Toronto·SURESH DOSS

This Mississauga joint offers fried-to-order falafels and many other delicious Middle Eastern treats

Falafel Plus is located at 1065 Canadian Place Unit #122 in Mississauga

Falafel Plus is located at 1065 Canadian Place Unit #122 in Mississauga

Hisham Amleh owns Falafel Plus in Mississauga. (Suresh Doss/CBC)

Metro Morning's food guide, Suresh Doss, joins us every week to talk about one of the many great GTA eateries he's discovered. 

Today, he talked to host Ismaila Alfa about a place in Mississauga where you can find delicious Middle Eastern dishes. 

Ismaila: There must be a reason why this place is called Falafel Plus. 

Suresh: Because there is much more than just falafel, Ismaila. 

Hisham Amleh opened Falafel Plus in May 2019 after doing the pop-up circuit at the Dixie Flea Market.

He had one goal in mind: to do falafel properly. The story goes that he was chasing the style of falafel his mom made for him as a kid. They were entirely made with chickpeas and spiced generously. 

He couldn't find it in Toronto. So he decided to start a popup with his brother. Here's Hisham: 

"So when it comes to the spices, I buy the spices whole. And grind it here in house. It's about 16 spices we put in this. We started in the flea market. Many of the people came and said, "My god. This is a very good falafel. We've never tasted falafel like this." 

Falalel Plus's falafel balls are made to order. (Suresh Doss/CBC)

Ismaila: So the pop-up was so successful and it led to a restaurant…

Suresh: He opens this place, Falafel Plus, at the back of a strip mall in Mississauga. 

The menu has expanded, but let's talk about the falafel first. Unlike many places, the falafel here is made to order. 

Ismaila: So it's always fresh. 

Suresh: Which is vital, absolutely vital to Falafel. You want the crunch to feel fresh, and the moisture in the stuffing. 

There are a couple of varieties of falafel on the menu and a few ways to enjoy them. 

The chickpea falafel, you can get that in a wrap, with their house-made bread, or on a plate with tahini to dip. 

There's also a second type of falafel, which is very good. It's stuffed with a sumac and onion mixture. That's also very good. So start there. 

Manakeesh, made with egg, with vegetables on the left. Cheese and halal pepperoni are on the right. (Suresh Doss/CBC)

Ismaila: If that's the appetizer, what are we getting next?

Suresh: One of my favourite things on the menu is the manakeesh. It's this flatbread that comes in a variety of styles across the Levant. Sometimes it's thin enough to fit in a manila envelope. 

Here at Falafel Plus, their version is slightly fluffier and thicker. You order it with zaatar — where it's smeared with spices. 

There's a version where eggs and vegetables are topped on the manakeesh. Green peppers and mushrooms, that's also really good. 

So grab a manakeesh, and then we move on to my absolute favourite: the fattet hummus! 

Fattet hummus is made with slivered almonds and sumac. (Suresh Doss/CBC)

Ismaila: Tell me about it.

Suresh: So this is traditionally a breakfast dish, but you can order it all day here. 

If I had to rank some of my favourite dishes from the past two years, this is in the top five. 

This bowl arrives with what looks like a thick custard, jewelled with slivered almonds and sumac. There are three layers to this dish. At the bottom is a layer of crispy bread chips. On top of that, a generous amount of cooked chickpeas. 

Then on top, a spread of hummus and yogurt and tahini. 

So there's a lot going on in this bowl, and each spoonful just takes you on a roller-coaster ride every single time. When you order it, you can ask to have it finished with olive oil, samneh, which is ghee, or you can also add meat to it.

But honestly, I would just get the olive oil fattet hummus. I have not had anything like this anywhere else in the GTA.

Qudsieh is hummus and fūl cooked and layered together. (Suresh Doss/CBC)

Ismaila: I love that everything you have mentioned is vegetarian and it sounds like there are many veg options here.

Suresh: I think it's partly because Hisham has family members that are vegetarian so he started this with their palates in mind. 

But absolutely, there are so many vegetarian dishes here and they are all impressively flavour forward. 

There's also a fūl dish on the menu that is outstanding. It's called Qudsieh. This is basically hummus and fūl [a Middle Eastern dish that features cooked fava beans with lemon, crushed garlic and cumin served with fresh vegetables and eaten with pita bread] cooked and layered together, and it's propped up by a generous amount of heat from peppers. 

It will give you a kick to get you through these last days of winter. 

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