Halāl is Arabic for “permissible.” When applied to food and drink, halal means that everything has been prepared according to Islamic dietary laws as set forth in the Quran. Pork and alcohol are haram (forbidden), and all animals must be butchered in a manner prescribed by Islamic law.
Halal food carts are all over New York City. They’re famous for serving the ultimate late-night food—crave-worthy containers of chicken and rice doused with red and white sauce. If you’re looking for a more casual experience, Brooklyn also has plenty of stellar halal restaurants. Whether you’re craving a quick bite or haute halal, here are six destination-worthy spots.
La Goulette (Williamsburg) serves affordable Mediterranean comfort food in colorful surroundings. The family-owned eatery imports all of their spices directly from Tunisia. Standout dishes include the mixed grill (a generous trifecta of lamb, chicken kebab, and merguez sausage), freshly fried falafel, and honey-soaked baklava. Try to save room for the house shake—a creamy blend of bananas, dates, and milk.
La Goulette photo courtesy of P. A via Yelp.
Yemen Café and Restaurant via Facebook
Yemen Café and Restaurant (Downtown Brooklyn)
Yemen Café and Restaurant has locations in Downtown Brooklyn and Bay Ridge. Don’t be fooled by the bare-bones décor. They’re famed for their delicious (meat-centric) Yemeni fare. Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted with a giant pile of crispy naan-like flatbread and a complimentary bowl of broth. If you’re having a tough time deciding, you can’t go wrong their signature slow-roasted lamb.
Halal International | Qasim G. via Foursquare
Halal International (Boerum Hill)
This no-frills halal restaurant is a popular Boerum Hill lunch destination. The chicken and lamb combo platter is epicly delicious and big enough for two. Regulars also swear by their chicken samosas and mixed gyro sandwiches.
Mashallah Sweets & Restaurant | Intsar C. via Yelp
Mashallah Sweets & Restaurant (Flatbush)
Mashallah Sweets & Restaurant is open 24 hours a day (which means it’ll be your best friend at 3 a.m. on a Saturday night). The brightly-lit eatery offers a panoply of South Asian delights. Cult favorites include the samosas, chicken biryani and vegetables with rice stew, and spicy lamb curry. You might as well pick up some Bengali sweets while you’re there.
Halal Paradise | Andrea C. via Yelp
Halal Paradise (Park Slope)
This lime-green food truck is open 24 hours a day. Located on 4th Avenue between Atlantic and Pacific, they’re known for their falafel, rice platters, and gyros. Warning: the red sauce is boldly spiced.
Karam | Marwan Y. via Yelp
Karam (Bay Ridge)
Karam serves high-end Lebanese cuisine to hungry Bay Ridge locals. Their spit-carved chicken shawarma is a thing of beauty—it’s roasted on a giant spit and drenched in toum (lemon-garlic sauce). Round out your meal with freshly-baked za’atar flatbread and stuffed eggplant and zucchini.
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