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Where to Find Halal Food in San Diego

Permissible fried chicken sandwiches, Chinese food, kabobs, and more

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This year, Ramadan begins on Saturday, April 2 with the sighting of the moon and ends on Monday, May 2 with the Eid al-Fitr holiday. Those observing around the world will be eating a Suhoor meal before dawn and then fasting during daylight hours; the fast breaks with an Iftar meal at sunset.

Like many metropolitan regions across the country, San Diego is a multi-cultural hub and its food scene is a reflection of its diversity. Many Muslims follow a halal diet, and the county’s selection of restaurants serving halal food is vast and varied. From fried chicken sandwiches to Uyghur dishes, kabobs, and more, here’s a roundup of halal restaurants to try now.

There are few vegan restaurants on this list, but strict halal diners should inquire further to avoid sauces, dressings, or other ingredients that may include alcohol as a result of fermentation.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Kabob Lounge

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Kabob Lounge does wraps, salads, pizzas (Margherita to pesto chicken and even a gyro pizza), and combo rice plates like chicken kabob and your choice of gyro or doner. Its website lists a ‘secret menu’ that includes a California Gyro Doner Wrap and a Spicy Doner Bowl with a side of hummus.

Dave's Hot Chicken

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The growing California fast-casual chain has a locations in Pacific Beach, Mira Mesa, and El Cajon. Its chicken sandwiches and tenders — all halal — come in a range of spice levels (Reaper is the hottest), with fries and sides like mac and cheese and kale slaw.

A tray of Nashville hot chicken sandwiches, tenders and cheese fries on the menu at Dave’s Hot Chicken. Dave’s Hot Chicken/Instagram

Ma's House

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The San Diego outpost of Ma’s Chinese restaurant serves halal dishes like beef or mutton warm pot big enough for two. Specialties range from sesame bread with green onion or red bean, as well as seafood dishes and vegetarian options. Ma’s is open for lunch and dinner, though it’s closed between services from 3 to 4 p.m.

Kroran Uyghur Cuisine

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As quite possibly the only Uyghur restaurant in San Diego — the Uyghurs are a predominantly Muslim, Turkic-speaking ethnic group hailing from the Xinxiang region of western China — Kroran might have the monopoly on this unique blend of Middle Eastern, Chinese, and Central Asian flavors. Find menu items like hand pulled noodle dishes and pumpkin-stuffed samsa (known as samosa in India, or sambosa in Afghanistan).

Sufi Mediterranean Cuisine

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Find kabobs, stews like herby ghormeh sabzi with beans, and lamb, beef, and chicken and rice plates at Sufi in the Balboa Mesa Shopping Center in Clairemont. Falafel, sandwiches and burgers are also on offer. Sufi also serves its dishes within Balboa International Market’s prepared foods counter.

The Purple Mint

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This Grantville bistro serves vegan spring rolls, salads, and Vietnamese noodle soups like Hue-style spicy noodle soup, pho’s spicier cousin from central Vietnam. Since it’s a vegan restaurant, its traditional beef and pork broth is replaced with a lemongrass-based broth. Other entrees range from black rice pasta in coconut milk to a sweet potato medley curry with king mushrooms and tofu. Its Thai iced tea is made with almond milk, and Buddhas Delight is a mix of orange and pineapple juices, jasmine tea, and basil seed.

Favorites at this vegan spot include the “pork” banh mi sandwich made with five-spice tofu, and jackfruit (served with a side of fries) and cauliflower-based popcorn “chicken” with ranch or bbq sauce. The cafe’s grilled calamari mushroom and some pasta dishes are also gluten free. Strict halal diners should inquire further about the restaurant’s sauces and noodle dishes to avoid any soy or vanilla extract if necessary.

Alforon Mediterranean

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Noteworthy items at this Lebanese restaurant and bakery include soujouk, or spiced beef sausage, tomato, and cheese served on flatbread and the restaurant’s signature Chicken Tawook, a flatbread dish topped with chicken, garlic, and pickles.

Cafe Royale

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This restaurant in Rolando describes its menu as East African and Mediterranean with a Somali twist. On offer: Generous portions of steak, salmon, and chicken kebabs, lamb dishes, and more, including a lamb shank and goat platter seasoned with house spice blends.

Fatuma Restaurant

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All entrees at this City Heights staple, from tilapia or wasla (meaning goat in the Somali language) are served with a side salad and your choice of pasta or basmati rice. Serving primarily Somali dishes, the restaurant also caters.

Tandoori Hut

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Tandoori Hut’s yogurt sauce-based korma, and mushroom masala dishes are particular favorites but a variety of fish, shrimp, and lamb dishes are also available. Located on the corner of University and Fifth Avenue in Hillcrest, parking might be a little tricky.

