We’ve listed some options that stand out so you can sample the full range and immerse yourself in Ramadan!
I think that Ramadan is to Muslims what Christmas is to those who celebrate it. It’s a special time when you spend more time with those that are important to you, eat foods that you don’t eat the rest of the year and reflect on things past and things to come.
Having fasted for the last 2 years, whilst not being Muslim myself, I can whole-heartedly attest to this – I have enjoyed the month, the daily sense of anticipation leading up to the breaking of the fast, the conversations about values and what it means to do the right thing, the sense of simplicity when you take a step back from the normal social frenzy and I fondly remember some of the regional entertainment that is specific to the Holy Month. And amidst all those things that I have enjoyed, I have of course also had the pleasure of eating amazing food – in the form of simple local dishes as well as luxurious sumptuous buffets. So here are my recommendations for a truly special Ramadan!
Downtown, DIFC & Al Habtoor City
Morah at JW Marriott Marquis (AED 250 per person)
Picture perfect Morah lets you watch the sunset as you get ready for your dates and juice from its spectacular 71st floor venue. It’s a sharing concept with plates of regional starters, mains and desserts that seem never-ending.
Al Joud Ballroom at The Westin AHC (AED 185 per person)
Some of you may remember heading to the Movenpick Ibn Battuta Gate for their lobby-wide, Middle Eastern bazaar type Iftar buffet with the numerous lanterns above. Now The Westin at AHC are converting their impressive ballroom into a bazaar with lanterns, coffee pots, live cooking stations and all the dishes and sweets you could dream of.
Zahr El-Laymoun at Souk al Bahar (AED 95 per person)
This budget friendly Lebanese buffet Iftar has hot and cold mezzes, mains and a range of sweets to satisfy your sugar cravings at the end of a day of fasting.
3in1 at Vida Downtown (AED 170 per person)
A modern Iftar with salad and live stations, customized pizzas and an outdoor area for some shisha and tea.
Boulevard Kitchen at Manzil Downtown (AED 180 per person)
Watch life go by on Mohammed bin Rashid boulevard or take a peek in the kitchen in between plates of Ramadan favourites at this buffet style Iftar. The clean décor with authentic touches make for a calm atmosphere where the food really takes center stage.
Al Mayass at Sofitel (AED 185 per person)
Al Mayass is a cross between Lebanese and Armenian cuisine, so if you are looking for something different for your Iftar experience, then give Al Mayass a try. They will be serving a set menu of specialties, so you are bound to find new favourites!
Ewaan at Palace Downtown (AED 255 per person)
Enchanting Palace Downtown is a joy to visit any day of the year, but the Iftar buffet at Ewaan beats everything. The domed hall, dimmed Arabic lanterns and scents form the backdrop to a sumptuous, diverse buffet with exquisite options. There is also an option to sit in the air conditioned tent out on the terrace.
Gaucho at DIFC (AED 199 per person)
Gaucho’s is serving a special 3 course Iftar menu during this Ramadan. True to its Argentinean roots, the menu is served sharing style, and includes South American grilled meats and seafood.
Le Patio at St. Regis (AED 225 per person)
Le Patio does Iftar the way you would expect from a St. Regis – decadent and extravagant. A huge spread of modern and traditional regional fare, including a wide range of desserts and ice creams await after the sun sets.
Sheikh Zayed & City Walk
Zahira at The H Hotel (AED 260 per person)
Lebanese-Australian Greg Malouf is back in town and for Ramadan he is cooking up something special. A weekly changing menu of 9 dishes await you, with regional influences and surprising textures.
Catch at Fairmont (AED 200 per person)
Popular Catch will be serving a set menu during Ramadan that will include traditional dishes such as soup and mezze, as well as international favourites from their menu such as lobster rolls.
Sikka Café at City Walk (AED 99 per person)
This rising star at City Walk aims to combine Emirate heritage with Indian and Iranian influences in a vintage décor. The Iftar set menu gives you the opportunity to sample dishes you may not find at the average buffet and wash it all down with traditional karak chai.
Demoiselle by Galvin at City Walk (AED 139 per person)
Michelin-starred Galvin brothers have opened their Dubai restaurant in City Walk and for Ramadan have come up with a sharing set menu that shows off their culinary finesse and still leaves room for regional traditions.
Chival at La Ville (AED 175 per person)
Stylish Chival will be hosting an Iftar buffet this Ramadan, true to its vision of fresh, regionally sourced ingredients. So it could make for a healthier Iftar, but there are ample carnivorous options for those that want their lamb or chicken.
Wafi, Deira & Bur Dubai
Azure at Raffles (AED 195 per person)
Azure is one of my personal favourites for Iftar. It’s a traditional buffet with the date juice, kebabs, ouzis and baklawa that you would expect, but done well. The flavours stand out, and the quality of the ingredients is just top notch.
Giardino at Palazzo Versace, Al Jadaf (AED 220 per person)
Giardino is the venue for the new Palazzo’s Iftar buffet, which is set to include live cooking stations and a suite of delicacies from the region in opulent settings.
Bamboo Lagoon, The Market Place and The Town Square at JW Marriott, Deira (AED 175 per person)
JW Marriott’s iftar passes by their 3 restaurants, with Middle Eastern and European cuisine at the Market Place and Town Square. Last but not least, Bamboo Lagoon is the Asian inspired jewel at Marriott. Dive into manakeesh, lasagna and then let yourself be taken back to a night in Thailand or Indonesia with Asian delicacies and a focus on fresh seafood from different areas in an exotic décor. There is also an option to just dine at Market Place and Town Square for AED 99 per person.
