Looking for an Iftar venue to host a corporate or intimate gathering with family and friends? Take a look at our tried-and-tested selection of some of the best in the city THE ST. REGIS MAJLIS
The Astor ballroom has transformed into a stunning cosy Majlis this Ramadan. The stunning tree in the centre of the buffet and 300kg date tower are of the stunning elements that meet the eyes. Find your table and break your fast with dates and fresh fruit juice, followed by a selection of mezze including hummous and fattoush with freshly baked bread. Grab a bowl and ease your way into the spread with nourishing lentil soup, a selection of nutritious salads ranging from beetroot hummous to tabbouleh, and options with protein. The appetiser section features some of the best shawarma we’ve tasted this year, alongside spinach fatayer, shrimp kibbeh and the usual fried-varieties we love. The main course buffet is available indoors and out in the lobby – for smooth flow – and here you will find everything from lamb ouzi to butter chicken, noodles, stuffed marrow, mixed grills, a pasta station, and a selection of chicken and seafood dishes. Once you’ve sipped on tea or coffee, sweeten your palate with the moreish sticky date toffee pudding, fruit drizzled with chocolate, baklava, and a selection of fruit and chocolate cakes.
Need to know: From Dhs235 per person, 50 per cent off for children between five to 12, and free for those below five. Visit https://alhabtoorcityhotels.com/en-us/collection/ramadan
THE DALLAH LOUNGE
The Dallah (an Arabian coffee pot) is perfectly named for this majestic two-storey tent that hosts Iftars and Suhoors. Sited at Emirates Golf Club, the lounge comprises a mix of casual and formal seating arrangements – sit at the dining table or choose a couch for a relaxed vibe.
The selection of salads here are outstanding, from the normal mezze and fattoush to hearts of palm, feta, and black quinoa for nutritious options. Main courses are at the live cooking station, where you can sate all cravings with traditional kebabs, grilled chicken, lamb chops, Indian curries and a selection of signature dishes including lamb ouzi. A roast beef carvery is available for fresh slices of meat, which best complement the homemade ravioli and penne on offer. If you can’t resist dessert, The Dallah Lounge has an extensive spread featuring kunnafeh, shouaybiat cream, lugaimat, cheesecake, and plenty more worth keeping space for. Make sure you stop by the ice cream bar to taste Arabic coffee-flavoured ice cream, saffron ice cream and a cardamom strawberry flavor. Retire to the upper mezzanine for a selection of shisha after Iftar.
Need to know: The Dallah Lounge is open daily from sunset to 9pm for Dhs140. Children between six-12 get 50 per cent off. Free for those below five years old. Contact +971 4 417 9999.
SUQ RESTAURANT, FOUR SEASONS RESORT, JUMEIRAH, DUBAI
If you are looking for an exceptional dining experience, keep the Iftar buffet at SUQ Restaurant, Four Seasons, Jumeirah, Dubai as one of your top choices.
The restaurant is warm with cosy Arabesque elements, and a live oud musician that completes the idyllic setting. Suq is set amongst lush landscaped gardens and pools. The buffet was extensive and had every dish imaginable in terms of variety. Lentil soup was our first choice, after which we headed for the salad bar to tuck into fattoush, chilled prawn salad and simple greens. The grilled vegetables were delicious, with our favourite being the Brussel sprouts and roasted root vegetables.
Those looking for something a bit more authentic can opt for light options such as cold mezze: hummous, moutabel and tabbouleh, and hot mezze items including fried kibbeh, spinach fatayer and soujouk.
Lamb ouzi was served hot from the live cooking station and was absolutely delicious with the tender, juicy lamb along with the well-cooked rice complementing each other. My dining partner and I also tried the mixed grills – chicken shish tawook, lamb kofta, and beef kebab, that were divine. There’s something for every palette. Not a fan of Arabic food? Try sushi and sashimi, pasta, Indian food, or bbq grills. My choice was the oven baked fish that was flaky and fell apart from the bone beautifully – nutritious and filling. Vegetarian options are also available, such as paneer kadai and dahl makhani along with seasonal vegetables, biryani, and roasted potato. We saved space for the deserts that were beyond delectable. The tempting line up of cakes, tarts, tiramisu, Turkish delight, crepes, panna cotta and Arabic treats were hard to resist. Pick a few and indulge with coffee or tea.
