“Don’t count the days, make the days count.” Unknown
Ramadan 2017 is nearly upon us, Iftar previews have been in full swing these past couple of weeks and I have selflessly been sampling a fair few in order to compile my top ten Iftar venues in Abu Dhabi to try this coming Holy month.
Hotels, restaurants and cafes will be offering special Iftar menus where both muslims and non-muslims are welcomed to enjoy traditional dishes and specially prepared menus. Iftar, when people gather together to break their fast at sunset is traditionally started with the eating of dates as the Prophet Muhammad broke his fast with three dates, followed by an Iftar buffet or dinner, most establishments across the capital are offering their own variation of this feast.
Some of these establishments will also be offering the pre-dawn meal of Suhoor which is usually served in traditional tents. Mosques will also be busy every evening as muslims gather for the night prayers, Taraweeh. All over the city Ramadan decorations line the streets and bridges, lighting up at night to celebrate the Holy Month.
Emirates Palace – A magnificent Iftar buffet complete with live cooking stations awaits you at the custom built air-conditioned Emirates Palace Ramadan pavilion overlooking the hotel’s private beach. Traditional mezze dishes are beautifully presented along with a wide choice of breads, salads, grills, juices and many delicious desserts. Separate lounge areas and private majlis are also available for a more intimate private dining experience. This exquisite location makes for a memorable Iftar and Suhoor, as you would expect from a hotel of this calibre.
Time: Iftar from sunset to 9:30pm (from 10:00pm to 02:00am for Suhoor)
Cost: AED 265* per person for the Iftar buffet
Emirates Palace, Telephone 02 690 7999 for more information/to make a reservation or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Iftar in the Clouds – The highest Iftar in the capital is something to behold, sky high opulence in the world’s highest suspended hotel suite that you have to see to believe. The sumptuous spread of traditional dishes is served in the huge two-floor ostentatious St Regis Abu Dhabi suite located high above the city spanning the 48th and 49th floors of the hotel. Guests can enjoy the Iftar on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings throughout the holy month, an exquisite buffet and separate dedicated dessert room, presented to impress. Expect striking Bohemian crystal chandeliers, 24-karat gold leaf embellishment, lavish velvet and artworks, delicious cuisine and consummate service.
Time: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from sunset to 11pm
Cost: AED 250* per person
Iftar in the Clouds, Abu Dhabi Suite, 48th and 49th floors, St. Regis Abu Dhabi, Corniche Road, Abu Dhabi. Telephone: 02 694 4553 www.stregisabudhabi.com/diningoffers
Le Royal Méridien – The large popular air conditioned Layali El Hilmiya Ramadan tent makes its return to Le Royal Meridien this year offering traditional Iftar cuisine, international dishes, fresh juices, teas and live cooking stations. Families are welcome and children can choose from a separate buffet, a live Arabian band and a variety of flavoured shisha will keep everyone entertained. Suhoor A La Carte and set menus are available from AED 70 upwards and available nightly from 9pm.
Time: From Iftar time – 8pm
Cost: AED 160 Net
Le Royal Méridien Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Khalifa Street, Abu Dhabi. Telephone: 02 674 2020 www.leroyalmeridienabudhabi.com
Tried and Tested
Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi – All-day dining restaurant Origins at Yas Viceroy will offer both Iftar and Suhoor experiences throughout Ramadan. The Iftar buffet will serve hot and cold mezze favourites such as hummus, tabbouleh, kibbeh, seafood, grills and many other traditional Emirati dishes. A wide choice of desserts includes kunafa, a delicious baklava ice-cream and platters of fresh fruit. Signature Suhoor dishes can be chosen from the la carte menu.
Time: Iftar from sunset to 9:00pm. Suhoor: 10:00pm – 2.00am
Cost: AED 165* for Iftar with Ramadan drinks.
Origins, Yas Viceroy hotel, Yas island Abu Dhabi UAE. Telephone: 02 656 0600 www.viceroyhotelsandresorts.com/en/abudhabi
Asia de Cuba – If you are looking for something different this Ramadan you must try the upmarket Chino-Latino Iftar at the elegant Asia de Cuba. This certainly isn’t your typical Iftar menu and that makes a refreshing change, plus they will be offering their normal bar service after sunset. The set menu blends Arabian flavours with its usual signature Cuban and Asian fusion. A tangy Cuban style Thai tea made with sugarcane juice and a delightful sweet potato hummus with curried cracker bread is a good way to start. Other notable vegetable dishes were the beet pica tartare, chinese eggplant and delicious sweet potato fries, meat eaters can enjoy lamb picadillo and stir-fry mojo duck noodles amongst others. Save room for the churros with the chilli chocolate ganache with toasted meringue and matcha because they are delicious.
Time: Daily from 7pm
Cost: AED 200* per person
Asia de Cuba, Nation Riviera Beach Club, St. Regis Hotel, Corniche Road. Abu Dhabi. Telephone: 02 699 3333 www.asiadecuba.com/abu_dhabi
Tamba – Break your fast at Abu Dhabi’s favourite restaurant Tamba with its affordable culinary experience Iftar menu that offers the finest Indian fusion cuisine. Traditional Ramadan juices and dates are the only traditional Arabian delicacies on offer at this stylish venue. Highlights of the Tamba Iftar menu include lentil soup, root vegetable chips with chutney, sweet and sour pumpkin paratha, 48 hour slow cooked rogan lamb shank and the choice of the meat or vegetable biryani. The capital’s best dessert, the renowned combination of chocolate, peanut semifreddo and salted caramel also known as ‘the Break-up’ rounds off proceedings in the best possible way.
