From modern Indian and Chinese to traditional Lebanese and Turkish, there are Halal-friendly food choices throughout Sydney to suit even the most discerning diners.
A Sydney institution, Neptune Palace has been serving up traditional Malaysian and Cantonese food for over two decades. The menu is huge, with close to 200 options served by efficient waiters zipping around the spacious dining room. Don’t miss the signature murtabuk, a Malaysian dish made from marinated beef mince wrapped in roti canai. The richly flavoured laksas are a favourite at lunch time, kari lamb has a satisfying spiciness and the braised duck and Chinese mushroom is a winning combination. After the Pandan crepe for dessert, take a wander around the historic Rocks precinct. Do note this restaurant serves alcohol.
Address: Gateway Building, Pitt St & Alfred St, Sydney
This charming split-level, split-personality Turkish restaurant in Balmain, 10 minutes from the city, has been awarded the best breakfast in Sydney. Its epic Van Breakfast Feast is served only on the weekends and will have your table groaning with more than 30 Middle Eastern delicacies, like pastries, cheese, olives, fruits and hot dishes. For lunch and dinner you can choose hot and cold meze plates or freshly grilled meats straight off the charcoal mangal. Though this is Halal-friendly, alcoholic drinks are part of the beverage menu.
Address: 79 Elliott St, Balmain
With five Al Aseel restaurants spread across Sydney (plus one down the coast in Wollongong), you’re never far away from a Lebanese fix. The original restaurant is in Greenacre, a thriving Middle Eastern community in Western Sydney, but the closest outlet to the city is in the suburb of Alexandria. You’ll find a menu of authentic Lebanese classics cooked to perfection. Start with a few plates of baba ghanouj, grilled haloumi and vine leaves while you make your decisions. Then you can load up on chicken shwarma, marinated lamb and kafta skewers – always guaranteed crowd pleasers.
Address: 42a/110-116 Bourke Rd, Alexandria
The family behind El-Phoenician opened Sydney’s first ever doner kebab shop way back in 1979, so they have a solid pedigree. There are now two outposts; one in Walsh Bay on Sydney Harbour and another in Parramatta, the city’s second business district. Authentic Middle Eastern spices, smoky char grills and fresh local produce come together to create a tasty menu that’s designed for sharing. The bread is exceptionally good, so you’ll want lots of it for mopping up a big plate of dips. If you’re really hungry, settle in for the incredible 12-15 course banquets that feature all the best dishes on the menu. Please note alcohol is available in El-Phoenician's menu.
Address: 7 Towns Pl, Millers Point or 328 Church St, Parramatta
If you like water views with your meal, then put Zaaffran at the top of your list. This vast Indian restaurant sits at the top of the Harbourside Shopping Centre, right in the heart of Darling Harbour, and promises homestyle cooking just like a mother would make. The menu changes frequently but dishes are always inspired by unique recipes drawn from royal households, so expect Indian like you’ve never tasted before. Think lobster meat in coconut broth, braised beef ribs with garam masala or lamb shanks with poppy seeds and ginger. For Muslims with strict diet concerns, do note alcoholic beverages are available in Zaaffran.
Address: Harbourside Shopping Centre, 345/10 Darling Dr, Sydney
You might have to wait to get a seat at Ipoh on York, a Halal-certified restaurant, but it will be worth it. This Malaysian hawker-style food hall right in the centre of the city is packed with office workers at lunchtime, here for the fragrant laksas, smoky char kway teow and flavourful chicken rice. It’s cheap and cheerful with plastic tables and a food court atmosphere, but the food is some of the best Malaysian you’ll find in Sydney.
Address: 2/89 York St, Sydney
Dine like a Mughal on authentic Pakistani food at Lal Qila on King Street Wharf (sister restaurant to the original in Surry Hills). The chefs pride themselves on the authenticity of their recipes, some of which date back thousands of years, and use traditional cooking methods and vessels. The menu is huge and you’ll probably spot some unfamiliar dishes, so ask the waitstaff for their recommendations and you might just discover your new favourite meal. Plan ahead and order the sikandari raan, a whole leg of lamb marinated in tandoori spices and cooked in a clay oven. You’ll need to order in 48 hours in advance. This is a Halal-certified restaurant, suitable for all Muslims.
Address: 30 Lime St, Darling Harbour, Sydney
This sprawling, Arabic-style restaurant on Parramatta’s Eat Street (officially called Church Street) is a little over the top, but we think you’re going to love it. You can choose to eat inside or go for the opulent outdoor tent complete with a red fabric roof and hanging lanterns. The menu is a mix of Middle Eastern flavours and Mediterranean classics, so there’s definitely something for everyone. Armani is Halal-certfied and does not serve alcohol in their menu.
Address: 5/354 Church St, Parramatta