Discover 32 of the Most Interesting Halal Restaurants in Los Angeles


In a city as culturally diverse as Los Angeles, cuisines from around the world can be enjoyed in every neighborhood. Discover 32 of the most interesting halal restaurants across LA County.

Price Points:
$ (under $20 per person)
$$ ($20-40 per person)
$$$ (over $40 per person)

Bombay Tikka Masala Pizza at 786 Degrees in Sun Valley
Bombay Tikka Masala at 786 Degrees  |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

786 Degrees Wood Fired Pizza Co.



Ali Haider operated a mobile Neapolitan pizza oven at Northridge and West Hollywood farmers markets before settling on a Sun Valley plaza for his permanent home in 2015. The oven was built in Naples, sports black shard tiles (with “786” in red) and primarily burns olive wood. Antimo Caputo 00 flour, salt, water, and yeast ferments for 72 hours to form dough. Halal meats top 12-inch pizzas that cook for 90 seconds at approximately 786 degrees Fahrenheit. Atypical flavor combinations including Bombay Tikka Masala, Istanbul, and El Chapo, a Mexican-inspired pizza with “flavor that is hard to capture.” Yes, 786 Degrees also serves basic marinara and Margherita pizzas, but you can find those pies elsewhere. We suggest going with pizzas that stay true to Haider’s vision. ($)

Garlic naan at Al-Noor in Lawndale
Garlic naan at Al-Noor  |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

Al-Noor



The communities surrounding LAX are especially strong on Halal cuisine. In Lawndale, chef Hasan Zaidi has been going strong with Al-Noor since 1998. The name of his Karachi-style Pakistani restaurant translates from Arabic as “light from the God.” The space features mottled yellow walls and tables lined with pink cloths. Hearty family recipes include soft lentil and ground beef patties called shami kebabs. Chicken tala gosht involves chicken pieces cooked with green chilies, tomatoes, and ginger. Lamb korma stars pleasantly gamy cubes cooked in spicy onion sauce. Vegetarian highlights include palak paneer, spinach and firm cow’s milk cheese cooked with plethora of spices and herbs, which pairs well with garlic naan that chef Eric Greenspan praised on The Food Network show “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.” Mango lassi helps to cool the palate. ($)

Mixed Tandoori at Al-Watan Halal Restaurant in Hawthorne
Mixed Tandoori | Photo: Al-Watan Halal Restaurant

Al-Watan



Mohammed Mumtaz has run this restaurant since 1989 down Inglewood Avenue from Al-Noor. Décor is minimal, but flavors are substantial. Mixed tandoori arrives on a sizzling platter of caramelized onions and combines two takes on tandoori chicken, seekh kebab (herbaceous minced beef) and beef boti kebab (spiced, marinated beef) all cooked in a clay oven. Lamb dal is a sensational dish featuring fork tender lamb chunks that luxuriate in chile-stewed lentils. Vegetarians can take heart in dal channa/dal mash, yellow split peas and white lentils cooked with onions, herbs, and bay leaves. Dessert amounts to delicious mush: cool kheer (rice pudding) and gajer ka halwa (ground carrots simmered in milk). ($)

Lebanese garlic chicken pizza at Big Al's Pizzeria
Lebanese garlic chicken pizza at Big Al's Pizzeria  |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

Big Al’s Pizzeria



Maywood is where diners will find Al Chachine, who’s run Big Al’s Pizzeria since 2013. He grew up nearby and feeds his community a comforting diet of pizza and chicken wings with unique global flavors. His Lebanese garlic chicken pizza is their “claim to fame,” topping a soft crust and bubbling mozzarella cheese with pungent white garlic sauce, chopped chicken breast, diced Roma tomatoes, tangy diced turnips, pickles, and chopped parsley. A double-decker conveyor belt pizza oven also yields atypical pizzas topped with chicken Caesar salad and carne asada (beef) lashed with Big Al’s hot sauce. Beautifully bronzed, crispy chicken wings come tossed with sauces like savory lemon pepper Parmesan and incendiary Carolina Reaper chile sauce. Chachine’s sister makes cheesecake in flavors like salted caramel double chocolate, red velvet and mango tango. The space features grey cushioned banquettes, red tables, food photos on the wall, and a crossed-out $5 sign that reads, “Life is too short for bad pizza.” ($$)

