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 cityEWAAN 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