Café Arabesque at Park Hyatt (AED 210 per person)
It can get a little crowded during Iftar at Arabesque but it’s worth it. The venue is so beautiful with the clean design with Middle Eastern accents, and the food being of very high quality and wonderful flavour. Arabesque tends to serve a buffet of traditional fare with some lesser known options, which gives you the opportunity to try some things you wouldn’t normally see on a menu.
Al Quoz, Umm Suqeim & Jumeirah
Inked at Al Serkal Avenu (AED 300 per person)
This pop up option at Inked gives you Iftar in Berber style: sharing from 4 courses of big plates of salads, tajines, mains and desserts. Book in advance as its only available on some days of the week.
Al Majlis at Madinat Jumeirah (AED 210 per person)
Everyone knows Madinat Jumeirah’s Iftars. The beautiful design and architecture of Souk Madinat make for an unforgettable atmosphere for this popular, child-friendly buffet. This year Al Majlis is back again with all the regional favourites and Ramadan drinks.
SUQ at Four Seasons (AED 245 per person)
This Arabic style outlet will host a lavish buffet with dishes from the region as well as Italy and India. Seating is in the restaurant or in the Ramadan tent set up outside. Save room for dessert as there is too much to choose from!
Al Iwan at Burj Al Arab (AED 290 per person)
Ramadan at Dubai’s most iconic hotel is no joke. Set in the stunning atrium of the Burj al Arab, and serving a huge spread of traditional regional fare this is an Iftar to remember.
Kaftan, Umm Suqeim (AED 190 per person)
Kaftan is a lesser known gem in Umm Suqeim. Opposite JBH, it has a family friendly, local-feel buffet of Turkish dishes that are delicious and fresh.
Turkish Village, Jumeirah
Turkish Village’s Iftars are a family-feel local affair with lots of families from the region coming to feast on delicacies – salads, starters, grilled meats and stews are all waiting, prepared fresh, to be followed by lots of sugary treats and tea.
The Palm, JBR & Marina
Ruya at Grosvenor House (AED 195 per person)
Turkish Ruya at Grosvenor has a mixed sharing and a la carte concept for this year’s Iftar, serving some of the courses on big platters whilst for other courses diners choose between several options.
Asateer at Atlantis (AED 210 per person)
The iconic Asateer Iftar Tent is back. A perennial family and corporate favourite it hits all the right notes with regional dishes, carvery and sweets as well as a beautiful Arabesque setting with 700 lanterns!
Fairuz Ramadan Tent at Fairmont (AED 175 per person)
Beautiful Fairmont is setting up their Ramadan tent this year for a grand Iftar buffet. Live entertainment will keep you inspired once the food coma hits. Take a break in the courtyard while reveling in the stunning views of the Dubai skyline.
Crescendo at Anantara (AED 185 per person)
Crescendo hosts a decadent Ramadan buffet every night with the option to sit indoors or, if its not too hot, outdoors with views of the infinity pool and ocean.
Al Nafoorah at Zabeel Saray (AED 195 per person)
Al Nafoorah at Zabeel Saray is probably the most Arabic, 1001 nights setting you could have for your Iftar experience in Dubai. This year Al Nafoorah serves a set menu for Ramadan, giving you the opportunity to try different authentic Lebanese dishes.
Mezzerie at Waldorf Astoria (AED 195 per person)
Known for the unforgettable Secret Garden Brunch, the Waldorf is transforming Mezzerie into a mystical, magical venue for the Iftar buffet.
Rotisserie at One & Only Royal Mirage (AED 220 per person)
Another personal favourite, mentioned in one of our previous blogs. The One & Only Royal Mirage is a stunning property with an intimate, romantic, Arabesque décor that will make anyone swoon. For Ramadan, most of their dining outlets will be serving special Iftar menus, but Rotisserie does an extensive buffet. A mix of Middle Eastern and international cuisine, the buffet feels home-made and comforting.
Mamemo at Ritz Carlton (AED 220 per person)
The contemporary Ritz is blended with the traditional look of a regional souk in the ballroom. Expect all the favourites and more at this decadent buffet whilst enjoying live music.
Movenpick Ibn Battuta Gate (AED 185 per person)
This is probably one of the best value for money Iftar experiences in Dubai. A magical setting, in the grand lobby of the hotel, under almost 100 lanterns is a souk-styled buffet with more food and drinks that you can imagine trying.
Kif Kif in Marina
Kif Kif is a lovely low-key favourite for Iftar. It’s a Moroccan street-food concept, and during Ramadan they serve a set menu with some different small bites as appetizers, a choice from several tagines for mains and local drinks and smoothies to wash down your meal. Flavoursome and friendly, it’s a nice place to go during the week.
Worth a Mention - Outside Dubai
We did feel a few others deserved a mention, being outside Dubai, they offer an even more special evening after perhaps a (air-conditioned!) road trip through the desert.
Al Hadheerah at Bab al Shams (AED 270 per person)
This 1001 nights type Iftar venue is a bit of a tourist attraction, but is still a very nice option on the weekend, especially with children and/or out of towners. During Ramadan, the buffet is served in an air conditioned tent and there is live entertainment.
Qasr al Sultan near Dubai Parks and Resorts (AED 195 per person)
This newly opened boutique hotel will be hosting a food bazar for Iftar - an extensive buffet with live cooking stations, as well as a host of kids’ activities. If you are looking for a family-friendly weekend experience this may just be the new place to try!