UPDATE 2016 : This post was written in 2015 and so whilst the information might be out of date in terms of prices, the same types of concepts are taking place again in 2016. This year I haven’t managed to fit in any previews partly due to workload and also I’ve been travelling and out of Dubai. The focus of my Ramadan this year will be on fasting again, this will be my second year and you can read about my first year here. I will also be spending time working on #FillingTheBlues which you can read about here.
There are plenty of sites doing round ups of favourite Iftar’s and Suhoors and you can also find details of specific events listed on my Events page.
Independent places to dine during Ramadan
If you are not fasting and looking for somewhere to eat during the day (outside of the hotels) then do take a look at the information provided by Foodiva and GeordieArmani who have listed all of the independent places open both in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Coffee lovers rejoice ! I’ve done the work for you and highlighted the best places for coffee lovers too 🙂 It’s all HERE
Yes, it’s Ramadan again, not sure how it came around so quickly but here it is ! The beauty of writing about food is that about a month before Ramadan starts, the hotels and restaurants start going public with details of their Iftars and many do Iftar previews for press, media and bloggers so that we can sample the menu, and share our experiences, it also gives the venue a chance to have a rehearsal, to get feedback and test the menu etc. Here’s a few of the Iftars I’ve been to, or the ones that I recommend for being different.
Psst …. polite request, if you haven’t been fasting then please don’t be the first in the queue at the buffet …
Ghaf Kitchen – Quirky, Fun, Affordable, Set Menu, Sharing
I fell in love with the Ghaf Kitchen concept when I first bumped into them at the Food Carnival a few years ago. This year they are taking over the A4 Gallery in Al Serkal Avenue, Al Quoz for a pop up restaurant serving a family style Iftar at fantastic prices and based on your appetite.
Loved : The venue, it’s unusual and quirky with a lot of greenery going on, even though you are inside. The Roast Lamb and Salsa verde sauce were beautiful, Eton Mess is always a winner and the range of Ramadan drinks were spot on.
Top Tip : Visit on Wednesday and Thursday and you can stay behind and watch a movie for free in the adjoining cinema.
Price : 95/Aed for 2 courses, and additional 25/Aed for dessert
Qbara – Modern Arabic, Great to Impress, Arabic inspired set sharing Menu, Groups and Couples
Who can resist Qbara? I am one of those who can’t say no and don’t mind the drive across to Wafi to enjoy the atmosphere and an indulgent spread of food.
Loved : the baba ganoush with pomegranate and walnuts, the harira soup and the grilled chilean seabass. For desserts save space for the umali with rose water custard, simply divine !
Top Tip : Go hungry, there’s plenty to eat and enjoy.
Price : 245/aed per person
The Address – Dubai Marina – Large Selection, Best for groups and larger parties
This year the Address has a new look and feel to it, with more live cooking stations and a funky hashtag #RamadanSawa it’s a great place to visit with friends or colleagues in a glamorous ballroom setting.
Loved : The choice, there’s something for everyone, particularly loved the lamb chops and salad section. The huge Ouzi platter is always popular as are the live cooking stations.
Top Tip : Take a walk around the buffet before making your selection and plan what you want to eat.
Price : 190/aed per person
Ritz Carlton, JBR – Organic, Buffet, Interactive Desserts, Suitable for Groups and smaller parties
Organic fans, this is the place for you, with a new outdoor Ramadan tent this is a lovely venue and a buffet featuring Iftar dishes from the region and beyond that has plenty of options but is not overwhelming.
Loved : the chocolate lollipops made with molten chocolate and various toppings had me hooked as well as the innovative starters which were beautifully presented.
Top Tip – leave room for plenty of lollipops and Um Ali
Price : 220/aed per person
Seven Sands – JBR – Emirati/Arabic Cuisine, new experience suits individuals and groups, Shisha
This a new find at the very far end of JBR and serves up Emirati and other Arabic food.
Loved : The starters which were light and healthy and I’m always a sucker for Kibbeh
Top Tip : Try the coffee experience and have your coffee brewed in a a clever syphon if you are a coffee fan, great place to enjoy Shisha both indoors and outdoors.
Suq – Four Seasons – Jumeirah end of Town, Smaller Buffet with Live Cooking Stations
This is a laid back Iftar in the all day dining restaurant at the Four Seasons. Enjoy Iftar where there is plenty of choice, but the buffet is not overwhelmingly big which is good as you get time to spend with your guests rather than to spend time foraging for food as you hunt around the buffet area (a problem with the large and busy Iftars). The lamb ouzi was succulent, the Um Ali rich and delightful and I’m told the cooked to order pizzas were good too. The dessert section was particularly good with a large range of traditional middle eastern desserts as well as some classical desserts too so make sure you leave plenty of room for desserts.
Loved – the desserts, take a virtual trip around the Middle East for authentic traditional desserts.
Top Tip – leave room for desserts.
Price : 240/aed per person
Al Grissino – Italian and Seafood Lovers, Five Course Set Menu
The restaurant was only opened a little bit before Ramadan so it’s fairly quiet at the moment. With great views over DIFC and Burj Khalifa it’s a bit of a hidden gem in terms of location. The menu is a set 5 course menu with Soup, Cold Appetisers, Hot Appetisers, three Main Courses and three Desserts. Each course is served sharing style and with just enough food to leave you feeling comfortable even if you indulge in every dish, something we can’t say for other Iftar set menus. Menu is heavy on seafood which explains it’s lightness and the desserts are particularly good, the Pannacotta was light and fluffy rather than a gelatine set one which was refreshingly light.
Loved – the sharing platters with perfect portions, we left comfortably full not overly full.
Tip : Save room for dessert and checkout the lounge for a future visit after Ramadan
Price : 205/aed per person
If Iftar buffets aren’t your thing, or you don’t have a massive appetite just after breaking fast, then Suhoor might just be the better option for you. Most places that offer Suhoor options which allow you to order a la carte (watch out for the minimum spend), so you can make your own choice and typically food is cooked to order reducing the temptation to over eat and reducing food wastage.