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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.

1. Kabob Lounge

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11375 El Camino Real #170
San Diego, CA 92130
(858) 720-6600
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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.

2. Dave's Hot Chicken

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10728 Westview Pkwy
San Diego, CA 92126
(858) 214-3757
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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

3. Ma's House

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5537 Clairemont Mesa Blvd
San Diego, CA 92117
(858) 278-1688
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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.

4. Kroran Uyghur Cuisine

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4310 Genesee Ave suite 105
San Diego, CA 92117
(858) 430-6730
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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).

5. Sufi Mediterranean Cuisine

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5915 Balboa Ave
San Diego, CA 92111
(858) 278-7770
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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.

6. The Purple Mint

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6171 Mission Gorge Rd UNIT 118
San Diego, CA 92120
(619) 280-3388
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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.

7. Grains

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2201 Adams Ave
San Diego, CA 92116
(619) 269-5999
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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.

8. Alforon Mediterranean

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5965 El Cajon Blvd
San Diego, CA 92115
(619) 269-9904
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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.

9. Cafe Royale

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6511 University Ave
San Diego, CA 92115
(619) 610-9173
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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.

10. Fatuma Restaurant

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4869 University Ave
San Diego, CA 92105
(619) 269-8268
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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.

11. Tandoori Hut

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University Avenue, 3890 Fifth Ave
San Diego, CA 92103
(619) 295-4488
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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.

12. Shawarma Guys

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3012 Grape Street
San Diego, CA 92102
(619) 340-1234
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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.

1. Kabob Lounge

11375 El Camino Real #170, San Diego, CA 92130

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.

11375 El Camino Real #170
San Diego, CA 92130

2. Dave's Hot Chicken

10728 Westview Pkwy, San Diego, CA 92126
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.

10728 Westview Pkwy
San Diego, CA 92126

3. Ma's House

5537 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, San Diego, CA 92117

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.

5537 Clairemont Mesa Blvd
San Diego, CA 92117

4. Kroran Uyghur Cuisine

4310 Genesee Ave suite 105, San Diego, CA 92117

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).

4310 Genesee Ave suite 105
San Diego, CA 92117

5. Sufi Mediterranean Cuisine

5915 Balboa Ave, San Diego, CA 92111

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.

5915 Balboa Ave
San Diego, CA 92111

6. The Purple Mint

6171 Mission Gorge Rd UNIT 118, San Diego, CA 92120

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.

6171 Mission Gorge Rd UNIT 118
San Diego, CA 92120

7. Grains

2201 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA 92116

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.

2201 Adams Ave
San Diego, CA 92116

8. Alforon Mediterranean

5965 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA 92115

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.

5965 El Cajon Blvd
San Diego, CA 92115

9. Cafe Royale

6511 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92115

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.

6511 University Ave
San Diego, CA 92115

10. Fatuma Restaurant

4869 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92105

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.

4869 University Ave
San Diego, CA 92105

11. Tandoori Hut

University Avenue, 3890 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92103

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.

University Avenue, 3890 Fifth Ave
San Diego, CA 92103

12. Shawarma Guys

3012 Grape Street, San Diego, CA 92102

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.

3012 Grape Street
San Diego, CA 92102

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