Address: 1101 Corydon Ave
Phone: (204) 489-5811
For more than 20 years Winnipeggers have flocked to Falafel Place, where fresh bacon, eggs, pancakes and falafels are served up with chutzpa. Last July, owners Ami Hassan and Dean Desrochers bought a building on Corydon (formerly home to the Belgian Bakery) after moving twice since 1986. This new location has the same bustling atmosphere and menu of short-order breakfasts, lunches and Middle Eastern favourites just like bubbie makes.
The current location seats 65 people, 16 more than they had previously. And just like their former home down the street, guests can soak in the culinary action at the small counter alongside the open kitchen. The sunny room has a cozy diner feel with cafe-style tables and a row of cushy, coveted booths. Hassan and Desrochers have always been part of the attraction and they still use that same lively, hands-on approach. When Hassan’s eagle eyes spot an empty ketchup bottle on our table, he promptly swoops out of the kitchen to refill it.
The falafel breakfast includes traditional toast and eggs, but diners order it for the outstanding cumin- and coriander-spiced falafels. A generous dollop of garlicky hummus and zippy house-made tahini sauce are served alongside the crunchy balls.
In fact, this hummus and tahini are served with most dishes on the menu, including a smoky eggplant baba ghanoush. Throughout the Middle East, eggplant is a central ingredient in many regional dishes. Eggplant purée is layered with tahini and hummus in the Falafel Place’s version of baba ghanoush. Swirl the dips together with a slice of grilled pita to create a unique taste combination that bites and smoulders all at once.
Light lunch items include the satisfying Greek snack food spanakopita. Savoury phyllo flakes away to reveal bright green spinach packed with soft morsels of feta. Ordering a plate of knishes produces two small baked buns sprinkled with paprika. The mashed potato filling feels luxuriously creamy and rich when paired with sides of sour cream and fried onions.
Four vegan soup options laden with lentils are offered, along with traditional Jewish matzo ball soup. Matzo is customarily consumed during Passover as a substitute for bread when eating leavened products is forbidden. But the dumpling’s popularity is now mainstream and eaten year-round as a tasty alternative to chicken noodle soup. Fluffy matzo balls lend their slightly salty taste to a large bowl of dill-flecked chicken broth. The balls’ gritty texture adds dynamic contrast to tender chunks of chicken and carrots that float in the broth.
The owners combine their Middle Eastern flair with regional ingredients as Manitoba’s iconic bison makes a surprising appearance. Shaved pieces of spicy meat with a hint of smokiness are nestled in a pita stuffed full of banana peppers, lettuce and cabbage.
An order of blintzes finishes off the meal with subtle sweetness. Cottage cheese is enhanced with a touch of cream cheese and vanilla, and then wrapped up in thin, crêpe-like pancakes. Sour cream, strawberry jam and a dusting of powdered sugar are delicious accompaniments. But resist lingering—the boisterous owners are known for making sure customers don’t putz around and sit on their tushes for too long.
Falafel Place is open daily 6:30 am-9 pm.