By: Stevette Ballog
With the health food craze that’s wrapping itself around the world, finding restaurants that properly execute “health conscious cuisine” is no easy task. Falafel Bistro & Wine Bar, tucked away inside the Shoppes at Heron Lakes on Coral Ridge and West View Drive does just that.
Jerusalem-born chef and owner Ilan Cohen goes the extra steps in reviving the flavors of the Mediterranean by charring eggplants, hand-making delicious pita, and whipping up some of the best hummus I’ve ever had. His efforts pay dividends in an endless variety of almost-narcotic appetizers and tapas like apricot and fig stuffed vine leaves, roasted beets with goat cheese mousse, Brussels sprouts with a date balsamic glaze, smoky babaganoosh, lobster ravioli, and more. The generous dishes have self-confident swagger and are portioned to share.
After several recommendations, I opted to start my meal with the Sautéed Cauliflower ($12.50) tossed in a sauce that can only be described as Thai Chili’s sexy, more refined cousin. The sweet and spicy date sauce was beautifully colored and paired extremely well with my tropical Steedfire Pinot Gris. Next, I chose a classic bistro duo of Roasted Baby Beets ($11.50) with goat cheese mousse. These nutrient-packed immune boosters were garnished with micro-greens and chopped pistachios and served on a platter with huge chunks of whole wheat garlic-herb crostini.
Falafel Bistro excels with entrees and with so many delicious options, I honestly had a hard time deciding what was going to be next. The menu captures the boisterous spirit of authentic Mediterranean soul food. Standouts include the quinoa salad with grilled eggplant and peppers, hummus plates topped with layers of shawarma, falafel, roasted vegetables, Angus beef and lamb or Portobello mushrooms, vegan kabobs, an array of pita sandwiches, wraps and platters, flatbreads, crepes, majadara, shashuka, and so much more. Every dish is laced with love and attention to detail distinguishes all of them.
Taking a peek at the blackboard specials, I decided on the Seared Sea Scallops. My dish came out piping hot and the intoxicating aroma kissed my nose before the plate even hit the table. Five giant and perfectly cooked scallops nestled against a heaping mound of couscous topped with roasted asparagus and garlic scented chickpeas…need I say more? This dish was truly fantastic.
I honestly had no room left for dessert but after hearing about the rarity of getting some of Lauren Cohen’s (Ilam’s wife) homemade Rhubarb and Mixed Berry Cheesecake in a Jar, I had to do it. Hey, my awesome server Christina told me it was the last one left…how could I say no? This heavenly jar came out filled with a decadent and luscious crust-less cheesecake topped with sweet berries and rhubarb. After one bite, I was left repeatedly saying. “Oh, my God.” I was told that Lauren also makes a delicious rhubarb tart, fantastic bread puddings and many more mouth-watering creations that could easily help you wash away any bad day. After eating all the healthy fare on the menu here you deserve a little something sweet.
With awesome wine and beer selections, Lauren’s sweets, Ilan’s fluffy pilafs of couscous and quinoa, velvety spreads and gorgeous grilled vegetables and meats, it’s no wonder this place gets packed. Don’t underestimate this unassuming little restaurant. This Mediterranean soul food joint is a hidden gem that aims to please palates and diets of all kinds. Whether you’re intolerant to gluten, a vegan, a pescetarian or a meat craving carnivore, Falafel Bistro has something you’ll enjoy. It’s a candlelit godsend that will keep you coming back for more.
Go check out Falafel Bistro for yourself and be sure to tell Ilam that Stevette with Fork Notes and Coral Springs Talk sent you. Let us know what you think!
The Shoppes at Heron Lakes
(LA Fitness Plaza)
5677 Coral Ridge Drive
Coral Springs, FL 33076
Mon 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Tue – Wed 11 a.m. -10 p.m.
Thur – Sat 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Happy Hour 4-7 (Half off wine and beer)