Falafel St. Jacques – for the Love of Food and Community
Falafel St. Jacques – Food is more than just a basic need to survive. It also plays a big part in our cultural identities – and it becomes more than just nourishment is when it is shared with others, as it has been for thousands of years. ‘Breaking bread’ with people of different backgrounds and beliefs allows us to take down barriers and open our minds to new things and brings about an understanding of others in a way few things can today.
There is a restaurant in Montreal that not only serves up amazing food, but also defines the true meaning of community and understanding – Falafel St. Jacques. Politics is left at the door and there are no conflicts inside. What you find inside is a team that embraces the idea of family and it shows in how they relate to their customers – and in the food they serve up. Vegans will be especially pleased at the choices they offer – but you certainly don’t have to be a vegan to love their food.
It’s a cozy little restaurant, decked with counters and stools where you can sit down while enjoying one of their mouth-watering delicacies. In addition to take-out and delivery, they run a well-developed catering service. Their falafels have quickly become known as the best in Montreal – and after tasting one, I could not agree more. I never tasted better.
Located in a nondescript area of Lachine but easily accessible, Falafel St. Jacques has become the place ‘where everybody knows your name’. I had the opportunity to meet with the owner Ronen Baruch, who opened the restaurant in 2015, and his wonderful staff – and my experience was delectable in many ways. I was new to the restaurant, but I assure you the next time I go there (and I will) they will greet me by name.
Ronen, who moved from Israel to Montreal 30 years ago, is known for his innovation and experience in quality food preparations – and it shows in everything he has created. He also founded AbuLafia Pita, Pikante Hummus and the renowned Solly’s Bakeries. He radiates warmth and a genuine respect and love for people.
Saleh Seh, the manager of the restaurant, is an Arab Muslim who identifies as a Palestinian and is also from Israel. A friend of Ronen’s since 2004, he joined him at Falafel St. Jacques a few years ago. Saleh is a master behind the counter, cooking and preparing plates and sandwiches with an ease that only few can handle during rush hour – and he makes it look like fun.
Together they embrace what many politicians struggle to do – bringing together an Israeli and Palestinian, working side by side in peace and harmony. “What is going on in Israel is one thing and what is going on in the media is another thing,” Ronen explained. “We go to the same stores, we eat the same foods… in Israel we live together side by side.”
On the day I visited the restaurant they were preparing for a party in celebration of Israel’s 70th anniversary and the influx of people expected to join them. “Israelis and Palestinians sitting together, enjoying and publicizing peace and love. There is nothing like sharing food together, the politics aside… and coming to eat a great falafel!’ Ronen added with a big smile.
While there I heard greetings that spoke volumes: ‘Hello’, ‘Shalom’, ‘Alo Salla’ and ‘Salut’!
Shanni Weber is their public relations, service manager and head of catering (if you have the chance to try their amazing noodle dish, that’s Shanni’s recipe). She is ready to assist customers with special requests and listen to what they have to say – and is also behind the counter when needed. She greets customers by name with a warm, contagious smile on her face.
“I love coming to work,” she said. “This is my home and watching the restaurant grow, is like watching your child grow up.”
All their prepared foods including salads, sandwiches, hummus, falafel and their amazing baked pita are made on the premises. Their delectable line of baked goodies include rugalach, bourikas, cookies, baklava, Israeli, Arabian and Mediterranean desserts and much more. All the ingredients are made fresh daily – and their delicious hummus is actually made fresh three times per day.
I got to taste several of their offerings, all sure to please any vegan, including their Orange Ginger ‘Chicken’, General Tao, Shish Taouk, Shawarma and Honey BBQ ‘Chicken’ Wings. I am far from vegan and would not have known there was no meat in any of it had I not been told. It was wonderful.
I also had a sampling of their homemade potato latkes (yummy), guacamole, mediterranean salad and their hummus which was out of this world – all finished off with some insanely delicious chocolate/halva danish (oy) and hamantaschen. There is so much more they offer and I would have needed to spend the entire day eating there (however, my waistline had other work to do) but you can check out the entire menu on their website.
If you are holding a special event, whether it be a Company Picnic, Lunch or Dinner or a Holiday Party, you must try out their Catering Service. They also cater to House Parties, Engagements, Weddings, Bar Mitzvahs and Baptism celebrations – and offer Jewish Holiday menus, as well as preparing Shiva Platters. You can’t go wrong – be assured there will be something to please everyone.
For more information on what they offer, including their catering services, go to:
or call them at (514) 595-7482. They are located at 345 St Jacques St., Lachine (Saint-Pierre) and are open in the summer Monday to Sunday from 10:00am to 10:00pm and in the winter 11:00am to 9:00pm.