Doing the Hafla at Chickpea’s New Restaurant!

Chickpea’s brick-and-mortar restaurant just opened on Main st.!

I’v tried Chickpea’s ginormous wraps at their food truck before and was blown away by how delicious, flavorful and filling the wraps were. I did not miss the meat. Now that they’ve actually opened a restaurant, I happily dragged my friend to go with me to their new restaurant.

The restaurant menu is much expanded from the food truck menu. They added more main dishes, there’s breakfast/brunch options, more desserts, and my favorite is their ‘hafla’ option. ‘Hafla’ means party or just a social event and it costs $22/person, and people get to pick one of their mains, then the option comes with Israeli salad, hummus, chickpea fries, pita and about 6 salatim, which are side salads. We tried it out.

The first stage, with all the extras. The hummus was really smooth and the pita came to the table warm, which I like. I really liked the salatims, they each had distinct flavors, added a lot of color to the table and it was fun to try out different side salads. My favorite was the baba ganoush, it was a little chunky, but still quite creamy and I can taste the garlic and other aromatics in the dip. The chickpea fries were interesting. I definitely prefer chickpea fries over traditional potato ones. They are a little softer in the middle but still crunchy, and I like that the fries came topped with sweet chili sauce and mango sauce, a little spicy and sweet. Like an extra healthy version of poutine.

Our mains that came later. My friend chose the Shnitzelonim, which is battered smoked tofu coated with spice and crumbs, accompanied by sliced yam and avocado. This was good, the coating of spice and crumbs on the tofu added a lot of flavors to the dish and it made the tofu fairly crunchy. I still thought the tofu was a little dry. I think if there was some kind of a sauce that combined the tofu, sliced yam and avocado together, it might be better.

I chose the hatzil baladi, which is charred eggplant topped with lemon-garlic sauce and tahini, plus tomatoes, parsley and red onion. This was fantastic. The eggplant was silky smooth, creamy and easy to pry off the charred skin. The tomato, and parsley and the sauces made the eggplant a little tangy and garlicky. The eggplant was great straight from the spoon, and worked better smeared on a piece of pita.

Chickpea’s restaurant has gone completely vegan, so no eggs. I admire their decision to not even use eggs in their food, but I’m kinda sad that that means I won’t get to eat their delicious shakshuka anymore. The hafla does come with a lot of food, it was very filling and I think Chickpea is a great option for people that wants to eat healthy, vegans or vegetarians.

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