DCGuide

Where To Get Great Halal Food In DC

Finding a halal restaurant can be hard, that's why we've compiled a list of some our favorite spots that fit every occasion.
Where To Get Great Halal Food In DC image

Finding a halal restaurant is like finding a parking spot at the Wharf on a Saturday night—not impossible, but why God? The options are limited for a city with a substantial (and hungry) Muslim population that doesn’t want just vegetarian options or that one spot, you know that one, that’s always available, but the food is just aight. To help you out, here are our favorite halal spots that fit every occasion.

photo credit: Nina Palazzolo

Mediterranean

Georgetown

$$$$Perfect For:Quick EatsSerious Take-Out Operation
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George’s sells some of the best shawarma in DC, which explains why there’s always a line to the door. The entire Muslim diaspora, from Bahrain to Comoros, is at this Georgetown restaurant. Thankfully, the service is fast and the spot is larger than it looks. There’s a downstairs counter where food is served and an upstairs seating area if you’re too impatient to take your food to go. The lamb and chicken shawarma platters, served on a heap of rice alongside fresh pickled radishes, cucumbers and tomatoes, are worth every penny (in this case, $15).

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$$$$Perfect For:HalalBrunch
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Lapis, an upscale Afghan bistro in Adams Morgan, might be one of our favorite restaurants in the city because it’s a vibe—you'll sit on glazed wooden chairs surrounded by red Persian rugs as old school R&B plays in the background. And with a wide selection of halal appetizers and entrees, it’s a great place to order family-style or with a small group. Get the dumplings—our favorite is the leeks, served on a bed of saffron and garlic cream sauces. For brunch, the Lapis pancakes made with rosewater and cardamom are not just beautiful to look at but great to eat, too.

It’s hard to take your eyes off the kabobs sizzling on the grill at Maydan. At the center of this Middle Eastern restaurant in Cardozo is a custom-built hearth where food is made on an open fire. Dinner is served family-style, great for group outings with families or friends looking to break bread somewhere warm. The chicken and the lamb here are halal, which is great since they’re the best things on the menu. If you’re looking for the perfect bite, sandwich a honey-soaked date, which comes as a small plate, with a chicken kebab.

Agora is one of those places that everyone has been to, and if not, it’s on their list. That’s because the Mediterranean food (all halal) is consistently delicious making it one of those restaurants you keep returning to because you know it's gonna be good. The laughter and good times are infectious at the Dupont Circle spot, and it’s best enjoyed in a group, since it’s all small plates. Agora’s menu is full of showstoppers that you want to keep eating, like the htipiti, a red pepper spread so fresh and bright that it’ll bring a smile to your face before you take a bite.

The smell from the grill at this Lebanese shop in Union Market wafts through the air, so much so that you can’t help but follow the scent. Follow your nose to the fast-casual restaurant set behind a wooden bar that's usually occupied by families, businessmen still in their suits, and couples grabbing a quick dinner.  All the sandwiches at Yasmine are halal including the shish taouk, a simple, but classic wrap made with charred chicken, french fries, pickles, and garlic. It’s the perfect sandwich on the go and something you’ll find yourself unconsciously craving days later. Pair it with the apricot soda which flawlessly balances savory and sweet.

Z Burger in Tenleytown the type of place you’ll find yourself going to one too many times to grab a cheeseburger and one of the 50+ milkshake flavors, like pomegranate and blueberry crumble. Everything on the menu is halal at this, including the turkey patties. There’s a nostalgic and endearing feel to the space that reminds us of an old-school fast food joint with colorful graphics and playful designs, and there's booth seating and outdoor tabletops for when the weather’s nice. Pair your sandwich with the onion rings, which are the size of our heads, or the crispy fries that overflow from the container.

Bantam King is a great weeknight spot for groups looking for a casual night out. Inside, the Penn Quarter shop is a colorful, wonderful mess with lanterns in different sizes and colors and a long table that stretches the entire length of the restaurant. Seats are packed close to one another, so be prepared to sit snugly next to people you don’t know. Most importantly, the food here is bussin’. It's all halal and there are also vegetarian options. The menu has chicken and vegetable-based ramen alongside Japanese-style fried chicken. The steamed chicken dumplings are soaked in a sesame seed and chili oil broth that will have you sponging every last drop and the Nashville fried chicken plate, served with rice and a spicy salsa verde sauce on the side, feels like one of those elevated international KFCs (IYKYK).

For all intents and purposes, H & Chicken serves gas station chicken, which is pretty damn good chicken once you get past the gas station part. To top it all off, everything here is halal. The chicken and waffles are the perfect Saturday morning fix, the chicken dunked in mumbo sauce is straightforward, crispy and tasty, and the waffles crusted in white powdered sugar hit all the right notes. It’s a fast-casual restaurant so you can get your order to go but there are also a few seats if you're in the mood to dine in.

Simply Banh Mi, a family-owned Vietnamese restaurant in Georgetown, has been carry-out-only for a few years. Luckily for all of us, food tastes just as good (sometimes better) eaten at home in sweats on the couch, and the sandwiches here are the perfect example. Served on a thick baguette slice, the chicken banh mi  with pickled vegetables, duck sauce, and jalapeño is packed with flavor. And since the menu includes vegetarian and halal options, it'll work well for just about everyone. Heads up: the shop is now located in the basement of the original storefront, so walk on down the steps and knock on the door to pick up your order.

This snug below-ground restaurant in Dupont Circle  has become something of a neighborhood staple over the years and is a great place for your next lunch break or a quick takeout meal. The shop is quiet, which makes it perfect for dining solo while awkwardly scrolling on your phone. Or, like most folks, grab whatever you’re craving and head back to eat at your desk. Alone. New Dynasty boasts an expansive (and halal) pan-Asian menu that includes anything from pad thai to szechuan shrimp to seaweed soup. Just given the sheer number of items on the menu, it’s fair to assume that while not everything here will be a standout, but you’ll settle on a regular order soon enough.

It's hard to find good Indian food that's also halal in the city, but Indigo does the job. While it's nothing to brag about, the fast-casual spot offers an array of halal dishes that work well for folks needing to satisfy both their diet and their craving for butter chicken, lamb kofta curry, or chicken biryani. What’s more, the outdoor patio is a great hangout spot for big groups looking to enjoy good weather or huddle under a heating lamp at the end of the day.

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