Chicken Charga at Bilal Tandoori in Inglewood
Chicken Charga at Bilal Tandoori | Photo: @dj_averagejoe, Instagram

Bilal Tandoori



Indo-Pak cuisine stars at Bilal Tandoori in Airport Plaza near LAX. Malik Awan opened the restaurant in 1999, hailing from the Pakistani village of Haripur outside of Islamabad. Now oldest son Bilal Awan helps preside over the family’s faux green marble tables with wood chairs and cherry oak panel walls. Chapli kabob, a specialty of Peshawar, features four ground beef patties bound with flour and egg and mixed with onions, Meat samosa encases ground dark meat chicken, peas and spices in a triangular “tortilla” that’s deep fried and served with a caddy: red chile sauce, tamarind sauce and mint chutney. Chicken Chargha, marinated and grilled whole bird that’s hacked to pieces, has spice that builds. You can also score high-value lunch specials before or after a flight, or for the heck of it. ($)

Mixed Grill at Biriyani Kabob House in Little Bangladesh
Mixed Grill at Biriyani Kabob House | Photo: @biriyanikabobhouse, Instagram

Biriyani Kabob House



Little Bangladesh is one of LA’s most recent neighborhood designations, taking effect in 2010. The small area sandwiched between Koreatown and Hollywood houses many interesting Bangladeshi restaurants and markets. Biriyani Kabob House occupies the corner of a strip mall and features food photos on the wall, shiny, colorful tables, and steam trays full of Bangladeshi, Indian, and Pakistani dishes. Biriyani is of course a major draw, including key proteins like beef, lamb, or chicken. Customers should also be pleased with ground chicken or beef seekh kebobs, lamb curry, or saag paneer. ($)

Goat biryani at Biryani House in Hawthorne
Goat biryani at Biryani House  |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

Biryani House



This Hawthorne restaurant with a glass front, flashing Christmas lights, and painting lined wall is the handiwork of an owner who’s originally from Karachi, Pakistan. The aromatic rice dish, biryani is especially popular. Try the version with goat meat, which joins long-grained, aged basmati rice with spices like bay leaf, peppercorns, fennel seed, lemon rind, cinnamon bark, saffron and Serrano chilies (”for flavor, don’t eat”). Shami kabab, a well spiced beef shank patty, is crusty outside, creamy inside, flecked with onion and scallion, spooned with mint chutney, and plated on crunchy iceberg lettuce and cabbage. FYI: “Student Biryani” contains potatoes, not students. ($)

Hand-pulled noodles with lamb in hot sauce at China Islamic
Hand-pulled noodles with lamb in hot sauce at China Islamic  |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

China Islamic



Well-worn brown cushioned banquettes and booths, mirrored walls and Makkah, Saudi Arabia (aka Mecca) poster greet diners at China Islamic. The Rosemead institution dates to 1982. Lanzhou native Umar Yang and his Xinjiang-born wife Fatima have run China Islamic since 2017. Dough dominates the menu, including dumplings, thick, scallion-studded sesame bread or Chinese “burgers,” fluffy house-baked buns that are sliced and filled with a choice of cumin lamb or beef, both tossed with onions. Bouncy, wide and flat hand-pulled noodles are also must-order, particularly the version served with cumin lamb, chile powder, sliced cabbage, scallions and bean sprouts. Toss to integrate the complementary flavors and textures. Hearty “warm pots,” particularly the bubbling bowl filled lamb with pickled cabbage, is especially good in cool weather. ($)

Lamb loin chops at Crimson in Santa Monica
Lamb loin chops at Crimson  |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

Crimson



April Heidarian and business partner Eiman Shekarchi, whose family has run restaurants like Shekarchi since 1985, opened the first Crimson in Ocean Park. Their modern spinoff at the base of a mixed-use building in Downtown Santa Monica features tan cushioned banquettes, a mix of other seating, and a pink neon sign with banana leaf wallpaper backdrop that reads, "It’s not me, it’s you."

