6 Halal Restaurants in San Francisco You Need to Visit

February 2, 2021
Food & Drink
jason wolfe

Halal dishes might not immediately come to mind when you think of San Francisco. But this bustling Northern Californian city is home to a wide selection of halal restaurants. Thanks to its large and thriving Muslim population, it features a fun and vibrant halal restaurant scene. If you don’t know what “halal” is, it’s an Arabic word that means lawful or permitted. Halal meat has been sourced from animals that were killed according to a certain process. 

San Francisco offers a number of halal restaurants that cater to different tastes and preferences. The next time you want to order out for dinner, check out these top 6 halal restaurant selections. 

Looking for the perfect gift to surprise your loved ones with? Order a virtual GiftYa card! Within seconds, you can send your best friend or sibling a virtual gift card to their favorite restaurant. GiftYa cards can be applied to a number of different places in San Francisco, including the ones we featured below. You can even add a special message to the card before sending it to your loved one! 

1. The Halal Guys

Popular Middle Eastern restaurant known for its gyros and falafel

Their popular chicken platter is served with the restaurant’s famous white and hot sauce. Image courtesy of Yelp.

336 O’Farrell St. | Union Square, Tenderloin | thehalalguys.com 

Located in Union Square, The Halal Guys is a popular chain food truck with locations all over the country. In San Francisco, you can find it on O’Farrell Street. If you just want to grab a quick lunch or dinner, The Halal Guys is the perfect destination to do just that. This food truck features halal classics like beef gyro platters, falafel sandwiches, and baklava. 

While you probably aren’t hosting any parties right now, you should keep The Halal Guys in mind for future events. The Halal Guys offers catering services for special events like corporate luncheons and birthday parties. Whether you are planning an elaborate, upscale event or a casual celebration, The Halal Guys has the perfect dishes to accompany your event. 

“I ordered the combo (meats) platter and the falafel (veggie) platter. Both were delivered in a pretty quick timeline, given they are across town. I LOVED the dishes. Obviously way too much for one, but I had plenty of leftovers - which were just as good. Loved the hot sauce over the white sauce, but I gotta have both.” - Yelp Review

Purchase a GiftYa card for The Halal Guys. 


2. Old Mandarin Islamic Restaurant

Beijing-Style Muslim food served inside a casual dining room

Photo of Old Mandarin Islamic Restaurant - San Francisco, CA, United States
Some of the best dishes in the city can be found at Old Mandarin. Image courtesy of Yelp

3132 Vincente St. | Parkside | oldmandarin.com

In the mood for Chinese food? Old Mandarin Islamic Restaurant is a low-key, no-frills restaurant located in the Parkside neighborhood. While indoor and outdoor dining has shut down due to CA stay-at-home orders, you can still order take-out at Old Mandarin. Lamb Stir Fry, Sweet and Sour Chicken, Beijing Beef Pancakes, and other halal-friendly dishes are available for your enjoyment. If your sweet tooth is calling out to you, you can also order some sticky cake or fried mochi for dessert. 

“They have the best lamb racks. Do yourself a favor and order the large one! I want more and as I am sitting here writing this review, I am just thinking about the lamb racks...the texture was perfectly tender and the flavor was absolutely beautiful, with just the right amount of cumin. Underneath the lamb racks are some super flavorful cabbage so I feel a great balance of protein + veggies after this dish.” - Yelp Review

Purchase a GiftYa card for Old Mandarin Islamic Restaurant. 


3. Kitchen Istanbul

Contemporary bar serving a wide selection of Turkish-Mediterranean dishes

Kitchen Istanbul is ready to serve your food to-go! Image courtesy of Yelp.

349 Clement St. | Inner Richmond | kitchenistanbulsf.com 

Kitchen Istanbul offers a unique and unforgettable dining experience for visitors. This popular Turkish restaurant is known for its traditional mezes, savory entrees, and creative desserts. The dessert menu alone makes the restaurant worth trying. An extensive wine menu is also available. 

That said, Kitchen Istanbul is offering a limited take-out menu that changes on a daily basis. So the dish you tried and loved that one time might not be available the next time you order from Kitchen Istanbul. The restaurant is only open for dinner from 3pm-8pm, so make sure you don’t try to order too early or too late! 

