I don’t think the adage “go big or go home” befits any one place better than Dubai. Here we do everything on the grandest scale and in the most beautifully lavish way possible – just take a look at some of the amazing iftars hosted across the city during Ramadan and you’ll know exactly what we mean.
“What exactly is an iftar,” some of you may be wondering? Literally translated, the word iftar means “to break the fast.” During the Holy Month of Ramadan, devout Muslims observe strict fasting from dawn to sunset, at which point they may break their fasts. In Dubai iftars have come to consist of lavish family style feasts set upon the backdrop of grand hotels and posh restaurants throughout the city. Large gatherings of locals and expats a like, this is one experience that you absolutely cannot miss.
Take it from us! Team MissMalini has explored all around to bring you our four favorite iftar’s of 2016 – check them out!
With a stunning ambience, this spectacular beachfront tent at Atlantis on the Palm, is among the top choices for local celebrities and page 3 crowd to break their fast. We absolutely loved the decor of Asateer, especially the hundreds of gorgeous lanterns hanging from the ceiling of the tent. Oh so stylish and oh so dreamy!
The food spread was just as impressive – from Arabic to Lebanese to Chinese to Indian food – you name it, they serve it. We pigged out on the Lebanese manakish, lamb harris, stir fried vegetables, roasted chicken with frekeh, and scrumptious biryani. (We should add that they had an array of salads and low fat options, but our diets went right out the window the minute we stepped into the tent).
Naturally, however, it was the desserts that stole the show for us. Since that dinner we’ve been dreaming mango sago pudding and sticky date financier. Heavenly!
Looking for a tad more of a traditional experience? Then make sure to head over to the Town Square Ramadan tent, where Arabic cuisine is their specialty. Be it the tamarind juice or kunafa or the Arabic khameer tea, this place is where you need to be if you want to get the true taste of the Arabic culture, quite literally. We found the food here absolutely delicious. Even the basic starters like hummus, moutabel, and tabbouleh had a special something about them, which says a lot coming from those of us who’ve made Arabic cuisine a weekly staple ever since we’ve moved to Dubai.
However, our excitement didn’t simply stop at the food – the varieties of tea had us questioning our usual post dinner green tea order. There was Moroccan tea, thyme tea, zatar tea, saffron tea, karak tea, haba al hamra, mint tea, and on and on and on! A tad confused? So were we with all the choices, but worry not! Their in-house tea expert will be happy to help with your selection.
Located in the beautiful Al Qasr property within Madinat Jumeirah, is the Bedouin-inspired tent, Khaymat Al Bahar. A lovely but short abra ride brings you to this restaurant which offers you a great pool and ocean view, thus making it one of the most sought after iftar venues in the city. The iftar starts with the traditional and very delicious jallab, a cold drink made with dates and served with dry fruit.
The starters included a variety of breads, soups, some fine aged cheeses and salads. We particularly liked the falafel salad and the halloumi salad. The main courses varied from chicken to beef and seafood, to some vegetarian options as well. We especially loved the traditional Arabic dishes of lahmeh bel banadoura, shish tawouk, fatteh, and lamb ouzi.
Even though we ate ourselves into a food comma, we couldn’t resist the dessert buffet filled with everything from cakes, pastries, and sorbets to Arabic sweets, chocolate mousses, and fresh (chocolate dipped) fruit!
While the food at the Sababa tent in Fairmont on the Palm is as lavish as it comes, what we really loved was the vibe. The setting places white couches amidst colorful decor, with a lovely beach view and live music all around. Talk about festive!
The chefs, displaying their expertise at live cooking stations, prepare traditional Ramadan specialties right in front of your eyes. There is varied live entertainment every night including Arabic bands, Egyptian and Turkish Tanoura dances, a traditional Saj Baker, fortune tellers, and henna artists. Certainly one of the most entertaining iftars in Dubai, we recommend taking the entire family!
So, who said there’s nothing to do in Dubai over the summer?! Make sure to check out some of these iftars if you’re in town and let us know what you thought! =)