The exact origin of falafel is unknown, but the deep-fried balls of ground chickpeas (and sometimes fava beans) are held dear by a large chunk of the Middle East, including Syria, Israel, Palestine, Jordan and Lebanon. We can see why. Apart from being high in fibre and protein, they’re downright delicious. Add pita, some salad and a generous dollop of tahini for maximum satisfaction.

And perhaps best of all, considering these worrisome times, falafel is wonderfully suited to takeaway and delivery. Fingers crossed you live within five kilometres of one of these spots.

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Very Good Falafel

We can tell you this much: the name isn’t false advertising. It’s exactly what it says on the tin, very good falafel and little else. Very Good Falafel is owned by the Rosenboim family, and the chickpeas used in the falafel and hummus come direct from the Rosenboim’s farm just outside of Melbourne. Doesn’t get much fresher than that.

629 Sydney Road, Brunswick

Falafel Place

Continuing the theme of earnestly-named falafel purveyors, this humble Smith Street spot is great value for money. The portion sizes are huge, especially considering what you pay. Although the falafel are excellent, the sides star: salads taste fresh, the pickles have just the right amount of acid, and chillies provide heat without overpowering anything. Try a halloumi wrap if you’re on a break from falafel.

264 Smith Street, Collingwood

Tahina

This High Street spot (with another location in Fitzroy) is a beloved Northcote staple. According to Estelle owner Scott Pickett, Tahina has “the best falafel, the best hummus. I get a falafel and hummus pita with green chilli every time, and it’s amazing.” If you don’t live nearby, you can find Tahina on most delivery platforms.

223 High St, Northcote

Oasis Fairfield

This sequel to the Murrumbeena original is one of the best Middle Eastern grocers in town. But its in-house diner deserves more attention (even though it’s takeaway-only right now). The falafel wrap is one of many options on the all-day menu, but it’s absolutely stellar.

96 Station Street, Fairfield

Oasis Bakery

You can find the same great falafel at the OG Oasis. In the grocery section, you can also buy some falafel to cook at home.

9/993 North Road, Murrumbeena

The Left-Handed Chef

This used to be an Israeli cafe, but last year it became a restaurant. Since then, we reckon it’s really hit its stride. Hummus bowls star and a chicken-schnitzel sandwich made with challah is a knockout. But the falafel – shaped and cooked to order – are quiet achievers, whether had in a pita pocket or on their own.

219 Park Street, South Melbourne
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Miznon

Eyal Shani is the host of Masterchef Israel. Although celebrity chef-led restaurant chains have a patchy track record, Miznon is a bona fide success story. Falafel shows up across the menu here, usually as a side, but sometimes as the hero of a pita wrap.

59 Hardware Lane, Melbourne

Half Moon Cafe

Anyone who tries a dish here – kebabs and falafel are the bestsellers – is an instant convert. Half Moon inspires devotion, and the fervour is especially strong for the falafel. These golden nuggets are made the Egyptian way – with broad beans (not chickpeas) mixed with copious coriander and parsley.

13 Victoria Street, Coburg

Tavlin

Near Balaclava? Need falafel and/or hummus? Tavlin’s your spot. You can have falafel in a pita, a wrap, a hummus bowl, a salad bowl, on a plate or on top of some loaded fries. However you get it, it’ll come topped with amba, an Iraqi mango sauce that’s equal-parts sweet and tart.

302 Carlisle Street, Balaclava

New Jaffa

This Israeli diner just off Smith Street has some of the best hummus in the city. But falafel’s sparse appearances on the menu – in pitas, as a side – are memorable turns. Leave room for the chocolate babka or the peanut butter brownie for dessert. Trust us.

32 Stanley Street, Collingwood

Bekka

The finest falafel in Moonee Ponds? Quite possibly. Almost every dish on the menu at this Lebanese restaurant is a home run, but the falafel – made using chickpeas and broad beans – is good, good stuff. Falafel also comes in the affordable banquet, which we recommend if you’re ordering for two or more.

22 Hall Street, Moonee Ponds

A1 Bakery

It’s A1, so of course the falafel’s good. Have yours in a wrap or as a platter, or just add a couple on to whatever else you’re ordering – one ball costs less than a dollar.

643-645 Sydney Road, Brunswick

Abla’s

The chicken rice (rightfully) hogs the limelight at this Carlton institution, but just as much care goes into the falafel. Abla has been making falafel since 1979, so she knows what she’s doing.

109 Elgin Street, Carlton

Just Falafs

Yet another cleverly named falafel spot, these falafel are no joke. They’re really running the show here, and there’re a lot of options. On top of a healthy line-up of pitas and plates, there are family packs and date-night deals. Falafel dominate proceedings.

207 St Georges Road, Fitzroy North

Téta Mona

At this is all-purpose Middle Eastern diner, falafel appears in many meal deals. But if you’re a purist, go for the DIY bowl, and customise to your heart’s content.

100A Lygon Street, Brunswick East

Advi's Falafels

The Lebanese-style falafel here are served like an open souvlaki on pita with hummus and four types of salad. Most of the rest of the menu is vegan (including the baklava), with one notable exception: deep-fried haloumi fries.

16 Ballarat Street, Yarraville