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Amsterdam Falafel House

In Short, if you love falafel, try this place. If you’ve never had falafel, start here with a place that does it right.

Here I am, at the Annapolis Power Boat Show, and as promised, the Market House is open. Sure, it’s a year late, but 20 years from now, will anyone remember?
    I’m making my fourth trip to Amsterdam Falafel House.
    I was introduced to falafel about 40 years ago in New York City. It was wonderful. Over the years, as I’ve lived in different states and different countries, I have tried to recapture that pleasure, but to no avail. Different places did their falafel differently, but it never was as good as I remembered. Was the falafel from that first experience really better? Or was my memory exaggerated?
    My question was answered on my first visit to Amsterdam Falafel House. Finally, falafel every bit as good as I remembered it!
    Falafel: Think hush puppies gone Middle Eastern. It’s a Middle Eastern street food, and possibly the only thing everyone in that region agrees on. Start with dough made from chickpeas, spice it up well, deep fry it, then put it into pita bread. Traditional toppings are lettuce and tahini, but Amsterdam Falafel House has a topping bar — the first time I’ve seen that at a falafel shop — and it works well. Yet with over 20 toppings, no lettuce.
    On this trip, I had three questions for owner Amrish Vyas: Why falafel? Why Annapolis? And why the Market House?
    Vyas’ answer to all three questions was the same. He wanted to create a unique eating experience. Washington and Baltimore have falafel shops, and Annapolis has plenty of the usual: crab cakes, hamburgers and steaks. Same for the Market House. Annapolis has only one.
    Unique continues on the toppings bar. Dutch mayonnaise has secret spices and is very tasty. Curry ketchup is particularly good on the fries.
    If you want to try dessert, get the smaller falafel. I didn’t, so I haven’t tried stroopwaffel (sort of a big, filled cookie) or the virgin brownie (the term comes from Amsterdam, and it means a brownie without an ingredient that is legal in the Netherlands but not here).
    This is an excellent place to grab a fast, economical (less than $10), delicious lunch to enjoy on the Annapolis waterfront. If you crave a late night snack, Amsterdam Falafel House stays open until 3am on weekends.
    If you’re a falafel fan, you won’t be disappointed. If you try it and don’t like it, at least you know you’ve made your decision based on an excellent sample of the cuisine.

Amsterdam Falafel House
25 Market Space, Annapolis
M-Th 11am to 10pm; FSa: 11am-3am; Su: 11am-7pm.
410-268-1947; www.falafelshop.com