Their grill yields notably good kebabs, including ground sirloin, marinated salmon, and perhaps best of all, luscious lamb loin chops. Each plate comes with pita bread, rose sauce (spicy chipotle mayo) or pungent garlic spread whipped with lemon juice and potato. Sides include creamy hummus, smoky baba ghanoush dusted with tangy sumac, and red lentil soup seasoned with onions, jalapeño and ginger. Crimson also has a coffee bar that runs on La Colombe beans. ($$)

Kebab Noodle, Big Plate Chicken and house yogurt at Dolan’s Uyghur Cuisine in Alhambra
Kebab Noodle, Big Plate Chicken and house yogurt at Dolan’s Uyghur Cuisine

Dolan’s Uyghur Cuisine



Bughra Arkin hails from Xinjiang province in Northwest China. His Uyghur restaurant in Alhambra houses colorful chandeliers, stringed Uyghur instruments framed on the wall, and cultural coverage on three flat screen TVs. Kebab noodle typically comes with fried beef, but their lunch special may be even better, teaming two grilled lamb skewers with crunchy purple cabbage and noodles tossed in a light ginger, garlic, vinegar, and chile sauce. Uyghur style dumplings contain diced beef and onion and pumpkin when in-season. Big plate chicken is beyond plentiful, featuring hacked, bone-in leg quarters stir-fried with potato chunks, leeks and flat, misshapen hand-pulled noodles in a spicy red sauce crafted with ingredients like Sichuan peppercorns, chile powder, star anise, and cinnamon. Dolan’s even roasts a whole lamb with 48-hour notice for $468. For dessert, consider house yogurt showered with crushed walnuts, raisins, sesame seeds and honey. ($)

Triple at HiHo Cheeseburger in Santa Monica
Triple at HiHo Cheeseburger  |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

HiHo Cheeseburger | Santa Monica



Jerry Greenberg started HiHo Cheeseburger with Matt Levin, Ajay Sahgal, and Lowell Sharron. Their Santa Monica outpost near the beach and Third Street Promenade debuted in 2017 and features floor to ceiling wood, high-top communal and counter seating, and cushioned banquettes. HiHo grinds patties daily with well-marbled, grass-fed, Omega-3 rich Wagyu beef from First Light Farms in New Zealand. This special beef fuels classic cheeseburgers with just beef, cheese, and ketchup, but their signature HiHo cheeseburger warrants even more attention. Mustard-grilled patties host melted cheese, ketchup, onion jam, lettuce, and house-made pickles on a soft bun. Make it spicy for an extra $1.50 meaning Serrano chiles in jam. HiHo also sells burgers starring house-made vegan patties, hand-cut, twice-fried French fries, Caesar salad, pies, cheesecake and shakes. ($)

Kafta and Mahi-Mahi at Hummus House in Hawthorne
Kafta and Mahi-Mahi at Hummus House  |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

Hummus House



Since 2010, Hummus House has been located across from the defunct Hawthorne Plaza shopping mall. Owner Hamid Haque is from Pakistan and has customers dine like sultans in a dining room with decorative red, blue and yellow drapes and patterned banquettes. Sextets of zucchini dumplings contain shredded zucchini, molten Mediterranean cheeses, and more. Top kabobs include kafta (beef and lamb ground together with seasonings and parsley) and juicy mahi-mahi cubes alternated with onion and pepper. Hummus options include traditional, roasted red pepper, and artichoke pesto. House-made baklava features chopped pistachios and walnuts, flaky phyllo dough, and drizzles of clover honey.

Nasi Ayam Panggang Padang at Indo Bistro in West Covina
Nasi Ayam Panggang Padang at Indo Bistro  |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

Indo Bistro



Indo Bistro resides in West Covina’s popular Hong Kong Plaza food court, where restaurants have color-coded trays and share communal seating. Indo Bistro is so committed to Halal cooking that they posted “No Pork On My Fork” signs. Nasi ayam panggang Padang, a dish popular in a West Sumatran port city called Padang, pairs broiled Cornish game hen with firm tempeh, fluffy fried tofu, supple potato fritter, rice dome, piquant green chile sambal, and an earthy peanut and vegetable soup. Fried rice with everything from lamb to beef tripe and corned beef are also popular. So are boiled and stir-fried noodle dishes and skewers of chicken, lamb, and beef tongue satay served with rice cakes and peanut sauce. Their counter features desserts like martabak manis, a fluffy, large format pancake filled with crushed peanuts, chocolate, and sesame. ($)