Time: Available daily from sunset until 8.30pm (normal menu from 8:30pm)
Cost: AED 198* per person (subject to 10% service)
Tamba, Level 6, The Hub, World Trade Center Mall, Abu Dhabi. Telephone: 02 672 8888 www.tambarestaurant.com
Hyatt Capital Gate – Panoramic views and a selection of authentic dishes go hand in hand at this Iftar buffet served 80 metres high in the sky at the hotel’s signature restaurant, 18 Degrees. Located on the 18th floor of Abu Dhabi’s iconic man-made leaning hotel, the Hyatt Capital Gate, the spread may not be the biggest in the city but it’s quality over quantity. With a good variety of traditional and international dishes and live cooking stations, there are also counters offering a wide variety of salads, cheeses, cold meats, grills, seafood, vegetables, breads and desserts there’s certainly something for everyone. Grab a window seat for some incredible views across the city.
Time: Daily from sunset
Cost: AED 198* per person
18 Degrees Restaurant, Hyatt Capital Gate, Abu Dhabi. Telephone: 02 596 1234 www.abudhabicapitalgate.hyatthotels.hyatt.com
Market Kitchen – Popular celebrity chef Suzanne Husseini returns to Market Kitchen again this Ramadan teaming up with Head Chef Grant Ballingner to bring her modern flavours of Arabia to the Iftar proceedings. The selection of dishes are served sharing style, take it from me you don’t want to miss this gourmet sharingspread or the chance to meet this lovely lady. Husseini gives traditional Arabic cuisine her signature modern-day twist, the Iftar menu will change every week throughout the holy month so guests cab return to try the four different menus. Iftar will also feature a selection of classic Market Kitchen favourites too.
Time: From sunset until 10:00pm
Cost: Sharing Menu created by Suzanne Husseini – AED 200* per person
Market Kitchen, Le Royal Méridien Abu Dhabi Sheikh Khalifa Street, Abu Dhabi. Telephone: 02 674 2552 www.marketkitchenabudhabi.com
Marriott Al Forsan – Khayal, the all-day dining restaurant at Marriott Hotel Al Forsan will be transformed into a traditional Arabian experience offering an extensive Iftar buffet selection combining authentic Arabic cuisine with international favourites. Fifteen cooking stations along with hot and cold mezze will be served with fresh salads, soups, grills and pastas. Popular Arabic desserts, fresh fruit, Ramadan juices as well as Arabic tea and coffee will complement the food.
Time: Daily from sunset until 9:30pm
Cost: AED 180* per person, AED 90* children aged 6 – 11, children under 6 eat for free.
Marriott Hotel Al Forsan, Al Forsan International Sports Resort, Khalifa City A, Street 12 Abu Dhabi. Telephone: 02 201 4000 www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/auhal-marriott-hotel-al-forsan-abu-dhabi/
Sushi Central – Avoid the pre-Iftar chaos on the roads and enjoy a different kind of Iftar delivered straight to your own home. Sushi Central is offering special Ramadan bentos which includes different combinations of their most popular dishes. Choose from three options, option A (AED 45) has Crab and Cucumber Salad, Edamame, California Uramaki and Shirmp Tempura. Option B (AED 50) Salmon and Avocado Salad, Edamame, Ocean Black Tiger Uramaki and Shirmp Tempura. Option C (AED 60) includes Sashimi Salad, Edamame, Salmon and Avocado Fresh Maki and Shrimp Tempura.
Time: Ramadan delivery and takeaway will be available all day from 11:00am – midnight, dine-in from Iftar until closing. Sushi Central deliver all across Abu Dhabi including the islands.
Sushi Central, various locations. Telephone: 600 520007 www.sushicentral.ae
If you fancy trying something new this holy month you can visit the exclusive Bushra (translated as ‘good news’ in Arabic) concept at the Venetian Village waterfront. Bushra, a modern adaptation of the Arabian Ottoman, will be available from sunset to 11:30pm daily at Barfly by Buddha bar throughout Ramadan. Live cooking stations, traditional buffet along with freshly cooked A La Carte selections will all be available. Arabic artwork, Oud player and shisha will add to the authentic atmosphere.
There will be many sumptuous Iftar buffets being served in the majority of hotels across the Emirate this Ramadan, most cafes and restaurants are also serving special Iftar menus for all tastes and budgets. Non-fasting friends may be invited to join those observing the holy month at their homes to enjoy a traditional home cooked Iftar or Suhoor meal, a fantastic opportunity to enjoy the true meaning of Ramadan with a Muslim family.
For those of you not fasting check out Foodiva’s guide to Abu Dhabi restaurants open for daytime dining during Ramadan 2017. All that’s left to say is Ramadan Kareem from anexpatabroad.
All the views are all my own. Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this page © Jo Brett 2017. All rights reserved. Additional photos used courtesy of the respective venues. Featured image used with courtesy of www.leroyalmeridienabudhabi.com
(* Rates are subject to 10% service charge and 6% tourism fee.)