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Eastern fast food. Grilled spicy beef lyulya kebab on sticks on flat bread with grilled vegetables sweet corn cob, tomato and paprika, tomato sauce on wooden table. Flat lay Photo by: Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The 15 Essential Restaurants for Halal Dining in Orlando

From Middle Eastern feasts to all-American diner fare, here are the best halal spots in city

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Halal is an Arabic word referring to what is permissible under Islamic law. When used in terms of food, halal applies to the dietary guidelines surrounding the butchering, preparation and consumption of meat and seafood for Muslims. Orlando has become a bastion for halal eats with everything from Saudi Arabian and Indonesian fare to East African and Iranian delights. Here are the most notable.

Editor’s Note: The latest CDC guidance for vaccinated diners during the COVID-19 outbreak is here; dining out still carries risks for unvaccinated diners and workers. Please be aware of changing local rules, and check individual restaurant websites for any additional restrictions such as mask requirements. Find a local vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Oh My Gyro

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Foil containers filled with chicken and gyro meat, yellow rice, pita bits, and healthy drizzles of requisite white sauce and hot sauce replicate the NYC halal cart experience effectively, but the Indian fare (samosas, tandoori chicken) as well as the East African mishkaki (marinated and skewered beef cubes) shouldn’t be overlooked.

Shiraz Market

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The superbly seared kebabs grilled at this Persian grocery store in Longwood aren’t just easy on wallets and purse strings, they’re a sight for hungry eyes. Beef koubideh and chicken kebabs are perpetual faves, especially when served with Samin Nosrat-worthy saffron-scented rice. Ask for barberries, grilled peppers, and lavash for proper Persian stylings. Leftover shreds of lavash beg to be dunked in the shallot-yogurt dip.

Aladdin's Café

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The tastefully spartan space has gracefully aged since opening more than a quarter-century ago, and its superb Lebanese cuisine is a testament to the restaurant’s longevity. Shanklish (sheep milk cheese) and hummus make ideal sides for more substantial dishes, whether it’s lamb sausage, sauteed quail, or shish tawook (marinated chicken skewers). A buffet is often offered during Ramadan.

Bosphorous Turkish Cuisine (Multiple locations)

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Arguably the most popular choice for diners craving Turkish cuisine, Bosphorous has expanded to four locations across the metro area and with good reason – its kebabs, be they doner, sis, adana, or kofte, are top-notch. It’s not cheap, but the privilege of dining amid the swank ambience appears to be included in the price of proteins.

TajineXpress

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Blue stucco walls, mosaic lanterns, and geometric dinnerware provide plenty of visual allure at this East Orlando Moroccan restaurant, but it’s the culinary aesthetics that have earned it a loyal patronage, be it smoky and garlicky zaalouk (cooked eggplant and tomato salad) to melt-in-your-mouth curry goat tajine. Bastilla, a sweet and savory phyllo dough pastry stuffed with seasoned chicken, dusted with powdered sugar, and served with a side of honey, is worth the visit alone.

O'Town Burgers N Wings

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The stacked burgers with half-pound Angus beef patties are the primary draw of this restaurant situated in a Metrowest strip mall. Of note is the “Mix Burger” comprising said patty along with gyro meat, grilled onions, lettuce, tomato, and a couple of spicy condiments — chipotle mayo and jalapeno cheese. Wings, shawarma, and cheesesteaks are almost as popular. Look for O’Town to run Ramadan specials too.

Tabla Indian Restaurant (Multiple locations)

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Tabla’s brand of elevated Desi fare is now offered in three different locations across the city but, no matter the locale, the fare consistently impresses. It’s hard to find soft-shell crab pakoras (spiced fritter), Keralan-style mussels (mussels sauteed with ginger, garlic, and spices), or luscious paya served with lachha paratha (crispy flatbread) served anywhere else in the city. Plush lamb chops and a redolent palak gosht (spicy spinach masala curry) have been known to induce head wobbling.

Bombay Street Kitchen

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The menu at this restaurant specializing in Indian street fare is an intriguing amalgam of the quick eats served in cities from Delhi to Chennai. The all-halal dishes range from kale chaat and hakka noodles to goat biryani and chicken momo. It’s a large bill of fare made larger by the “gola” station serving the ideal Florida — shaved ice in a host of flavors and toppings.