Khao Swe Thoke and Tea Leaf Salad at Jasmine Market & Deli
Khao Swe Thoke and Tea Leaf Salad at Jasmine Market & Deli  |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

Jasmine Market & Deli



Mimi Win took over Jasmine Market & Deli from her uncle to start 2019 and revamped the space, which now features a new sign and light strung, planter-lined patio with umbrella shaded tables. She also added a fridge for grab and go drinks, desserts, and condiments. Win devotes the menu’s front page to Burmese dishes, which are no longer limited to weekends. Highlights include wonderfully funky, crunchy tea leaf salad tossed with pickled tea leaves, roasted peanuts, crunchy beans, fried garlic, sesame seeds, dried shrimp, sliced tomato and chopped cabbage. Khao swe thoke is a tantalizing rice noodle salad folded with cabbage, tamarind, cilantro, onions, garlic, crispy garlic, and garlic oil. This noodle dish contains enough garlic to ward off vampires and comes with a bowl of peppery cabbage soup with vermicelli strands. They also feature a large selection of Indo-Pak dishes, but many people focus on their Burmese specialties. For dessert, consider banana cake made with coconut and coated with crunchy white poppy seeds. ($)

Lamb Kottu Rotti at Kurrypinch
Lamb Kottu Rotti at Kurrypinch  |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

Kurrypinch



Shaheen Ghazaly and his family debuted Kurrypinch in 2019 across from Van Nuys Courthouse West. Their small café only houses three tables, 3D murals inherited from former tenant Kashcool Kitchen, and a countertop incubator devoted to puff pastries and samosas. The warm case yields bites like savory cutlet fritters starring shredded mackerel. Pol rotti consists of coconut rotti (flatbread) served with two types of sambol, dhal, and a choice of proteins like beef and chicken. Kottu rotti involves chopped roti stir-fried with egg, scallion, carrot, onion and a choice of meat; go with lamb, which comes with a sidecar of dark lamb curry that delivers lingering spice. Biriyani and lamprais (lump rice) - a multifaceted meal baked in a banana leaf - are special dishes available on weekends. For dessert, watalappam is a cool, syrupy custard square crafted from cardamom-spiced coconut that comes topped with crushed cashews. ($)

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Mutiara Food & Market



Myanmar native Myo Aung combines his Burmese upbringing with culinary influences from his Malaysia-born wife to form a compelling menu. Mutiara Food & Market is close to the famed Forum in Inglewood and under the LAX flight path. The name translates from English as “pearl,” but the restaurant is actually fairly humble, with coral colored walls, wood tables with faux marble tops, and a photo menu. Weekend specials include tea leaf salad with an array of colors and textures and rice noodle fish soup (aka moh hin gha), a funky chowder loaded with catfish chunks, rice noodles, split peas and hard-boiled egg. Daily dishes worth seeking include honey chicken with crispy, lacquered skin; crunchy watercress featuring hollow stems sautéed with potent Malaysian sambal; and, a rectangular flatbread called murtabak filled with ground chicken, onion and spices. ($)

Lamb koobideh at Naab Café in Westwood
Lamb koobideh at Naab Café | Photo: Caviar

Naab Café



Naab means “something pure” in Farsi, and that’s exactly the type of food the owners serve in the Persian hotbed of Westwood, which also goes by Tehrangeles. The glass-fronted space features a hookah lounge out back and a basic café that faces the street. Really though, people visit Naab Café for the grilled meats, not décor. Koobideh is a favorite, and they aren’t limited to typical ground chicken or beef. Lamb is the koobideh champion at Naab featuring ground shoulder meat, which pairs well with basmati rice, charbroiled tomato, and salad with dressing of mayo, yogurt, vinegar, salt, sugar and dill. ($)

Persian Breakfast at Naan Hut in West LA
Persian Breakfast at Naan Hut  |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

