20 of the best ways to break the fast, from traditional buffets to fusion feasts
Azur If you’re after authentic dishes in the form of hot and cold mezze, salads, lamb ouzi and mixed grills, you’re in the right place at Azur. But that’s not all, there’s also shawarma, manakish, soup and carving stations. Sticky date pudding and Umm Ali round it all off nicely. Dhs195 (adults), Dhs98 (kids aged six to 12), free (kids under six). Daily sunset-9pm. Raffles Dubai, Oud Metha (04 324 8888).
An abundance of dates welcome you into Constellation Ballroom at The Address Dubai Marina. Once you’ve broken your fast, there are plenty of dishes to pick from, as well as Arabian breads, sweets and Ramadan juices, plus you’ll get to try authentic Emirati dishes such as lafayef khoboz falazi, robyan mashwi, and tekat deyay. Dhs220 (adults), half price (kids aged five to 11), free (kids under five). Daily sunset-9pm. The Address Dubai Marina (04 436 7777).
Dana Ballroom Iftar features an extensive Arabian buffet including traditional Ramadan juices. Entertainment is just as traditional and comes from live oud and tabla performers. Dhs210 (adults), half-price (kids aged five to 12), free (kids under five). Four Seasons Hotel DIFC (04 506 0000).
This traditional location at Palace Downtown is serving a classic buffet of Middle Eastern dishes. Shisha is also be available, while a live oud player provides entertainment. Dhs255 (adults), half-price (kids aged six to 11), free (kids under six). Daily sunset-9pm. Palace Downtown, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard (04 428 7951). Godolphin Ramadan Tent For an authentic iftar with your loved ones, the Godolphin Ramadan Tent at Jumeirah Emirates Towers is a solid choice. The venue is laying on a traditional buffet (think mezze, grills and sweets). A live oud player and shisha complete the experience. Dhs205 per person. Daily sunset-8.45pm. Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 432 3232).
If you’ve after something completely different for iftar, Ají might be a good option. You get to choose a variety of dishes from sushi to veal ribs, all with the Peruvian-Japanese flair that this Club Vista Mare restaurant is known for. From Dhs70. Daily sunset-midnight. Club Vista Mare, Palm Jumeirah (04 552 0244).
Burger or lobster? Happily, you don’t have to choose at this iftar. Expect cheeseburgers, mini lobster rolls, soup of the day served with brioche and, the pièce de résistance, a half-pound of lobster. Wash it down with a range of milkshakes. Dhs119 per person. Sat-Wed sunset-midnight; Thu-Fri sunset-2am. Burj Daman, DIFC (04 514 8838).
Dubai Autodrome We said alternative iftars, and this one really is. The Audi iftar driving experience offers a traditional buffet with a race around the track. Packages include full safety prep, 15 minutes in an Audi TT on the circuit, certification and a three-course buffet. Reservation is essential. From Dhs675 per person. Thursdays from sunset. Dubai Autodrome, Motor City (04 367 8745).
Platinum Heritage For an extra special iftar head into the desert with Platinum Heritage. Take a ride in a 1950s Land Rover to a Bedouin camp where you get a traditional meal. Plus, you can ride a camel, too, should you so wish. More sedentary activities include bread-baking and Arabic coffee-making. Dhs350 (adults), Dhs250 (kids aged five to 12). Daily, call for times. Pick-up from the entrance of Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve (04 388 4044).
This trendy Japanese restaurant’s iftar is filled with all the regular menu favourites. Enjoy dates, edamame, fried pepper squid, sweet potato fries, salmon sashimi, spicy tuna rolls and braised short rib. Dhs199 per person. Daily sunset-9pm. DoubleTree by Hilton Dubai – Jumeirah Beach, JBR, (04 559 5300).
