Ramadan is a holy, yet festive month in the Islamic calendar marked by numerous activities. Fasting is a tradition meant to be practiced by all Muslim believers to attain “taqwa,” but which is rewarded by a festive iftah after Maghrib (sunset). For travelers who are looking for a fabulous way to cultural experience Ramadan and iftars, one fascinating destination that you would like to check out is Dubai.
Ramadan is not a time for you to avoid Muslim destinations, especially Dubai. In fact, Ramadan is a family-oriented affair that you can best enjoy in this city-state, which is notable for its swanky attractions – Dubai Mall, Palm Islands, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai Aquarium, Jumeirah Beach, etc. The city comes alive after sunset as the residents and visitors rush to the iftar tents serving traditional meals that complete the festive air.
Dubai offers a most extensive array of iftar choices there is always one fitting your budget. For the best iftars and suhoors, ranging from “humble to moderate to lavish,” one post you’ll certainly find useful is Ishitaunblogged’s Ramadan in Dubai: The Iftars and Suhoors Around Town.
“If you are a non-Muslim, the post suggested, “But for the non-fasting Dubai residents looking out for places where one can eat breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea during Ramadan, here’s a huge list compiled by Debbie aka The Real Geordie Armani and Samantha aka Foodiva . According to them, there are more than 60 stand-alone eateries open across Dubai for lunch, and in many cases breakfast and afternoon tea/coffee! …”
“Humble Iftar Experiences in Dubai”
- Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU): This is located in “the wind-towered heritage area of Bastakiya in Al Fahidi district.” Your cultural experience consists of strolling around the site while learning about fasting.
- Sacred Sunset Voyage: This entails a “spiritual Ramadan awakening” through food tours that entails visiting four restaurants/cafes and indulging in a 4-course Iftar menu.
- The Majlis Dubai in the Jumeirah Mosque: Here is a place for one of the humblest iftar finger style, light but very traditional and served with “the beautiful Jumeirah Mosque in the background.”
“Not so humble but delightful Iftar experiences around town”
“Ramadan tents” are set up during the celebratory month, so people have a place to go to after Maghrib to break their fast. Breaking the fast starts with eating three dates. To perpetuate the tradition, air-conditioned Ramadan tents are still out up by hotels and restaurants. Here are some of the best Ramadan tents to go to in Dubai:
- Downtown Dubai
- Fazaris: Enjoy Oud and Tablah music played live with traditional foods.
- The Symphony Ballroom: This is a tent to go to if you want to host your own iftar.
2. The Palace
- Iftar and Suhour at Ewaan: The tents here are chic and festive with a live Oud player.
- Lakeside Suhour Tents at Ewaan: If you have a party of eight people, you can indulge in an air-conditioned poolside cabana with a view of the Dubai Fountains, creating a fabulous ambiance to enjoy your iftar.
- Tailored Iftar or Suhour buffets: For an exclusive feel, you may organize your own iftar in the elegant venues such as Regent Room for a small party with up to 35 guests or Royale Ballroom for big iftah for up to 260 guests
3. Dubai Mall
- Na3Na3: This is a great place for excessive Iftar, which offers “live cooking stations, freshly baked delicacies and traditional favourites amidst live performance of acoustic Oud and Kanoun.” It also offers a Friday Brunch and Specialty Iftar dishes from Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iran at Halla Night.
- La Porte des Indes: This is the tent to be if you are craving for an Indian iftar with a French twist.
- Cabana is known for its la carte iftar and shisha you can enjoy in the outdoor setting overlooking the pool.
- Karat at the Lobby Lounge offers an a la carte Iftar menu of traditional Arabic specialties.
- This posh tent is set up in the Constellation ballroom offers an “extensive Iftar Buffet … from sunset until 9pm … followed by a la carte Suhour menu to be enjoyed in the Terrace Tent from 8pm onwards.”
5. JW Marriott Marquis
- Iftar at the award-winning Kitchen 6: This tent offers “six Live Cooking stations, an international buffet and a la carte option.” Take your pick from Middle Eastern Grills, Asian woks, Indian cuisine, European Roasts, Organic section and a dessert buffet.
- Majestic Iftar and Sohour in Dubai Ballroom: This tent features a swanky setting in cream and gold, a live Oud performance and a most opulent iftar made by renowned chefs.
- Nawwara can delight you with and a la Carte Iftar menu.
6. Nine7One in The Oberoi
- Nine7One features a special Iftar from nine Arabic nations, loved by foodies and lovers of Arabic cuisine. You may also opt to host an exclusive, private Iftar in the venue The Grand Hall.
7. Intercontinental Dubai Festival City
- Anise: This tent offers a fine spread of choice classic Arabic favorites to be enjoyed with live music. “Shisha available on the terrace.”
- Zaytoun and Skyline tent at Crowne Plaza Dubai Festival City: The tent offers a fabulous view of the skyline and the Dubai Creek. An ala carte menu ensures you’ll get to enjoy your favorites.
8. Asateer Tent at The Atlantis
- This is a great tent for beach lovers. Be ready to enjoy a traditional Arabian Nights experience with a gastronomic iftah from live cooking stations.
9. Yalumba in Le Meridien
- This Ramadan tent offers its guests a “lavish buffet includes an array of hot & cold mezzehs, warm soups, grills, live cooking stations, sweets, pastries and juices.”
10. Sheraton Dubai, Mall of Emirates
- Sanabel Restaurant has a lavish Iftar spread that can be enjoyed with young guests with their kids’ corner.
There are other options that you can revel in, such as Haleem and Indian cuisine at Mahec in Le Meridien. You may also want to give “new Iftars on the block” a try such as Nobu at Atlantis, Bento box at Choix Patisserie, contemporary Arabesque dishes at Qbara, and Sapori Di Bice in City Walk. Not to be ignored, when you want to enjoy iftar in your own choice of space, are the Ramadan takeaways offered by a lot of eating places, including the Slimming Ramadan for the diet conscious that you can get from Omnia Gourmet. Families can also opt for a “Family Meal Combo” from Biryani Pot.
If these gastronomic options will not entice you to spend Ramadan in Dubai, what else will?