The dining scene explodes during Ramadan, with plenty of restaurants providing special Iftar and/or Suhoor dining experiences for guests and residents. If you choose to dine out, then here’s a quick guide to the experiences that I have personally sampled this year.
The Address Hotel – Dubai Marina
A popular favourite the Constellation Ballroom has been set up to look like a trdiational Ramadan tent and it has a nice atmosphere to it and is often busy with both family groups and business groups. The buffet is served outside the ballroom and there is plenty to choose from with just about every type of cuisine covered. Start with a nice healthy and light salad from the extensive selection and then move to the live cooking stations for shawarma, and roasts, pasta etc. Save space for desserts as there are plenty on offer from the traditional to the modern (the macarons are always good and the sticky toffee pudding looked somewhat divine), surely there’s something here for everyone.
Top Tip : The desserts are particularly good here so make sure you save a lot of space if you have a sweet tooth
Iftar from sunset to 9pm 170/aed per person and Al la Carte Suhour is served in the Terrace Tent from 8pm onwards.
The Majlis Dubai – Jumeirah Mosque
Nestled in the grounds of the Jumeirah Mosque, Iftar dining comes in the form of tiered platters of traditional Arabic sweet and savoury dishes made for sharing. With the exception of the lentil soup which is served at the beginning, this is Iftar finger style with traditional Arabic food on offer including the Emirati sweet Balaleet and Khanfaroosh. This is a lighter option than the large hotel buffets and is served in a beautiful Majlis setting with a library of Arabic books available to browse as you dine, with the beautiful Jumeirah Mosque in the background. Apart from the sweet and savoury treats, guests are also treated to a glass of camel milk flavoured with dates or saffron and various traditional Arabic juices.
Top Tip : Add this place to your address book for when visitors are here, it’s open for breakfast and throughout the day, Free Wifi means it’s a great place to work from during the day too.
Iftar from sunset 50/aed per person
Al Majlis – Mina A’Salam
From the moment you arrive at the venue, you know this is going to be a special occasion. Your experience starts outside where you are greeted with a host of beautiful Ramadan lights, enter the large Majlis where you will be dazed by the setting, it’s arabic, it’s modern, lots of private majlis areas on the side of the majlis with plenty of table dining in the middle. I dined for Suhoor which starts at 9 pm and starts really filling up and getting busy from about 10.30 – 11pm ish. Food was excellent given the amount of people they are catering for. Keep flagging down the Gahwah guy if you enjoy Gawhaw. I dined A La Carte and had a great spread of traditional Levantine/Arabic dishes there are International dishes on the menu too. Leave room for sweets, the Tiramisu looked stunning.
Iftar – Sunset to 9 pm at 195/AED per person, and Suhoor from 9pm to 3 am
Top Tip : If you prefer not to queue for your car, don’t valet park it, self park underground, close to the venue and plenty of parking.
Nine 7 One – The Oberoi, Business Bay
Iftar at Nine7One is a treat to be relished by lovers of Arabic food. Here, the diners can select from the beautifully laid out buffet with tasty and succulent starters and main courses, including a huge platter of succulent Lamb Ouzi. Apart from the buffet, you can also indulge in a few main dishes cooked to order including Shawarma, freshly cooked breads and beautiful Falafel sandwiches and burgers. Desserts are largely Arabic and traditional with some hints of molecular gastronomy presented in an interactive dessert station, think deconstructed Umm Ali, meringues that makes you smile as you exhale steam and tappanaki ice-cream with indulgent flavours.
Top Tip : Get your video ready for some hilarious ‘smokey’ moments with the molecular meringues
Iftar from sunset at 180/aed per person. Suhoor from 11pm to sunrise.
Ewaan – The Palace Downtown
Indulge in a private dining experience in your own air-conditioned poolside Suhoor Tent decked out with traditional Arabic seating. With views of the Dubai Fountains behind you and the ability to order a la carte this is an experience to be enjoyed with family and friends. Each tent comfortably sits 8 people with large sharing platters of Arabic treats available including succulent kebabs, tasty kibbeh and a whole mezzo of Arabic starters and desserts served by smiling and attentive waiters. Look out for the box filled with Arabic dates, fruit and sweet treats too – perfect for indulging with a Moroccan tea or Turkish coffee. Board games are provided and Shisha is also available.
Top Tip : Don’t forget to enjoy the Dubai fountains, this is a great location to watch from.
Dhs 1,600 (minimum spend for eight people), water, and Ramadan juices; Timing: 9pm to 2am
Asateer Tent – Atlantis Hotel
Set up a huge tent this is a mainly Arabic/Middle Eastern affair with traditional dishes including Ouzi, Kebbeh, Sayadiyha, Qamar El dine dried fruit salad and sweet desserts including ice-cream mixed with Baklawa, Arabic Coffee, Miktika and of Emirati dates. There are international dishes too including a huge roast dinner as well as a wide range of more international desserts and sweets. Look out for date trees made of dates, dessert stations covered in beautiful macarons as well as homemade jellies and other sweet treats. The tent is visually stunning and seating ranges from Majlis to dinner table dining. Go here for an authentic Middle Eastern decoration and food.
