Valentine's Day 2020: Your Guide to the Orlando Halal Food Scene

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. It’s Mrs Halal Food Guru’s favorite holiday. She enjoys the flowers and the chocolates. But most importantly the chance to get out of the house and away from those crazy kids!

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I got to say, that’s my favorite part too. But it comes with a lot of pressure. A chance to spend some time with the Mrs Halal Food Guru without the kids is a rare opportunity. So we really want to make the most out of it. There are a lot of factors that go into making sure the evening goes well. Not only do we have to pick the right Halal restaurant, but we also want to pick the right area so we can enjoy some of the surrounding amenities like dessert shops or walkable areas after dinner.

In the end, we probably are going to spend most of the evening talking about how much we miss the kids anyway.

The Halal Food Scene in Orlando has evolved quite a bit over the last 2 years since I started blogging, and you can check out my previous Valentine’s Day posts for 2018 and 2019 for further inspiration if this list doesn’t fit what you’re looking for.

Sizler Tandoori

Located off International Drive (I-Drive), this Indo-Pakistani restaurant has been an anchor in the Orlando Halal Food Scene. It has undergone several management changes and also been remodeled and expanded to create a more modern atmosphere for patrons. The menu consists of typical South Asian/Desi foods and it’s best to stick to the grill menu to get the freshest foods. Their signature dish, the mixed grill Sizler platter, comes to the table right off the grill. Be careful not to burn your fingers on the iron skillet. After dinner, it’s a short walk to Icon Park where you can take some selfies in front of the Orlando Eye and indulge at one of the many dessert spots including Hagen Daaz or the Sugar Factory.  Note there is limited free parking in front of the restaurant.

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Desi food on I-Drive at Sizler Tandoor

Merguez Cafe and Grill

Located on the southern end of I-Drive, this Halal Moroccan restaurant is has been serving traditional Tagine for several years. It is located in a secluded plaza, making it a little difficult to find, but it also adds to the secretive oasis atmosphere. There are several large replica Roman statues scattered across the area adding to the Mediterranean character. The focus is on classic Moroccan dishes and desserts,  so it’s important to know that you are getting an authentic flavor profile without the added extra spices often added in fusion cooking. The outdoor seating in the large open foyer is Mrs Halal Food Guru’s favorite spot for sipping their specialty coffee afterwards. There are desserts available, but if it’s ice cream you desire, check out Ginter’s Swirl Ice Cream up the road on I-Drive near SeaWorld.

Makani

This is the newest addition to the Halal Food Scene in Orlando.  The owners spent a lot of time and effort to create a beautiful interior for family and friends to enjoy. The large dining space is very well lit given all the mirrors and majestic hanging chandeliers. There are several large portraits of famous Egyptian actors to complement their Egyptian cuisine. I had a chance to try some of their dishes during their soft launch but they have since updated it based on customer feedback. While the atmosphere is stellar, the menu pricing is also hefty. This is a spot I would recommend only for very special occasions where you can justify the expenditure. Another nice feature is that you can watch the Orlando Eye slowing spinning through the large windows at the front of the restaurant. While there is ample free parking, the demand for the spots is high so it may take some time to find a spot, but the free parking garage nearby is also a good option.

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sipping coffee with a view of the Orlando Eye

Zaman Cuisine

Opened over a year ago, this modern style Middle-Eastern restaurant is under new management. The new owners, who recently moved from Detroit, bring with them years of experience running a Middle-Eastern restaurant. They have changed the menu and added classic Iranian and Lebanese dishes to reflect their culinary strengths. While the space is small it creates for a more cozy atmosphere, perfect for a night out with the spouse.  Use your GPS to locate the restaurant as it is not visible from the main street. There is free parking in the plaza. Afterwards, Universal Studio’s City Walk is a short drive away. There you can enjoy the neon lights and pick between an over the top milkshake from The Chocolate Emporium or an over the top donut from Voodoo Donuts.

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While the Menu has changed from when it originally opened, the new owners have created a menu that reflects their cooking traditions.

Jerusalem

Located in Kissimmee outside the main gates of Disney, this Halal Mediterranean restaurant transports you to the sands of the Sahara with their earth tone colors and decorative motifs. With an emphasis on formal dining service this is a good choice for a special occasion. Their grilled meats come out juicy and are savory leaving you asking for more at the end despite the adequate portions. Being close to Disney, it is a short drive to get to Disney Springs to enjoy the walkable area of shops, restaurants and dessert spots including Ghiradelli’s Ice Cream Shop.

Hopefully this list has inspired you to make some plans for Valentine’s day. A day to honour your spouse with a nice meal and some quality time together away from the demanding children and household chores.

Be sure at the end of the meal to look deep into your spouse’s eyes and say those 3 magical words…

“Dinner’s on me”

Looking for other Halal options in the Orlando area? Let me be your guide to the Orlando Halal Food Scene. Follow me on Twitter or Instagram as I highlight the best Halal restaurants that Orlando and other great cities in Florida has to offer.  Also, don’t forget to share this post with friends and family that may be traveling to Orlando or Florida. Also sign up with our email list as we explore the Halal Food Scene.

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