Do Falafel is a small little joint on Richmond Street with a green sign on the outside that boldly states it’s name. It’s been on the scene for about five years but has been under the new management of Amet now for just under a year. Amet, from Syria, has been living here for 12 years. He has a warm demeanour about him and is softly spoken. He sits down with me as I tuck into my aubergine wrap and delightful bowl of treats from the salad bar.
Do Falafel, meaning Our Falafel in Irish, used to be a Lebanese takeaway restaurant.
“Many people think this is still a Lebanese place,” he tells me as he gestures to a grand plaque of the Lebanese flag on the wall behind me, embellished with the word ‘Lebanon’, “because of that. We’ve tried so many times to get it out but it’s impossible to do without tearing the whole wall out.”
“But the food here is Syrian. We have a Moroccan chef who prepares the salads every day and he likes to do his own takes on things sometimes, but what you’re eating now is traditional from Syria… maybe minus the broccoli there.”
Of course, it’s not only the management that makes a restaurant great, even with Amet’s renowned warmth and hospitality. I ate the aubergine toasted wrap with falafel, tahini, baba ganoush, vegetables and, of course, aubergine. It was huge, hearty and absolutely delicious. The prices are very affordable as well, particularly for Dublin.
The spice level is exactly what you would expect from a Syrian falafel place trying to cater to the Irish, though something tells me that there are probably still those who find the heat in this wrap a little too much. Amet gives me a wry smile and hands me an extra tub of chilli sauce, also delicious.
The extensive salad bar is full of delicious and varied delights and, apart from one chicken salad, the whole thing is completely vegetarian. From stuffed vine leaves to Moroccan couscous and delicious broccoli and feta. You can really tell that the salads are made fresh every day, they also change every few weeks, which is definitely something that’ll keep me coming back.
Vegetarian and Vegan
Even for a capital city, Dublin is still a little behind when it comes to catering for the growing vegetarian, vegan and eco-conscious populations. As a vegetarian myself from the green haven that is Glasgow, Do Falafel is an absolute godsend, with more than just your token salads on the menu. The vegetarian and vegan options are extensive.
The place when I arrived on Monday afternoon was absolutely packed and buzzing with enthusiastic conversation and gestures. It took me several minutes after I had ordered to find myself a seat – a great sign for such a small place on a Monday. Do Falafel was clearly popular with the surrounding offices. If going in there wasn’t enough to clarify this all you have to do is look at their Trip Advisor reviews. One glowing trip advisor review is genuinely titled “Everyone Agress this Place is Fabulous”:
“The owner even offered to deliver the food himself one day as it was ready early and he did not want it to get cold!!! and he then threw in a few treats on the House”
I asked Amet if the place was busy like this all the time, to which he replied that the place was actually quite quiet on the weekends. I asked if maybe he thought this was much to do with the surrounding Middle Eastern restaurants in the area. I didn’t think so, but wanted to see what he thought about his surrounding Middle Eastern competitors. He replied that that wasn’t the problem, just there wasn’t much going on during the weekends in the area and that, along with that, most of their customers at the moment were office workers.
“Other places, chains like Umi Falafel, have made a name for themselves – but we’re better. Kind of like the McDonalds of falafel. We’re better but people tend to go for what they know.”
I asked if he had seen the city grow in multicultural cuisine in the twelve years since he had been here.
“No actually. Dublin used to be on a great track, it was very diverse and had a lot of workers from all over the world. But in 2009 when the recession hit over 350,000 people left and lots of businesses had to close. No one was buying anymore. So only in the last few years has it started to pick up again. But the city is changing. You can always tell by the amount of cranes on the skyline.”
And it’s true, the city is changing and seemingly always under some sort of development. So whilst we are sadly saying goodbye to our beloved Bernard Shaw this month, at least there will be a Weatherspoons opening round the corner soon after. So hopefully, this place will get the extra influx it deserves pretty soon. Do Falafel would be the perfect stop off after closing time.
Do Falafel is open Sunday -Wednesday 12-9 pm, and Thursday – Saturday 12-1.30am, so if you find yourself down around Portabello with some space in your stomach for something filling and delicious, then get yourself down to Do Falafel and eat your heart out. We promise you won’t be disappointed and we guarantee that it definitely will not be your last visit.
Don’t have time? No excuse, these guys are perfect for eating in and takeaway!
Address: 63 Richmond St South, Dublin 2
Telephone: 01 4788953