Saturday, May 22, 2010

Maoz in Berkeley

Every friend who has traveled through Europe fondly recalls late night, cheap eats at Maoz, an all-vegetarian falafel chain new to Berkeley. Located on Telegraph and Channing, Maoz is a few blocks from the UC Berkeley campus. With a simple menu of pita sandwiches, salads and fries, the European chain is perfect for the student on the go.

Until the end of May, visit Yelp for a coupon for a pita sandwich and drink for $5 after 8 p.m. Otherwise, your best bargains are the combo meals that start at $7.20 and include a sandwich, fries, drink and unlimited salad bar. However, the idea of an unlimited salad bar isn't what we're familiar with at Souplantation or Sizzler. Rather, the salad bar is meant as toppings for your falafel, so that when you run out of pita, you can't get more because you don't have anywhere to put it. If combo meals and unlimited toppings don't appeal to you, you can order everything a la carte.

The food is standard, and nothing you couldn't make on your own. Sandwiches come with a choice of wheat or white pita that's filled halfway with mixed greens and a few falafels. You then accessorize at the salad bar, loading up on Mediterranean staples like olives, lentils and roasted vegetables. Falafels can be dry, so I recommend lots of yogurt and tahini sauce. Maoz also offers freshly squeezed orange, apple or carrot juice for an extra $1 when you order a meal deal.

The only drawback about Maoz is also one of its best features: the unlimited salad bar. Germaphobes rightly can complain as everyone uses the same spoons to refill their pita, meaning someone can go back with a half-eaten pita and ruin it for the rest of us if they don't have steady hands.

If you don't mind germs, Maoz is worth a try if you are vegetarian or health-conscious or you want to relive Euro trip memories. Don't expect anything grand as this is a college fast-food joint where you'll find inebriated students chowing down at 2 a.m. on the weekends. But, when you are in a hurry or don't want to cook, Maoz meets the requirement.

Maoz Vegetarian
2395 Telegraph, Berkeley

Photo: JAM

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