The Best Valentine’s Day Guide for Halal Restaurants in Orlando 2019

Do you smell that? It’s the smell of love the air. Valentine’s Day is coming up. It’s the day that every husband grumbles under their breath about how commercial the holiday has become while they wait in line to buy overpriced Red Roses at the grocery store because they forgot about it until they saw one of their co-workers receive a delivered arrangement at work.

Don’t be that husband. Elevate your game. Buy the flowers and then read this post about where to bring your special wife for a wonderful dining experience to seal the deal.

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Guru’s TOP 5: Most Popular TOP 5 Lists on Halal Food Guru

February will mark the 2 year anniversary of Halal Food Guru. Our goal when we first started posting was to make it easier for travelers to find and enjoy Halal restaurants in Florida. We wrote detailed reviews of these Halal restaurants so visitors would know what to expect and gain some local insight about the spots to make the most of their experience. We introduced TOP 5 Lists to make it easier to find what you crave, which was well received. Over the past 2 years, we’ve written over 50 posts about Halal restaurants in Orlando, Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, Miami and other great cities across North America. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

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Guru’s TOP 5: Halal Restaurants to visit over the Holiday Season

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! It’s no secret that Christmas cheer is spreading around Florida (despite the fact that there is no snow). Visitors flock to hot spots like Orlando to spend their holiday break having fun in the sun. Many are coming from Europe, UK, Canada and the Northern States to escape the Winter Wonderland. Muslim families are also taking advantage of the school break to spend some quality time together and make some great memories while on vacation in the Sunshine State. Many local Muslims are also using the time off work and school to reconnect with family and friends, hanging out and eating at all the best Halal spots.

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Guru’s TOP 5: Orlando Halal spots on a budget

Going on vacation can be very exciting, especially when you are coming to Orlando, Florida. There is so much to see and do in “the City Beautiful”. Besides the theme parks like Disney, Universal and Sea World, there are other attractions and state parks to visit. But going on vacation can be expensive! Between airfare, hotel or resort, theme park tickets and ground transportation it can really add up. On top of that, you have a family to feed and eating out every meal of every day can take a hit on the old piggy bank.

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Guru’s TOP 5: Halal & Healthy Eats in Orlando

While Orlando is well known for their Halal cheesesteaks and gyros, it’s not all about fast-food and the heartburn that follows. There is a growing trend towards healthier meal options. True, this niche is still evolving in Orlando but many Halal restaurant owners are responding to the market demands. In this list, we review the TOP 5 Halal restaurants that are providing their patrons with healthy, fresh options with ingredients and cooking techniques that cut down on those unwanted calories.

If you’re on a cheat day, not to worry, we got lots of TOP 5 Lists to help you find the best cheat day foods in Orlando. Looking for Cheesesteaks, Burgers, Chicken Wings, Cart Food and Pizza check out our respective TOP 5 Orlando Lists.

1. Melt’d Subs and Grill

Opened in early 2017, this Halal restaurant has employed the Subway model to build their brand. They provide fresh, made to order meals for customers to enjoy. They offer sandwiches, rice bowls and salads which you can customize to your heart’s desire. They also offer deli meats which isn’t very common in the Orlando area. They are located near SeaWorld and cater mostly to the lunch crowd as there are many office buildings around them. Their hours are geared more to the office crowd so be sure to check before you journey over for a fresh delicious sub. They also made our list of TOP 5 spots around Universal Studios in Orlando.

Melt'd Food Station
Fresh Ingredients from Melt’d in Orlando. A Halal Version of Subway

2. Cozee Cafe

Located in a large entertainment complex with many restaurants, dessert shops and a movie theater, Cozee Café has been an anchor to the Lake Mary Muslim community for quality halal eats. They offer trendy meals with excellent attention to detail and customer service. With healthier foods being more trendy, they have adopted their menu and meal offerings. Avocado, asiago, chickpeas and grilled chicken, yep they got it. They have a large outdoor seating area which is great to take advantage of the warm Florida sun.

Cozee Cafe outdoor seating
Plenty of outdoor seating at Cozee Café to soak up the Florida Sun

3. Paramount

Located right beside Cozee Café, Paramount Fine Foods, a Halal franchise well known to Canadians, offering Mediterranean cuisine. Given the nature of the ingredients and grilling technique for meats, the Mediterranean diet is considered a healthier option. They offer sandwiches, rice platters and salads to suit your needs. The location has a small dine in area. Their main franchise near the Orlando Eye was rebranded to Sofra: Mediterranean Grill. They also made our TOP 5 List of Halal Mediterranean Spots in Orlando.

Paramount Fine Foods Lake Mary
Interior of Paramount Fine Foods in Lake Mary. Nice décor and themes.

4. B and B Express

This Halal fast-food joint is an unlike candidate on this list, but it’s the way they prepare their burgers and fries which have earned them a spot on the list. They don’t grill and fry their burger and fries in the typical manner. Rather, they air fry it which uses less oils and captures less fat. Hence, while you are still eating a burger and fries, it’s slightly healthier. They are located in front of a mosque near Disney and are open late, making it a convenient spot for a quick bite to eat.

5. Jerusalem

This Middle-Eastern restaurant with a primarily grilled menu is sure to satisfy the health conscious consumer and delight the taste buds. Located near the entrance of Disney, this family owned Halal restaurant is open late on most nights so families can enjoy the day at the theme park and then have a nice formal dining experience to cap off the night. The family also owns Flame Kabob, located on SandLake Road near Universal Studios and International Drive. The internal décor takes you away to the sands of the Sahara with their North-African theme. The value for the experience and food portions balance out the higher price point given the tourist location.

