“May the Spirit of Ramadan stay in our heart and illuminate our soul from within.” Unknown
While the Holy Month of Ramadan is about contemplation and peacefulness it’s also about family and friends, muslims and non-muslims, joining together to dine at Iftar and Suhour gatherings. Ramadan will begin once the Moon Sighting Committee see the new crescent moon (astronomers are predicting Monday 6th May), the same committee will again search for the moon to mark the end of Ramadan and the start of Eid al-Fitr.
A variety of Ramadan dining options will be available across the capital in various locations and to suit all budgets, most menus will be offering traditional fare while others may present a more modern or international interpretation. People will gather together to break their fast at sunset with the eating of dates followed by an Iftar buffet or dinner. Most establishments across the capital honour this tradition and offer their own variation of iftar with specially prepared menus and buffets.
Mosques will also be busy every evening as muslims gather for the night prayers, Taraweeh. Some venues will also be offering the pre-dawn meal of Suhoor which is usually served in traditional tents. Suhoor menus, usually a la carte or set options, will be available throughout the capital. All over the city Ramadan decorations line the streets and bridges, lighting up at night to celebrate the Holy Month.
Here’s my Ramadan dining guide with some Iftar and Suhour suggestions to sample over the next month – most start from the 6th May onwards but check with the venue directly or visit their website for confirmation.
IFTARS OVER AED 200
Byblos Sur Mer at InterContinental Abu Dhabi
A fusion of traditional and contemporary cuisine awaits diners at Byblos Sur Mer this Ramadan. Enjoy an Iftar filled with a selection of hot and cold mezze, Ramadan juices plus the daily grill and the special dish of the day. The dessert buffet at Byblos offers more than fifteen different items and of course there’s the stunning marina views from its purpose built tent.
Suhoor will be served daily from 9pm until 3am with traditional Lebanese cuisine and music. Iftar menu AED 250* per person, Suhoor minimum spend AED 95* per person and special rates for groups of 10 & above. Telephone 800 423 463 or book online abudhabi.intercontinental.com/byblos-sur-mer-ramadan-tent
Ramadan Pavilion at Emirates Palace
The beachfront custom built pavilion at the Emirates Palace will offer Iftar and Suhoor dining daily from sunset. The Iftar grand buffet will offer signature dishes and traditional regional delicacies as well as live cooking and carving stations with grilled meats and traditional accompaniments plus an assortment of desserts. An curated a la carte will also be available from 10pm until 2am. Ramadan Pavilion rates are AED 295* for the Iftar buffet and a minimum spend of AED 150* for the Suhoor à la carte menu. Telephone: 02 690 7999 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Sambusek at Rosewood Abu Dhabi
Rich flavours awaits guests breaking their fast at the Ramadan tent located at the ground floor restaurant, Sambusek. Traditional favorites from local, regional and international cuisines will be served in the waterfront tent that offers guests views across the Arabian Gulf. Families are welcome and live entertainment will be provided by kanoon and oud duo, Khalid and Razan.
Open daily from sunset throughout the month of Ramadan. Iftar timings 6:30pm to 9pm and Suhoor from 10pm to midnight. Iftar is AED 205 for the first week and then rises to AED 240. Suhoor is AED 135 and then AED 175 in addition to the regular a la carte menu. Shisha will be available after sunset for AED 115. Telephone: 02 813 550 or email email@example.com for more information and to book.
Sofra BLD at Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri
The annual Sofra Bld Grand Iftar not only offers guests a sumptuous buffet this year but also the opportunity to give back with the global ShareTheMeal initiative, the United Nations World Food Programme app supporting the global fight for a world without hunger. With every Iftar purchased the hotel will donate USD1 through the app that translates as the price to feed two children one full meal each.
Guests can expect ‘Flavours of the UAE’ including dates, nuts, dried fruits, shawerma, luqaimat, atayef and maamoul as well as slow roasted camel meat, grilled goat and regional seafood such as prawns, sea bream and red snapper. Regional desserts will include ice-creams like madluka pistachio with astha cream and a baklava tower. Available daily throughout Ramadan from sunset until 8:00pm. AED 250* per adult and for AED 125* for children aged between 6 and 12 years. (Dine at Sofra BLD between 5th and 15th May can enjoy the early bird offer of a 25% discount). Telephone 02 509 8888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi
The St. Regis Saadiyat will be offering a variety of Ramadan dining options. In Oléa Restaurant the Iftar Buffet will feature Mediterranean-inspired cuisine along with traditional regional dishes including ouzi, saj and shawarma stations, hot and cold mezze and Arabic juices. Open daily from 7pm – 9pm. AED 275* per person and AED 135* for for children aged six to 12 years.
Sontaya, the stunning Asian venue, will be offering an alternative Iftar with an Asian Feast featuring dishes from Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand along with Ramadan juices and dates. Available daily throughout May from 6:30pm until 11pm for AED 425* for two persons. To book at either venue telephone 02 498 8888 or email email@example.com
Hakkasan Abu Dhabi
Award winning Hakkasan Abu Dhabi is offering a Cantonese four-course set Iftar menu served daily from sunset until 8pm in the elegant restaurant located at the Emirates Palace. Expect such delights as Peking Duck, signature dim sum selection including an indulgent lobster dumpling, choice of main course and vanilla & date ice-cream served with regional sweets. AED 228* per person. Telephone 02 690 7739 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
The St Regis Abu Dhabi
Treat yourself to Iftar in the Sky at the St Regis Abu Dhabi, an exclusive dining experience in the world’s highest suspended suite. An array of traditional Arabian delicacies await you in this haven of luxury as well as a dedicated dessert room, traditional beverages and live music. Available Thursday – Saturday during Ramadan from sunset until 9.30pm for AED 320* per person.
