Ramadan starts later this month, so it’s time to start planning your iftar evenings. Here are some of the best ones we’ve sampled.
We’ll add more as we go along, so keep checking back!
Miss Lily’s – Sheraton Grand Hotel
Dubai’s favourite Caribbean hot-spot, Miss Lily’s, will stay true to its Jamaican roots by offering an unconventional spin on iftar meals this Ramadan.
Instead of the usual buffets, Miss Lily’s has prepared a special a-la-carte menu for the Holy Month – serving up dishes like red pea soup, jerk chicken roti, ackee hummus and date cheesecake!
We tried out Miss Lily’s special iftar menu and loved every single bite. Our favourites? You MUST try the jerk corn, ackee hummus, garlic roasted lamb, cod with rundown, mac and cheese and all the desserts.
Vegans, vegetarians and pescetarians – Miss Lily’s has plenty of options and will also customise dishes based on your dietary requirements (just let them know in advance).
6pm-1am, AED 230 per person. 5th floor, Sheraton Grand Hotel, SZR. Call 04 354 4074 or email email@example.com
Burj Al Arab Jumeirah – Al Iwan
In Dubai’s most iconic building the evening started with traditional juices and a fantastic array of cold mezze plates already waiting on our table.
By day the seven-star hotel’s Arabic restaurant has staggering views over the sea and for our evening visit it’s dressed with dramatic red drapes, flanked by the world’s tallest atrium.
A buffet of traditional eats awaits iftar diners, including salads and humus, seafood and lobster. The centre piece is a huge lamb kabsa – an Arab paella, the chefs tell us. The rice is infused with spice and flavour, though our firm favourite was the chicken biryani.
Desserts of rice pudding, cheese cake, macaroons and local pastries are served in small portions, which is pretty much all we can manage after this generous feast, enjoyed to the sounds of traditional kanoon and challou instruments.
AED 290 per person. Sunset to 11pm. 04 301 7600 or BAARestaurants@jumeirah.com
The Ritz Carlton DIFC
Traditional juices start our iftar experience, which is held outdoors in the Sunken Gardens, because indoor majlis are still being set up (they’ll look like the photo above, FYI).
The al fresco eating area has been styled with Arabic drapes, to give us a feel of how it will be presented in the hotel’s ballroom, and a long table is heavy with food.
Everything in the buffet is sourced locally, we’re told, and with good conscience we graze from salads, grilled chicken, lamb chops, hummus, fish and, our personal favourite, spiced kebab.
We like that the desserts of rice pudding and sticky toffee are served in small portions (food wastage is not cool) and the hot toffee pouring sauce is tasty and impressive to watch.
Sunset to 8.30pm. AED 215 for adults, AED 107 for children aged 6-12. Children below 6 dine for free. Prices include soft beverages. 04 372 2323 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Cavendish restaurant, Bonnington JLT
Excellent value for money can be found at this buffet of local and international cuisine.
Beetroot moutabal is a light start to our meal, and a prawn curry is packed with flavour. Leave room for traditional lamb ouzi – so good we went back twice.
Fruit on the dessert table helped us redeem some calories and entertainment comes courtesy of the chefs rolling out bread for fresh shawarmas.
Sunset onwards. AED 159. Book before 25th May for an early bird discount of AED 119 per person. 04 356 0000
Günaydin, Souk Al Bahar
If you’re thinking about an iftar with a view and some lovely Turkish treats, then Günaydin is the place to be!
The set menu begins with a wide selection of cheese, bread, dry fruits and olives, which is followed by a variety of popular grilled meat delicacies. There’s certainly enough variety for everyone to choose from!
Speciality teas are the perfect place to a filling meal during Ramadan evenings with family and friends.
But you’re looking for vegetarian or vegan options, then you may be disappointed as the menu has limited vegetarian and almost no vegan options!
Sunset to 9 pm. AED 220 per person. Group discounts for more than 10 people. 04 554 0700
Khaymat Al Bahar, Jumeirah Al Qasr
Perfect for couples or small group, this Lebanese restaurant ups the intimacy by transporting guests by boat, but we caught a buggy, which was still good fun.
Real effort has gone into the decorations, though they can’t distract from the spectacular coastal views.
A la carte options include chicken wings, whipped wheat dish lamb harees, which always tastes so much better than it looks, and fish taouk.
Sunset onwards. AED 195 per person, including soft drinks. 04 432 3232 or Restaurants@jumeirah.com
Suq, Four Seasons Jumeirah Beach
We’re welcomed by the smell of baking bread, always guaranteed to power the tastebuds into action.
Once we’ve devoured a few fresh rounds, smeared with beetroot hummous and moutabal, we brave Arabic sushi, topped with halloumi cheese and shawarma chicken. East meets East with butter chicken and tandooris served alongside lamb kofta and the ever-popular machboos.
Once it’s in full flow, iftar guests will be treated to a live barbecue, Indian food station and 18 different home-made ice-creams.
We finished off with a fraction of these flavours and are pleased to hear the Four Seasons is offering complimentary group walking sessions every Sunday and Monday from 6pm, as part of its #MoveThisRamadan campaign.
Sunset to 9pm. AED 245 per person. Children up to 12 get 50 per cent off.
We also want to try…
Inked at Alserkal Avenue
Pop up art space slash kitchen has been bringing an unconventional dining experience to the creative hub since it opened in spring this year.
For Holy Month it turns to traditional roots, drawing on the gastronomic heritage of North Africa and the nomadic Berber people.
Expect this unassuming space to be filled with diners enjoying zucchini zaalouk salad with roasted almonds and pomegranate dressing, and tiger cake with raz al hanout, a spice mix from North Africa.
Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday during Ramadan. AED 300 a head, including juices and coffee. www.inked.ae
Roast versus Raman, Tom&Serg
Queues were out the door of Dubai stalwart Tom&Serg for their Return of the Ramen and Rule the Roast evenings, so in a true mad scientist-style, they’ve smushed the two together.
Pick a side, find a table and tuck into a starter and main course from either team for AED 100. If you can manage desserts, they’ll be extra.
From 7pm-10pm. Tom & Serg, outside Al Joud Centre, Al Quoz. 056 474 6812.
Dubai Week dined as a guest of all the venues we reviewed. Hungry for more? Our sister site The Great Food Club is the ultimate Dubai foodies’ guide.