Love falafel? Who doesn’t? It’s a magical combination of chickpeas, veggies, herbs and spices all mixed up and fried into little balls. Maoz, an international chain of vegetarian falafel shops, has it down to a science. We’re lucky that Austin is one of the few US cities to have its own location, which opened up in The Triangle (Lamar and 46th) in early 2012. Grabbing a falafel in a pita is the standard go to, but we prefer grabbing a salad bowl. The bowl comes pre-filled with a little bit of lettuce and five falafel balls with plenty of room on top to spare for their rotating salad bar fixings: shredded carrots, red cabbage, green cabbage, beets, fried broccoli, cucumber and tomato salad, chickpeas, tabouli, olives, pickles and more. There’s a cilantro sauce at the end that I love to slather all over my salad, and a green chili hot sauce that Dan prefers. To top it all off, we grab the squeeze bottle of tahini and go to town.
The best part about Maoz is that they take their vegan customers seriously. Almost everything in the restaurant is vegan, and they’re not afraid to label it so. They offer vegan soups, and even have a vegan rice pudding dessert. Almost everything on the salad bar is vegan, and everything is clearly labeled vegan if it is. The fryer is a dedicated vegan fryer, so pile on that fried broccoli – it’s so good! Maoz is also incredibly gluten-free friendly, making their falafel balls gluten-free, and labeling the salad bar with gluten-free labels. They’re also trying out a new option of a vegan shawarma and vegan BBQ. When we were there, they mentioned that the shawarma is a chik’n style protein fried with onions and peppers, and the BBQ is a beef style protein marinated in BBQ sauce. The BBQ style was temporarily unavailable, but the shawarma was delicious and can be added in a wrap or salad.
We live nearby, so taking our food to-go is pretty standard, and we love that there are dedicated 10 min and 30 min parking spots right out front that are almost always available. If you plan to eat in, the sandwich is a steal at $6, as you get a little box for salad bar toppings that you can refill as many times as you like. If you get it to-go, they give you a slightly bigger salad container, so it’s still a good deal. If you’re grabbing a salad bowl, you can do like we do, and stuff it to the max and then head home and transfer it to a larger bowl for easy eating. This is one superb salad that will fill you up.
Disclaimer: This Top 20 series, presented in no particular order, is formed from the personal opinions of Marie and Daniel (that’s us!), for whom vegetables are not an area of expertise. We scoured Austin to find veggie-ful options for those like us, who’d probably rather be eating corn dogs, but are also happy to eat a salad if it’s tasty and filling. When not eating our veggies, we hone our skills at finding great oily, sugary, calorie-dense vegan foods, so if you’re into that too, check out last year’s Top 20 series. Happy eating!