Delicious things assuredly can come in ugly packages. Such is the case with Hungry Pocket Falafel House. You could pass by this tiny, ugly box of a restaurant on Pico a million times and not once think to stop in. If you do stop in you might immediately turn around and flee as the few stools around the counter and scattered tables do little to engender confidence that even an edible meal, let alone a good meal, awaits. And even then, when your food is delivered you might shirk away, it is not the prettiest of plates.
But all of that would be a mistake. Because Hungry Pocket offers up delicious, inexpensive food with friendly service.
It has been years since The Monster stopped in but the yen for some Greek/Med food hits and there are a dearth of options on the Westside. Sure, Gaby’s is there in a pinch, and the food is fine but the location is a tad…depressing. Hummus Bar Express is good, but on 3rd Street and that is super…annoying.
The falafel sandwich, fresh and hot and wonderful, is what The Monster recalls ordering at Hungry Pocket but on this occasion he decides to mix it up.
So it is the chicken shaworma gyro plate, a heaping helping of chicken and hummus and tabouli and eggplant and pita that make the grade on this day. Order at the counter and take a seat there or at one of the tables and watch as Santa Monica College students fill in and out. The Monster takes a seat by the door (it can get a little stuffy in here) and eagerly awaits his meal.
What might tempt you? Kafta kabobs, shish kabobs, salads galore, dolmeh, gyros both lamb and chicken and fish plates are all on offer.
You are hungry. Really hungry. Others are chowing down. You want to join in the festivities. And then the food arrives. You are offered their specialty hot salsa, homemade. You will not turn this down. Because it transforms the meal from good to great. They offer it for purchase and of course you cave and buy some for home, it is that good.
You fill the pita with the shaworma, you mash in some tabouli and eggplant, you pour the hot salsa over it all and are rewarded with a tasty treat. All the while the friendly owner will make sure you’re enjoying the food, that you have everything you need.
And you do. Thanks Hungry Pocket, you prove that sometimes ugliness masks the beauty within.
Why go? Shrek is your favorite movie.
Monster rating: 4½/5 Monsters
1715 Pico Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90405