Always been delighted by halal food? We talked to our friends from Looloo and here’s what they have to say about the best halal restaurants in the metro.
Aside from their location being in the middle of the red light district of Makati, they also have the BEST shawarma I’ve ever had in my life. It’s perfectly juicy and the vegetables in the pita are also a treat. Aside from the shawarma, they also have good samosas.
Ziggurat is for people who are adventurous with their food. Want a taste of India? Try their various curries. Feeling Persian? Try their kebabs. Want a taste of Jordan? Try their Jordanian rice. Want to try Moroccan food? Try their Lamb Tajine.
Their menu may confuse you at first but don’t let that stop you from trying their various menu items from all over the Middle East and Africa.
Authentic taste and flavors from the Middle East.
That’s what Zabadani offers.
And when I say taste, it’s not only limited to the food. The interiors and the aroma of this restaurant also capture that Middle Eastern atmosphere. It’s like being transported to the Arab World. Elements of Islamic design and architecture furnish the place, such as vibrant carpets, ornaments and hand-carved furniture. And although the place isn’t big, it is still quite comfortable. (By the way, this is their second branch in the city. The other one is bigger and is even more magnificently decorated.)
Given that the restaurant is Islamic, they serve only Halal food.
Their menu is pretty extensive. You choose from among a dish of lamb, chicken, beef, fish, shrimp, squid or egg, and the variety of rice that goes with it as well. They also have soups, stews, salads, pasta, and kebab. And of course, since they are a café, they have coffee, tea, and other Middle-Eastern inspired beverages.
For starters, my family ordered Hummus- pureed chickpeas processed with aromatic seeds, olive oil, and garlic, served with flaps of pita bread.
The consistency of the Hummus wasn’t the smoothest, but I still liked it because of the interesting flavors. (I added garlic and liked it even more!) And I loved the pita bread to bits. It was so soft and light, and had that earthy flavor that comes from being baked in a brick oven.
For my main course, I had Beef Biryani. Warm, aromatic, earthy, lemon-yellow colored rice seasoned with spices, and topped with tender, thinly sliced, and lightly spiced beef.
I was browsing their menu and I spotted that they had Basmati rice, my favorite variety. Unfortunately, I was told that they had just run out of it, so I just settled for Biryani rice, topped with beef.
When the dish was served, my eyes opened wide. The serving of rice was huge! Carb galore! But that wasn’t the only thing that made my eyes pop. There was a light sprinkling of saffron and cashew nuts on top of the rice, which I was pleased about.
However, the huge serving of rice didn’t stop me from finishing my entire meal. I just loved the flavors mixing in my mouth. All the spices, the saffron, coriander, cumin, cinnamon and ginger were coming together to create delight. The beef was also very tender and just bursting with flavor. However, the seasoning didn’t clash with the rice; it was very subtle that it complemented the rice.
As for my family, they ordered roast beef, saffron chicken, saffron shrimp, and beef kebab. I had a taste of my mother’s saffron chicken and it was lovely. The chicken was moist and tender, and the spices added that earthy flavor.
My family members told me that they enjoyed their orders as well. Of course, judging from their plates, which had very little leftovers (take note, the servings were huge), one could come to that conclusion.
Plus, their food is very affordable – every main course item is just under P300! And I love that they do not scrimp on the ingredients.
And as for the service, the server that attended to us was very attentive. However, there were some glitches in their credit card terminal, and we ended up paying in cash.
Although there was a minor inconvenience, it still was truly a gastronomic delight dining here.
This place lives up to its name indeed – “core of goodness” – Zabadani.
3. Gilak by Hossein
I love hummus. And every time I go to mid-eastern restaurants, it’s a must that I should order a plate of it.
Gilak by Hossein’s hummus has got to be one of the best for me.
Their hummus tasted like they only used the freshest ingredients, and as they served me my plate, it looked pretty with a few garbanzo beans on it, an olive and a drizzle of cinnamon which made it all the more delicious.
The subdued yellow lights, the cozy ambiance, the soft music, the curtains they had all over the place, and the strong smell of spices seducing you exude that kind of atmosphere – middle eastern. It has that sort of fine dining feel, and yes, the price is a bit up there as well.
But you won’t feel ripped off because their food is great, too. The beef chelo kebab, a staple order for me, has a different kick of flavors compared to the usual kebabs I’ve had in different, less expensive restaurants. Theirs tasted like they added another ingredient that would make theirs unique, and it was a good move because it was excellent. And the beef was tender, moist and well-seasoned. It went perfectly with the saffron basmati rice with butter.
4. Hossein’s Persian Kebab
My search for the BEST Middle Eastern restaurant in Metro Manila is OVER.
I ate at Hossein’s, died from food coma, and went to Persian food heaven.
I’ve heard that the food here is exceptionally delicious BUT exceptionally expensive, so I’ve always been wary of trying it out. In the meantime, I settled for cheaper alternatives to Persian food: Mr. Kabab or Uncle Moes. Now I know that these two can’t compare to Hossein’s.
I’m lucky because I got a chance to dine at Hossein’s last week, thanks to my boyfriend’s Persian friend who invited us for dinner. He ordered for us, and we were surprised at the amount of food he ordered for only four people!
He ordered a Persian salad (which looked like ensalada) chicken shish kebab, beef shish kebab, chicken tikka, beef koobideh, lassi… and a plate of biryani rice for EACH of us!!! One whole plate. The sort of plate that you would normally put in the middle of the table and you would just share what’s on it. That was around four cups of rice, maybe? My eyes widened in shock when I saw the waiters come to our table with the trays of food.
Everything was delicious. The meat was very flavorful, even the chicken! I’ve encountered really bland grilled chicken before, and you’d have to smother them with hot sauce and/or garlic yogurt sauce.
But at Hossein’s, everything was cooked and seasoned perfectly! The meat was tender and easy to chew, and I didn’t have to put the garlic yogurt sauce on my food as much! They were already spicy on their own! (By the way, you can tell the waiter if you want your food spicy or not.)
I also highly recommend the Roti Channai- beautifully cooked flat bread that comes with curry sauce on the side – perfect starter to your meal. The sweet lassi was good, too. It tamed the spiciness inside my mouth. Very creamy and refreshing!
The interiors are very classy with its fine dining set-up. This place is more suited for business lunches or romantic dates. There are semi-private tables off to one side that are decorated very nicely, a la Arabian Nights.
This isn’t a place you can frequent, given its high price. But if you are hankering for authentic and really delicious Persian food, then this is THE place to go. Our Persian dinner companion swears by this place, and he scoffs at the imitations sprouting around Manila like mushrooms.
Originally published on http://www.philstar.com
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