While the heaving hotel buffets are a real Dubai experience, sometimes it’s nice to try something a bit different.
From independent restaurants to a la carte options and cultural sojourns – here are some unique iftars to try in Dubai this Ramadan.
1. Alserkal Avenue (Nadi Al Quoz)
Nadi Al Quoz, an oasis-like space providing a relaxed haven for thinking, talking and meeting new people, will be open seven days a week during Ramadan. It will be the Ramadan home for the Good Vibes Market, with a selection of food vendors offering a casual iftar throughout the month. Read about even more Ramadan events at Al Serkal here.
Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz 1, Dubai, from sunset. Tel: (05) 64993061. Taxi: Alserkal Avenue. alserkalavenue.ae
2. Burger & Lobster
You’ll almost get to sample the entire Burger & Lobster menu at this unique iftar. Their set menu includes a cheeseburger, a mini lobster roll, soup, a half-pounder lobster and chips, tres leches and a milkshake – and there’s more if you’ve got a group of five and up.
Burj Daman Building, Downtown Dubai, from sunset, Dhs119. Tel: (04) 5148838. Taxi: Burj Daman Building. burgerandlobster.com
3. Dubai Opera
COST: Dhs250 per person
Well this is magical – from June 14 to June 25 the actual seating area inside Dubai Opera will be transformed into a banquet hall for iftar. There will be a musical trio – on harp, flute and percussion – to accompany too.
Dubai Opera, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard, Dhs250, sunset to 9.30pm. For reservations email firstname.lastname@example.org. More info on wesbsite.
4. DusitD2 Kenz Hotel
It’s rare to find a health-conscious iftar feast, which is why we’re looking forward to dining at Ostro in DusitD2 Kenz Hotel, which promises a wide variety of nourishing yet tasty soups and salads, along with traditional Arabic, Emirati and Mediterranean dishes.
Barsha Heights, Dubai, daily sunset to 9pm, Dhs129. Tel: (04) 5672246. Metro: Dubai Internet City. dusit.com
5. Fortnum & Mason
Sitting right by the Dubai Fountains and the Dubai Mall, this fancy tea house is serving an iftar spread banquet-style that features many dishes, including a twice-baked goats’ cheese souffle and lamb shank with mash and thyme jus.
Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai, daily sunset to 11pm. Tel: (04) 388 2627. Taxi: Dubai Mall. fortnumandmason.ae
6. Galeries Lafayette Le Gourmet
It may be a department store but this mall favourite puts on a great meal, and the iftar will bring together a selection of cuisines from 11 different kitchens.
Galeries Lafayette, The Dubai Mall, daily sunset to 9pm, Dhs165, Dhs80 under-12s. Tel: (04) 3399933. Metro: Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall. galerieslafayettedubai.com
The latest pop up dining experience from the folks at Inked is their debut iftar, Ramadan 2967, a weekend-only affair running from Thursday June 1 to Saturday June 3 at Alserkal Avenue with a focus on traditional North African cuisine. The four-course menu will be a study in Berber cuisine – think low, slow cooking and lots of preserved fruits and veges.
Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz, Dubai, Thur to Sat, from sunset, Dhs300. Tel: (04) 3441788. Taxi: Alserkal Avenue. inked.ae
8. InterContinental Dubai Festival City
COST: From Dhs550
For an exclusive iftar, try the Royal Iftar Experience at the InterContinental Dubai – Festival City. Groups of up to eight people can enjoy a private setting in the presidential suite, with a butler serving up Arabic and international cuisine. You can even upgrade to a one night’s stay for a family group.
Dubai Festival City, Dubai, daily sunset to 10pm, Dhs550, Dhs3,200 with an overnight stay for two adults and two children. Tel: (04) 7011127. Taxi: InterContinental Festival City. facebook.com/InterContinentalDubaiFestivalCity
Where else in Dubai can you break your fast at a Polynesian themed restaurant? Kalea is putting on an iftar buffet featuring hot and cold mezze, appetisers and desserts. There will be a Ramadan market on at iftar time too.
Dubai Parks & Resorts, E11, Dubai, daily sunset to 11pm, Dhs150. Tel: (04) 8109999. Taxi: Dubai Parks & Resorts. autographhotels.com
Enjoy a South American-inspired set menu at this Dubai newcomer. You’ll get a welcome mocktail, before settling in to a four-course feast full of ceviche, seafood, lamb shoulder, and other Peruvian delicacies.
City Walk, Al Safa, Jumeirah, Dubai, daily sunset to 8.30pm, Dhs195. Tel: (800) 5462. Taxi: City Walk. limadubai.com
11. Miss Lily’s
It’s iftar with a Caribbean twist at Miss Lily’s. The popular New York import will be offering a Jamaican set menu, full of jerk-flavours and comfort food.
Sheraton Grand Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, 6pm to 1am, Dhs230. Tel: (04) 3544074. Metro: World Trade Centre. misslilys.com
Several Morah classics are on the set menu at this classy Mediterranean favourite. This isn’t your typical buffet: there will be a selection of starters, mains (featuring their delicious slow braised lamb shoulder) and dessert platters to share at your table.
JW Marriot Marquis, Business Bay, Dubai, from 7pm, Dhs250. Tel (04) 5601799. Taxi JW Marriot Marquis. morahdubai.com
13. Perry And Blackwelder’s
With all the classics from the American Deep South, P&B’s is perfect if you’re really looking for comfort food. You’ll be served two big sharing platters to the table (yes, it includes wings).
Souk Madinat, Al Sufouh, Dubai, daily 6.30pm to 8.30pm, Dhs195. Tel: (04) 3666197. Taxi: Souk Madinat. jumeirah.com
14. Pizza Express
COST: Dhs150 for two
A three-course set menu including Doppio Dough Balls – a double portion of Pizza Express’ famous dough balls, served with a choice of three dips, a choice of main course, and a choice of dessert, plus soft drinks. Post-dessert, Arabic sweets will be passed around.
