Toujours imité, jamais égalé

Although it can hardly be called classically French, the food at L’As du Fallafel (34 rue des Rosiers) in the Marais has been drawing crowds since 1979. I’d never made the pilgrimage to the fiefdom of falafel, much to the shock of my co-workers. On Thursday night, however, they were in the mood for falafel, so off we went. While there were a few other falafel restaurants on the same street, L’As du Fallafel (it has two l’s in French, one in English) was the only one with a line outside the take-out window. The name means “The Ace of Falafel” and is pronounced “lass due fah-lah-fel.” Their slogan is toujours imité, jamais égalé (too-zjoors im-e-tay, jamez ay-gal-ay), which means “always imitated, never equaled.”

Our group of ten was urged to eat in air-conditioned comfort, and after a short wait we were seated inside at diner-style tables. The menus were superfluous as we all ordered the falafel. I didn’t even know what I was getting. A pita arrived over-flowing with hot filling. The classic Israeli falafel served at L’As has small, deep-fried balls made up of ground, spiced chick peas with red cabbage and a yogurt-based tahini sauce. I must say that every mouthful was delicious and the cost with a mango juice was only about 10 Euros.

I’ll definitely be back, but I think it would be even more pleasant to carry the falafel to the nearby Place des Vosges and enjoy it outside as there was absolutely no ambiance inside the restaurant. The owner even turned off the TV set when it was clear that some of the members of our group were starting to pay attention to the match between Italy and Spain, which would slow down the turnover for our tables. Rather tacky, I thought, for a self-proclaimed ace establishment. Don’t invite us in to enjoy the AC and then chase us out.

A Corner In the Marais: Memoir of a Paris Neighborhood

About Patricia Gilbert

Patricia Gilbert is a French teacher. She's Canadian, lives in the United States, but dreams of living in France. Follow her on Instagram @Onequalitythefinest and on Twitter @1qualthefinest.
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5 Responses to Toujours imité, jamais égalé

  1. Cliff Gilbert says:

    His target market is obviously not the summer vacation crowd.

  2. Saad says:

    yesss Berthillon wild strawberry ice cream was PHENOMENAL!! i also rllaey liked Amorino where they arranged different flavors of ice cream into a flower shape.yesss falafels on Rue des Rosiers! altho i had mine at Chez Marianne’s down the street. also very good.i totally loved the museum pass, but i was there for 10 days and am an art dork. also, the louvre is open late until 9:45pm on wed and fri nights, and orsay on thurs night, so you can go at night to avoid crowds. on wed night i got to the front of the mona lisa in less than 1 min and was all alone with other da vinci works.

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