World's Magic Restaurant

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Saudi Arabian-style Indonesian fare may seem like an esoteric culinary combo but, as it turns out, the desert peninsula has gone ga-ga over Indonesia’s melting-pot cuisine. At this I-Drive restaurant, there are Saudi renditions of everything from satay to rendang, with sugar often replacing spice. Den den, beef jerky-like nibbles, are a must. Look for a buffet to be offered during the month of Ramadan.

Cedars Restaurant

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The chichi set in Dr. Phillips come for the invitingly bright and airy interior as much as they do for the puffy wood-fired lavash and stellar plates of Lebanese staples – grilled and sauteed quails, spicy sujouk sausages, and bemieh, a stew of lamb and okra. While the restaurant serves halal meat, it also offers a selection of Lebanese wine and beer.

Makani | Upscale Mediterranean Cuisine Bar & Hookah Lounge

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The handsome tourist-sector restaurant specializes in Egyptian cuisine so, naturally, the country’s national dish – koshari – is a menu fixture. The comforting mix of macaroni, spaghetti, rice, chickpeas, lentils, fried onions, garlic, and vinegar is but one of Makani’s many specialties that include hawawshi (baked pita pockets of seasoned mince), kebda (pan-fried beef liver marinated in spices and served with fluffy, vermicellied rice) and, of course, kebabs.

Cafe 34 Istanbul

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The raki flows on weekends at this I-Drive hotspot, but it’s not just about the party atmo and people-watching. The “Ottoman Pleasure,” a majestic heap of protein highlighted by luscious lamb chops, is an indulgence to be shared with like-minded carnivores. On the lighter side, both pastrami hummus and racy ezme are dips worth considering. Pistachio-topped kunefe is an absolute must-ending.

Moroccan Breeze Restaurant

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From this stall buried deep inside the gleaming Apna Bazaar on South OBT, chef/owner Habiba Bimekliouen, a seasoned chef with nearly 35 years of experience (seven of those at Epcot’s Restaurant Marrakesh), fashions some of the best tajines, bastillas and briwats in town. Her Moroccan cookies practically beg to be enjoyed with cup after cup of refreshing mint tea.

Chaat House

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It’s not uncommon to see patrons seated with their feet up, yakking away in assorted Desi dialects while munching on plates of chaat – cool, sometimes creamy, sometimes crunchy, but always spicy street snacks. From pani puri (crispy, fried, hollow dough balls) to shami kebabs, the Indo-Pak delicacies are as varied as they are redolent. Finish off with chai and bite-sized mithai (sweets).

Charcoal Zyka

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The heavily spiced chapli kebab burger, crackled with pomegranate seeds and slathered in “inferno” sauce, may be one of the best burgers in the city, but the sizeable menu spotlighting Indo-Pak specialties is also worth exploring. Watch for special hours during Ramadan. 

Oh My Gyro

Foil containers filled with chicken and gyro meat, yellow rice, pita bits, and healthy drizzles of requisite white sauce and hot sauce replicate the NYC halal cart experience effectively, but the Indian fare (samosas, tandoori chicken) as well as the East African mishkaki (marinated and skewered beef cubes) shouldn’t be overlooked.

Shiraz Market

The superbly seared kebabs grilled at this Persian grocery store in Longwood aren’t just easy on wallets and purse strings, they’re a sight for hungry eyes. Beef koubideh and chicken kebabs are perpetual faves, especially when served with Samin Nosrat-worthy saffron-scented rice. Ask for barberries, grilled peppers, and lavash for proper Persian stylings. Leftover shreds of lavash beg to be dunked in the shallot-yogurt dip.

Aladdin's Café

The tastefully spartan space has gracefully aged since opening more than a quarter-century ago, and its superb Lebanese cuisine is a testament to the restaurant’s longevity. Shanklish (sheep milk cheese) and hummus make ideal sides for more substantial dishes, whether it’s lamb sausage, sauteed quail, or shish tawook (marinated chicken skewers). A buffet is often offered during Ramadan.

Bosphorous Turkish Cuisine (Multiple locations)

Arguably the most popular choice for diners craving Turkish cuisine, Bosphorous has expanded to four locations across the metro area and with good reason – its kebabs, be they doner, sis, adana, or kofte, are top-notch. It’s not cheap, but the privilege of dining amid the swank ambience appears to be included in the price of proteins.