Naan Hut



Glass-fronted Naan Hut has been open since 2011 in West LA and features red walls lined with paintings of Iranian market scenes, bread-lined counters and fridges full of dips, dairy products and drinks. They bake bread in-house, including surfboard shaped barbari, canoe-shaped naan jo, and circular shirmal, all studded with sesame seeds. They started as a bread bakery, and owner Ali Sadeghizadeh added a full food program that starts with breakfast and carries through dinner. Persian breakfast features springy sangak and choice of savory (feta, walnut, butter, cucumber, and tomato) or sweet (sar-shir (cream) and honey) accompaniments. Kale pache is their boldest breakfast offering, lamb soup with eye, cheek, tongue, brain, and heel for good measure, served with sangak and punchy torshi. Kebab plates, sandwiches and stews are popular later in the day. Naan Hut even makes “pizza” starring sangak slathered with marinara sauce, topped with molten mozzarella cheese, and the option to add chicken, beef or chopped vegetables. ($)

Paro Roll at Paratta in the Downtown LA Arts District
Paro Roll at Paratta | Photo: @hellobaratta, Instagram

Paratta



Asim Bharwani operates Paratta from a signless, subdivided brick hub called Crafted Kitchen that hosts many independent food companies in the Downtown LA Arts District. It’s possible to order from this commissary, and Paratta rolls out a colorful food truck several times a week. They specialize in rolls wrapped with the flaky, buttery Indian flatbread called lachha paratha. Paro features boneless chicken chunks marinated in yogurt, green chile, cilantro, and spices. Chandhi treats firm paneer (cheese) to smoking and marinating in yogurt, onions, bell peppers, and spices. Each nine-inch sandwich also contains crunchy desi slaw, meethi chutney (sweet tamarind and ginger), and hari chutney (cilantro, green chili, mint, garlic) and comes with a side of cooling raita, Paratta also sells savory snacks, spice-forward desserts, and tangy lassis (yogurt milkshakes) like Gulabi Lassi, a pastel pink yogurt drink made with fragrant rose and cardamom. ($)

Coin Prata at Prata House in West Covina
Coin Prata at Prata House  |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

Prata House



Krishna Rajangam runs the front of house, husband Kar handles the back end, and her uncle’s the chef at Prata House in West Covina. The couple’s from south India, but lived in Singapore, and they serve unique specialties that combine both traditions. Prata House opened to start 2019 in a space with a high ceiling, L-shaped bar, and black cushioned booths. Prata House specializes in griddled flatbreads paired with everything form cheese and egg to chocolate and ice cream. Coin prata is particularly unique, starring six sweet coiled coin shaped flatbreads with great caramelization, served with savor vegetable curry for dipping. In an effort to stand out, Prata House also stuffs flaky roti pancakes called mutabbaq with shredded goat meat, scrambled egg and onion, and serve a sliced rectangle with chicken gravy. Conical ghee dosas and potent pepper chicken are also popular choices. Their weekend-only Dungeness crab biriyani is also worth a detour. ($)

Pozole Verde at Pura Vida Mexican Food
Pozole Verde at Pura Vida Mexican Food  |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

Pura Vida Mexican Food



Alex Mendez is the chef and wife Linda runs the front of house at Pura Vida Mexican Food, a short ride from Dignity Health Sports Park and the Goodyear Blimp base since 2017. A dining room with art-lined peach colored walls and papel picado hosts just five tables, which matches their number of available salsas. Their Halal food includes pozole verde, a hearty chicken soup simmered with tomatillo, hominy, shredded lettuce and chicken, cilantro, and a sliced avocado garnish. Their homey Mexican menu also includes a wealth of breakfast dishes, burritos, and specialties like chile negro, starring steak stewed in pasilla negro chiles. Vampiro, perhaps the best antojito (craving), consists of a crunchy tostada piled with melted Jack cheese, guacamole, crema, cotija, pico de gallo and a choice of protein. Perhaps griddled carne asada? ($)

Surf & Turf at Quebobs
Surf & Turf at Quebobs  |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

Quebobs



Quebobs sits at an increasingly crowded crossroads along the Metro Expo Line that features booming West Adams to the east and the massive new mixed-use Cumulus development to the west. The owners built on the success of their Mar Vista food stand and now run this fast casual operation in Cienega Plaza’s back corner, featuring tile floors and orange walls lined daily affirmations like, “There are so many beautiful reasons to be happy.”

