My search for the best falafel in New York continues….

SADLY, UNIVERSITY PITA IS NOW CLOSED.

UNIVERSITY PITA, 21 East 12th Street (between Fifth Avenue and University Place), Union SquareFalafel has now become as ubiquitious as pizza in this city. You can find falafel on almost every corner and most of it gives the vegetarian  dish a bad name. I’ve tried to focus my journey on the most popular and well-regarded falafel joints in the city and I’ve been mostly impressed. It was bound to happen that sooner or later I’d stumble upon some of that bland and dry chickpea balls I had feared.

You Don't Want to Stay

I’ve walked by University Pita many times. It’s more a window than a restaurant (although there is makeshift seating upstairs). The Israeli-owned kosher spot must do pretty well – especially since they’re in between Union Square and NYU. But based on the falafel sandwich I tasted one evening, they’ve just gotten lucky.

Falafel Sandwich at UNIVERSITY PITA

You couldn’t consider my falafel pita overly cheap at $5.50, especially considering the quality was very poor. The most offensive part of the sandwich was the falafel itself: bland, dry, and without any discernible crunch.

Bland and Dry

Not even the white sauce could bring these limp falafel balls to life. They were tepid and mealy. Where were the spices and herbs that are supposed to be in the mix?

The rest of the ingredients weren’t much better. It was loaded with salty pickles and something that resembled and tasted like cole slaw. Perhaps they’re putting all the crunchy vegetables in the sandwich to distract from the falafel’s lack of crunch. Sadly, I ended up throwing the sandwich away after a few bites.

Fried to Order???

I’m actually surprised the falafel was as bad as it was. It looks like they’re frying them throughout the day, but mine must have been sitting out for close to an hour before it was served to me. My guess is that the large clientele are bargoers and college kids who are so drunk they can’t taste anything. Sadly, there’s nothing to taste here.

Does University Pita have the best falafel in NY? With falafel balls this bland and dry, not by a long shot. Sadly, they only get a 4 out of 10 for their low quality ingredients and pathetic falafel.

UNIVERSITY PITA
21 East 12th Street (between Fifth Avenue and University Place),
Union Square
(212) 924-4333
universitypita.com
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Category: Falafel

About the Author

Brian Hoffman is a classically trained actor who is now a full-time tour guide, blogger, and food obsessive. He leads food and drink tours around New York City, which not only introduce tour-goers to delicious food, but gives them a historical context. He also writes food articles for Gothamist and Midtown Lunch in addition to overseeing this blog and a few food video series, including Eat This, Locals Know, and Around the World in One City.

2 Responses to FALAFEL REVIEW: University Pita

  1. emily says:

    Unfortunately this place has closed, but I couldnt disagree with you more fully on your review. My husband is from Tel Aviv and this is one of the closest finds to authentic falafel we have found in NYC. I am just curious what falafel you find tasty here in NYC?

  2. Brian Hoffman says:

    Too bad to hear it’s closed. Although I didn’t like their falafel, I hate to see small businesses go out of business.

    I have never been to Israel, but based on other versions I’ve had in NYC, this dense and dry falafel pales in comparison. For Israeli style falafel, I think Murray’s, Taim, and Azuri are all excellent and tasty options. Have you been to any of those?

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