465 W 51ST St, New York, NY | Directions 1001940.765111 -73.990911
Sun-Thu, 10am-9pm; Fri, 9am-4pm; Sat, closed
Neighborhoods: Midtown, Clinton
AZURI: Food that's oh so worth the visit! – Another person here who randomly stumbled upon AZURI while searching for decent FALAFEL in midtown-west. Having been in ISRAEL and trying maybe 50 diff versions in my two months there, I can tell you, this is a memorable version that will have you thinking you're back in JERUSALEM. Homemade wholewheat pita provides the fluffy bed for perfectly fried balls that swim in a menagerie of select salads (ethereal eggplant), all worthy as their own menu aim for one's next visit. TAIM has nothing on this place. On the superlatives, then there's the amazing HUMMUS - it sets the bar in my lifetime for creaminess and simplicity in this seminal, global dish. I was transported by it, truly. We got the SPINACH KNISH, which was more like a fresh, lighter version of a spanakopita than like any knish variety I've ever had (even YOSHI'S). Then I saw the baked goods as the ISRAELI owner was just pulling some from the oven, so the waifs had me jumping through that hoop pretty eagerly... all three of the ones I tried were on level with any top bakery in the city. Each had a delicate balance of nuts, fruits, honeyed filo and love. We didn't even have the CHICKEN SHWARMA that some say is the best in town... more the carrot to drag me back before I realize what's pulled me 50 miles from Jersey.
What has to be palleted is the possible edgy service, depending on which side of the NEGEV the owner woke up on. Abrasive at the drop of a hat, he never stops caring about his food, the true sign that such SIENFELD-esque behaviors are worth the time and experience. Those who complain and get filtered out of the customer base only secure that we who can endure any marginal hardships will be rewarded by the homemade treasures held within AZURI's Hell's Kitchen locale.
If you don't walk away from here bragging to friends about your find, you must not enjoy a defining, raw New York-Israeli eating experience.
Good but dirty. Service is awful. – I have been eating at Azuri for years but I just decided I had enough. The owner is rude, the place is a hole, and the food is not cheap. Yes, they do offer great falafels. But after seeing a rooach running along the counter, and having my take away food thrown at me by the moody owner, I am just not willing to go there anymore. For the same price, I can get excellent sushi at Pret a Manger, with a smile. At Azuri, you get scolded if you do not have the exact change, and never ever get a thank you (or even some sort of acknowledgment) if you leave a tip in the tip jar. The food get thrown in a bag, the falafels end up all soggy, and there is always something missing (the pita, or the fork, or the napkins). And of course, you are not allowed to customize your order. ENOUGH!
Inexcusably Rude – Granted, the man makes a good falafel, but that doesn't make up for the way he treated my girlfriend and I when we tried this place. We went at lunch time, and I asked for a falafel on pita (as opposed to on a plate).
He says "two or three?"
Thinking he meant two or three falafel discs in my pita, I say "three." He makes the falafel, rings me up...and the price is like $22...he'd given me three sandwiches! So I say, "no, I only want one sandwich" and he yells at me, saying when he asked, I said three. I reply that I just want a falafel sandwich, like I asked for. Swearing, he takes away the other two sandwiches. I hand him a $10, and now he yells again, asking if I have another dollar - I guess it's too hard for him to make change out of $10.
My girlfriend fared no better. At first she asks for a chicken gyro. Twenty minutes, he says -- this at the beginning of the lunch rush! Come on, be prepared for your customers! So she switches to a falafel sandwich as well, with a piece of baklava. He rings her up, but doesn't include the baklava, so she reminds him politely. He yells at her, puts in the baklava, and does the same thing asking for a dollar. He takes her money, then literally throws the change at us.
A true New York experience, like the soup shop character from Seinfeld. No amount of good food excuses treating your customers with such contempt.
Worth going out of your way for – I just ate at Azuri Cafe last night, and it's still as good as the other reviewers said. It was a cold, damp evening. I had waited on line for The Daily Show for over an hour, then was cut. I was chilled to the bone, but not very hungry, as I had had a late lunch. Then I happened upon Azuri Cafe. I had read reviews on several websites and had wondered if they were true. First of all, I found the owner to be quite charming. He's been in business for 16 years and still cares about each and every customer's satisfaction. I just had a bowl of lentil soup, but it was memorable. I've never had any that was nearly so good. Everything looked so good, I wanted to try it all. And eventually, I will. An all-around great NYC experience. I plan to go back again. And again. And again.... And you should, too.
2 times in a row, wrong order – first time, I dealt with it, second time, I had to tell them twice what I wanted and they still got it wrong. Called to complain and the response was "well, we didn't charge you for the falafel sandwich we shorted you." I'll give them a 3rd try, because their food is amazing, but they really need to pay attention to their customers.
This tiny cafe serves simple but carefully prepared Israeli food. – In Short
With half the space devoted to the open kitchen, this small restaurant has only five tables and specializes in takeout and delivery. The owner and staff put their attention into the food: shawarmas, beef and chicken kebabs, chicken livers, falafel, hummus and other delicacies are available in a pita or on a platter. The platter costs more but comes with a scattering of salads, dips and relishes, making for a sizeable meal.
Azuri Cafe is Great – Delicious Middle Eastern food at cheap prices.
Could come right out of Tel Aviv.
Ezra Cohen is a friendly host.
Best in NYC? – I've had lots of falafels in this city and the middle east as well. Up until I went to this place, my favorite falafel was Sam's falafel (he had a cart down near the WTC). I think I can say now that Azuri is by far the best falafel I've ever had. Yeah, the guy can be a little rough around the edges but that's just part of the experience. The falafel were perfectly crispy and flavorful. The other ingredients were EXTREMELY fresh and delicous. I highly recomend this place to any falafel lover. You want be disappointed.
Delicious food, cramped space – The small falafel plate is one of the best things I've ever eaten in New York City. Don't expect a leisurely meal, though. This place is tiny. EXTREMELY tiny. The food is worth the sometimes prickly owner and crowd.
Cute place, warm owner, great food – The last review is correct- the hummus was amazing! The $6 "small" falafel plate is not at all small and a great bargain. It comes with falafel, hummus, babbaganoush, several vegetable salads, pickles and bread. The atmosphere is cozy, although I imagine it could get pretty crowded as there are only four little tables. The owner was warm and genial, joking around with everyone.
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