Rating: 7 / 10
Oslo has really struggled over the years to furnish a decent falafel place. Yes, there are a million down torgata where the dregs of late-night bar dizzies spill out in grunting vomiting idiotic movements asking for extra spicy sauce and losing half of the dinner on the floor.
A few places tried to make "fancy falafel" by adding a zero to the price and precious little else. Stuttering under the weight of tarting up what is essentially a grab and go streetfood in any country due south. But up behind the chaos and fuss, lies Gaza Kjøkken where a quiet and lovely Palestinian man has been churning out Oslo's best falafels for a few years.
I made a stop there in August 2021, after a years hiatus, and I'll go out on a limb and say they were better a couple of years ago. He seems to have pandered to the overwhelming local tastes and swapped out the few toppings I really enjoyed (sumac onions, long pickled chilis) and exchanged them for the safe comforts of the surroundings. Ironically enough the main complaint I got from recommending this place to friends was exactly that: "The falafels are great, but I don't really like all that pickled weird stuff".
I can only pray people travel more in the future and widen their palate-horizons.
As far as Gaza goes, the falafels are still on point, the wrap is the same generic one you get in most places, but the toppings have taken a step backwards in terms of authenticity.
Instead of getting a truly exceptional taste of the Middle East for under 100 NOK you now get a slightly watered down version. I'd say Falafel & Juice up in Birkelunden have some elements that trump Gaza, and vice versa. If you could get them both to collaborate then you'd truly have a perfect mixture of protein, greens, sauces, pickles and pita.
These recommendations are just personal opinions based on my palate, things change, chefs get fired or replaced, places open-close, relocate, so take it all with a pinch of MSG and discover your own gems too. But please do try a few of these, they have been researched exhaustively.
"Tastes are subjective, so take everything with a pinch of salty tears"