Jerusalem Mixed Grill Platter
Mixed Grill Platter with Salad and Rice from Jerusalem

While I’m definitely not a calorie counter, I see the shift towards healthier options and meal choices. Even on vacation, many families are opting to pick healthier and more wholesome choices for their families. The Halal restaurants in Orlando are taking note of this trend and are adapting.

Know of any other Halal spots in Orlando that didn’t make the list, let me know in the comment section below. Feel free to share this post with anyone that may benefit. As always follow us on Twitter and Instagram as we chart out the Halal food scene in Florida and beyond.

Guru’s TOP 5: Best Halal Cart Food In Orlando

The introduction of Halal Cart food on the streets of Manhattan over two decade ago quickly became a popular hit amongst hungry New Yorkers. So much so, the street vendors had a cult like following that would line the streets at all hours of the day and night. The dish evolved over time and is referenced to as “Cart Food”, “Halal Cart Food”, or “Halal Food”, but essentially it is a dish that combines rice, salad, meat and a healthy dose of White Sauce. The craze spread across New York and then across the country. In 2016, it hit the Orlando Halal market and has been adopted by several Halal fast-food spots each offering a unique version of the iconic dish.

1. Oh My Gyro!

Opened in 2016, this family owned Halal restaurant is credited with bringing the “Halal Cart Food” craze to the Orlando market. There was a flurry of excitement as the doors opened and it hasn’t waned since. In fact, it spurred other Halal fast-food restaurants to create and offer their version to eager patrons. The food quality and service are since opening has consistently been excellent. Beyond Cart food, they have expanded their menu to include NY steaks, grilled chicken and burgers. As a result, they have made it on to several our TOP 5 Lists for Orlando, including Best Halal Burger in Orlando and Best Restaurants in Orlando. The décor is distinctly New York with an iconic red brick facade lining the walls and imagery of “the Big City” scattered across the restaurant. It is located about 30-40 minutes north of the main tourist attractions, but is definitely worth the drive.

Halal Cart Food from Oh My Gyro
Halal Cart Food from Oh My Gyro sans White Sauce. Mixed platter – beef gyro and chicken

2. The Halal Guys

With their humble beginnings on the street corner of 53rd and 6th in Manhattan, The Halal Guys has grown into an international franchise over the decade. They opened their first franchise in Orlando in late 2017 with much excitement. The restaurant is located on the eastern side of the city near the University of Central Florida (UCF) much to the delight of hungry students in the area. They offer the same menu items as the original street cart and have ample White Sauce and Red Sauce that made them so famous.

Mixed platter Halal Cart food from The Halal Guys
Mixed (Chicken & Gyro) platter from The Halal Guys with the mandatory White Sauce. Green peppers and onions on top for added kick.

3. B & B Express

Located in Kissimmee near Disney, this Halal fast-food restaurant offers culinary creations that merge the best of both East and West cuisine. They have introduced their version of the classic Halal Cart Food dish. They use gyro meats and they substitute the typical yellow rice with biryani rice which adds a nice texture of spice to the dish, giving it a more South Asian influence. The store is located in the front of a mosque. They made our TOP 5 List of Late Night Eats as they are open late for those looking to hang out after prayers with a bite to eat.

B & B Express Halal Cart Food
B & B Express Halal Cart Food with Biryani rice for a twist. Mixed platter – Chicken and Beef

4. O’town Burger and Wings

While best known for their Angus Beef Burger and chicken wings, making the TOP 5 list for Best Burgers in Orlando and Best Halal Chicken Wings in Orlando, O’Town also has a version of the iconic Halal Cart Food platter. It’s not the most impressive item on the menu but it does remain true to the classic street food dish consisting of gyro meats, yellow rice, salad and a creamy tangy white sauce. The portion is generous creating good value for the meal. It is located in Metrowest which is about 20-30 minutes from the main attraction hub of Orlando.

Mixed Grill platter from O'town Burger N Wings
Mixed beef and chicken platter from O’Town Burger N Wings with lots of sauces options on the side.

5. Kennedy Chicken and Grill

Primarily a southern Halal fried chicken joint, Kennedy Chicken and Grill does have additional choices on the menu. They also made the TOP 5 List of Best Halal Chicken Sandwiches in Orlando. They offer grilled chicken over rice and salad which is a “healthier” twist on the dish. The white sauce is very flavorful and tangy and is definite must to drizzle on the dish. The portion is decent for the price. If you’re not in the mood for fried chicken, then this is a viable option. They also offer a gyro version, but the grilled chicken version is the way to go if you’re trying it for the first time. It is also located in Metrowest across the street from O’Town Burger and Wings, both of which are about 20-30 minutes from the theme park hub.

With it’s humble beginnings on the streets of New York City, Halal Cart Food has expanded to pop icon status in American culture. It has allowed Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean food to become main-stream, next to Chinese and Italian foods. Its acceptance into mainstream society creates bridges amongst cultures using food to unite us all in humanity in times when divisiveness is all too easy to point out.

Know of any other Halal Cart Food spots in Orlando that didn’t make the list, let me know in the comment section below. Feel free to share this post with anyone that may benefit. As always follow us on Twitter and Instagram as we chart out the Halal food scene in Florida and beyond.

Guru’s Top 5 List: Best Halal Philly CheeseSteak in Orlando

While the Philly cheesesteak has its origins in Philadelphia, it has been an anchor of the Halal fast-food scene in Orlando and Central Florida for decades. Almost every Halal fast-food restaurant has their version on the menu. With cheese, flat-top grilled slices of steak (or gyro) mixed with onions and peppers all wrapped in a bun, how can you go wrong?

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