“We ordered take-out from here last night and it was delicious. Good-sized portions and lots of vegetarian options, too. We had the fried feta cheese rolls, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, zucchini fritters, salmon skewer, and veggie moussaka. Most things came with specialty sauces, all of which were clearly labeled with the dish they went with. Such a treat, particularly during Covid-19!” - Yelp Review

Purchase a GiftYa card for Kitchen Istanbul. 

4. Maykadeh

Upscale restaurant featuring classic Persian dishes and fresh seafood entrees

The Chelo-Kebab Koobideh consists of skewered beef, lamb leg, Basmati rice, and Persian spices. Image courtesy of Yelp

470 Green St. | North Beach/Telegraph Hill | maykadehrestaurant.com

Maykadeh is known for its elegant dining room and professional service. While indoor and outdoor dining is closed at the moment, we can still enjoy Maykadeh’s famous dishes at home. 

Some of the restaurant’s most popular dishes include the Baba Ghanoush, Feta Cheese Spread, and Joojeh Kebab. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also try the Lamb Head or the Pache, which is lamb feet. Classic dessert dishes like Bastani, Fallodeh, and Homemade Baklava are also available. 

“Khoresht Fesenjoon: So initially I was really hankering for a lamb shank. But once I saw this delicious pomegranate & walnut sauce was offered, I had to go with the chicken. Two bone-in chicken thighs were swimming in a generous amount of sauce. Super tender chicken, so I actually pulled it off the bone with a fork and remixed it into the sauce so I could maximize the sauce-to-meat covering. Was delicious. Paired nicely with the fluffy rice.” - Yelp Review

Purchase a GiftYa card for Maykadeh. 

https://bursasf.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/BURSA_Logo-1.png

5. Bursa

Falafel, kabobs, and other classic Mediterranean dishes await you at this elegant restaurant

Coming for lunch? Try their Salmon Wraps! Image courtesy of Yelp.

60 West Portal Ave. | Lorenzo Way, West Portal | bursasf.com

Located in Lorenzo Way, Bursa is a popular Mediterranean restaurant that offers a wide selection of fresh and authentic dishes. The restaurant itself offers a casual and laid back atmosphere, making it perfect for a quick lunch or dinner. 

For lunch, you can enjoy a light bowl of Baba Ghanouj or a Falafel Wrap. Their dinner menu also offers some fine options such as the Garlic Lemon Salmon and Lamb Eggplant Sautee. Their special kebabs, which are served with orzo jasmine rice and salad, are also popular among guests. For dessert, you can enjoy a Creme Brulee Tart, Marquise au Chocolat, or Kunefe. 

“Their lunch menu is very decently priced for the quality and amount of food you get. I had the Kofta wrap (lamb and beef blend) which comes with either a side of fries (I got the fries) or an arugula salad. The pita bread was soft with a perfect amount of chewiness without being too dense. They wrap it more like an enchilada than a typical gyro and give you 2 wraps for $12!” - Yelp Review

Purchase a GiftYa card for Bursa. 

6. Shalimar 

Restaurant in the Tenderloin district that serves a wide selection of Indian and Pakistani cuisine

Pictured above is the Saag Chicken, one of the restaurant’s most popular dishes. Image courtesy of Yelp.

532 Jones St. | Tenderloin | shalimarsf.com 

Shalimar is another popular Pakistani-Indian restaurant known for its halal menu. Whether you’re in the mood for Chicken Tikka Masala or some Lamb Chops, you can find all of these popular dishes and more inside this casual, no-frills restaurant. 

Like all other restaurants in San Francisco, Shalimar is only open for take-out. However, you’ll find that all of the restaurant’s signature flavor and cooking can still be found in all of its to-go orders. 

“When it's right, Shalimar serves some of the best Indian/Pakistani food I've ever had and this is saying something because I grew up around Jackson Heights, Queens, New York. surrounded by a lot of South Asian food. The spices are all perfectly on point and subtly fragrant. Looking forward to my next meal here!” - Yelp Review

Purchase a GiftYa card for Shalimar. 

San Francisco is home to a wide variety of halal restaurants. The next time you decide to order out or want to visit a restaurant once dining opens up again, you can visit one of these featured halal restaurants. Which one do you plan on trying? Let us know in the comments!

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