Fala Bar

Virtue and flavor are in full effect at this duo of fast-casual spots

By Joshua Lurie

Andrés Izquieta had a vision: a fast-casual eatery that would offer a seriously delicious healthy alternative to traditional comfort food. So he partnered with Mike Shab and Gina Ragnone to open the first location of Fala Bar on Melrose in 2014. The all-vegan selections featuring sandwiches, burgers, and plates--using fresh, locally sourced ingredients—was a hit right out of the gate, so it didn’t take long for Fala Bar to expand on the vision by opening a second location on Abbot Kinney in Venice, a third opening this Spring at Century City Westfield, and
a fourth this Summer in Rancho Cucamonga.

On the menu you’ll find five different falafel flavors: original, sweet potato, spicy, crunchy, and kale. All variations are fried in trans fat–free grapeseed oil before being served in the incarnation of your choice—either as a plate, a sandwich, a salad, or flattened into a burger. Best of all, everything is made to order, so you can count on your food coming out hot and fresh.

You can’t go wrong with the original falafel, orbs of ground garbanzo beans, cilantro, parsley, garlic, cumin, onion, and fennel seeds that come crispy on the outside with soft green cores. Each plate hosts four falafel balls, along with hummus dressed with paprika and olive oil, tahini, quinoa tabouli, tangy purple and white cabbage salads, and thick pita bread. To bring the kick, be sure to request
house green hot sauce (zhug), a staple of Israeli cuisine crafted with jalapeño, cilantro, olive oil, garlic, cayenne, and lemon juice.
The popular kale burger features a crispy kale falafel patty topped with house-made Thousand Island dressing, lemony kale, pickled purple cabbage, grilled onion, and avocado, all piled high on a traditional burger bun. For a side, consider the spicy carrots with cayenne, paprika, and garlic or the baba ghanoush with tahini, lemon, garlic, and cumin.

At the Venice location, an expanded menu features the addition of arugula, tomato, and hummus–based sandwiches on ciabatta. The “Caprese” goes trad with the addition of basil, while the “Sprout” adds avocado and cucumber, plus a tinge of smoked paprika. Meanwhile, Fala Bar’s taco is built around a crunchy mix plus onion, salsa, avocado, and cilantro, while the burrito adds Spanish quinoa and black beans. A pair of bowls round out the new selection; the Mexican bowl adds tahini to the black bean and crunchy mix, while the Sriracha bowl combines the expected kick with quinoa, marinated cucumber, and a bite of arugula.

Fala Bar works hard to source 100% local produce with ingredients that boast no chemicals, preservatives, or GMOs. In addition to being completely vegan, everything on the menu is kosher and—with the exception of the flour tortillas, pitas and buns—gluten-free. (Cabbage leaf is also available as an alternative.) With Fala Bar’s healthy vision, dairy, eggs, and nuts may all be out, but virtue and flavor are in—and in full effect.


11 AM–9 PM daily

price range

$6.50 (hummus sandwich) to $16.50 ("Fala me to Runyon" salad, with falafel balls)