Last Updated on August 27, 2020 by Jeremy
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Salem's Halal Market and Grill in the Strip District is one of those restaurants that was always on my list to try but was one I never quite made it to. After finally making it in after many years of saying “I should go”, I have to say, I regret waiting so long.
From the huge menu, the delicious Middle Eastern food, to the reasonable prices, this one really has everything we look for in a restaurant.
But in reality, simply visiting once barely does this one justice. So before my first meal was over I was already thinking about my return trip!
Salem's Market and Grill Has A Bit of Everything
As the menu is quite large at Salem's, I tried to build an order that is somewhat reflective of their wide offering of sandwiches, mains, combo plates, and more.
After hearing high praise of their curry, I opted for one of my favorite Middle Eastern dishes- lamb curry. This came as a lunch special for under $10 and was a heaping mound of lamb on top of basmati rice and had those deep, rich spice flavor notes we love from this kind of curry.
With this one in particular, it is worth noting that the lamb, while tender, comes with a wide variety of chunks that may include bone and cartilage. It is the way we want it for this kind of curry, but worth paying attention to when you eat all the same.
The second entree I went for was the chicken shawarma on the sandwich menu after seeing the beautiful vertical broiler slowly cooking the meat behind the counter. As I watched my shawarma being prepped, I knew I was in for a treat. The large pita was topped with what was perhaps the most amount of chicken we've ever received from any Pittsburgh restaurant.
To say it was overflowing is an understatement, and when I picked it up so much extra chicken fell out onto my plate that I could've made a second generously-sized shawarma altogether if I had another pita available (I saved it for a third standalone dish once the pita was gone).
It, like the lamb curry, was also quite satisfying with an array of spices and toppings in every bite. I'd almost go as far as saying there was too much chicken, but considering this one also costs less than $10 it is really hard to be upset with that.
The meal was rounded out by an order of garlic naan which was seemingly made to order as I had to wait an extra five or so minutes for it to be ready. I went for this one because garlic naan is typically a bit greasier and smothered in garlic, making for a great side dish, and this one did not disappoint. Much like everything else here, the affordable naan was massive and was spread out over three meals.
It Is Hard to Beat This One, And I Want More
I've mentioned price a number of times in this review already, but it is worth reiterating just how reasonable Salem's Market and Grill is for the amount of food you get.
My rather large order was just about $20 and was enough food for three generous meals (note, I was eating solo at this outing). As such, you do not necessarily need to order a lot at Salem's in order to be satisfied as even the small lunch special is a sizable meal on its own. In fact, I don't think I saw a single item pass through that could be considered small, so you'll do well visiting this one hungry regardless.
Apart from this, the biggest takeaway I had from my first visit from Salem's is simply ordering a few dishes is not doing this one justice.
As mentioned above, the menu is quite large. So large in fact that you could probably visit this one with a small group a half dozen times and barely just get through sampling it all. Throw on specialties, seasonal features, and more and you have many reasons to return to this one time and time again.
So while it took me a while to get here the first time, I have to say, it won't take nearly as long for me to go back. There are simply too many dishes I want to try here!
Salem's Halal Market and Grill is located at 2923 Penn Avenue in the Strip District. They have a small parking lot located to the left side of the building but note that when you leave you have to drive through a back alley that is not well maintained.