« Kennedy Manor Dining Room | Main | Table of contents: K »

King of Falafel

MirrorUpdate 2/26/10: King of Falafel is closed.

In a word: Beloved campus gem has its points.

The specs: #0297
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Badger Herald, Nov. 2005 and Sept. 2006, WiSJ Nov. 2004, April 2004, and Dec. 2005; at Groovy Mom, and at hartichoked, and at the Culinary Adventures of Jahboh and Tossy, and at Eating the World; QSC; review roundup at Dane101; table talk with Meshel Aldaee; Yelp page; official web site.

JM ate the lamb shawarma pita sandwich with a lemonade.
Nichole ate the falafel and hummus sandwich with the harerah (soup).
We split the beef sambosia appetizer.
The bill was $20, or $10/person, plus tip.
JM gave King of Falafel an A-; Nichole gave King of Falafel a B (see our grading rubric).

Latest King of Falafel news and reviews

King of Falafel

The dining room at King of Falafel must have been decorated by an expert. Somehow they took a boring drop-ceiling room and, with the judicious use of art and sweeping draperies to hide the fluorescent lights, managed to convey a kind of Kuwaiti-casual feel. It was fairly quiet (as usual) with only three of the roughly twelve other tables occupied.


A waiter brought complimentary hot tea with our menus, which was a great boon. Nichole drank hers, then JM's, then a refill of each. Spiked with cardamom and other delicious spices, it went down easy and needed no extra sugar.



The menu was packed with a wide variety of Middle Eastern dishes. For starters, we opted for the beef sambosia, little pockets of pastry filled with what turned out to be disappointingly bland ground beef. (Perhaps the cheese or veg version is better.) The sambosia did serve as great vehicles for the cucumber - lemon - yogurt dip, however, and the pastry itself was bubbly, crisp and translucent.

Lamb shawarma sandwich

This was one of those rare times that JM enjoyed an ethnic restaurant more than Nichole. His lamb pita was really, really tasty. The flavorful sauce in the sandwich mingled effortlessly with the lamb. The side of more yogurt sauce, though, went even better with the fries.


Nichole loved her harerah soup, a tomato-and-lentil house specialty with tiny little noodles. It came topped with addictively textured pita crisps which, again, were great for dipping in the yogurt sauce. The falafel itself, however, fell a little short on the peer scale. It wasn't quite hot even right out of the kitchen, and was just chilled further by the veggies wrapped up with it. The balls of falafel had an excellent, light texture and flavor enhanced by more vegetables than the standard falafel - which also gave the sandwich a playful green color. But in the end, the "King" in the name had built up expectations a little too high for this sandwich to deliver.

Falafel sandwich

While the appetizer we chose was a little bland, and the service could have used polishing, King of Falafel was an oasis of warm welcome on the dark end of Gilman Street. And, judging by the sheer number of reviews, King of Falafel has its fans in the Fourth Estate as well.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

I agree, King of Falafel terrible name but the food here is terrific and completely affordable. Well worth the visit. Good ambiance too.

I sampled King of Falafel at Taste of Madison yesterday. I was previously a falafel virgin, and if this truly is falafel fit for royalty, I must be indifferent to it completely. However, the lamb kebabs were amazing. Juicy, tender and spiced perfectly.

Guys gave me dirty forks,knived and very dirty glasses. When asked he mentioned to me that there could be some problem with the dish washer. food was tasty and the service sucks. Guys who came after us (white folks) got totally diffrent glasses (i could see clearly). could be this guys started really washing the utincils. This is not the kind of treatment I expected from an ethnic restaurent.

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear on this weblog until the author has approved them.

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In.


Listen to The Corner Table podcast "Remembering Restaurants," aired December 24, 2020, where Chris and Lindsay talk with us "about the menus and memories left behind when restaurants go away."

Madison Food coverInfo about our book Madison Food: A History of Capital Cuisine is here, or read it for free thanks to the library - print & ebook.



About Follow madisonatoz on Twitter Contact
Blogroll Ad 
Free Blog
Read our book and food tour
Dish du jour Creative Commons License subscribe to RSS Subscribe
Memo to restaurants Bloggers' Rights at EFF Quizzes
Reflections BlogWithIntegrity.com Tip jar
Banner image by Kayla Morelli, Red Wheelbarrow Design