Review: The best Halal dishes in Durham


With Ramadan quickly approaching, Durham students will be breaking their first fasts during term time. Having spent an unfortunate amount of money on dining out this year (all in research for this article, of course), I thought it might be fun to memorialize my favourite Halal places and dishes in the town centre!

Zapatista Burrito Bar

(Halal chicken on request)

If you’re looking for an immediate release for your Iftar cravings, Zaps is the place. I recall with incredible fondness making up a fast from last year and popping into Zaps for a quick iftar after classes. For those five minutes I spent devouring their Chili-Spiced Fries, sitting in an empty lecture theatre in Elvet (couldn’t be bothered to walk back to my flat), I thought it was the best meal I’d ever had. The slightly crisp fries were still warm and pillowy on the inside, perfectly topped with smoky chili and dragged through a small pile of mayonnaise from those little sauce packets that amazingly enhanced its flavour. That said, if you think you can handle the highest level of spice, prepare for your mouth to feel like it’s been literally doused in fire.


(Halal chicken on request)

I was doubtful that chicken belonged anywhere near a sushi roll before I visited this place, but the Crunchy Chicken Roll somehow makes it work fantastically. The sushi rolls are some of the best ones in Durham, their ingredients always taste fresh and satisfyingly crunchy when dipped in soy sauce with chopsticks that I’ve almost mastered using. I’ve also heard great things about their katsu curry, which many people rave about, although I’ve never seen anyone get to the bottom of the large bowl.


These are the best burgers in Durham. My personal favourite is the Korean Pop burger, bursting with flavour and a slight bit of spice from the gochujang mayo, which is hands down the best and most mysterious condiment in the restaurant. I have asked, and the staff refuse to tell me what’s in it or where it’s from, leading me to believe that it’s a successful scientific experiment to get people to sit in a restaurant that plays the latest pop hits from five years ago so loudly that every other thought flees your brain except for how delicious the food is. I’m hardly complaining, though, I’ve had some of the deepest conversations of the term listening to Glass Animal’s “Heatwave” and destroying a side serving of onion rings.

The Greek Guy

I have a friend from Greece that has quite the bone to pick with this restaurant on the basis that neither the owner nor the food is in any way Greek. I’ve hardly seen her so passionate as when she’s ranting about the destruction of authentic Greek cuisine. However, if you want a Mediterranean wrap, since Nando’s tragically isn’t Halal here, That Greek Guy is an entirely worthy runner-up. The OG Chicken Wrap, while embarrassing to say out loud to the guy at the till, is one of the tastiest wraps I’ve had. It’s great to take on the go when you’ve been wandering around town for an hour instead of doing your tutorial readings and must rush back to Elvet because your professor starts on the hour instead of five minutes past – which you manage to forget every week. Conveniently, it’s also a great meal to eat in the back of a lecture hall while red in the face and out of breath.


I’m going to be honest: Manakeet is somewhat of a Central Perk for my friend group because since it opened last year, no one’s found it yet. I’m really hoping this doesn’t ruin that but unfortunately, their cannoli are way too good to be overlooked. Warm pistachio cream on the inside, sweet pastry shell on the outside, this dish is actually perfection. They’ve got plenty of desserts and some of the best hot chocolate in the area, as well as plenty of middle eastern cuisine. Of course, I’ve never actually tried the proper food because every time I find myself there, I get too drawn in by their shelves of sweets and promptly decide that it’ll serve as dessert for whatever meal I had last.

We’re fortunate to have some amazing, if somewhat sparse, Halal cuisine in Durham. However, if cooking a meal while hungry and exhausted feels like too much for you, Durham University Islamic Society is planning to hold free iftars every night. Come along, or you can visit our Instagram @duisoc to donate!

Image credit: Funda Gulturk via Pexels

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