With Ramadan in full swing, a sense of self-reflective calm fills the city of Abu Dhabi. The majority of the population are fasting by day. So when night falls and the streets are filled with Ramadan illuminations, the first question on everyone’s minds is… where to Iftar?
Iftar is one of the religious observances of Ramadan and is the breaking of one’s fast, following the Maghreb (sunset) prayer. Iftar is often a community gathering, an opportunity to break the daily fast in the company of family and friends and an act that traditionally begins by eating three dates alongside a glass of milk. During Ramadan, Iftar meals are offered by almost all hotels and restaurants and generally consists of a large buffet featuring a variety of Arabic inspired dishes.
Out and About UAE have scoured the city to bring you our list of Iftar recommendations. Keep an eye on the post, as it will be updated throughout the holy month – you’re welcome!
The Luxurious One:
The St. Regis Abu Dhabi are holding what is without a doubt the most luxurious Iftar in the city. Held in the Abu Dhabi Suite (the world’s highest suspended suit) which spans the 48th and 49th floors of the hotel. This private Iftar is only accessible via a private elevator (that’s just how exclusive it is)! Priced at 250 AED per person and suitable for groups of between 35 and 70 diners, the food includes everything from fresh salads to grilled seafood and the traditional ouzi. For us though, this Iftar offering was all about the pyramid of desserts featuring Umm Ali, Kanufa and moire. If visiting, ensure that you explore every inch of the split level majilis, an opportunity that not many people get. Read our full review of Iftar in the clouds, click here:
Location: St. Regis, Nation Towers, Corniche, Abu Dhabi / 02 694 4721
The Ramadan Tent:
Ramadan tents are erected all over the city during the holy month, to provide convenient meeting places after sunset and has become one of the traits of any Iftar in the city. One of our favourite Ramadan tents this year can be found at the Southern Sun Hotel. Illuminated in hues of blue and offering special Ramadan beverages such as Jallab (dates, grape molasses and rose water) and Amar al Din (apricot) alongside Arabic favourites such as fatayer, falafel, grilled lamb and hummus. Ensure that you leave room for dessert, as it is something truly special. Best of all the Kahraman tent offers excellent shisha (we recommend the cherry mint combination) and live sporting events for those who wish to partake. Iftar costs 140 AED per person.
Location: Southern Sun Abu Dhabi, Al Mina Street, Tourist Club Area, Abu Dhabi / 02 8184 888
The Traditional One:
Jumeirah at Etihad Towers are offering three Iftars throughout their various F&B outlets this Ramadan. Our favourite is the traditional Lebanese offering from Li Beirut. The Iftar here features everything from fattoush, mutabal and tabbouleh but the standout item is without a doubt the hummus with fish and sweet caramelised onions – a unique dish that is truly exceptional. Aside from the hot and cold mezze selection, the stuffed vine leaves, aubergine with minced lamb and the aromatic lemon chicken should not be missed. If you are looking to add a little exclusivity to your Iftar, then try and book the private dining room, complete with its gold embroidered upholstery and beautiful views over the pool area and ocean.
Location: Jumeirah Etihad Towers, Podium Level 2, Al Khubeirah, Abu Dhabi / 02 304 8276
Iftar At Home:
Sometimes you may not want to go out to eat and Sumaq Grill fully understands this. Their menu of new Ramadan specials can be eaten in one of the restaurants two locations (Al Bateen or Al Seef), or you can have a sumptuous feast of grilled meats and Arabic favourites delivered to your home. This homegrown, locally-owned brand has a firm focus on health, fresh quality ingredients and all meats are hormone free. We thoroughly recommend the chicken harissa kebab with cous cous and the Kebeh Bil Karaz, with its delightful and slightly sour cherry sauce. With hummus, date pudding and some of the best lemon mint drink that you will find, this is a good budget choice for Iftar and one that you can eat from the comfort of home. Prices vary depending on what you order.
Location: Al Seef Village and Al Bateen Park, Abu Dhabi / 02 304 8206
The All Rounder:
Shangri La Qaryat Al Beri is a hotel synonymous with providing a high quality dining experience and their Iftar is no different. Held in Sofra, the all day dining restaurant, the grand Iftar buffet is a slightly scaled back version of the lavish Friday brunch. What we appreciated most was that it is not entirely Arabesque. Levantine offerings are most definitely present but the focus steers more towards international buffet, with a delightful selection of fresh seafood, paella and tagging – taking guests on a culinary tour of the world. Most exciting is the signature Ramadan dessert presented by Chef Bader Najeeb Al Awadhi (Chef B), featuring smoked ice cream (tasting like freshly toasted marshmallows), edible chocolate coffee cups, caramel sauce and a crunchy crumble. Iftar at the Shangri La costs 205 AED per person and you can read our full review here:
Location: Shangri La, Qaryat Al Beri, Khor Al Maqta, Abu Dhabi / 02 418 2511
The Alternative One:
Mikado cafe in Khalidiya offers a Japanese Iftar. Forgoing anything Arabesque, the focus here is more on intricate sushi sushi, sweet teriyaki and refreshing jasmine iced teas. Set within modern and simplistic surroundings, complete with a live sushi counter. The set menu at Mikado offers a number of courses, each more tantalising than the next and at 195 AED for two people, is one of the most reasonable offerings in the city. Read our full review of Mikado’s Iftar here:
Location: Al Hana Tower, Corniche Street, Al Khalidiya, Abu Dhabi / 02 667 7557
We were invited to the Iftars listed. All views are our own and all photographs are © Out & About UAE, unless otherwise stated. Two food images used courtesy of Sumaq Grill.