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Old City Café & Bakery
1773 Columbia Road NW, Washington, DC 20009

(202) 232-1322

If Old City Café’ falafel bar seems suspiciously similar in style and spirit to another, Adams Morgan-based falafel joint, there’s a reason. Before striking out to start his own business, Old City founder Walid Abuelhawa was a chef at neighboring Amsterdam Falafelshop. As a result, it’s difficult to tell the two establishments apart based on cuisine alone. Both function on the same do-it-yourself toppings-bar concept and, for the most part, the same toppings are represented—from the fried cauliflower to the Turkish salad. So picking a favorite is more a question of politics. Do you want falafel as product of imperialism: with cramped quarters and headshop palm cards as décor? Or do you prefer to consume your falafel in an environment that more closely represents the food’s Middle Eastern cultural origin: a dark and expansive restaurant with nary a pack of spent zig zags in sight. If you’re feeling the latter, choose Old City Café. —Aaron Leitko