Need to know: From Dhs265 per person, free for children below five, and 50 per cent off for children between six to 12. Contact +971 4 270 7777
EWAAN RAMADAN TENT, PALACE DOWNTOWN
A visually-vibrant culinary experience awaits you at the iconic Ewaan Ramadan Tent. Delight in a spread of traditional Arabic and international dishes and a cosy, ambient Arabic-inspired theme coupled with the sounds of traditional Middle Eastern string instruments
Your eyes meet the 10ft tall date arrangement as soon as you walk in, making you want to pluck one to indulge in the nutritious fruit. We began our meal with traditional Arabic mezze, fattoush and creamy mushroom soup, followed by Asian specialties including maki rolls and a selection of seafood dim sum. For mains, pace yourself, as the selection on offer is incredible. Choose from lamb ouzi to steamed lobster, grilled and coconut chili prawns, salmon tandoor, buttered chicken, tender chicken tagine, paneer jalfrezi, roasted beef with mushroom gravy and fish sayadieh, to name a few mouthwatering dishes we tried. Expect handcrafted specialties such as strawberry cheesecake, pistachio cake, profiteroles, baklava made with sweet filo pastry, and of course, the Arabic specialty we all look forward to during Ramadan, kunafeh.
Need to know: Dhs255 per person and 25 per cent off during the first week of Ramadan only. Children between six and 12 dine at 50 per cent off, and children below six dine free of charge. Contact +971 4 888 3444
THE RETREAT PALM DUBAI
Iftar at Vibe restaurant isn’t similar to any other you may experience in Dubai. Wellbeing is at the forefront, with a wide range of activities for you to try after at the Wellness lounge.
The traditional Iftar begins with hot and cold mezze featuring classic dishes such as bite-sized kibbeh, fatayer, fattoush, stuffed grape vine leaves, hummous and baba ghanoush. This is followed by pasta prepared at the live cooking station, Arabian grills, slow-cooked lamb ouzi, chicken biryani, and absolutely succulent Moroccan tagine. For desserts, keep it light with tiramisu, crème brulee and/or Arabic dessert baklava. The best part of this Iftar is a trip to the Wellness Lounge for deep sleep meditation, detox yoga or oxygen therapy. We spent a few minutes inhaling pure oxygen to reduce stress, increase energy and metabolism, and generally relax the body. A great way to keep healthy during Ramadan.
Need to know: Dhs165 for just the buffet, and Dhs215 per person for the Iftar and one activity at the wellness lounge. Free for children below six, and 50 per cent off for those between six to 12. Contact +971 4 524 7777
AL HADEERAH, BAB AL SHAMS DESERT RESORT AND SPA
For a traditional Arabesque setting, tunes from the oud player and a sumptuous buffet best enjoyed with family and friends, look no further than Al Hadheerah. Iftar here is an authentic Arabic experience that is so much more than just an Iftar tent dining experience.
In awe of the surroundings and comfort of the setting, we were quickly treated to cold mezze consisting hummous, creamy labneh with mint, baba ganoush, and moutabel, all savoured with freshly baked hot pita bread. We set out to tackle the buffet that included delicacies from famous Middle Eastern and international cuisines featuring Emirati, Egyptian, Syrian and Lebanese culinary creations, together with Moroccan, Omani, Indian and Turkish savoury dishes. The widespread buffet offers nine interactive cooking stations including Arabic barbecue grill, lamb shuwa (tender meat wrapped in banana leaf and cooked underground for a day or two), rice dishes, seafood, tandoors, and manakish, amongst curries and plenty more. For desserts, we headed straight for the Turkish ice cream section for a bit of entertainment and an absolutely divine cold treat. That’s not all there is on offer though. You can choose between Arabic sweets, specialties such as kunafeh and an array of fruit and chocolate cakes and pudding.
