When you think of Amsterdam, falafel is probably not the first greenish thing that you think of, but that might change after you try a falafel from newcomer shop, Amsterdam Falafelshop (642 Beacon St) new to the Fenway area,(okay in truth it probably won’t, but just humor me).
The Amsterdam Falafelshop fits in well with the surrounding restaurants and can serve as a healthier fast food alternative. As their tag line suggests “Simply, the best falafel,” ordering here is very simple. You can determine what portion size you want of either small (3 falafel balls) or regular (5 falafel balls) and whether or not you want it in a white or wheat pita or a less carbo-load of a bowl. The bowls are also the gluten-free option. The sandwiches have the fixed price of $5.45 and $6.85 respectively, while the bowls are weighed by the pound. Most bowls end up costing between $7.00 – $8.00.
Speaking of fixings, you have over 22 varieties to choose from. Everything is made in house from scratch, including the falafel, with the exception of the pickles which are imported from The Middle East for their authentic flavoring. Some of the offerings include pickled beets, pickled salad, crunchy onions, fried eggplant, jalepeño cilantro sauce and pickled turnips. My particular favorite was the “sepharic” salad which is kind of like salsa, but without the spice.
For my order, I decided to go for the traditional pita. Come to find out, there is a trick to getting as many fixings your sandwich. First you must crush your balls – get your 12 year-old boy mind outta the gutter! – crush the falafel balls sheesh! That will usually allow for them to stick to one side of the pita allowing for you to put either tahini or garlic sauce on the other. Then you just pile on whatever you want. It was also recommended to me to eat it about halfway through and then come back and refill. Yes! You’re even allowed to come back and fill up some more without paying anything extra. They even have you put your new toppings into small plastic containers to avoid cross contamination.
As for taste, I really enjoyed the crunch and spiciness of the falafel. It had a lot of flavor, but not a lot of heat. I also liked that the sauces were at the beginning of the buffet line rather than at the end – more like traditional sandwich making. The whole wheat pita was a little sweet for my liking, but it held all of the toppings very well, so I wasn’t apt to make a big mess.
The cone shape that it comes in also fits perfectly circular openings that have been purposefully drilled into the tables. They thought of everything!
In addition to falafel, they sell twice fried fries or “frieten” fries. The fry itself is pretty bland, but that is because it can be paired with various sauces. My favorite of the sauces has to be the curry ketchup. They need to bottle that stuff up! I wasn’t such a fan of the dutch mayo, but when I mixed it with the curried ketchup, it was a very tasty combo.
To drink, they recommend the house made lemonade. My server said it was a bit bitter that day, but I rather liked it that way.
I wasn’t in the mood for dessert, but if you are a chocolate lover, they also have “virgin brownies”. The name is making sure you know they’re don’t contain that “other” green stuff.
Overall, Amsterdam Falafelshop takes pitas to the next level with this little shop where you can get a quick made-to-order meal (because you make it yourself) that you don’t have to feel guilty about!