I love meat. Right there, from the start I must say that I enjoy eating meat as often as possible.
However, regardless of how much I enjoy eating meat, I do have a soft spot for sushi, houmus, falafel, labneh and other vegetarian dishes.
When I booked my trip in New York I started looking for places to eat, places I wouldn’t spend a fortune in since the trip was pricey enough already.
Upon finding a very well written article about New York cheap eats I have decided to try a few of them, places I found close to my accommodation or close to the sights I wanted to check in New York.
So on this list, very close to my accommodation, at number 15 sat Azuri Café so I decided to give it a try one day since the author said in his article “The falafels are acknowledged some of the best in town”.
Right now, from the start, after tasting hundreds of falafels in many places in the world I can say that the falafels are simply delicious.
Hands down the best falafels I have ever eaten in my life.
Due to respect to the owner, Mr. Cohen, and his delicious food I won’t treat this review as I usually do but rather I will tell it like a story, as it happened.
Azuri Café is situated in Hell’s Kitchen at 465W, 51ST street and if there is one thing you should know about Hell’s Kitchen is that is full with restaurants. All kind of restaurants from Chinese to Romanian, from Russian to Thai.
Azuri Café is not a big place. A small entrance, a few small tables and behind the counter mister Ezra Cohen, the man who I can say makes the best falafel in the world.
It is a rare thing for me to get so enthusiastic about food, even though I love to eat, but this place really deserves the praise.
I have eaten falafel before, many times, and I have been more or less content with my choices. However in my opinion no place goes near Azuri Café’s falafel.
This is the place in which I have eaten three times during my time in New York and fell in love with the food.
The texture, the taste, the ingredients, they all taste different and they blend together giving the falafel and other dishes too a unique taste.
Many people would say that the place is small but I found this to be charming as well. Each time I went there I took my time and enjoyed the food but also enjoyed talking to Mr. Cohen.
Romania, my home country, being close to Israel we took our time and shared ideas, memories, impressions about the countries, the food, the warm climate of Israel and talked about New York city and of course the falafel.
I told him exactly the differences between the falafels tasted at home and he pointed out to his falafel in the end me recognizing that his was the best falafel I have ever tasted.
You can see it easily. The passion for his food and the pride he takes into making this delicious dishes. If you have the time to speak with him, grab the chance. Many people upon entering a restaurant only have eyes for the food but sometimes you are lucky. Sometimes you meet a man like Ezra Cohen, on a lazy, sunny November afternoon and that encounter gives you memories for a lifetime.
Most of the times I travel alone. And I am always happy when I meet people, interesting people, people that love what they do, people who share memories and moments.
Since November 2017 I only tasted falafel once, out of curiosity. And it was…decent. You may call me crazy but some dishes, some foods you remember for a long time.
Just like I remember the magnificent restaurant in Athens or the pesto pasta in Vernazza, Azuri Café is a place I will hold in my memory for a long time.
Since this is New York and his place is really, really well known you would expect higher prices but I, as a budget traveler, was happy to see that great, delicious food sometimes comes with a small bill.
In the end I can only say one thing: regardless of the area you are accommodated in New York this place deserves a visit. You will not be disappointed.
Until next time Mr. Cohen!