Top Tip : Don’t forget to order speciality Ramadan coffees from the menu which has a whole range of coffees on offer from Nespresso.
Iftar from sunset to 8.30 pm 195/aed per person. Suhour from 9:30pm-2:30am minimum spend of Dhs 150/aed per person.
Sapori Di Bice in City Walk, Dubai
Enjoy Iftar courtesy of a ten course set menu which changes daily and serves up a wide range of traditional favorites with an Italian twist. The menu includes a wide range of tasty and fresh Middle Eastern salads, traditional lentil soup, a hearty main course (we had lamb) and a selection of arabic desserts including.
Iftar from sunset – 10 course set menu for 160/aed per person
The Ritz-Carlton, JBR Dubai
Set in the ballroom which has been decorated with a Moroccan/Middle Eastern feel this is a buffet in 3 parts. Start with a wide range of salads, fresh breads, soup and tasty dips before heading off to the live cooking station for shawarma or heading towards dishes of hot steaming main course comprising many Arabic traditional grilled items, as well as a wide range of tagines, huge bowls of steam rice and of course some amazing couscous, Dessert station includes some tasty treats, the Arabic coffee tiramisu is rich and indulgent whilst the Syrian icecreams are tastey and innovative.
Top Tip : Why not come early and indulge in a DayCation and use the pool and spa facilities, make a day of it, you know you’re worth it 🙂
Iftar from sunset to 9.30 pm 175/aed per adult, including water, Ramadan juices and soft drinks (85/aed kids aged 5 -12)
Meliá Dubai, Port Rashid
Iftar is served buffet style in the Azalya restaurant with a host of Arabic dips and spreads which you can take your table and enjoy from little tagines with beautful fluffy bread and some fresh salads. For mains there are about ten choices on the main buffet as well as a few live cooking stations. I headed to the live shawarma station where the chef will custom make you a shawarma, there’s also alive pasta station for those who prefer. Desserts include individual umm ali’s and some traditional sweets all served in individual portions as well as a nice assortment of fresh fruit and juices. This is a great buffet choice for those who are in the area or those who don’t like to be overwhelmed with choice.
Top Tip : Extend your trip and book a massage at YHI spa first, I recommend the oil massage, or enjoy the sunset and views of Dubai from the rooftop terrace.
Iftar from sunset at 149/aed per person.
Choix Patisserie by Pierre Gagnaire – Intercontinental Dubai Festival City
This is an Iftar or Suhoor with a difference as food is served in Bento boxes suitable for 2 people to share. The Bento box includes Middle Eastern classics along with soup and a fresh fruit platter. The boxes are perfect for those who want to experience Middle Eastern dishes with a difference. Dessert is included in the Bento box, but if you can stay for longer and enjoy a nice coffee or tea with another choice from the pastry counter, you won’t be disappointed.
Top Tip : Desserts, desserts, desserts – oh ! and enjoy the view from the Terrace overlooking the Creek and Dubai skyline too.
Iftar and Suhour at 360/aed for 2 persons
Nation Riveria Beach Club, St Regis Hotel, National Tower, Abu Dhabi
Set in a beautiful Arabic Iftar tent at the recently opened beach club which you reach through an exquisite marble clad underground road tunnel. Iftar is served buffet style from a range of serving stations and there is plenty of choice for all palates. We dined a la carte for suhoor and enjoyed some traditional popular Arabic dishes including a mixed grill, fresh tabouleh and hummous as well as shawarma and falalfel sandwiches. The portions are a good size and I love being able to order a la carte. Entertainment is great with live performances which will appeal. Ladies can get some beautiful henna. Seating is in Majlis, comfortable sofas and dining tables, so there’s bound to be something to suit everyone.
Top Tip : Book a night in the hotel (with Butler service for every room) to make the most of your Ramadan experience – or even book anytime, as it’s one of my favourite hotels in Abu Dhabi.
Iftar – sunset at 220/aed per person. Suhoor is A La Carte.
Jumeirah Beach Hotel
Unfortunately the beachfront Ramadan tent isn’t available this year, so guests dine in the Safinah ballroom, which is a little underwhelming in terms of previous dining experiences in the Ramadan tent. That aside, the tables are set nicely apart so it’s not overcrowded and there was plenty of choice of food from the indoor buffet and outdoor live cooking stations. Traditional lamb Ouzi were available as well as an international and Arabic themed menu. Desserts include a whole range of Arabic dessert staples and some international dishes too, loved the coconut cake, which was divine, a huge chocolate fountain, a buffet staple these days, and an extremely entertaining guy serving Turkish ice-cream top off the evening. Tip : pay with Mastercard to benefit from 20% off your bill.
Top Tip : Be prepared to be entertained by the Turkish ice-cream guy