Grilled kebabs star on their Zabiha Halal menu. Mix and match and select a choice of sides. Surf & Turf is a great way to sample Quebobs fare, packaging luscious beef, chicken breast, salmon, and shrimp skewers. Lamb kebabs are also noteworthy. Standout sides include hummus, smoky baba ghanouj, garlicky vegetables, and vibrant bean soup simmered with tomatoes, carrots, and zucchini. Plates come with pickled turnips, pungent garlic sauce, and a spicy green slurry crafted with chiles, lemon and cilantro. ($)

Goat Quorma at Red Chili Halal Restaurant in Northridge
Goat Quorma at Red Chili Halal Restaurant  |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

Red Chili Halal Restaurant



The west Valley is dotted with home-style Halal restaurants. Red Chili resides in the back of a Northridge strip mall. The layout includes polished brown wood booths with cream-colored backs, gold and grey walls, and a central chandelier. An express version rests across the parking lot and serves Chinese dishes, but this original restaurant is strictly Indo-Pak. Adventurous eaters might enjoy kat-a-kat (liver) and maghaz masal (brain). If you want to dial it back a notch or two, goat quorma features pleasantly gamy meat in a sea of red chiles, black pepper and yogurt. Be sure to pair with naan to help balance the dish’s intense cardamom and pepper flavor. ($)

Braised lamb neck at Shamshiri Grill in Westwood
Braised lamb neck at Shamshiri Grill  |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

Shamshiri Grill



Hamid Mosavi, whose family is from Tavriz, Iran, runs this Persian restaurant in Westwood. The name translates from Farsi as "sword," which is an old school kebab cooking method. Shamshiri Grill has the standard complement of Persian stews and kebabs, but the repertoire runs far deeper. For instance, karafs is a stew of celery sautéed with mint, parsley, and your choice of meat (chicken, lamb shank, or veal). On Mondays and Fridays, they also serve braised lamb neck that pairs beautifully with a sprinkling of tangy sumac. Special polos (basmati rice dishes) include baghali (fava beans and baby dill) and shirin (slivered almonds, pistachios, and orange peel). Better yet, they bake pita in-house, and Shamshiri Grill also supplies spicy red “salsa” if you ask nicely, with mesquite roasted tomato and pepper blended with lemon juice, cilantro, and black pepper. ($$)

Koobideh Kebab at Shandiz Vanak the Downtown LA Fashion District
Koobideh Kebab at Shandiz Vanak | Photo: @getmarkk, Instagram

Shandiz Vanak



Shandiz Vanak may look like a simple Halal restaurant in Downtown LA’s Fashion District, but you’d be missing the family’s deep traditions, which date to 1960. Andre Sangbarani’s grandfather debuted the family’s first restaurant in Tehran that year. His father is still the chef, and he runs the front of house, at Shandiz Vanak in LA. Shandiz is an Iranian village known for lamb, and Vanak refers to the city. Most customers crave grilled Persian kebabs. Koobideh (ground beef) and chicken thigh are particularly impactful on plates that co-star saffron rice, lemon, blistered onion, jalapeno, and tomato. ($)

Shayan Express Restaurant in the Downtown LA Fashion District
Shayan Express Restaurant | Photo: Uber Eats

Shayan Express



Shayan Express is located down a hallway in the epicenter of a Fashion District bazaar. The space is open air, featuring a patio with tiny yellow and blue caged birds, roll-up door, and a dining room with yellow walls. The restaurant debuted in 2009 and the owners of Nersses Vanak in Glendale assumed control in 2013. This outpost is best known for kabobs, but they also serve dizi, a dish that is only available for dine-in. Dizi is a mash of lamb, tomato, garbanzo beans and carrot, which joins a bowl of rich lamb soup that contains celery and comes dusted with sumac. Each order also includes whole wheat lavash, tangy cucumber yogurt, and torshi, intensely punchy Persian pickled vegetables. ($)

Martabak Telor at Simpang Asia in Palms
Martabak Telor at Simpang Asia  |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

