Falafel restaurants are all the rage in Bristol. With one seemingly on every street. Few feel as authentic as Yafo in Southville, however. Where most of Bristol’s falafel joints focus on takeaway and fast-turnovers. Yafo takes its steady and offers a slow-paced dining experience, with gentle lighting and rustic décor. It’s all about the customer experience here.
Whether you’re after breakfast, lunch or dinner, the plant-based restaurant and café offers a variety of high-quality falafel and hummus-based dishes, as well. Without charging extortionate prices either. Open less than a year, Yafo has already established itself as our go-to falafel restaurant thanks to its relaxed and modern atmosphere. The staff are pretty lively too and add as much character as the food.
The pitas are the real star, however. Especially the scrumptious classic falafel pita, which is served crammed with flavour and salad. There are a variety of styles too. On repeat visits, we recommend switching out the falafel for vegan schnitzel, fried-cauliflower or stuffed malawach (a sort of puff pastry with grilled aubergine and feta). Yafo caters to all spice temperaments too with its sauces, but we always opt to crank up the heat. You can also choose a simple falafel salad box.
But the menu is dense. For those searching for something to replace a hangover-fuelled full English – look no further than the North African and Middle Eastern classic: Shakshuka, a tomatoey sauce with baked eggs. Yafo adds its twist by offering labneh and pita bread too. There is also everything from a light granola bowl to Israeli fry-up to fill your stomachs with in the morning. This breakfast menu is served 8am to 2pm and is perfect for enjoying with a cappuccino.
The late afternoon is when the restaurant takes over. From 4pm every day, Yafo unleashes its Manot from the Falafalia menu. Full of beautiful sharing plates from filo cigars stuffed with Balkan cheese to vegan kofta, halloumi and za’atar flatbreads. There are regularly a selection of homemade treats to satisfy a sweet tooth after dinner too, such as the traditional shortbread pastries, maamoul. On the drinks side, Yafo also specialises in some fantastic local craft beer. Every meal is completely vegetarian, while many of its dishes cater to vegans too.
Yafo has already been nominated in the British Restaurant Awards for Bristol’s best restaurant. A stunning achievement by a place that has been open less than a year. But thanks to its clear vision, consistently flavoursome menu and joyous staff, it’s easy to see why. Yafo only does walk-ins, but to check out its extensive menu here.