The last decade has seen a flourishing in North Texas’ halal food scene. Hundreds of restaurants now cater to Muslim diners from all corners of the world. It’s a challenging scene to navigate because “halal” food is not a specific cuisine or culinary type; it’s a set of rules about preparation, like keeping kosher. North Texas has halal everything, from pizzas to Chinese stir fries.
You certainly needn’t follow a fully halal diet to appreciate this vast range of cuisines, from Lebanese to Pakistani to Turkish fare. So, here are the local halal restaurants—yes, although tasty, we skipped over the Halal Guys chain because you know where to find ’em—to satisfy your cravings, whether you are looking for a good shawarma wrap or looking to break your Ramadan fast.
To make this scene easier to explore, we’ve organized our favorite halal restaurants into categories by cuisine type.
Best Mediterranean Buffets
Opened in 1992, Dimassi’s is a family-owned and -operated Mediterranean buffet offering fresh and healthy halal food. The cuisine is a flavorful blend of Greek and Middle Eastern, and all meats they serve are halal. Five locations. — Sarah Sedaghatzadeh
In Richardson, Afrah has been serving some of the best Lebanese and Mediterranean food for nearly two decades. Originally a bakery, Afrah expanded with lunch and dinner while keeping, of course, its fresh bread, pies, baklava, and homemade gelato in the dessert rotation. As for the savory side, you can’t go wrong with hummus or the wonderfully smoky baba ghanoush (baba gannouj). The reigning favorite, though, is Afrah’s shawarma served in house-made pita fresh from the fiery brick oven. 318 E. Main St., Richardson. — S.S.
Best Iraqi Restaurants
Bilad Bakery and Restaurant
This longtime Richardson standby serves great Iraqi food, including one of the best shawarma sandwiches in Texas. There are abundant sides, salads, and dips, too. But don’t forget that Bilad is a bakery first: its fluffy, plump samoon bread is available to go, so you can make your own sandwiches at home. The adjoining grocery carries more Middle Eastern foods, and the catering service is excellent. It is one of our 50 Best Restaurants in Dallas (of any kind). 850 S. Greenville Ave., Richardson. — B.R.
I’m going to stick my own voice into this article here and say that Fattoush is my personal favorite restaurant in North Texas, of any cuisine, and it has been since I reviewed them for the Dallas Observer in 2018. 2304 W. Park Row Dr., Ste. 25, Pantego. — B.R.
This friendly spot starts every meal with a cup of lentil soup, then follows it up with terrific platters of Iraqi home cooking. There is an extensive selection of breakfast dishes, plus a great beef-and-lamb mixed Iraqi kebab. A bakery is under construction next door. 300 Terrace Dr., Ste. 301, Richardson. — B.R.
Best Turkish Restaurants
Try a warmly spicy etli ekmek, an Eastern Turkish pizza-like flatbread topped with tomatoes, meat, garlic, and all kinds of seasonings. This homestyle spot serves rustic country food that is far removed from the more stylish Turkish fare you might find in a restaurant with roots in Istanbul. 2141 W. Park Blvd., Plano. — B.R.
Lezzet Cafe’s owners are from Turkmenistan, abutting the Caspian, not the Black Sea, reflecting a culinary tradition’s roots in Central Asia. But their BYOB spot on a quiet stretch of Frankford Road is all Turkish. They have wonderful lahmacun, thin flatbreads covered with the house mixture of minced beef, onions, tomatoes, and spices, like a Turkish version of Bolognese. 6869 Frankford Rd., Ste. 100. — S.S.
This Rowlett restaurant is not related to the Dallas restaurant with a similar name. It has an elegant ambience—lots of turquoise—and polished appetizers and kebabs, with an emphasis on healthy cooking styles and veggie dishes. Plus, it is in a part of the suburbs that offers relatively few other halal options. 6702 Dalrock Rd., Rowlett. — B.R.
Note: We could not find verification that Selda Mediterranean Grill or Ephesus Mediterranean Grill are halal, so we excluded them from this list.
Best Halal Indian and Pakistani Restaurants
The best Pakistani barbecue spot in North Texas is this Carrollton spot, where the meats are well-seasoned, chargrilled, and juicy. There are plenty of options to try. If you’re not looking for a meaty meal, your best bet is a crispy paratha with a spicy omelet hidden inside. This October, Beba finally opened for lunch, making its kebab plates even easier to grab. One of our 50 Best Restaurants in Dallas (of any kind). 3648 Old Denton Rd., Carrollton. — B.R.
BK Khan BBQ
BK Khan serves terrific barbecued kebabs, and it has more benefits, too. There are affordable wrap sandwiches and a children’s play room. The menu is short on vegetables, so have a salad the day before you go. 13608 Midway Rd., Farmers Branch. — B.R.
