as they use real fruit, and I believe they use powder/syrup for their other shakes.

Their food has been good almost all the times I've had it. Sometimes the falafel balls are a bit dry, but they give you extra sauce on the side, so you can add that on top and it makes your problems go away. Their fries are also quite tasty, but kind of random to be serving along with hot dogs and hamburgers at a falafel stand. Their hummus is good, but they could improve by putting them in better containers. They put them into regular togo boxes, and if you're not careful they spill out of the sides in your car. I've also had a bad tabouleh experience with them, something in the salad was really bitter but it was only every few bites and I kept on eating it because I was hungry and I didn't have any money to buy myself another lunch on campus. The few times I've had it before was good, but then I had it a few times where they probably had a bad cucumber or something, so I've stopped risking it.

Overall this is a great place to eat. The service is quick, it's busy, and the prices are inexpensive. I eat here all the time and will continue to do so.

Reviewer: pyunnyhana
Total Reviews: 47
Reviewed: 6/9/2006
Rating: 9
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1st day
I went with their Lrg Falafel and Banana Shake for 6.50.

Falafel sandwich: GOOOOD. The falafels were crispy outside, moist and bright green on the inside, and were packed inside the pita bread with this spicy red sauce and white sauce. I prefer this over House of Falafel. The only disappointment I encountered was when I got to the last bite. Before I knew it, I had finished my sandwich =[

Banana Shake: I was little apprehensive when I saw that they had the drinks already made, sitting on the side (for not too long however), but it didn't really affect my shake. The banana shake was smooth, sweet and cooling.

2nd day
MY GOODNESS there were A LOT OF PEOPLE! They need more windows and an actual parking lot. I wanted to try something different and bought onion rings and a fish burger (total $5.25)

Onion rings: hot and crispy. Not much to say other than standard, but good.

Fish Burger: The burger was HUGE. Huge buns, huge fish patty. I say it's pretty decent considering that it's not their specialty.

I thought it was pretty funny that they have all of the falafel orders pre-made during the lunch hour (I'm inferring that 90% of the customers order the falafel and banana shake combo). I guess it's a good idea so service would be quicker and the line would go faster (or else people would be lining up the entire Stevens Creek Blvd). On the intercom, the guy would call out, 'ALL YOUR ORDERS ARE READY' and he would hand the people their falafel.

Pros: fast, cheap, TASTY, banana shake + falafel is the way to go

Cons: lack of parking, lack of ordering windows

Falafel Drive In is my new regular falafel eat-out.

Reviewer: ne00
Total Reviews: 187
Reviewed: 11/28/2006
Rating: 8.5
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Summary: Friendly service, value prices, speedy orders, and hidden inside seating.

I have been having car troubles lately so I have not gone out to eat in the past three weeks. My friend wanted to hit up Falafel Drive In tonight for dinner, plus I owe him a meal for chauffeuring me around from work so often. We arrived at 7pm and we lucked out on a parking spot. There are only 5 parking spots at this historical dive with only a little more parking on the side street.

Tonight was a cold night and looked like we would have to sit outside but he said there are seats inside. From the outside it did not look like there is indoor seating but there is a side door and around 6 tables indoors. We waited to order our food indoors, and several patrons who ordered out doors saw is walk in, they followed with their food to eat indoors as well. Several people commented that they didnt know there was indoor seating. The guys inside began inviting everyone in since it was so cold outside.

My friend ordered a falafel salad with extra white sauce and hot sauce; I ordered a small chicken in a pita, fish sandwich, onion rings, and banana shake. Total rang up to $18. Not bad for the amount of food ordered. We waited not even five minutes and our food was ready. When I picked up the food from the counter the guy said my fish was still swimming, I assumed not many people order the fish burger so they are deep frying it.

Chicken in a Pita (small): Was over stuffed with grilled chicken pieces. This small item was large in my eyes. I cannot imagine what the large would look like. The pita had a lot of chicken pieces. The chicken themselves didnt have a lot of taste and was a bit on the dry side. Later I found out why the pita looked so big, because all the salad was stuffed on the bottom. This was still a big item for the price with plenty of chicken. Not as tender as the chicken at House of Falafel. (7.5/10)

Fish Sandwich: Once the sandwich was done, the guy brought it over to the table. This is a huge fish sandwich. Large lightly toasted buns with lettuce, tomatoes, light mayo spread, and a large square deep fried fish. I liked the fish sandwich a lot more than the chicken in a pita item. The fish was crispy on the outside and flakey on the inside. (8.5/10)

Onion Rings: Deeply fried on the outside. The onion rings had just the right amount of batter and were flavorful on its own without need for ketchup. There were plenty to share. (8/10)

Banana Milk Shake: Cold, creamy, icy banana milk shake with taste of real bananas in every sip. This is a winner. Not too sweet and plenty of it, ready to be sipped upon arrival. (9.5/10)

While we ate several more people came in to order and since it was also their first time there the owner explained the ingredients in certain items and made recommendations. The owner waved as we left and everyone inside seems cheery and warm.