Al Iwan There’s nowhere quite as showy as the Burj Al Arab, so why not stun your family and friends with iftar in the world’s tallest atrium? Marvel at the impressive interiors while enjoying a traditional buffet. Entertainment comes from live kanoon and challou performers. It’s by no means an inexpensive option, and neither would you expect it to be, but for a special, memorable occasion, it’s certainly worth booking in. Dhs290 per person. Daily from sunset. Burj Al Arab, Umm Suqeim (04 301 7600).
The existing Dubai Ballroom at the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai is converted into a majlis for this iftar experience. The buffet is accompanied by a live oud player, making this an excellent place to celebrate. Dhs199 (adults), half price (kids aged six to 12), free for kids under six. Daily sunset-8.30pm. JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai, Business Bay (04 414 3000).
Probably the most famous (and certainly one of the most glamorous) iftar tents in Dubai, Asateer is back at Atlantis The Palm. This huge tent, with traditional décor, hosts a top-notch buffet of Arabian classics. Word of advice, don’t miss the amazing desserts. Dhs210 per person. Daily sunset-8.30pm. Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 2626).
Al Ameera Ballroom Claiming to be the UAE’s largest indoor ballroom, Al Ameera is hosting a massive iftar spread. As well as all the usual buffet suspects, there’s a whopping 22 live cooking stations. Dhs199 (adults), Dhs95 (kids aged six to 12), free (kids under six). Daily sunset-9pm. Grand Hyatt Dubai, Oud Metha (04 317 2221).
Fairuz Ramadan Tent Coming from the word for “precious stone”, Fairuz Ramadan Tent at Fairmont The Palm is a classy and impressive venue. The tent is set within the 581sq m Palm Ballroom, and is serving up classic dishes along with desserts, dates and Ramadan juices. Dhs175 (adults), half price (kids aged six to 12), free (kids under six). Daily from sunset. Fairmont The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 457 3457).
This traditional buffet is even better value during the first week of Ramadan, when it’s just Dhs119 per person. Even for the full price (Dhs139) we think it represents great value, as you get to choose from more than 30 dishes from a specially created menu that includes lamb ouzi with saffron rice, grilled fish with chermoula sauce and a selection of desserts. Dhs139 per person. Daily sunset-9pm. DoubleTree by Hilton Dubai – Jumeirah Beach, JBR (04 453 3333). A.O.C. French Brasserie
This classic buffet at the classy French restaurant has all the iftar favourites, and at a great price. There’s a wide spread of Middle Eastern, Moroccan and Turkish cuisine, including mezze and shawarmas, and there are curries, too. A traditional santoor player helps set the tone. Dhs140 (adults), half price (kids aged 13 to 17), free (kids under 13). Daily sunset-10pm. Sofitel Dubai Jumeirah Beach, The Walk, JBR (04 448 4733).
This popular vegetarian Indian restaurant has designed a menu where eating light is the priority, plus it’s healthy on the wallet, too. You get a drink, salad, appetiser, two main courses and a dessert for under 700 calories (and under Dhs100 each). Dhs76 per person. Daily sunset-1am. Jumeirah Beach Road (04 321 1884).
PizzaExpress There’s not that much different from the standard PizzaExpress menu here, but we’re not complaining. Dates and laban are served to break the fast, then you can choose from a set menu for two, four or six people, which include all the favourites – by which we mean dough balls and pizza. Even better, it comes in at just Dhs150 for two. From Dhs150 for two people. Daily from sunset. Locations across Dubai, including Dubai World Trade Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road, www.pizzaexpress.ae.
Tub of Butter This relatively new café on Sheikh Zayed Road has a traditional (and bargainous) buffet with a twist. Dishes include a curried cauliflower soup, roasted figs, spiced fish with saffron-infused rice and date truffles with fresh fruit in rosewater. Plus, if your cooking skills aren’t quite to chef standard, you can pick up a full selection of iftar dishes to take home to host your own. Dhs120 per person. Daily sunset-9pm. Al Thanya Street, off Sheikh Zayed Road (04 343 8884).