Guru’s Travel Log: Shawarma On the Go (New Orleans, LA)

New Orleans is known as a culinary cuisine hot spot. However, for Muslims it can be a food desert. Many restaurants have full open bar and incorporate alcohol into many of their dishes and sauces. Furthermore, many of the signature seafood dishes involve catfish, oysters, lobster and other crustaceans which may be considered unlawful to eat. Coming across Shawarma to Go was a pleasant surprise. It opened over a year ago by an Iraqi family bringing quality, authentic Halal Middle-Eastern food to the Big Easy.

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Guru’s Top 5: Best Halal Burgers in Orlando

Top 5 places to get a Halal Burger in Orlando, FL

With the opening of many new Halal Fast-Food restaurants in Orlando, the burger arms race has really fired up, much to the joy of locals and visitors alike. While this list is not comprehensive, it should resonate with patrons on where to get some of the best halal burgers in Orlando, Florida.

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Guru’s Rapid Review: Cozee Café, Orlando, Fl

Guru’s Rapid Review: Cozee Cafe

City: Lake Mary, Fl (north of Orlando)

Located north of Orlando in the city of Lake Mary, Cozee Café provides a great spot to gather and relax with friends and family. Located in a large dining complex anchored by a movie theater, they cater to diners looking for a trendy casual dining experience.

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Guru’s Rapid Review: Slim Orlando’s Philly Steak & Gyro, Orlando, Fl

Guru’s Rapid Review: Slim Orlando’s Philly Steak & Gyro, Orlando, FL

Located near Disney World, this site has been an anchor in the halal fast-food scene over the years. They are open 7 days a week and on most nights they are open late, till 1 am which is a key feature if you’re looking for a late night meal as there are no other halal meat options at those hours. Its casual atmosphere and indoor/outdoor seating make the location a common spot for hanging out amongst locals and visitors. For a late night craving or quick meal on the go, this restaurant continues to be a viable option.

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Guru’s Rapid Review: Paramount Fine Foods, Orlando, Fl

Guru’s Rapid Review: Paramount Fine Foods

City: Orlando, Fl

Food Category: American Fast-Food, Mediterranean

This Canadian based franchise has set its eyes on the Sunshine State for expansion. As a very successful brand in Canada and well received by the communities there, they are looking to replicate their success in America. They bring their unique style of Mediterranean Cuisine and also their food culture to bear on the market. Their business model centers on vertical integration, meaning they have a hand in every aspect of the meal preparation process, from the farm to the table. They partner with local farms and ensure their philosophy of healthy and quality ingredients are promoted and adhered to. They state on their website that they use “organic, grass fed, free range meats and locally grown vegetables”. They do this because they believe “consistency in the food being served at the restaurant can only be achieved by direct supply”.

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Paramount began their expansion in Florida in 2014 by opening their flagship location on International Drive (I-Drive) in Orlando at the base of the newly constructed Orlando Eye . They were part of the effort to revitalize I-Drive for tourists looking for new and exciting attractions. They created a beautifully decorated large dine-in restaurant with an indoor playground for families to enjoy. Since their opening, they have grown in popularity and fame amongst the guests who appreciate the family friendly environment and commitment to quality and service.

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The menu has a very traditional component, offering the classic Mediterranean options including shawarma, kaftas, kabobs both in the chicken and beef. The meats are cooked fresh to order and have the rich smoky flavour that you would expect from a restaurant in this category. They can be orders as an entrée, served with fries, rice and hummus, or they can be offered in the traditional sandwich medium.

A nice feature of the restaurant is that they have an oven to bake bread that is always firing. When you sit down for your meal, they bring freshly baked bread straight from the oven and when you break into it, you can see the steam escaping. The oven is also used for their wide variety of Manakeesh. This soft flat bread is topped with a variety of traditional toppings like Zaatar, Cheese and minced beef but they also innovate and create several mini-pizza options most notably, Butter Chicken Pizza and Philly Cheese Steak Pizza. Essentially, they are utilizing shawarma meats in a new fashion with tasty results.

They also have a great array of traditionally Middle-Eastern sweets.

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Overall, this is one of the top-tiered halal Mediterranean restaurants in Orlando. They offer a quality product and match it with the service to justify the higher price point when compared to their more established competition in the area. A nice feature is that the menu offers both meals in individual portion or family portions to accommodate larger parties. The location is convenient for locals and visitors to the area enjoying the day or night away from the theme-parks. There is a large parking garage close by so parking isn’t a big issue (as long as you avoid peak times).

Address:  8371 International Dr #60, Orlando, FL 32819

Phone:  (407) 930-8645

Website:   http://www.paramountfinefoodsusa.com/

Guru’s Rapid Review: 4 out of 5 stars

Must Try: Mixed grill  family platter

 

Guru’s Rapid Review: Charcoal Zyka, Orlando, FL

Guru’s Rapid Review: Charcoal Zyka

City: Orlando, Fl

Food Category: Indian and American 

Charcoal Zyka has been serving in the Orlando region for many years. It is close to the main Orlando attractions including SeaWorld, Universal, Disney and I-Drive. They provide visitors and locals with a comfortable, clean environment for halal dining. Located in a plaza just off I-528, it’s easy to find and navigate to for visitors.

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Guru’s Rapid Review: Kennedy Chicken & Grill, Orlando, FL

Guru’s Rapid Review: Kennedy Chicken & Grill

City: Orlando, Fl

Food Category: American fast-food

This franchise location opened in 2016 in Orlando and has become a popular destination for halal fried chicken. As the name implies, the main draw to this restaurant is the offering of halal fried chicken. The chicken is deep fried and comes out with the crispy golden crust with a hint of spice.

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