Shawarma Guys

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Parked outside of The Bottle Shop liquor store in South Park, this food truck slings a shawarma wrap made from wagyu beef that’s a standout pick on a menu that also offers egg rolls, wings, and rice plates. It’s been named to many popular food lists, so do expect a wait.

Kabob Lounge

Kabob Lounge does wraps, salads, pizzas (Margherita to pesto chicken and even a gyro pizza), and combo rice plates like chicken kabob and your choice of gyro or doner. Its website lists a ‘secret menu’ that includes a California Gyro Doner Wrap and a Spicy Doner Bowl with a side of hummus.

Dave's Hot Chicken

A tray of Nashville hot chicken sandwiches, tenders and cheese fries on the menu at Dave’s Hot Chicken. Dave’s Hot Chicken/Instagram

The growing California fast-casual chain has a locations in Pacific Beach, Mira Mesa, and El Cajon. Its chicken sandwiches and tenders — all halal — come in a range of spice levels (Reaper is the hottest), with fries and sides like mac and cheese and kale slaw.

A tray of Nashville hot chicken sandwiches, tenders and cheese fries on the menu at Dave’s Hot Chicken. Dave’s Hot Chicken/Instagram

Ma's House

The San Diego outpost of Ma’s Chinese restaurant serves halal dishes like beef or mutton warm pot big enough for two. Specialties range from sesame bread with green onion or red bean, as well as seafood dishes and vegetarian options. Ma’s is open for lunch and dinner, though it’s closed between services from 3 to 4 p.m.

Kroran Uyghur Cuisine

As quite possibly the only Uyghur restaurant in San Diego — the Uyghurs are a predominantly Muslim, Turkic-speaking ethnic group hailing from the Xinxiang region of western China — Kroran might have the monopoly on this unique blend of Middle Eastern, Chinese, and Central Asian flavors. Find menu items like hand pulled noodle dishes and pumpkin-stuffed samsa (known as samosa in India, or sambosa in Afghanistan).

Sufi Mediterranean Cuisine

Find kabobs, stews like herby ghormeh sabzi with beans, and lamb, beef, and chicken and rice plates at Sufi in the Balboa Mesa Shopping Center in Clairemont. Falafel, sandwiches and burgers are also on offer. Sufi also serves its dishes within Balboa International Market’s prepared foods counter.

The Purple Mint

This Grantville bistro serves vegan spring rolls, salads, and Vietnamese noodle soups like Hue-style spicy noodle soup, pho’s spicier cousin from central Vietnam. Since it’s a vegan restaurant, its traditional beef and pork broth is replaced with a lemongrass-based broth. Other entrees range from black rice pasta in coconut milk to a sweet potato medley curry with king mushrooms and tofu. Its Thai iced tea is made with almond milk, and Buddhas Delight is a mix of orange and pineapple juices, jasmine tea, and basil seed.

Grains

Favorites at this vegan spot include the “pork” banh mi sandwich made with five-spice tofu, and jackfruit (served with a side of fries) and cauliflower-based popcorn “chicken” with ranch or bbq sauce. The cafe’s grilled calamari mushroom and some pasta dishes are also gluten free. Strict halal diners should inquire further about the restaurant’s sauces and noodle dishes to avoid any soy or vanilla extract if necessary.

Alforon Mediterranean

Noteworthy items at this Lebanese restaurant and bakery include soujouk, or spiced beef sausage, tomato, and cheese served on flatbread and the restaurant’s signature Chicken Tawook, a flatbread dish topped with chicken, garlic, and pickles.

Cafe Royale

This restaurant in Rolando describes its menu as East African and Mediterranean with a Somali twist. On offer: Generous portions of steak, salmon, and chicken kebabs, lamb dishes, and more, including a lamb shank and goat platter seasoned with house spice blends.

Fatuma Restaurant

All entrees at this City Heights staple, from tilapia or wasla (meaning goat in the Somali language) are served with a side salad and your choice of pasta or basmati rice. Serving primarily Somali dishes, the restaurant also caters.

Tandoori Hut

Tandoori Hut’s yogurt sauce-based korma, and mushroom masala dishes are particular favorites but a variety of fish, shrimp, and lamb dishes are also available. Located on the corner of University and Fifth Avenue in Hillcrest, parking might be a little tricky.

Shawarma Guys

Parked outside of The Bottle Shop liquor store in South Park, this food truck slings a shawarma wrap made from wagyu beef that’s a standout pick on a menu that also offers egg rolls, wings, and rice plates. It’s been named to many popular food lists, so do expect a wait.

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