When you’re on the hunt for a restaurant to dine out at or order take-out from, the last thing you want to do is have to fish for answers about whether or not they make their food using halal cooking methods. While you could probably easily type a quick search into Google to find out which restaurants near you are halal, there’s no guarantee that those results will truly show some of the best restaurants in the San Diego Area. And that’s where we come in. Below, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best halal restaurants in San Diego.
Eating according to the dietary laws prescribed by your faith shouldn’t have to come at a higher cost to your wallet, but unfortunately, that’s often the case. GiftYa is striving to change that in the only way they know how: by partnering with local halal restaurants near you to help you get your hands on some e-gift cards that will hopefully take a chunk out of your final bill. The restaurant will still get paid and you’ll save a few extra dollars. Order one for your favorite person who needs an easy halal dinner this week.
523 University Ave | Hillcrest | khyberpasszarparan.com
If there’s one thing we love about halal food, it’s that it doesn’t know the bounds of any one country’s cuisine - which means you can enjoy it in forms you never even would have dreamed of. At Khyber Pass Zarparan, they’ll take you on a halal culinary journey to Afghanistan, where the cuisine is already authentically halal.
They’ve been around for over 36 years now at Khyber Pass Zarparan - and in San Diego, that’s quite a feat to achieve!
As a family owned and operated restaurant, they aren’t just interested in serving up some food that will satisfy your cravings and then sending you on your merry way; they want to create an experience for you that is warm enough to make you feel like you’re with family.
While you’re here, you can enjoy anything from mantu topped with garlic yogurt to kebabs and tandoori cooked up to satisfy your every craving. And if you’re not yet familiar with the flavors of traditional Afghani food, well, you will be and you will be craving it from here on out.
“Wow finally found an Afghan restaurant that you can actually compare to a real authentic home cooked meal! We went crazy and ordered an insane amount of food and boy were we happy we did!” - Yelp Review
3940 4th Ave, Ste 110 | Hillcrest | kouskousrestaurant.com
While we’re on a journey around the world to discover different cuisines that use certifiably halal methods to cook up their traditional food, we’re making a stop in Morocco. (Okay, we’re making a stop on 4th Ave in San Diego, but Kous Kous Moroccan Bistro is home to some of the best Moroccan fare in the city.)
Now, the first thing that may come to mind when you see the name of this particular restaurant is probably couscous - an Israeli staple. Of course, Morocco is not Israel, so you might be wondering if they even serve up some of that delicious couscous here, but they absolutely do!
And here’s why: since the formation of Israel back in 1948, Israel and Morocco have actually had very close ties because of the large Jewish population that resided in the country at the time. It should make sense, then that some of the same traditional dishes would cross those borders - and they do (along with some very tasty tagine)!
“The love I have for Morocco...brought me here to Kous Kous. I often find myself missing the life I had in Morocco but I am glad I finally was able to try a little bit of Morocco here in San Diego.” - Yelp Review
5965 El Cajon Blvd | Rolando | alforon.com
Most halal restaurants around San Diego are quick to transport you to another place around the world with a single bite of their food, but how many of them can you really say are also talented at transporting you in time? Alforon on Cajon Boulevard is home to authentic Lebanese food - but it’s authentic Lebanese food from 19th century Lebanon!
While you’ll likely find at many other restaurants around the city that the ingredients they bring in to cook up some of their signature dishes are actually pre-prepared in mass quantities through massive outside corporations. Here at Alforon, though, you’ll discover that all of their ingredients are prepared right there in their kitchen - and you can taste the difference!
To make this restaurant even more accessible to people passing by on the street, their menu is packed with plenty of vegetarian and vegan options alongside quite a few meat options as well. Whether you’re in it for the falafel, the stuffed grape leaves, or their Chicken Tawook, they’ve got a little something to satisfy what everyone at your table is craving when you come to visit.
“We've been coming to Alforon for years. The owners are very welcoming, warm, and friendly. The owner even sits with you while taking your order... it's her way of getting to know you- like family!” - Yelp Review
4461 Clairemont Mesa Blvd | Clairemont | misterfalafel.com
Okay, we know we said that we’re taking a journey around the world of certifiably halal foods in different countries, but we just can’t help but linger on Lebanon for another minute.
Whether it’s the falafel or the chicken shawarma that draws us in, we can’t say for certain, but there’s something about the unique combination of Lebanese spices and Mediterranean ingredients that we can’t help but want to experience more of.
And truly, there is no better place for you to experience the traditional, more modern falafel of Lebanon than Mister Falafel, where falafel is already in the name. Here, you can find falafel in all shapes and sizes - whether that’s a falafel patty, a falafel plate, or a falafel bowl - and they also couldn’t make a bad baba ganoush if they tried to.
When you stop by, you’ll be greeted by some of the warmest people you’ll ever meet - and they’ve made it their mission to make you feel as much like a part of their restaurant family as they can. After all, they wouldn’t be able to do half the things they do without their loyal customers!
“Mister Falafel was such a pleasant surprise. I stopped by here after a long work day, and the food was everything I needed! We got the falafel plate and chicken shawarma fries and I would highly recommend both.” - Yelp Review
3890 5th Ave | Hillcrest | tandoorihutsd.com
Keeping with our promise to keep moving after that brief stay in Lebanon, we thought it was only fitting that we should shoot on over to India for our next stop. While India isn’t necessarily known to be home to food that is certifiably halal, that doesn’t mean that it’s without its little pockets of citizens who eat halal - and many of their traditional dishes are easily adaptable!
Tandoori Hut, located in Hillcrest, has taken many of the traditional ingredients and spices that you would typically find in dishes throughout India and has combined them with recipes and food practices that are strictly halal. That’s right: there’s no need to perform gymnastics as you navigate the menu while you’re here.
Whether you’re in it for the samosas or the curry, they have plenty of classic Indian fare here for you to dig into whenever you get a hankering for it. To make things even better, they’ve also made it a special mission of theirs to make as many of their dishes vegetarian and vegan for people who have further dietary restrictions.
“Love their mushroom masala and other vegetarian options. Their entrees come with rice and I always order two sides of the garlic naan for good measure. Everything is always nice and hot when it's delivered which is a plus!” - Yelp Review
4310 Genesee Ave, Unit 105 | Clairemont | kroranuyghurcuisine.com
Our final stop on this global halal trek is bringing us as far east as we’re going to dare to go for the time being. Based out of modern-day China, Uyghur cuisine is actually authentically halal, and San Diego is home to one of the few authentic Uyghur restaurants you’ll find around all of the United States: Kroran Uyghur Cuisine.
Usually when you think of Chinese restaurants, “halal” is not the first descriptor that comes to mind (although if you look into it, you’ll likely find that many of their traditional dishes are already halal), but this particular restaurant is aiming to change your perspective. After all, there’s no need to become a trapeze artist at a restaurant when they can bring your diet right to you.
Here, you’ll find anything from an Uyghur take on kebabs to veggies fried and seasoned using traditional Chinese spices to a spicy rice noodle dish that is actually entirely vegan as well as being halal. If you’re in the Clairemont area, you’ll definitely want to give this place a try!
“I'll admit, I've never had Uyghur Cuisine before but the entire experience felt comforting. Everything I ate felt like I was eating meaty, savory, and rich comfort food. And the service was beyond impeccable too!” - Yelp Review
Halal food isn’t all that hard to come by when you know where to look - and it can actually be quite diverse! Let us know which one gave you a halal dining experience you never thought you’d have in the comments below!