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From hoagies to birria tacos, Philly’s halal food scene embraces contemporary dishes

Halal cuisine has blossomed around Philly. Here’s a rundown of places to check out.

The Hot Chicken sandwiches with fries at Asad’s Hot Chicken.
The Hot Chicken sandwiches with fries at Asad’s Hot Chicken.Read moreMonica Herndon / Staff Photographer

What makes Philly’s halal dining unlike any other city for Tabish Hoda is that immigrants contribute to the diversity and expansion of its options.

“The halal scene, historically, has been halal American food,” said Hoda, who runs the Instagram account @phillyhalalspots. “There’s always been halal hoagies, cheesesteaks, pizza, and stuff like that, but now that scene is becoming more diverse.”

Karim Muhammad, who opened iMunch Cafe in Brewerytown in 2013, said the options have grown in the last 20 years with people emigrating from Muslim majority countries where halal meat is normally served.

The literal meaning of halal is “permissible,” which can be used to describe various parts of Muslims’ lifestyle, including food. Rice and bread are halal, but alcohol and pork are haram — prohibited. Halal meat follows the tradition of zabihah, defining whether the animal has been fed and treated humanely before and during slaughter, blessed in the name of Allah, and drained of blood.

Most halal-serving restaurants will identify themselves as such on their website or menus but a simple ask also helps verify. Similar to kosher meat, halal certifications are available, but “if it’s a Muslim-owned restaurant and they are guaranteeing and promising you that it’s halal, then that’s really the only research that’s required,” Hoda said.

From halal hot chicken sandwiches to shawarma hoagies, birria tacos to Uzbeki dumplings, the wide variety of halal foods spans traditional and contemporary tastes. Here, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite eats in Philly.

Northeast Philly:

Pull up to this Philly Gas station off Roosevelt Boulevard and you’ll find an orange takeout spot serving halal Nashville-style hot chicken. Owner Asad Khan grew up in Northeast Philly with not many halal options. Last year, after an introduction to hot chicken, he returned to Philly with a recipe and a business plan for serving halal hot chicken. Now, business is booming — so much so that he’s looking to launch a local franchise.

📍 7300 Roosevelt Blvd., 📞 267-367-8124, 🌐

This Uzbeki restaurant in Feasterville serves sesame speckled breads, platters of charcoal-roasted skewers, Uzbeki dumplings and rice palovs, meat stews like Laghman, and more. Craig LaBan called it “the best Uzbeki kitchen in the Philadelphia region” in 2021.

📍 1135 Bustleton Pike, Feasterville-Trevose, 📞 267-288-5077, 🌐

At Don Panchito, owner Mohamed Sadek Goubaa is all about halal Mexican food. He opened the restaurant in 2019 to diversify the halal offerings in Philly — so he decided chimichanga burritos and steak fajitas were the way to go, alongside steak nachos, chicken quesadillas, burritos, and fajita or barbacoa steak tacos.

📍 3180 Grant Ave., 📞 215-598-6726, 🌐

Pizza, wings, fries, and shakes are the name of the game at Down North, where the beef pepperoni and sausage (but not the chicken) are halal. There’s the “What We Do” pizza with beef pepperoni, beef sausage, kale, banana peppers, and honey chipotle, or the spicy crab fries smothered in cheese sauce, sautéed kale, crab, and Old Bay. Wash it down with a hand-spun milkshake.

📍 2804 W. Lehigh Ave., 📞 215-377-9787, 🌐

As Muslim restaurant owners, it was important for Mu’min Islam and his brother, Raheem, to open a cafe where the meat was halal. “We decided the Northwest area is really a halal desert,” Mu’min said, and set out to fix that. At Cherish, he serves brisket and pastrami with pepper jack cheese secured in an everything bun, and a variety of plates and sandwiches with halal beef and turkey sausage, pastrami, and brisket.

📍 7060 Germantown Ave., 📞 215-420-2603, 🌐

Old City:

At this Yemeni spot, dig into chicken mandi served over long-grain rice and garnished with nuts and raisins, plus a side of sahawig (Malooga’s signature sauce) or lamb bormah. Finish off with sizzling areka, made of a combination of mashed dates and crumbled bread, topped with cream, honey, and sesame seeds, and served in a hot stone pot called madra or masoob. Don’t forget the homemade adeni chai.

📍 134 Chestnut St., 📞 267-822-2327, 🌐

Hot aloo parathas, vegetable pakoras, or mulligatawny shorba (soup) are great ways to begin your visit at Karma Restaurant. Then there are reshmi and seekh kebabs, lamb roganjosh, keema mutter, bhindi gosht, and a bunch of biryanis — order achar and raita to go along with your meal.

📍 114 Chestnut St., 📞 215-925-1444, 🌐

West Philly:

If you’re in West Philly and come across the sleek corner spot, chances are you’ll see folks chowing down on maroosh sandwiches filled with sautéed onions, creamy garlic sauce, tomato slices, parsley, and pickles on a toasted roll and cheeseburgers with a large serving of fries.

📍4500 Walnut St., 📞 215-222-7223, 🌐

On the corner of 45th and Walnut Streets, this Lebanese restaurant is bustling with diners looking for specialties like hot fatteh and fool and platters of falafel and ginger beef kebabs. Be sure to stop by their bakery for coffees, teas, and Lebanese sweets — basboosa, ma’amoul, and knafeh.

📍4420 Walnut St., 📞 215-921-2135, 🌐

On Walnut Street, everything on the menu at this Taiwanese cafe is halal and uses vegan gelatin. Order chicken fillet and popcorn chicken to accompany your bubble tea.

