Friday, August 23, 2019

Where to eat at ISNACON 2019- A Comprehensive Guide

Where to Eat While in Houston for ISNCON – 2019 edition

Assalam Alaikum guys! Welcome to Houston and to ISNACON! Not only is Houston well known for NASA and its Southern Hospitality, it is also known of having a very diverse halal food scene! Here are some of the options that you can choose from during your stay in Houston. Some opened up during after last year’s convention, and some are still that good! Bon Appetit!

Downtown to the 610 Loop.

1)      Phoenicia Specialty Foods- 1001 Austin Street.

This is still the closest halal restaurant to the George R. Brown Convention Center, and the only one that can be accessed by foot. This place has a variety of items to choose from. You on choose from traditional shawarmas to cold cut sandwiches. You also get a wide variety of international groceries and halal meat.

Cuisine: Mediterranean

 Chicken Shawarma

2) Stanton’s City Bites – 1420 Edwards Street

Located only 5 minutes from the Convention Center, Stanton’s City Bites is still one of the most popular options for halal burgers in Houston. They have halal chicken and beef burgers, chili, and hot dogs, and all the halal stuff is cooked separately on a separate grill from the pork items. All you need to do is to mention halal and no bacon to the cashier when ordering your food. You get that classic diner feeling when you dine there, so you don’t want to miss out!

Cuisine: American

Holy Cow Burger

Monster Burger

 3) Pinkerton’s BBQ - 1504 Airline Drive

Out of THREE options for halal Texas BBQ, Pinkerton’s BBQ is the closest to the convention center! The place still uses Creekstone Farms beef for their ribs and brisket, and smoke and cut the beef separately from the other meats they serve. They are a favorite not only with the Muslim community here in Houston, but also with many Muslims that visit Houston. The vegetarian sides that they offer are their coleslaw and their potato salad. Be sure to come at exactly 11 AM if you want to grab one of their ribs: they sell out in between 60 and 90 minutes! 

Cuisine: Texan 

Half Pound Brisket with Potato Salad

Chopped Beef Sandwich

4) Tourao Brazilian Churrascaria: 4412 Montrose Boulevard

Think of Fogo de Chao, but with halal options! Nearly every meat option in this restaurant is halal! Along with the traditional tableside carving of the meat, they provide hot dishes for you to also enjoy! Simply mention to your server that you want the halal options, and they will take care of you! Tip: order your steak medium rare for the best taste, and do reservations as weekends tend to be packed.

Cuisine: Brazilian

 An Assortment of Different Cuts of Meat (Beef, Chicken, and Shrimp)

An Assortment of Items From the Hot Dishes and Salad Bar

 5) Gyro Hut - 2807 Old Spanish Trail

Gyro Hut is a spot in the heart of the Medical Center that has delicious NY Style platters in town! They give generous portions and they also have a large variety of vegetables that you can choose from for your platter. Another good thing is that this place is open late on weekends!

Cuisine: NY Style Platters

Chappli Kabab Over Rice

Combo (Chicken and Gyro) over Rice


 Between I-610 and Beltway 8

1) Abu Omar Halal – Various Locations

Abu Omar continues to be is one of the most successful halal restaurant chains in the city. Established after a failed venture into the taco truck business, Abu Omar grew from a small truck in the Medical Center to having eight locations in Houston, and they are not stopping in growing. They provide shawarma and NY Style platters, but the one thing that everyone loves is their chicken shawarma arabi. Their location between I-610 and Sam Houston Tollway is 7727 Westheimer, and their location in the Medical Center is 7500 Almeda.

Cuisine: Mediterranean

Chicken Shawarma Arabi

2) Busy Boy- 5722 Hillcroft

Busy Boy continues to provide excellent food and service. Everything here is halal, and they offer a wide variety of items such as cold cut subs and sandwiches, burgers, Philly Cheesesteaks, and Po-Boy’s. They also have crepes (savory and sweet) and desserts. So, if you want to have some dessert after eating at the restaurant, just walk over! Tip: Eat The Fries with the garlic sauce.

Cuisine: American and Mediterranean

Philly Cheesesteak

 3) Peli Peli Kitchen – 9090 Katy Freeway

This place is a fully halal spot and is a sister restaurant to one of the most prominent restaurants in Houston – Peli Peli. You can choose from a variety of items such as Peri Peri chicken, a burger made from frikkadele (South African meatball), and Portuguese Beef Fajita tacos! They have another location off I-610, but this is the only location to be halal (the other location is inside a Whole Foods). Tip: They have table sauces available if you want to make your dish spicier.

Cuisine: South African

Quarter Chicken topped in Peri Peri sauce, cilantro, and peppadews with Mac and Cheese

Boneless Thigh topped with peppadews and cilantro with Cauliflower Rice and Mac n Cheese

The JoBurger

Curry chicken topped with cilantro, fried onions, and peppadews with rice and mac and cheese

 4) Bismillah Cafe- 5696 Hillcroft

The expanded restaurant opened earlier this year, and some new burgers were introduced! This place still offers top notch American burgers along with Desi fusion burgers. They also have a Desi menu.

