Falafel Hut: Lebanese food at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk

I never would have gone to this place if it weren’t for a foodie friend who advised me to stop in and grab a falafel if I was in the vicinity.  This small hole-in-the-wall is located across the street from the seedy Santa Cruz Boardwalk in a what appears to be a former English fish and chips shop.  The décor and not pristinely clean atmosphere give the restaurant a the similar vibe of a college-town ethnic food joint.  A really sweet Lebanese woman took our order while a man that seemed to be her husband made our food hot and fresh on the spot.  I ordered the house special Falafel ($4.95) and the guys ordered the Kefta Kebab ($14) with hummus, tabouli, and warm pitas along with a basket of as-advertised “homemade” fries with a hint of garlic.  My falafel was good but was missing something.  It would have been even better with an additional ingredient to give it a bit more kick and flavor.  The green spicy sauce, served on the side, does help and is not overly spicy (although yelp readers say it is spicy).  The hummus was great and lemony, making me curious to try the Baba Ghannoush.  I wouldn’t drive over to Santa Cruz just for this but if you are at the boardwalk and want something more than the cheap thrill of everything fried, try Beirut on Beach St.

Lesley: I have craved a great falafel for years because when I lived in NYC & Sydney, AUS we frequented two Israeli falafel joints (Israeli and Lebanese falafels are different).   These two spots used Israeli pickles in their falafels that added a salty aspect to the pita filled perfections.  This may be the flavor that I am missing in the Falafel Hut’s falafel.  However, I really have this feeling that if I visited a few more times, that I will find my perfect combination of food created from a la carte items combined into a meal that I crave.
John: The fries were good because they were hot and cooked well, but calling them “garlic fries” was a bit of a misnomer.  The Kefta Kebab was tasty on its own or combined with the fresh hummous and tabouli.  I enjoyed the charm of their assortment of kitschy, thrift store beach plastic water glasses.  The falafel price was right but the Kefta Kebab was a bit pricey, though it could easily be shared between two adults.
Zach: The Kefta was kind of odd in that it was green as hell and resembled something not so appetizing. It tasted ok but could have been much better.  I make these at home occasionally so I’m biased towards my own.  They said the fries were homemade but I assure you they weren’t.  The hummus and pita weren’t bad if that says anything.  Overall, not great but not the worst I’ve had.

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