Indy’s Best Falafel Spots

Stuffed into pitas or served straigh-up on mezze platters, the popular Middle Eastern street food adds its trademark crunch to local menus.

Canal Bistro
6349 Guilford Ave., 317-254-8700
Consulting a recipe from his native Egypt, where many say the snack was first created, owner George Hanna uses fava beans for a creamier center.

Petra Cafe
610 Massachusetts Ave., 317-602-3535
The patties at this Mass Ave late-night hub get a hit of garlic and a whole spice rack of seasonings and fresh herbs.

Mayfair Taproom
2032 E. 10th St., 317-419-2393
A frequent special here, the falafel burger has ample seasoning to balance flavor-forward toppings like tzatziki sauce and feta.

Sahara Restaurant
832 Broad Ripple Ave., 317-205-9300
A nice balance of spices makes this version from the eastern Mediterranean a good example of how the dish varies throughout the Middle East.

Pure Eatery
1043 Virginia Ave., 317-602-5724; 8235 E. 116th St., Fishers, 317-288-0285
Jalapeño lends a serious kick to Pure’s riff on the classic, served with nontraditional ranch dressing.

Al-Rayan Restaurant and Bakery
4873 W. 38th St., 317-986-7554
You might be tempted to skip right to the kebab platters and comforting Yemeni stews at this westside gem, but the crunchy yet light falafel are not to be missed.

A graduate of IU’s Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing, Terry Kirts hails from a town in Illinois so small it didn’t have a restaurant until he was in the 8th grade. Since 2000, he’s more than made up for the dearth of eateries in his childhood, logging hundreds of meals as the dining critic for WHERE Indianapolis, Indianapolis Woman, and NUVO before joining Indianapolis Monthly as a contributing editor in 2007. A senior lecturer in creative writing at IUPUI, Terry has published his poetry and creative nonfiction in a number of literary journals and anthologies, including Gastronomica, Alimentum, and Home Again: Essays and Memoirs from Indiana, and he’s the author of the poetry collection To the Refrigerator Gods, published by Seven Kitchens Press in 2011.