1115 Walnut Street
This post about my favorite Amsterdam-based falafel chain has been a long time coming. I [L] first ate at Maoz several years ago in Philadelphia, at the time their only US location (2nd and South Street). I introduced M to the original Philly Maoz, if I recall, after we saw a late-night showing of Brokeback Mountain. My travels have since taken me to the Maoz in Paris, and all three Maoz in Barcelona. The Paris Maoz, pictured at right, was by far the worst Maoz of the bunch. The fries were soggy beyond belief. Maoz’ delicious Belgian fries are half the draw, so that ruined it for me, though eating our takeout at the Square du Vert-Galant helped fix everything. The three Barcelona Maoz, all located in the Barri Gotic were excellent, and I assume, owned by the same people. However, the Philly Maoz holds a special place in my heart, so when I heard there was ANOTHER Maoz open in Philly, I had to go on my next trip.
First off, this 2nd Philly store is huge by Maoz standards, usually Maoz are only walk-up counters with maybe a bar stool or two. However, this brand-spanking-new Maoz has a nice big areas of wooden tables and benches. Notably the entire restaurant, tip to toe, was covered in shiny lime green tiles. Beware, epileptics, I’m talking lime green everywhere. You can make out the tiles in this photo my friend Dan snapped of the Philly Maoz (My camera died a horrible sputtering death on this tip to Philadelphia, so all of my photos come from my archives or friends).
Onto the food- your main and only choice is falafel, which Maoz does very well. The primary decision is if you want a whole pita (white or wheat), a half pita or a salad with falafel. I usually order a junior meal ($6.75) which is a half pita with falafel, an order of fries and a soft drink. Maoz falafel is Israeli-style, which apparently means that you then build your sandwich with lots of condiments. At Maoz there is indeed a nice salad bar of fixings, including couscous, eggplant, tomatoes, pickled carrots, spicy peppers and more. At the end of the salad bar are squeeze bottles of assorted sauces, including mango curry, tahini, garlic mayo and tzatziki.
The other attraction are the crispy-delicious, thick-cut Belgian fries, which come in a paper triangle covered in foil. The fries at right are a lovely sample from Barcelona, but the Philly Maoz fries were even better. These are an awesome snack, and are great accompanied with the garlic mayo. An interesting added feature of this new Maoz is fresh-squeezed juice. However, I prefer to get whatever exotic Israeli sodas they have in the cooler.
I would definitely recommend Maoz to falafel lovers, or to French-fry lovers. You will not be disappointed, and your delicious and filling meal will not break the bank. Apparently there is a NYC outpost now, as well. Hopefully they will make it out to Chicago, soon.