Ramadan in UAE 2017: 20 Iftar and Suhoor That's Worth A Try


Ramadan Kareem! or Ramadan Mubarak! That's how we greet our Muslim friends and colleagues during the holy month. Also in this season, you will hear a lot about two things, Iftar and Suhoor. Those are the two main meals of our Muslim brothers and sisters in a day during Ramadan.

Suhūr is an Islamic term referring to the meal consumed early in the morning before fasting, before dawn during or even outside the Islamic month of Ramadan. The meal is eaten before fajr prayer.

On the other handIftar is the evening meal when they end their daily Ramadan fast at sunset. Muslims break their fast at the time of the call to prayer for the evening prayer. It is also a time when families gather on one table to share a meal.


I have been blessed and really grateful to be invited to quite a few Iftar this year and in the previous years. Living in the UAE for a long time makes me appreciate the importance of partaking in the culture of our host country.

Here are some interesting Iftar we have tried lately.




It was my first Iftar of the season and it turned out to be a pleasant one.

To begin with, my friend and I were given a table close to the window where we had this amazing sunset view.


Metro! is Millennium Plaza Hotel Dubai's all-day dining restaurant. It has an L-shaped layout. The interior is contemporary with a refreshing green and white colors.

For Ramadan, the buffet tables were beautifully adorned with colorful Moroccan lamps and Arabic style table cloths


The other side of the restaurant is actually prettier and it gives you a stunning view of the Sheikh Zayed Road lined with Dubai's unique skyscrapers.


What's in store for you? As you enter the restaurant, you will be greeted by the desserts sections where a large arrangement of Arabic sweets including a tower of baklava, plates of luqaimat, umm ali, assorted dates and dried fruits and nuts.


Followed by a very photogenic tier of seafood starters (prawn and mussels), Arabic mezze, a sweet and savory Saj live cooking station, a huge pot of fork tender lamb ouzi in a bed of flavorful rice. There's also a separate table of whole and sliced fresh fruits.

The tier of prawn and mussels was very popular among the guest and was the first to finish.


The expansive buffet spread has a wide variety of main dishes to choose from. A good mix of Arabic, Meditteranean and international fares to enjoy.


What I like the most? The the lamb ouzi and the fish in lemon and butter sauce were my favorites but the seafood kabsa was also good. There were also some grilled meat, shish tawouk, and some Mexican wrap with avocado, tomato salsa, and sour cream.


It was a pleasant dining experience overall and a fun night catching up with a good friend.

How much does it cost? It is priced at AED 125 per person and open from sunset until 11:00 pm. It is accessible via Emirates Towers Metro Station.

Metro!
Millennium Plaza Hotel
Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai
Contact # +971 4 387 7777



*****





Olive Oil Restaurant is a gem waiting to be discovered. A small yet beautiful and intimate restaurant tucked inside Jumeira Rotana located in Al Dhiyafa Street in Jumeirah 1.


The call to prayer that day was at 7:07 pm and we reached the hotel about an hour early. The restaurant door was still closed when we arrived so we while away the time chatting in the lobby. When everything was ready, the doors opened and we were warmly welcomed inside.

Olive Oil Restaurant is Jumeira Rotana's all-day dining restaurant located on the ground floor of the hotel. I love its open and clean layout, its warm lighting and its food and service.

What's in store for you? It may not be a lavish Iftar buffet but it has everything you need to fill and satiate you after a long day of fasting. The food was fantastic, soulful rather and the menu, well planned! The Chef, jolly and enthusiastic.

At the entrance, there was a coffee shop/bar where a big pot of hot Arabic coffee is ready to be paired with kimi, khurdi, and khalas dates, nuts, and dried fruits served in woven baskets. There were also different types fresh juices including our favorite lemon mint concoction.


Hot dishes were laid out on the buffet table. There are grilled meat kebabs and chicken shish tawouk, grilled seafood in lemon and butter sauce, beef medallions, mash potatoes and peas, spicy prawn curry and rice, steamed rice and vegetables.


This beautiful leg of lamb ouzi with oriental rice was in a separate section


For hot appetizers, there was cheese fatayer and kibbe, and crispy battered fish which easily became my favorite.


The salad and Arabic mezze station have all the staples. We love the avocado and mango salad, it was a great combination. It was so good I am thinking of recreating it at home. Right next to it was the cheese and bread section


For desserts, there are all sorts of wonderful sweet treats. I think Umm Ali grows on me already because unlike in the previous years, it is now always on my dessert plate.



What I like the most? I always say that I get easily overwhelmed by big buffets and I still do up to now. That doesn't mean I don't like big buffets but smaller ones like this is zen. I love it because I don't feel hurried to eat and I get to enjoy my food more.

What I can highly recommend to you are the grilled seafood in lemon and butter sauce, lamb ouzi, crispy battered fish, baked mussels, and mashed peas. Everything was tasty and delicious so try all of them if you can.

How much does it cost? It is priced at AED 129 per person, AED 64 for children between 6-12 years and children below 6 years dine for free. Book for 10 persons and pay for 8. Open from sunset to 11:00 pm. You can also download this voucher and get 50% off on Iftar Buffet at Jumeira Rotana

Overall, we had a blissful Iftar dining experience at Olive Oil. The food was good, we love the ambiance, service was quick and friendly and the manager even came to our table to check if everything was fine. If you are looking for a new place for Iftar, make sure to give Olive Oil a try.

Olive Oil Restaurant
Jumeira Rotana
2nd of December Street - Dubai
Contact:  +9714 345 5888


*****


Do you fancy dining under the stars? I'm sure you will say yes but would think what an odd question.

