Having a Ball

Falafel comes to Owings Mills.

By Jane Marion - April 2015

Review: Cilantro

Falafel comes to Owings Mills.

By Jane Marion - April 2015

Falafel balls and all the fixings. -Photography by Scott Suchman

The first time I tasted falafel, I was in Israel and working as a volunteer on an Israeli tank-repair base in the middle of the Negev Desert. In between tinkering on air filters and reupholstering tank seats, my military diet consisted of hard-boiled eggs and tomato-cucumber salad washed down by cups of steaming sweet tea. But on weekends, I made my way to Tel Aviv, where I stuffed myself silly on Israeli street food and feasted on falafel. The fried green balls were at their best when buried deep down in a piece of pita, slathered with tzatziki, and augmented by tomatoes, cabbage, potatoes, parsley, and pickles.

When a friend told me that Cilantro, a Middle Eastern eatery, had opened in Owings Mills (by three Israelis, no less), I was eager to visit, though the name suggests Mexico more than the Mediterranean. Bad branding aside, the fare, it turns out, is delicious.

Cilantro's falafel—well-seasoned and stained green from ample doses of cilantro—is the best I've had in years. Here, it's served in a lafa (Israeli bread) wrap or in a bowl, and comes in a number of flavor combinations, including white bean and rosemary ($6.95), spicy ($6.95), and smoked roasted red pepper ($6.95). I ordered the spicy version—delicious without activating your pain receptors. The falafel (as well as other menu items) comes with a dozen or so add-ons to customize your meal (think Chipotle as you move down the line), including couscous, tomato-cucumber salad, baba ghanoush, pickles, sauerkraut, and tabbouleh, plus a variety of sauces, including a tangy tahini and garlic sauce.

My favorite building blocks included a thick hummus and salty slices of fried eggplant. The couscous and the tabbouleh, however, tasted like they'd spent too much time on the steam table, so eyeball them before ordering. If you're not a falafel fan, there are other entrees to consider. The chicken shwarma ($7.95), carved straight from the spit, has an excellent char and is incredibly juicy and flavorful. To get in some greens, I ordered mine on top of a Greek salad ($7.94). Lamb kabobs ($10.95) and kefta kabobs ($8.95) at nearby tables also looked promising. Traditional house-made desserts, including an authentic baklava ($2.45), are there to tempt, too.

The Holy Land graces New Town. Who knew?

›› Cilantro, 9351 Lakeside Blvd., Owings Mills, 410-413-6596. Hours: Sun.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Prices: wraps and platters: $4.95-10.95; desserts: $2.45.





You May Also Like


In Good Taste

Local Bread Subscriptions Are Making Fresh Loaves More Accessible Than Ever

These pre-paid methods are the best thing on the market since, well, sliced bread.

The Chatter

Mindgrub Opening Tech and Food Infusion Project in Riverside

Todd and Nikki Marks combine their interests for hybrid concept in former Rachel space.

Food & Drink

Hot Stuff

Chinese hot pots are all the rage.


On The Town

Union Collective's New Winery Co-Op Will Offer Food Pairings and Barrel Tastings

A community of Maryland wineries will bring an Old World production style to the space.

Food & Drink

Eat Global

From Afghanistan to Vietnam, take a culinary journey around the world without ever leaving Baltimore.

Food & Drink

Review: Fishnet

Fishnet is doing swimmingly in Mount Vernon Marketplace.

Falafel balls and all the fixings. -Photography by Scott Suchman

Connect With Us

Most Read


Mindgrub Opening Tech and Food Infusion Project in Riverside: Todd and Nikki Marks combine their interests for hybrid concept in former Rachel space.

Scenes from Congressman Cummings’ Funeral at New Psalmist Baptist Church: Mourners share memories of the Baltimore leader and civil rights advocate.

John Waters is the Newest Male Face of Nike: Waters is one of three celebrities chosen to be in '90s-inspired Nordstrom x Nike campaign.

The Orioles Aren’t Moving Out of Town, But They Have a Long Way To Go: Putting a wrap on relocation rumors and the O’s predictable 2019 season.

Boys' Latin Honors Military History with In-School Museum: At the Roland Park private school, wartime memorabilia forges lasting personal connections.