TajineXpress

Blue stucco walls, mosaic lanterns, and geometric dinnerware provide plenty of visual allure at this East Orlando Moroccan restaurant, but it’s the culinary aesthetics that have earned it a loyal patronage, be it smoky and garlicky zaalouk (cooked eggplant and tomato salad) to melt-in-your-mouth curry goat tajine. Bastilla, a sweet and savory phyllo dough pastry stuffed with seasoned chicken, dusted with powdered sugar, and served with a side of honey, is worth the visit alone.

O'Town Burgers N Wings

The stacked burgers with half-pound Angus beef patties are the primary draw of this restaurant situated in a Metrowest strip mall. Of note is the “Mix Burger” comprising said patty along with gyro meat, grilled onions, lettuce, tomato, and a couple of spicy condiments — chipotle mayo and jalapeno cheese. Wings, shawarma, and cheesesteaks are almost as popular. Look for O’Town to run Ramadan specials too.

Tabla Indian Restaurant (Multiple locations)

Tabla’s brand of elevated Desi fare is now offered in three different locations across the city but, no matter the locale, the fare consistently impresses. It’s hard to find soft-shell crab pakoras (spiced fritter), Keralan-style mussels (mussels sauteed with ginger, garlic, and spices), or luscious paya served with lachha paratha (crispy flatbread) served anywhere else in the city. Plush lamb chops and a redolent palak gosht (spicy spinach masala curry) have been known to induce head wobbling.

Bombay Street Kitchen

The menu at this restaurant specializing in Indian street fare is an intriguing amalgam of the quick eats served in cities from Delhi to Chennai. The all-halal dishes range from kale chaat and hakka noodles to goat biryani and chicken momo. It’s a large bill of fare made larger by the “gola” station serving the ideal Florida — shaved ice in a host of flavors and toppings.

World's Magic Restaurant

Saudi Arabian-style Indonesian fare may seem like an esoteric culinary combo but, as it turns out, the desert peninsula has gone ga-ga over Indonesia’s melting-pot cuisine. At this I-Drive restaurant, there are Saudi renditions of everything from satay to rendang, with sugar often replacing spice. Den den, beef jerky-like nibbles, are a must. Look for a buffet to be offered during the month of Ramadan.

Cedars Restaurant

The chichi set in Dr. Phillips come for the invitingly bright and airy interior as much as they do for the puffy wood-fired lavash and stellar plates of Lebanese staples – grilled and sauteed quails, spicy sujouk sausages, and bemieh, a stew of lamb and okra. While the restaurant serves halal meat, it also offers a selection of Lebanese wine and beer.

Makani | Upscale Mediterranean Cuisine Bar & Hookah Lounge

The handsome tourist-sector restaurant specializes in Egyptian cuisine so, naturally, the country’s national dish – koshari – is a menu fixture. The comforting mix of macaroni, spaghetti, rice, chickpeas, lentils, fried onions, garlic, and vinegar is but one of Makani’s many specialties that include hawawshi (baked pita pockets of seasoned mince), kebda (pan-fried beef liver marinated in spices and served with fluffy, vermicellied rice) and, of course, kebabs.

Cafe 34 Istanbul

The raki flows on weekends at this I-Drive hotspot, but it’s not just about the party atmo and people-watching. The “Ottoman Pleasure,” a majestic heap of protein highlighted by luscious lamb chops, is an indulgence to be shared with like-minded carnivores. On the lighter side, both pastrami hummus and racy ezme are dips worth considering. Pistachio-topped kunefe is an absolute must-ending.

Moroccan Breeze Restaurant

From this stall buried deep inside the gleaming Apna Bazaar on South OBT, chef/owner Habiba Bimekliouen, a seasoned chef with nearly 35 years of experience (seven of those at Epcot’s Restaurant Marrakesh), fashions some of the best tajines, bastillas and briwats in town. Her Moroccan cookies practically beg to be enjoyed with cup after cup of refreshing mint tea.

Chaat House

It’s not uncommon to see patrons seated with their feet up, yakking away in assorted Desi dialects while munching on plates of chaat – cool, sometimes creamy, sometimes crunchy, but always spicy street snacks. From pani puri (crispy, fried, hollow dough balls) to shami kebabs, the Indo-Pak delicacies are as varied as they are redolent. Finish off with chai and bite-sized mithai (sweets).

Charcoal Zyka

The heavily spiced chapli kebab burger, crackled with pomegranate seeds and slathered in “inferno” sauce, may be one of the best burgers in the city, but the sizeable menu spotlighting Indo-Pak specialties is also worth exploring. Watch for special hours during Ramadan. 

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