Pluses: Abundant menu items, friendly and fast service, affordable prices, inside seating and plenty of outside seating.

Minuses: Only 5 parking spots with a few on the side street, cash only, paper plates and plastic utensils.


Reviewer: Dan
Total Reviews: 84
Reviewed: 8/23/2007
Rating: 9
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First visit: I spotted Falafel's Drive In while running a lunchtime errand, remembered the Jatbar review, and immediately parked. The line was about 10 deep but moved fairly fast. I ordered the large falafel sandwich and received my meal in about 2 minutes. I was not disappointed with the result, a nice-sized pita stuffed with yummy goodness. I was a little annoyed that they put hot sauce on my sandwich until I tasted it...yum. How do I get some more of this stuff? (Turns out you can ask for it when you order). The falafel itself was super moist and alarmingly green inside. I finished quickly and my hunger was sated. With tax and tip the total was $4.50. Quite a deal.

On my recent visit here, I showed up about 11:50 a.m. and there was a short line. I had the right order dialed-in this time based on my last visit (and other reviews on Jatbar): large falafel sandwich w/ extra hot sauce and extra tamari, plus a banana shake. $7 total. What a deal! Service was super fast: They handed me my food while I was still putting the change in my wallet...talk about instant gratification! I sat down at a table outside and began chowing. My falafel sandwich was as good as before. The falafel balls were fresh, moist and delicious. I think this my be the best falafel in the bay area. I studied the hot sauce � it's kind of ketchupy. (I'm wondering if they just mix ketchup with hot sauce?). Anyway, it's not THAT hot, and I was able to add a couple of blobs without overheating myself. My only nit was that there didn't seem to be enough falafel balls inside the wrap this time and they were all on top. The entire bottom half was mostly salad. It was a sad moment when I finished, but I quickly started on the banana shake. This was not only delicious but went well with the falafel, and had a nice cooling effect on the palate after the hot sauce. I left with a very happy tummy. This felt like a classic bay area meal for good value. Very satisfying.

One thing I noticed was the line got HUGE at exactly 12 noon. It was at least 25 people deep and growing rapidly. Yikes! I'm not sure I would have patience to stand in that line, but it seemed to be moving quickly. Parking seemed to be an issue too. I was wondering if I should take away points for crowds, but I have yet to be burned myself, so I won't. Besides, the easy workaround is just to go a little early.

Pros: Best falafel in bay area? Low prices, quick service
Cons: Sometimes skimp on the falafel balls, can be very crowded

Reviewer: wchane
Total Reviews: 148
Reviewed: 8/31/2006
Rating: 8.5
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Everyone else pretty much said it all. Chicken in a pita, Falafel, Banana Shake, onion rings, falafel chips, etc.

there's nothing fancy about this place, just great service, and no frills good good.

They could be more generous with the hot sauce, but other then that I have no complaints.

User submitted quickies (help)

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aquagrl800 ate...

Large falafel pita

Lots of food, couldn't finish. Didn't get the banana shake, which I've been told is the best part. Mooched some fries off a friend which were quite yummy as well. Good for falafel!

12/3/2008 4:35:59 PM

5150dpd ate...


Although the guy at the counter can be rude at times the Falafel is great with a banana shake giving them a 9. The gyro with pita makes the pita soggy, meat can be a bit dry sometimes 7.

7/10/2007 12:08:26 PM

Jason ate...

banana shake, large falafel combo

I love the banana shake, made with real bananas. Large falafel sandwich was very filling and filled to the rim with falafel balls. Needed more hot sauce as it was kinda dry at the bottom. I ate fast enough today without the sandwich falling apart.

1/8/2007 9:02:21 PM

Terry ate...

large falafel, banana shake, tabouleh

Damn, should have said extra hot, extra tahini. Mine was dry by the time I got to the bottom of it, but otherwise it was fantastic. Banana shake was good to try, but not legendary. So damn cheap. My review stands.

1/8/2007 1:09:59 PM

capnhank ate...

Large falafel and pita chips

A San Jose staple. Always order "extra hot, extra tahini" if you want to make sure the pita is soggy by the time you're done. Great pita chips, too. Dip 'em in the hot sauce!

10/6/2006 4:09:00 PM