Ramadan Kareem from team Out & About. For those who don’t know, Ramadan is the religious observance marking one of the five acts of worship in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and a time in which the Quran was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
During Ramadan, Abu Dhabi sleeps by day and thrives at night, as people break their fast with family and loved ones. This meal following the Maghreb (sunset) prayer is known as Iftar. Iftar is often a community gathering and an act that traditionally begins by eating three dates alongside a glass of milk.
Iftar is something that should be experienced and with all hotels and restaurants offering their own unique twist, it’s an enjoyable time to dine in the city. We have been very selective in which Iftars to attend this year, favouring those that are doing something a little differently to the endless Arabic buffets.
Iftar In The Clouds, St. Regis Abu Dhabi:
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 hotel suite), 220m above Aby Dhabi’s Corniche and spanning the 48th and 49th floors of the hotel. This private Iftar is accessible via a private elevator and is held on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening during the Holy Month of Ramadan.
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 (of course) the traditional Ouzi. For those who’ve attended Brunch In the Clouds, be prepared for a dessert room like no other that features a plethora of sweet tweets and Arabic classics. The only thing better is that remarkable view.
Location: St. Regis, Nation Towers, Corniche, Abu Dhabi / 02 694 4721
An Iftar Culinary Journey. Tamba:
This Ramadan, Tamba are taking diners on a new culinary journey via a set menu specially created for Iftar. Thankfully, the team aren’t changing things up, so don’t expect any sort of Arabic fusion to creep into the tried and tested menu signature dishes.
The ‘Iftar Culinary Journey’ is an amalgamation of Tamba’s favourite dishes, drawn from both the original and newly launched spring menu. Root Vegetable Chips and a flavoursome Chicken & Lentil Soup kick things off in a set-menu that takes in Delhi Mix, Bombay Baji Rolls and two great new menu additions created especially for this Iftar, Sweet and Sour Pumpkin with Spinach Paratha and Chicken Wings. Things are rounded out with biryani, slow cooked lamb and the Break-Up (a dessert that should be on everyone’s must-try list). Tamba’s Iftar offering makes a welcome change from the endless Arabic buffets and is excellent value for money at just AED 199. A full review of Tamba’s Iftar can be found here:
Location: The Hub World Trade Centre Mall, Al Markaziya, Abu Dhabi / 02 672 8888
Iftar In The World’s Furthest Leaning Building, Hyatt Capital Gate:
We find ourselves returning to 18 Degrees at the Hyatt Capital Gate, time and again. Not only for the panoramic vistas offered from a vantage point 80 meters above the ground. Nor for the fact that we are leaning 18 degrees Westwards on the 18th floor of the world’s further leaning man-made structure.
18 Degrees has fast gained a reputation as one of the best Mediterranean restaurants in the capital and their Iftar offering is as traditional as they come. The moderately sized buffet includes all the expected Arabic delicacies, from traditional Ramadan juices, through to an extensive selection of bread, cheeses and salads. Our favourite items had to be the camel meat, grilled shrimp and of course the desserts. With the traditional Kunafa and Umm Ali being the highlights.
Location: Hyatt Capital Gate, Embassies District, Abu Dhabi / 02 418 2583
The Grand Iftar, Shangri La Qaryat Al Beri:
Shangri La Qaryat Al Beri is a hotel synonymous with providinhigh-qualitylity dining experience and their Iftar is no different. Held in Sofra, the properties all-day-dining restaurant, the Grand Iftar buffet is a slightly scaled back version of the lavish Friday brunch, prepared under the guidance of 2-Michelin-starred Executive Chef Mansour Memarian.
Levantine offerings are most definitely present but the focus steers more towards international buffet, with a delightful selection of fresh seafood, sushi and Indian curries. We thoroughly recommend the grills which are succulent and flavoursome and the huge central dessert station, featuring a variety of ice creams (the date one is our pick), a live crepe station, dual chocolate fountains (because one is never enough) and a wonderful Kunafa. This is one of the biggest buffet spreads in the capital and the most popular Iftar we have visited this Ramadan season.
Location: Shangri La, Qaryat Al Beri, Khor Al Maqta, Abu Dhabi / 02 418 2511
An Alternative Iftar, Asia De Cuba:
Popular nightlife haunt, Asia De Cuba are doing something completely different this Ramadan. Offering a set menu that sticks firmly in the Asian-Latin fusion sector without venturing into Arabic territory. Held inside the lavish dining room and served family style, the ambience and service are impeccable, while the food offers diners an opportunity to sample some of the restaurants signature dishes at a very reasonable price (AED 180 per person).
The menu encompasses sweet potato hummus, lamb picadillo empanadas and stir-fried duck noodles, amongst one or two surprises. Save room for the churros though, for their toasted meringue and matcha accompaniments are a force to be reckoned with. If you’re not a fan of Arabic food and are looking for somewhere a little bit more lively for Iftar, then this is the one for you.
Location: Nation Riviera, Corniche Road, Al Khubeirah, Abu Dhabi / 02 6993333
The Emirati Iftar, Milas:
Tucked away in the upper levels of Souk Qaryat Al Beri you’ll find Milas Restaurant. Don’t let the electric purple decor fool you, for this is not a nightclub but a restaurant specialising in Emirati food. The concept takes the traditions of Emirati cuisine and hospitality, transforming them into a modern dining expereince.
Milas is offering a four course set menu for Iftar at a costs AED 256 per couple. Proving wildly popular this Ramadan season, there was barely a seat to be had when we visited. There are many highlights to be had including the chicken halloumi, the signature deep fried ice cream, Shubeik Lubeik, Karak Bein Edeik (karak tea ice cream, pictured below) and a suprise dessert in which the sweet treats are smoked with Oud.
Location: Souq Qaryat Al Beri, Al Maqtaa, Abu Dhabi / 02 5580425
The Arabian Iftar, Bushra:
This Ramadan, Barfly at Abu Dhabi’s Venetian Village has undergone a complete transformation into a contemporary Arabian experience. Renamed at ‘Bushra’ for the Holy Month, the venue is awash with vibrant colours, Persian carpets and a ceiling hung with traditional lanterns.
Bushra as a concept was previously named by Caterer Middle East as one of the ‘top 10 Iftar’s in the Middle East’ and it’s easy to see why. A plethora of Arabic delicacies sit side by side with the Asian cuisine for which Barfly has become synonymous, in a lavish spread that traverses the Middle East to the Far East.
No alcohol will be served at Barfly during Ramadan due to the Bushra concept, which costs AED 165++ and boasts a separate shisha tent offering stunning views over Abu Dhabi’s Grand Canal.
Location: Venetian Village, Al Maqta, Abu Dhabi / 02 404 1951
We were invited to experience these Iftars. All views are our own and all photographs are © Out & About UAE,