Need to know: Dhs265 per person from Sunday to Wednesday and Dhs295 per person from Thursday to Saturday. Children up to four years enjoy complimentary Iftar, with 50 per cent discount for children from five to 12 years old. Contact +971 4 809 6194
Nestled in The Square at Citywalk Dubai is Lima, an authentic Peruvian restaurant that we just can’t get enough of, especially since the menu is created by one of the World’s Best Chefs Virgilo Martinez. The Iftar here is sharing-style with plenty for everyone. Break your fast with dates, freshly baked bread and juice, followed by a hearty pumpkin soup that’s warm and comforting. The menu is more of an introduction to the a la carte offerings – with a few new dishes – and serves as a great tester to Lima’s specialties. Begin your meal with fresh, chunky and tangy salmon ceviche – we’re not exaggerating but their ceviche is hands down the best in Dubai. This is followed by a fresh Soltero (chopped salad), and chicken causa; a shredded chicken dish with a variety of potatoes in an array of textures. For mains, sink your teeth into the succulent lamb and Peruvian pumpkin loche, divine chicken and duck chaufa with grainy, flavour-packed rice, decadent and creamy corn brulée, and pastel de papa (a layered potato dish). Desserts showcase a great selection of petit fours, along with Suspiro; a light dessert that brings a lovely meal to a halt.
Need to know: Dhs199 per person. Contact 800 5462
SOCIETY CAFÉ AND LOUNGE
For a novel take to the traditional Ramadan dining experience, Society Café and Lounge in Jumeirah 1 offers an Iftar spread featuring contemporary dishes with an Arabian twist. Stunning decorative features meet the eye, with an Arabesque theme of peacock-inspired elements from Albal Design paying homage to the vibrant City Palace Gate of the Indian city of Jaipur.
Take your pick from their set menu of refreshing and substantial soups – a delightful Moroccan-style harissa with chickpeas soup, or grain whey soup with tender lamb, and head to the appetizer buffet for salads and mezze. For mains, choose from the menu selection. We picked the lobster risotto with Persian saffron, and pan-roasted salmon – the crisp salmon being a great nutritious choice, while the risotto is pure comfort-food. End the meal with a choice of Umm Ali made with baked croissant brioche, or the classic sticky date pudding served with hot caramel sauce. We highly recommend a visit to the dessert bar for a selection of more, and a bite or two of the moreish bestseller cheesecake, and light pistachio panna cotta.
Need to know: Iftar from 7-10pm for Dhs180 per person. They also offer Suhoor from 11pm to 2am for Dhs150 per person. Contact +971 4 222 2811
KISHMISH, DAR AL WASL
For a great alternative to the expansive Ramadan buffet spread, hotfoot to this rustic, vibrant open-layout restaurant in Al Safa. The eatery showcases an a la carte Afghan menu with contemporary culinary influences. Created by Fatima, Iman and Homaira, the restaurant stands to tell a tale of the three women who share a love and nostalgia for Afghan street food.
Our meal began with fried okra finely chopped with onion, coriander and tomatoes, barta – my favourite – featuring aubergine mashed with coriander, spring onions, garlic and yoghurt, scooped with flat bread stuffed with potato, and manti (mini dumplings in a yoghurt sauce with pieces of succulent lamb). For mains, a generous portion of Afghan rice was presented, with pieces of lamb popping out of the mixture of orange and yellow palou. Each grain was cooked to perfection, with the dish offering an aroma of spices. This was eaten with tender yoghurt-marinated chicken that was dipped into a coriander and chilli chutneys. The portion was quite large for two, so we packed some for work lunch, and were quite surprised at how tender the chicken remained. Desserts can be quite heavy and decadent at an Afghan restaurant, but we kept it light with Afghan churros that were infused with rose and saffron, and absolutely crisp on the outside with a topping of sweet cardamom sugar.
Need to know: Contact +971 4 349 6665