A daily Iftar buffet will also be served at The Terrace on the Corniche restaurant from sunset to 11pm. Sample a culinary journey of regional delights with live cooking stations, authentic dishes and traditional flavors with Ramadan juices and water for AED 235* per person. Suhoor will be served daily at both the Azura Panoramic Lounge (a la carte menu from sunset to 3am) and the Crystal Lounge (a la carte menu 9pm – 3am). For all the St Regis dining options telephone 02 694 4553 or email email@example.com
IFTARS UNDER AED 200
Iftar at Market – The Abu Dhabi EDITION
Traditional dishes reworked in a modern way best describes the Iftar offerings at Market at The Abu Dhabi Edition. Mountains of fresh dates, live cooking and carving stations with plenty of savoury options, Ramadan drinks served in individual glass bottles as well as fresh juices, delicious desserts and regional flavoured ice-creams. Everything is beautifully presented as you would expect in this plant filled contemporary space offering its inaugural Ramadan dining experience. Available daily from sunset until 9:30pm for AED 180* per person Telephone: 02 208 0000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Ingredients at Anantara Eastern Mangroves
Ingredients restaurant at the Anantara Eastern Mangroves will be open for Iftar dining offering an authentic Ramadan culinary journey of regional and international cuisine. Open daily from sunset until 9pm for AED 199* per person inclusive of soft beverages on weekdays (jumps into the over AED 200* category at weekends at AED 249* per person inclusive of soft beverages. Children aged 6-11 years are charged half price, under 5’s are free.
Suhoor will be served in the plush Anantara Tent with set and a la carte menus served with Turkish coffee or Moroccan tea. Listen to the music of the qanun and oud player while playing traditional games such as cards, backgammon or dominoes with friends and family. Daily 10pm – 3 am. Minimum spend of AED 90* per person. Telephone +971 2 656 1000 or email email@example.com
Layali El Hilmiya Tent at Le Royal Méridien
It’s the 12th year of the popular Layali El Hilmiya Ramadan tent at the Le Royal Méridien Abu Dhabi, a grand affair that’s centred around the hotel’s swimming pool. Once the sun has set guests can enjoy a sumptuous iftar buffet and a set suhour menu. A vast selection of Arabic and International flavors are on offer including Arabic street food such as Fatayer, Manakish, Shawarma and Saj from the many buffet stations and urban food trucks in the newly launched venue LRM Central. It’s a family-friendly affair with a dedicated play area for children offering plenty of fun activities.
Iftar rates start from AED 180* per person which includes Ramadan drinks while Suhour set menus start from AED 75* per person. For special Offers, discounts and to book telephone 800 101 101 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Iftar at ANDAZ
Art and food combine at the Andaz Capital Gate Abu Dhabi iftar buffet served in their new venue, 165 Below Art Gallery. Enjoy a selection of Ramadan specialties that includes a selection of Arabic juices, salads, soups, hot dishes, live cooking stations, carving stations as well as plenty of dessert options.
AED 195* per person, AED 97* for children aged 6 and 12 years. Kids under 6 years eat for free. Starting from sunset until 9:30pm. For reservations please contact 02 596 1441 or email@example.com
Safina at Saadiyat Beach Club
The popular Saadiyat Beach Club will be offering an Iftar buffet everyday in Safina, its chic Mediterranean poolside restaurant. Expect a varied selection of traditional and international favourites such as Ramadan juices, soups, cold mezze, hot mezze, grills, carving station as well as pasta, vegetarian dishes, desserts and cheeses. Served daily throughout Ramadan from sunset for AED 199* per person. Telephone 02 656 3555 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Hickory’s at Yas Links Golf Club
Hickory’s, the waterfront restaurant at Yas Links Golf Course will be serving a three course Iftar set menu from 5th May until 4th June. The menu will be available from 6:30pm – 10:30pm daily and includes water and traditional beverages for AED 125* per person. Telephone 02 810 7710 or e-mail email@example.com to book
COYA Abu Dhabi
Try an Iftar with a Peruvian twist at COYA Abu Dhabi. Diners can enjoy a menu offering a variety of juices, soups, a selection of starters such as maki rolls, tacos and wagyu ribs, choice of chicken, beef ribs, salmon, sea bass or vegetarian option for main and desserts. Available throughout the Holy month from sunset to 8:30pm for AED 199* per person. Telephone 02 306 7000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
A variety of simple and more sumptuous Iftar buffets will be served across all the Emirate throughout Ramadan with most cafes, restaurants and hotels offering special Iftar menus for all tastes and budgets. Malls will also be hosting Holy Month celebrations and special events. 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.
Ramadan is a time of reflection and everyone, regardless of their religious beliefs, can play their part. Donate unwanted clothes to charity, make a charitable contribution or help with one of the many of the projects that are taking place to help those less fortunate. Take extra care on the roads especially just before Iftar and be mindful to be culturally respectful at all times.
All that’s left to say is Ramadan Kareem from anexpatabroad.
*All prices are net
All the views are all my own. Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this page © Jo Brett 2019. All rights reserved. Additional photos used courtesy of the respective venues.