Cluster A, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Dubai, from sunset, Dhs150 for two. Tel: (04) 4416342. Taxi: Cluster A. pizzaexpress.ae
15. Platinum Heritage 1950s iftar
Re-re-wind: this luxury tour company is putting on an iftar experience this year that will let you experience what an iftar in Dubai would have been like 50 years ago. Meet them at the entrance to the Dubai Desert Conservation camp and they’ll take you in a 1950s land rover to a bedouin camp, where your guide will explain the Ramadan traditions of the region. There will be a big spread of food, as well as henna tattoos, bread making and star gazing. The iftar offer is available for UAE residents only.
Meet at the Margam Gate of Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve at 6.15pm, Dhs350 per person. Tel: (04) 388 4044. Platinum-heritage.com.
There’s a minimum number of four people required to book in for Ramusake’s iftar, which is a set menu featuring an array of Japanese dishes. There’s miso soup, starters to share, gyoza and a Robata Grill dish.
DoubleTree By Hilton, Jumeirah Beach Residence, Dubai, 7pm to 9.30pm, Dhs199. Tel: (04) 5595300. Tram: Jumeirah Beach Residence. Ramusake.ae
17. Rang Mahal
The award-winning restaurant will be serving 11 dishes that celebrate Indian food.
JW Marriott Marquis, Business Bay, Dubai, daily sunset to 8pm, Dhs325. Tel: (04) 4140000. Metro: Business Bay. jwmarriottmarquisdubailife.com
18. Rove Downtown
Touted as the “healthiest iftar in town”, the Arabic buffet at The Daily will have a nutritious twist. Try the salad bar, healthy main courses and mixed grills.
Rove Downtown, Downtown Dubai, 6.30pm to 9.30pm, Dhs99, Dhs49 under-12s. Tel: (04) 5619000. Taxi: Rove Hotel. rovehotels.com
Sample the Turkish restaurant’s award-winning cuisine with a set menu full of Anatolian dishes. Starters are served to the table, before you pick your main from the a la carte menu and then sample a platter of Turkish sweet treats.
Ruya, Grosvenor House, Dubai Marina, daily sunset to 9pm, Dhs195. Tel: (04) 3999123. Taxi: Grosvenor House. ruyadubai.com
20. Seven Sands
A modern Emirati iftar, with refreshing jallab drinks and a daily-changing buffet spread, featuring fresh maleh salad, Bedouin chicken dishes, margougah and traditional desserts.
The Beach JBR, Dubai Marina, Dubai, daily sunset to 9pm, Dhs139. Tel: (04) 5516652. Tram: JBR 2. sevensandsrestaurant.com
21. Sheikh Mohammed Centre For Cultural Understanding
‘Open Doors, Open Minds’ is SMCCU’s motto, and where better to get a true taste of Ramadan this Holy Month? Held in the courtyard of a wind tower in the Al Fahidi Historic District, your Emirati hosts will happily answer all your Ramadan questions once the fast is broken. A must-do for every Dubai resident.
SMCCU, Musallah Road, Bastakiya, Dubai, daily 6.30pm, Dhs155. Tel: (04) 353 6666. Metro: Al Fahidi. cultures.ae
22. Sheraton Dubai Mall Of The Emirates
Enter the gates of Besh to the Ramadan Bazaar, a pop up night market featuring Turkish produce from jewellery, clothing, home décor and food produce. Then try their Turkish-inspired iftar with local delicacies.
Sheraton Dubai Mall Of The Emirates, from sunset, Dhs120 for the first week, Dhs145 thereafter. Tel: (04) 3772353. Metro: Mall Of The Emirates. Beshdubai.com
The battle is on at this airy Antipodean hotspot: and it’s between two dishes not at all typical of Ramadan. Tom&Serg’s Ramen Vs Roast Ramadan menu offers diners a choice between a steaming bowl of ramen, or a roast with all the trimmings, for Dhs100.
Al-Joud Center, Al Qouz, Dubai, from 7pm, Dhs100. Tel: (056) 4746812. Taxi: Al-Joud Centre. tomandserg.com
24. Tub Of Butter
Break your fast with a three-course set menu, sampling an array of dishes such as curried cauliflower soup, roasted figs, spiced fish with saffron infused rice, and date truffles with fresh fruit in rosewater.
Al Thanya Street, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, daily sunset to 9pm, Dhs120. Tel: (04) 3438884. Taxi: next to Metropolitan Hotel. Facebook.com/tubofbutter
25. 3 Fils
COST: Starter sets from Dhs75
Hidden gem 3 Fils, has created a special iftar starter set for Dhs75, which includes grilled prawns, mezze favourites and marinated mushrooms with pomegranate. You’ll also be able to try 3 Fils’ take on lamb ouzi as well as the usual a la carte menu options.
Jumeirah Fishing Harbour 1, Al Urouba Street, Jumeirah 1, Dubai, Mon to Sat 7pm ’till late (Ramadan hours), closed Sundays. Tel: (056) 2730030. Taxi: Jumeirah Fishing Harbour. 3fils.com
Australian-Lebanese (but Dubai-based) chef and cookbook writer Greg Malouf has just opened a new restaurant in the H Hotel and this iftar is a great way to check it out. The mocktails are inventive – try the bitter rhubarb one – and the food is too: the labneh is flavoured with saffron and desserts include a peach and apricot pavlova. You’ll be served mezza, two mains and then a variety of desserts.
H Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road, Trade Centre, daily sunset to 9.30pm. Tel: (04) 501 8606. zahira.ae.