The Best in Nazareth: Falafel Wisam Jabali
“I rolled my first falafel at the age of nine” Wisam explains. He points at his son and says, “I was about his age. Just as this was my father’s falafel shop before me, one day it will belong to him.” I haven’t even seen my falafel pita yet but know that I’m in the right place. This is what I’ve been looking for. The best local falafel shop in the town of Nazareth. I spent the morning seeing some of the historical sites Nazareth is known for, such as the Basilica of the Annunciation and Mary’s Well. As noon approached, it was time to continue looking for the best falafel the city had to offer. I had already found some that was good, but I wanted exceptional. Here is where I found The Best in Nazareth: Falafel Wisam Jabali.
A short walk from the city center, Falafel Wisam Jabali can be found next to a colorful staircase adorned with a ‘Nazareth’ sign. It’s hard to miss. Inside, Wisam can be seen teaching his son (outside of school hours) the art of rolling the delicious and culturally significant dish that is falafel.
Wisam goes on to tell me that while many of the fine dining restaurants in Israel look to hire culinary school graduates for their types of cuisine, falafel shops are more about families and their unique recipes and style. For the most part he’s right. Though I really enjoyed my falafel in Tel Aviv and it wasn’t exactly a mom and pop shop, every other memorable falafel in Israel was from a tiny shop like this one.
Time for The Best in Nazareth: Falafel Wisam Jabali!
Wisam proceeded to take a small spoon that resembles an ice cream scoop and reached into his bowl of secret ingredients. Inside was a delicious combination of ground garbanzo beans, herbs, seasoning and oil. The falafel balls were smaller than the ones served in Tel Aviv and slightly less green. The smaller size, I noted, meant they were much crispier which I loved.
Each ball was dropped into the fryer and cooked to perfection fresh, right in front of me. Perfect. No one wants falafel that have been sitting around. Wisam assured me each sandwich is made fresh this way.
Once ready, a pita was sliced open and some ‘salad’ comprised of cabbage, onions and a few pickled vegetables were piled in, along with a generous amount of falafel.
Taking full advantage of their sauce bar (another nice touch offered in Israel) I added some of the blended red pepper sauce, chili oil (made with sunflower oil and chili flakes) and some tahini. I also added a pickled pepper for a little extra spice.
The sandwich was fantastic! It’s remarkable how different each sandwich can be across Israel. It would be nearly impossible to pick a favorite falafel for this country but I can surely say that this was my favorite one in Nazareth.
Add to that Wisam’s friendly nature and his family story and it’s no wonder so many locals keep coming back for more.
After ordering I asked Wisam if he had a moment to help take a picture of me and he agreed. Thank you so much for the wonderful sandwich, the story, and the photo, Wisam!
Nazareth has significant history, a beautiful Old Town and countless friendly locals. Everyone who visits Nazareth should stay for at least a night or two to see what the city has to offer. While you’re there, I highly recommend stopping in to say hello to Wisam and enjoy some of his family’s traditional falafel. You’ll be glad you did!
Location of Falafel Wisam Jabali
(Listed as Falafel Jbali in Google Maps)
Address: HaGalil St 8, Nazareth, Israel
$4 falafel pitas
Fe Sahatek! (Good luck in Arabic, spelled phonetically)
Where have you had your best falafel? Please comment below!
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