Simpang Asia



Simpang Asia is a Southeast Asian restaurant in Palms that resides next to an Indonesian grocery store called Simpang Asia Pantry and Lokal sandwich shop (not Halal), both from the same owners. Multi-textural walls include white, wavy grey panels, orange wall stenciled with flowers, and particle board sporting a flock of white birds. Simpang Asia’s robust menu incorporates gluten-free and vegan/vegetarian versions of many dishes, plus seasonal specials. Martabak telor is a flatbread stuffed with ground beef, eggs, scallions, shallots, and onions that comes with pickled cucumber and carrot salad and sweet chile sauce. Soul-warming sop buntut (oxtail soup), laksa (seafood curry noodle soup) and ayam goring kuning (turmeric fried chicken) are also popular. Martabak manis is a warm, chewy pancake sandwich filled with chocolate, cheese, sesame seeds, peanuts and milk. ($)

Surabaya Fried Rice at Toko Rame in Bellflower
Surabaya Fried Rice at Toko Rame  |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

Toko Rame Indonesian Restaurant



The Southeast LA hamlet of Bellflower features Halal Indonesian comfort food at Toko Rame, a small restaurant with cream colored and red walls lined with Indonesia paintings and photos and a case full of Indonesian snacks. Toko means shop in English, and rame means busy. Toko Rame is best known for nasi bungkus, a banana leaf wrapped combo plate co-starring steamed white rice, beef rendang, fried chicken, egg, tofu, chile sauces and vegetable curry featuring cabbage and string beans. The owner of this longtime local favorite is from Surabaya, so by all means order Surabaya-style fried rice topped with beef empal (tender chunks), ayam goreng kuning (crispy, batter-free fried chicken thigh) and fluffy scallion studded omelet. Spoon on sambal for added spice. Toko Rame also features an array of curries, noodle dishes, and soups on their deep, diverse menu. ($)

Blazin Chicken Burger at Urban Skillet in the NoHo Arts District
Blazin Chicken Burger at Urban Skillet  |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

Urban Skillet



Urban Skillet dates to 2014 in the NoHo Arts District. New owner Mohammad Azeem Farooq took over in late 2017 and remains committed to serving Halal comfort food. Burgers, sandwiches, chicken wings, and fully loaded fries are the focus. Burgers range from basic to the Southern BBQ co-starring lamb bacon, onion ring, Cheddar cheese, BBQ sauce, and house sauce (Thousand Island) on a brioche bun. Blazin Chicken isn’t actually a “burger,” but does feature crispy fried chicken breast, house sauce, Sriracha, molten American cheese and crunchy cole slaw. Urban Skillet also serves “burgers” made with jackfruit and slow-cooked brisket.  The fast casual restaurant features exposed wood rafters, reclaimed wood and a rainbow colored mural. ($)

Chicken seekh kebab, haleem, and roghani bread at Zaiqa Grill in Downey
Chicken seekh kebab, haleem, and roghani bread at Zaiqa Grill  |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

Zaiqa Grill



Shahid Mahmood is from Lahore, Pakistan, previously owned a gas station, and has run this glass-fronted Downey restaurant with chef/wife Rahela since 2015. The space has tan walls, tan and brown tasseled curtains, and two flat screen TVs. The name translates to English as “taste” and the couple displays plenty. Grilled dishes include chicken (or beef) seekh kabob, ground meat kebabs bolstered with cilantro, chiles, white and green onions, and spices. Seekh kabob slices are sautéed with onions, peppers, and tomatoes. Curry dishes include haleem, brown slurry of beef or chicken with wheat, beans and spices, garnished with julienne ginger and cilantro. Eat haleem like a soup or pair with roghani, hearty naan bread studded with sesame seeds and brushed with butter to produce a shine. Ask for caddy with chutney of mint, chilies, cilantro and yogurt. ($)

Goat biryani at Zam Zam Market
Goat biryani at Zam Zam Market  |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

Zam Zam Market



Fahim Siddiqui and wife Fozia relocated to Hawthorne from their longtime Culver City home. The couple’s from Karachi, Pakistan. The name Zam Zam translates from Arabic as “purification” and spices are probably plentiful enough to cure whatever ails you. Goat biryani is especially potent - fluffy rice grains and a garam masala base support spices like clove, cinnamon, and cardamom. Ground beef or chicken kebabs are on the milder side of the spice spectrum. Tandoori chicken sport electric orange coats and come with raw onions. The menu is a bit erratic, so cross your fingers and hope they’ll have puffy naan or herbaceous pakoras with golden sheathes. No matter what you order, spoon on yogurt chutney seasoned with coriander, cranberry seeds, and mint.