Restaurants in Saudi Arabia prepare for a busy Ramadan

Although eateries and food delivery services will not operate during fasting hours, establishments are expecting large numbers from sunset

Restaurants will be allowed to operate at full capacity in Saudi Arabia after fasting hours. Reuters
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Restaurants in Saudi Arabia will remain closed during the day throughout Ramadan as Muslims fast. Food delivery services, including Jahez and Careem will also only serve takeaway from 5pm.

However, restaurants will welcome guests to fill all tables from sunset and will remain open until 4am in most places. This year will be the first since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic that eateries in the kingdom will be able to operate to capacity without the need for social distancing, and it's expected to be a busy year.

Food courts in malls will open at 5pm, an hour and a half before sunset, to serve takeaway. "We usually open at 5pm to serve until prayer time. Then we take a break to pray and continue serving up until 1am, if not more," said a Saudi sales representative at Mall of Arabia in Jeddah.

Open-market places are hugely popular during the month of Ramadan where women and children sell home-cooked traditional meals and drinks, such as sobiya, made of rice, milk and sugar.

"The markets are usually jam-packed an hour before maghrib and everyone is in a rush to get home with hot food for iftar," says Abdullah, a salesman at a food truck in Jeddah's Sulaimaniyah district. "My brother and I started selling my mother's home-made qatayef and Arabic coffee from a truck during Ramadan, it was really popular and we usually sell-out before maghrib."

Rahaf Ekram, a barista at a coffee shop in Jeddah said: "We are still required to wear masks but our customers no longer have to socially distance. It's going to be great and finally we can witness the spirit of Ramadan, which is to be celebrated with your community and not in isolation."

Ramadan is expected to begin on April 2, once the crescent moon is sighted. The start of the month will be announced by Saudi Arabia's Supreme Court on Friday.

Updated: April 01, 2022, 4:56 AM