Although the name starts with “BBQ,” this is a more complete restaurant than Beba or BK Khan, offering a wide range of specialties like haleem, stewed goat, pakoras, and excellent house-made naan of several varieties. 3112 N. Jupiter Rd., Ste. 307, Garland. — B.R.
This historic landmark in the local Muslim community is just down the street from a major mosque, which means that it buzzes with energy right after sunset on a night in Ramadan. There are affordable lunch specials, but we do not recommend the baked/pastry items (like samosas). 1205 W. Trinity Mills Rd., Ste. 112, Carrollton. — B.R.
Note: We also have an updated list of the best non-halal Indian restaurants.
Runner-up: Mai Colachi
This much-buzzed-about South Asian spot in Plano has drawn praise online for its upscale atmosphere—and criticism for its upscale prices. We’ll never fault them for the cost, which is fair for the generous portions of good-quality cooking. The menu is enormous, spanning Indian favorites like daal makhani and butter chicken, meaty grilled kebabs, and an impressive range of breads. (Try the naan topped with black sesame seeds and butter.) Where we fault Mai Colachi is the tendency of its large menu to come second place in every category. Saag and other stews can get exceedingly salty; kebabs are better at the spots listed above. 6205 Coit Rd., Ste. 396, Plano. — B.R.
Best Afghan Restaurants
This terrific Afghan spot has a somewhat hidden location on the back of a strip mall, turned away from U.S. 75, but it has very good Kabuli pulao and plump dumplings. 1915 N. Central Expy., Ste. 200. — B.R.
This endearing little husband-and-wife-run restaurant on Greenville Avenue near the Granada Theater offers hearty Afghan home cooking. It can be quiet, and there are only a few tables, but you will receive a warm welcome anyway. First time? Try the chapli kebab. Next time? Maybe a lamb curry. 3607 Greenville Ave. — B.R.
Biryani, butter chicken, fresh naan, halal hamburgers—Café Laziz right off Skillman and 635 will hit the spot. Both dine in and takeout available until 2 a.m. during Ramadan. You can also order online for faster service. Call the store to inquire on its deal of the day. 9203 Skillman St., Ste. 108. — S.S.
Best Yemeni Restaurant
This Houston-based mini-chain has brought Yemeni food to North Texas for the first time. Aside from a handful of starters—the hummus is surprisingly good, with bright lemon—the starred items are richly seasoned, colorful rice pilafs topped with stewed meats. We shared an ample platter of hanith lamb, with saffron rice and tender bone-in lamb. (Somewhat to our surprise, our takeout order came with cups of a gently spicy tomato sauce that, if you served it at a taco spot, would be happily accepted as salsa.) Two locations. — B.R.
Best Local Alternatives to The Halal Guys
Hidden on Greenville Avenue right before Mockingbird Lane sits Wava Halal Grill. This spot packs in flavor and freshness with every dish they serve. Menu items, such as the gyro fries bowl and lamb over rice, are prepared fresh with halal cuts of meat. For a quick snack, try their chicken on a stick. Wava Halal Grill offers contact-free order pickup and is open until 3 a.m. Two locations. — S.S.
Big Guys Chicken and Rice
This longtime Deep Ellum favorite keeps it simple with rice platters, wraps, and online ordering. We think it would beat The Halal Guys in a head-to-head taste test. There is a Euless location, too. 2614 Elm St. — B.R.
Best Fast Food and Fast-Casual
Right across from the UT Dallas campus is a Chipotle-style halal grill. Build your own rice bowls, salads, or pita sandwiches by picking a protein (or two) and then add three sides. Don’t forget to ask for the garlic sauce—you won’t regret it. If you’re craving something sweet, snag some cinnamon-topped rice pudding. 3000 Northside Blvd., Ste. 500, Richardson. — S.S.
This endearing fast-casual pita sandwich spot in Plano does the classics right and serves them affordably. The staff is friendly, too. (Last time we visited, we were offered a cup of tea while we waited for our shawarma wrap.) 700 W. Spring Creek Pkwy., Ste. 106, Plano. — B.R.
It’s called that because everything is served on a board instead of a plate. Good shawarma wraps, nice falafel, and very crispy fries make this a great lunch spot if you’re at Collin College’s Plano campus. 6100 K Ave., Ste. 104B, Plano. — B.R.
Pikka Tikka by Cafe de Khan
Cafe de Khan is an imported chain with a mixed reputation—but its new Plano concept, Pikka Tikka, seems to be a quick-service winner. Grab a paratha roll and your wrap will be filled with a spicy grilled meat of your choosing, chutney, red onions, and cilantro. Chicken wraps, already only $7, are buy-one-get-one-free on Wednesdays, and there are three kinds, so you could grab a six-pack of sandwiches for just over $20. 2040 W. Spring Creek Pkwy., Ste. 136, Plano. — B.R.
