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Falafel duo: Cafe Posh and Cafe Sababa


It appears that The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s new offices sit right in the heart of the Great Northern Falafel Belt. We’re a stone’s throw from both Hovan Gourmet and OU For U, which I think are two of the city’s best venues for these fried balls of ground, seasoned chickpeas. Now I’ve learned that if I venture just a little farther afield, more goodness awaits.

Following the advice of readers responding to my recent falafel post, I checked out two places nearby. Cafe Posh in Sandy Springs is a bright, clean, upscale coffee shop with an appealing line up of sandwiches, salads and soups offered at lunch. The falafel salad seemed a bit dear at $9.99, but I enjoyed every bite. The falafel balls themselves are bright green with parsley and have a cakey texture and a fresh taste. Five of them came perched atop a romaine salad outfitted with cukes, tomatoes, onions, feta cheese, roasted red pepper strips and thin, creamy-textured grilled eggplant slices in a tahini vinaigrette. It was as swank a presentation of falafel as I’ve ever seen. My only two minor complaints (besides the price) are these: 1. The salad became a little watery toward the bottom of the bowl, as if the greens were damp going in. 2. The waiter needed to be better trained in table service. He asked if I was finished with the perfectly empty bowl, I said “yes,” and he left it there.

photo 1Cafe Sababa, in a blink-and-you’ve-missed-it Dunwoody mini-mall, serves a more straightforward Mediterranean menu: Shish kebab, gyros, tabbouleh and so forth. The falafel sandwich ($5.95, right) was a familiar friend, with lettuce, tomato, tahini and hot sauce in a rolled pita. The balls themselves had that dried-seasoning flavor you’d recognize from a zillion New York street carts. But I was happy that the choice of sides included tabbouleh instead of fries. Chef/owner Doni Tamli is a big, cheerful, gray-haired man who calls you “friend” and pops out of the kitchen to see how things were going.

photo 2He brought me a little cup of his house-made szug (left), which is the condiment of my dreams. Gobs of garlic, cilantro, oil and hot peppers combine to felicitous effect in this sauce popularized in Israel by Yemenite Jews. Between the low prices and and the free-flowing szug, I’m tempted to explore this place further.

If you’d like a recipe for szug, I tested one several years ago, and it’s a doozy.

22 comments Add your comment

Dunwoody Don

August 25th, 2010
5:06 pm

I’ll try both, but did either have baba ganoush as good as Hovan Gourmet’s (I love tabbouleh, but eat it for lunch 3-4 times a week)?


August 25th, 2010
6:39 pm

John, you’ve really got to check out Mediterranean Bakery on Chamblee Tucker Rd.


August 26th, 2010
7:45 am

Mediterranean Grill: Decatur, Midtown, Marietta. Go. Now.


August 26th, 2010
7:52 am

Jerusalem Bakery in Alpharetta? I know you’ve mentioned the place before.

Elias P.

August 26th, 2010
7:58 am

Zack’s right: The Mediterranean Bakery on Chamblee Tucker is wonderful. Falafel is great, but so is everything else. It’s a family place, and the owner is as nice as can be. They have a grocery too.


August 26th, 2010
8:18 am

Divana Mediterranean Grill. Exit 16 I-985, in the Publix shopping center. This is a friendly little place with great falafel , taboulis, grape leaves, and kibbe. It’s exciting to have some variety out here in the sticks!


August 26th, 2010
8:59 am

10th street by GA Tech


August 26th, 2010
9:00 am

don’t know the name of it but my friend lives near 10th street and he loves it. Does anyone know the name.


August 26th, 2010
9:29 am

Again, while not traditional, Star Provisions version of this Turkish classic is out of this world. You need to check it out.


August 26th, 2010
9:45 am

I agree with Zack


August 26th, 2010
2:12 pm

I like Mediterranean Bakery for certain things, the baba, the hummus and the grape leaves are fantastic! But the falafel to me always tastes like it’s made from one of those boxes in the health food aisle. I ALWAYS get it anyway, hoping it will get better, but sadly it never does. It stinks because it’s close to home AND y’all were right, the owner could not be any nicer. I still like Pita Palace and Zaya’s, as I’ve yet to try any of the others.


August 26th, 2010
2:13 pm

Oh, and I think Leon’s Intl. Bakery in the Tucker/Doraville area has perfectly fine falafel, also.


August 26th, 2010
4:47 pm

Because this blog is updated so infrequently, I will no longer visit this site. I will say that the content was very good, what little of it there was. Good luck.


August 26th, 2010
7:44 pm

I am Lebanese American, grew up in Atlanta, and have tried everyones falafel. Trust me, hands down, Leon International Foods at 4000-A Pleasantdale Rd. N.E.
Atlanta, Georgia  30340. They are a middle eastern food market and have many items, but falafel is the only reason you need to go. I was just in the Middle East for 16 days and I assure you I couldn’t wait to get home to grab a falafel sandwich. Great article. Hope this helps.

John Kessler

August 26th, 2010
10:08 pm

How could I forget Leon! I love that place. In fact, I catered my wife’s birthday party from there. Also love their muhamarra (roasted pepper dip). That man is such a gracious soul, too.


August 27th, 2010
10:01 am

Leon’s is great, but they’re only open until 6:30!

Richard Miller

August 27th, 2010
11:45 am

He’s right on about Doni. You should try this place.


August 27th, 2010
2:11 pm

Dunwoody Don – I’ve never had the baba ganoush at Hovan’s, but I can tell you that Cafe Sababa’s baba is fabulous. The eggplant tastes smoked, not just roasted, and it isn’t too mayonaisie like some of the others.


August 27th, 2010
4:03 pm

I am a frequent patron of Cafe Sababa and I love the laid back atmosphere. You HAVE to try the Sababa Salad! Chef Tamli puts a delicious spin on the traditional Israeli Salad and I can’t stop eating it. I take all my friends and family to eat there. Also a fan of the lamb burger, yumm….now I am hungry.


August 27th, 2010
4:35 pm

Sababa has a great Israeli salad with goat cheese that is just delicious and my favorite is the lamburger. I’ll never heat a hamburger again. It was moist and flavorful with not dripping fat.


August 28th, 2010
10:00 am

Sababa Cafe’s Baba is the best.. The Lamb Burger is to die for also. The food is made to order and fresh. My fav is the Appetizer sampler with Hummus, Baba, Salad and Falafel with Tehini. The best!!


August 29th, 2010
5:15 pm

Cafe Sababa is the best! I have taken my very picky friends there, and they love it! You have got to try the Lamb Burger and the Shish Kabobs, to die for! And the rice that comes with it is amazing as well. Friendly atmosphere and great food! Check it out!