New York, USA - January 1, 2014: People buying fast food on New York street, USA. Getty Images/anouchka
New York City is a place of many wonders: you will never run out of places to see, people to meet, or things to do. Sometimes, NYC delivers on its promise of excitement, and sometimes, like any city in the world, it doesn’t. However, when it comes to NYC’s wide variety of tasty places to eat, oh boy, does it deliver! (Most of the time, literally.)
Here are eight of my absolute favorite food joints that, even though I moved away from NYC some time ago, I’d visit regularly. They’re just that good!
1. Al Noor Halal Deli – Brooklyn, NY
Al Noor is, hands down, one of the best places to get the most bang for your buck with great quality food. I have practically grown up on the food handed to me by the two brothers who run the place, always greeted by the loving “salaams” and the wonderful aroma of rice and chicken. For just five dollars, you can get a huge plate of rice and chicken, launching you into a whole new world of flavor. For a dollar more, you can get a chicken cutlet on a gyro.
My family moved away from Brooklyn to Rockland County roughly a year ago and we regularly drive over 50 miles simply for the food from Al Noor; now that’s a testament to the quality of food and customer satisfaction!
2. Yemen Cafe – Brooklyn, NY
Another regular spot for the residents of Brooklyn, Yemen Cafe serves Middle Eastern cuisine fresh from the oven! Their specialty is Lamb Haneeth which is a traditional Yemeni dish made from basmati rice, lamb, and a mixture of spices. And if the huge portions aren’t enough, the ambience is truly one that takes its diners straight to the Middle East.
3. Istanbul Kebab House – Manhattan, NY
Istanbul Kebab House is one of the most famous spots in the city, known for its variety of kebab choices, and other mediterranean favorites such as shwarmas. And of course, they serve rice pudding to end your meal with a sweet touch!
4. Au Za’atar – Manhattan, NY
Let’s dive into some halal fusion! Au Za’atar brings up some Arabian-French favorites, serving an incredible mesh of falafel and moules frites. The place gets a bit crowded, but that’s simply a testament to the truly amazing fusion food they’re serving up.
5. No Pork Halal Kitchen – Brooklyn, NY
This is simply the best place for halal Chinese takeout, and a gem in the community. I passed by No Pork Halal Kitchen (NPHK) place for years without diving in, but once I did, no Chinese takeout spot could ever live up to both the speed and the sheer quality of this place. The best part is it’s a short drive to the Brooklyn Bridge Park, so why not eat by the water for a great view with great food?
6. Afghan Kebab House – Manhattan, NY
Afghan Kebab House may look like a small hole-in-the-wall joint, but they serve the best authentic Afghan food, fresh off the charcoal grill, with sides of kabuli palow. Guaranteed to take your mind off all your problems.
7. Burgers by Honest Chops – Manhattan, NY
Honestly, sometimes you just want a halal burger, and Burgers by Honest Chops delivers. Honest Chops is a halal butchery in Greenwich Village; and they own the burger joint, which means the meat is going to be great. Their menu is quite simple, with just three meat choices and two types of fries, but their burgers are to die for.
8. The Traditional Halal Cart – Anywhere, NYC
This list wouldn’t be complete without a shoutout to the halal carts all over the city. You can typically spot one on any corner in the city, or every few blocks throughout the rest of the boroughs; no matter where you are, the halal carts are never too far! A simple chicken over rice or lamb over rice with condiments of your choice will only set you back five or six dollars. It’s a NYC classic and a fave amongst all the locals. Some of the most popular across NYC include the infamous “The Halal Guys” and “Sammy’s Halal Cart.”