With multiple location across Texas, Fadi’s is halal and healthy. Founder and chef Fadi Dimassi was born in Lebanon and started cooking when he was 19 years old. He currently serves several Mediterranean restaurants in the Houston and Dallas areas. Stop in to order a combination plate, which includes an entrée and up to four sides. For those abstaining from meat, go with the vegetarian sampler or the falafel plate (there’s a wrap option, too). The wrap combo is less than $13 and comes with fries and a drink. Try Fadi’s fresh and refreshing fruit juices for a thirst-quenching addition to your meal. Multiple locations. — S.S.
With funky pops of purple walls alongside purple-and-white checkerboard floors, Halal Bites creates an Aladdin-esque atmosphere with a vibrant menu full of rice bowls, salads, sandwiches, and even pizzas. They offer a spicy red-hot sauce that they describe as “extreme.” All menu items are halal and freshly made. 8140 N. MacArthur Blvd., Irving. — S.S.
Best Halal Restaurants Serving Foods from Non-Muslim Cultures
Although most of the foods listed above come from somewhere in the Muslim world—an enormous area that reaches from Indonesia to Morocco—there’s no reason that Muslim people should only want to eat those dishes. They like burgers, Thai food, Chinese food, pizza, and other dishes, too. So many local businesses have set about taking the world’s cuisines and making them with halal meats. The results are often delicious.
Ricky’s Hot Chicken
Some of the Dallas area’s best and most famous Nashville-style hot chicken is halal. Ricky’s made that choice before opening at the request of several customers from around its original Richardson location. The mini-chain now also has Plano and Arlington locations, and it still tries to include as many diners as possible with its halal chicken and non-dairy, non-peanut cooking processes. Well, unless their spice level is too much for you. With that, you’re on your own. Three locations. — B.R.
This East Dallas serves a killer burger, plus iconic fried chicken sandwiches. (Try the Cardi B, with spicy mayo and pickled jalapeño slaw.) If you still have room after your huge burger, desserts include cookies with other cookies stuffed inside them. 4029 Crutcher St. — B.R.
This takeout-only pizza joint in Plano makes incredible culinary fusion pies based on the owners’ Bangladeshi heritage. Flavors of South Asia—Bengali beef, naga chicken, garlic ghee mushroom—mix with other inventions like a Korean-marinated beef bulgogi pizza. Terrific crust, too. We named it one of our favorite pizzas in all of Dallas. 3115 W. Parker Rd., Ste. 570. — B.R.
The Caribbean Cabana
This longtime Jamaican spot at the Dallas Farmers Market certifies that all of its meat is halal except for the oxtails. 920 S. Harwood St. — B.R.
This halal Thai restaurant has become a local empire because of the consistent quality with which it translates Southeast Asian food for halal audiences. Six locations. — B.R.
If you’re craving a pizza to break your fast this Ramadan, head to Zio Al’s Pizza and Pasta. The halal beef pepperoni pizza is the best dish on the menu hands down. Zio Al’s offers takeout and delivery until 2 a.m.—great for late-night cravings. There are locations in Plano, Addison and Carrollton. — S.S.
Bakeries, Groceries, Butcher Shops, and Other Specialty Stores
Named one of the best Middle Eastern dessert restaurants in the country, and with stretchy ice cream that was featured in the New York Times, BigDash is on a winning streak that includes several new location openings this year. The city’s best, freshest baklava is available in many varieties. Multiple locations. — B.R.
Bilad Bakery and Restaurant
See the blurb above under Best Iraqi Restaurants. You should absolutely grab a bag of samoon bread to go to make sandwiches at home, and visit the small adjoining grocery store. 850 S. Greenville Ave., Richardson. — B.R.
I wrote a complete guide article to help you shop at this excellent, large Turkish grocery. 2901 W. 15th St., Plano. — B.R.
Sara’s Market and Bakery
One of the very best groceries in Dallas in any category, with great deals on good-quality produce, a whole aisle of tea, nice bulk grains, an excellent butcher counter, and bounteous cheeses. Sara’s also makes its own sandwiches for a quick lunch, and pretty good ma’amoul. 750 S. Sherman St., Richardson. — B.R.
In case you don’t want to dine out, stop at Royal Halal Meats and Bakery to pick up exquisite cuts of meat for your Ramadan recipes. Royal Halal Meats and Bakery in Plano serves fresh halal cuts of goat, lamb, beef, and chicken. They currently only offer curbside pickup and grab-and-go items. 6205 Coit Rd., Ste. 324, Plano. — S.S.