📍 4508 Walnut St., 📞 215-222-6688, 🌐

Maybe you’re craving hot nihari or steaming biryani for lunch or dinner. This Pakistani and Indian restaurant in University City offers traditional dishes all day. Finish off your visit with ras malai or an assortment of mithai (sweets) paired with Kashmiri chai.

📍4201 Chestnut St., 📞 215-222-8081, 🌐

Dive into tandoori specials like chicken tikka, lamb chop, and beef seikh kabob. But then, there’s seafood dishes like fish takatak, fish tandori, and fried fish. And don’t sleep on the Lahori chargha, paya, or haleem.

📍4447 Chestnut St., 📞 215-921-5597, 🌐

West Philly’s new Ethiopian spot is all about fried chicken. Co-owner and chef Mebruka Kane serves crispy pieces with berbere spice blend and fried in a teff flour batter. Find stewed doro wot, sautéed chicken tibs, and an Ethiopian variation on shawarma as well.

Doro Bet is the latest addition to the Ali Family restaurants — Salam Cafe sits in Germantown and Alif Brew & Mini Mart is nearby, down Baltimore Avenue. Both restaurants are halal, too. On Fridays and Saturdays at Salam Cafe, enjoy shakshouka, fir fir, malwah, and more. Or stop by Alif for imported pantry goods.

📍4533 Baltimore Ave., 📞 215-921-6558, 🌐

Fishtown, Kensington, and Northern Liberties:

Platters of kufta, lamb kababs and chops, rice, and vegetables sit next to bowls of hummus and baskets of bread at Alamodak. And if you head to seating upstairs, you can enjoy menu items with a side of hookah.

📍161 Cecil B. Moore Ave., 📞 267-239-0088, 🌐

Visit Pera to see sous chef Metin Kara, who was named one of 16 rising stars in Philly restaurants by critic Craig LaBan, in action while you dine on iskender, manti, lamb beyti, hunkar begendi, and other dishes. At the end of the meal, be sure to order cheesy kunefe or sweet baklava with Turkish tea or coffee.

📍944 N. Second St., 📞 215-660-9471, 🌐

Tina’s Tacos

For Darshak Pendem and Puja Gohil , offering halal birria tacos was a love note to their Muslim friends. Inside the blue painted building with a mural of Selena on one side, find “boxes” of birria. There’s the Belcher box with a birria taco, a quesadilla, and a chalupa taco. The Quesadilla box features two corn tortilla tacos loaded with birria meat and cheese. Or try the birria ramen, burritos, or rice platters.

📍2327 East York St., 📞 814-343-3101, 🌐

South Philly:

Hot bowls of chickpea-lamb consommé, right-off-the-grill corn tortillas, and slow-cooked lamb are brought out for a shared feasting experience at James Beard winner chef Cristina Martinez’s colorful restaurant. During Ramadan, the line to order stretches around the corner.

📍1140 S. Ninth St., 📞 215-360-5282, 🌐

Here, you can find celebrated halal Indonesian food slow-braised beef rendang as well as sautéed tempeh and tofu soaked in a sweet soy sauce. There are also soups like soto ayam or salads like gado gado.

📍1754 S. Hicks St., 📞 215-271-9442, 🌐

South Street, Society Hill, and Queen Village:

Come for the skewers of lamb, beef, and chicken marinated with spices and garlic on a bed of Afghan rice. Or there’s qablee palaw with pieces of lamb under a mound of Afghan rice and topped with carrot strips, raisins, and almonds. But be sure to order firni, baklava, or sheeryaki to finish off with something sweet.

📍1300 South St., 📞 267-457-3622, 🌐

Start with manti stuffed with ground beef and lamb, ali nazik, or grilled eggplants and green peppers topped with garlic yogurt and lamb cubes, Russian salad, or hummus. Then, enjoy lamb chops, kasap kofte, or ground beef and lamb patties, chargrilled chicken thighs, or a mix of plates.

📍622 S. Sixth St., 📞 215-751-9110, 🌐

On South Street between Fourth and Fifth Streets, experience Moroccan favorites while dining on plush rugs and fabric seats with vibrantly colored pillows, incense scented rooms, and a dimly lit ambience. Dive into a $25 three-course meal (think chicken with lemon and olive, tajine of lamb and couscous) and enjoy belly dancers performing on the weekends.

📍517 S. Leithgow St., 📞 215-925-5929, 🌐


Chicken and waffles, lemon cream stuffed French toast, or egg and meat breakfast sandwich sounds like a good breakfast, right? This Brewerytown spot has been serving halal breakfast for more than a decade. There are paninis, sandwiches, and smoothies as well.

📍1233 N. 31st St., 📞 215-236-MUNCH (8624), 🌐


If you’re dining for brunch at this Moroccan-influenced spot, try the sunny side eggs with ground beef, spicy tomato sauce, or the raisin challah French toast. At dinner, you’ll find pan seared tuna, char grilled filet mignon, Mediterranean veggie plate, and more.

📍 2501 Meredith St., 📞 215-978-8440, 🌐

Order the lamb boti kabab, tandoori mix plate, or goat kharai. Vegetarians, aloo palak, chana masala, or malai kofta are the dishes for you. Be sure to order some garlic naan for the table.

📍1601 Parrish St., 📞 267-324-5160, 🌐

Multiple locations:

Creamy butter masalas, chettinad with coconut-fennel seed paste, aromatic thalasseri, crispy dosas, and more are offered at Amma’s. For a variety, order combos like tiffin, verities rices, and couples for vegetarians and meat eaters. Steaming dum biryani and warm kothu parotta are also served.


From hoagies to quesadillas to chicken tikka, Al-Sham serves a variety of menu items to satisfy any craving. There’s even pizza and wings.