I know it is too hot outside right now in Dubai and we just can't do that here, right?

Well, what if I tell you, you actually could. Technically, not under the real ones but under pretty fairy lights like this one.


Cozy up in a Moroccan-inspired lounge on a low communal table side by side your friends or family, complete with candle lights. You can also watch the chef prepare each dish that will be served to you from their open kitchen. This is "Ramadan Nights by Dish"

Ramadan Nights by Dish is a contemporary popup iftar set up by the renowned catering and events brand Dish Catering located just off Sheikh Zayed Road (Exit # 43) at Warehouse Four in Al Quoz. This is the second edition and it is back by popular demand with a new menu to boot. The restaurant has a seating capacity of 120 people. Also, private and VIP tables are available for those who prefer a more intimate setting.

This iftar is completely different from the other iftars I've been to lately and we just love it.

It was our first time to come here and we relied on our trusty Google Maps to reach this place. It might be not off the beaten path but I tell you it was worth the trip. What's amazing is that you get to play a little hide and seek first. Sure ain't cool when you're fasting but first hear me out.

What's in store for you? Warehouse four has a red door but you'll not find this red door unless you go and treat yourself first to a little walk down this small yet well-manicured garden with many flowers in bloom. A little patch of greenery is always welcome when you live in the desert.

Try to walk slowly and enjoy it, I'm sure you'll love it!


You're welcome.


and at the end of this path, you will be greeted by a huge IFTAR sign just outside that red door.


As you enter the red door, hundreds of twinkling lights will welcome you which will definitely lift up your spirit and you'll not feel sober anymore.


The place was already buzzing when we arrived. It was so alive.

I gave my name to the smiling and welcoming receptionist as I watch the whole scene, she checked it on the guest list and ushered us to our table.

A selection of dates and freshly concocted bottled juices of fresh green apple, cucumber, lemon juice, elderflower, basil and Lychee juice with Middle Eastern rose were already on our table. A plate of green olive hummus with pistachio, sesame, and olive oil was served with artisan bread and crisp flatbread followed by a cup of roasted butternut squash and red lentil soup, toasted almonds, chili, Argen oil.

This warm bowl of lentil soup gave our dinner a lovely start.


It's a three-course iftar dinner with amazing and beautiful dishes. It arrived on our table all at once and all of it was a work of art. The chef's passion for cooking shows in all of his food creations.


We started off with this slow braised shoulder of lamb in middle-eastern spices, scented rice pilaf, preserved lemon, confit garlic and honey yogurt. It was my favorite. Tender beef pieces, aromatic and full of flavor.



If you like it light and fresh, the Tarator style salmon, coriander, fennel, walnut, radish is for you. Every bite is heaven, it was so good my daughter had two servings. She got the one of Prince because my son was only interested in the next dish.


For conventional eaters for now like my son, this Charcoal chicken marinated in rose and pomegranate, parsley and almond salsa was his hero.


I can't get enough of this next dish. I love the texture of the grilled peach and crunch and freshness of the haricot verts. Delicious. It's a meal on its own actually.

Grilled peach and green bean salad, rocket, orange blossom dressing


These next two dishes were both are equally wonderful.

The Torn falafel salad, fried cauliflower, pine nuts, sumac, tahini dressing was a great combination and very filling.


while the Salt-baked beetroot with zaatar, sesame, mint, harissa labneh was very refreshing. I am slowly becoming a fan of beetroot and tasting this dish helps with that.


For desserts, there was Citrus mousse with pink grapefruit curd center, caramelized pink grapefruit, pomelo, citrus meringue and milk chocolate and coconut cremeux, coconut chips, chocolate soil, passion fruit and vanilla compote. We all had the latter. Although I find some ingredients to be a tad bit sour, the chocolate and coconut creme balance it out.


To cap off our meal, Ferald and I had coffee and tea. Linger a little before bidding this place goodbye.

What I like the most? I love how balanced every dish was. There was enough protein and vegetables in each one of them. This iftar concept is unique, non-conventional, the dishes were delicious and carefully planned, and the place looks magical and that I think is what separates it from most Iftar offerings in town.

If you are looking for a new place to impress your family, friends or even your boss, or you just want to treat them to something unique and new, this is a great place.

How much does it cost? Priced at AED 195 per person. Open from sunset until 9:30 pm

Ramadan Night by Dish
Dish Catering, Warehouse Four
Al Quoz, Dubai
Contact: +971 56 128 3247

*****
For more of my iftar dining experiences, you can read them here and here.

*Prices and menus may have changed.

Hotels

1. Dusit Thani Hotel Dubai
2. Radisson Blu Dubai Deira Creek
3. Panorama Restaurant Emirates Grand Hotel - Sheikh Zayed Road
4. Moka Cafe - Villa Rotana
5. The Fountain Restaurant Al Bustan Centre & Residence - Al Qusais 
7. Iftar at Hyatt Regency Creek Heights Dubai
8. Iftar at A La Turca - Rixos The Palm
9. Iftar at Al Khaima - Arabian Courtyard Hotel
11. Iftar at The Gallery at BurJuman Arjaan
12. Medley Restaurant's Special Moroccan Iftar
13. Iftar Dinner at Kris Kin Restaurant With A View

Ramadan Tents
1. QD's Ramadan Tent - Park Hyatt - Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club

Restaurants
1. Chez Sushi - Bay Avenue Downtown Dubai
2. Rosa Mexicano - The Dubai Mall

Suhoor
1. Suhoor Experience at Sofitel JBR

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