Cuisine: Fusion Pakistani-American with American Items

Patty Melt on Texas Toast

Ten Chicken Burger on Texas Toast


Original Burger With Beef Bacon Add-on and Fire Fries. Warning, The Fire Fries are Extremely Spicy


Volcano Burger 

5) Galleria Food Truck Park – 2829 Chimney Rock

This place is actually a food truck park where different trucks come and set up shop for the day. Thankfully, Two with halal options are permanently here. The first is Mico’s Hot Chicken. This serves an amazing hot chicken sandwich, where you can customize how hot you could make the chicken. If you sign up for their most hot, the x-hot, they make you sign a waiver. They also have animal fries and tenders basket. Right now the tenders are halal, but they cook it separately from the breast (those are the only meats they sell), and you can substitute the breast on the sandwich. Their timings are 12 PM to 8 PM, there's often a long line, and no online or phone orders! So instead of debating between Popeye's and Chick Fil A, try this place!

The second food truck is one that pays homage to Detroit: Midwest Coney Connection. They sell coney dogs, and some amazing wings along with Philly Cheesesteak. They also sell Faygo, a popular brand of Soda from the Midwest. Right now, the coney dogs, wings, and the Cheesesteak are halal.

Cuisine: American

 Spicy Wings from Midwest Coney Connection

The Sammich with chicken tenders from Mico’s Hot Chicken


Chicken Tenders Basket from Mico's Hot Chicken

 6) Barbar Mediterranean Grill – 7917 Westheimer

Run by a chef who used to run a prominent halal Mediterranean restaurant in Dearborn, Barbar Mediterranean Grill is a spot that is enjoyed by many Houstonians who want to eat Mediterranean food. They are most known for their grilled chicken, which you can get either half or whole. A good thing is that they are open late as well.

Cuisine: Mediterranean

 Half Grilled Chicken with Fries


7) Beeezzz Doner & Kebap – 7919 Westheimer

Beeezzz Doner & Kebap has become a popular late night spot for Houstonians. In the middle of the night, this food truck serves up items such as Adana kebap and doner kebap that would remind you of your last trip to Istanbul. They also serve their sandwiches “Arabic style”. They're open until 5 AM on weekends.

Adana Kebap Over Rice

Outside Beltway 8

1) Aga’s Restaurant- 11842 Wilcrest Dr - Stafford

Aa trip to Aga’s is worth venturing to for their goat chops. Along with their goat chops, try their incredible Peshawari Chicken and Chicken Makhni. Go before the rush though! I heard the whole block would be packed with folks wanting to come in and eat!

Cuisine: Indo-Pak

Peshawari Chicken and Matka Daal

 Chicken Makhni

The Famous Goat Chops

Clockwise from Top Left: Goat Curry, Tandoori Chicken Handi, Chicken 65, and Goat Biryani


2) Deen’s Cheesesteak – 5222 Barker Cypress Road – Katy/Cypress

Deen’s Cheesesteak has been providing some of the best halal food in the northwest side of town. The owner, who grew up in the Philly area (South Jersey), provides different types of cheesesteaks along with the traditional one that pays homage to its birthplace. They also have pizzas, boneless and bone-in wings, and rice platters.

Chicken Tikka Cheesesteak from Deen’s

3) Eggcellence Café – Katy and Sugar Land
Imagine your favorite spot for brunch, but with halal options! They have popular brunch items such as eggs benedict, chicken and waffles, omelets, and pancakes. A good thing is that these items are served all day. They also have items such as chicken fettucine alfredo, chargha, and kabab. They used halal chicken, beef, and turkey, and they are also cooked separately from the pork.

Chicken and Waffles

Korean Chicken and Waffles

4) Las Brasas Charcoal Chicken – Westchase
Rotisserie Chicken Shops are a common thing over America, but Las Brasas is one that is incredibly popular among many people, including Muslims, in Houston. They have incredibly delicious chicken, and they are also generous with the portions they give for the sides. Try their chaufa (fried rice with rotisserie chicken), their vegetarian pinto beans (they do not serve pork), and their sauces. They also have a halal beef option – their lomo saltado (sautéed beef). Try the sauces. They go very well with the chicken.

½ Grilled Chicken with Vegetarian Pinto Beans and Salad

5) Poblano’s Mexican Grill – Energy Corridor
Mexican food is very popular in Houston, and Poblano’s is one that has halal options available. They have popular dishes such as chile relleno, chimichanga, sopes, fajita plates, enchiladas, and burritos. The halal options are the chicken and beef fajitas, ground beef, chicken milanesa, their soup, and shredded chicken. All the beans are vegetarian as well. The halal options are also cooked separately from the other meats that are offered.

Chimichanga with rice and refried beans

Enchiladas and a crispy taco with rice and refried beans

Chile Relleno

6) Jade Ly Asian Bistro – Sugar Land
Near the beautiful Maryam Masjid lies a halal American Chinese spot that is small but serves some delicious classics such as kung pao chicken, and Mongolian beef. Jade Ly has grown to be one of the most popular halal Chinese spots in town. One good thing about this place is that their lunch specials are available all day, so you can try a dish along with fried/steamed rice, a side, and soup. They also give free rice crackers. Just a heads up: the chicken egg roll or chicken dumpling aren’t halal.

Beef with Broccoli, fried rice, and crab puffs

Mongolian Beef, Fried Rice, and Crab Puffs

7) Space City Pizza – Clear Lake
Space City Pizza, which is a halal spot that is close to the Johnson Space Center, offers a Detroit style pizza to go along with the regular pizzas they serve. They have a halal menu, which consists of both American and Desi pizzas. They are currently take out only, but they are worth trying.

Detroit Style Halal Meatball Pizza

Detroit Style Halal Beef Pepperoni Pizza

If you have any questions, feel free to message me on my Instagram at thehalalreviewer (, message me on Facebook (, or email me at!

I hope you enjoy your time in Houston!

Zain Mohammed