Ramadan iftar guide 2022: 30 meals to try in Dubai and Abu Dhabi

Here’s our guide to a diverse selection of meals to break the fast in Abu Dhabi and Dubai

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Nearly every restaurant worth its salt in the UAE offers an iftar menu for people to break their fast during Ramadan, which this year is projected to start on April 2.

The meals range from low-budget to lavish, take in set menus and buffets, and come in a multitude of cuisines.

It becomes crucial, then, to choose a venue that will not disappoint after a day of fasting.

After much cherry-picking, here are 30 iftars we recommend you try over the course of the holy month.

Abu Dhabi iftars

Al Mabeet Desert Camp

Al Wathba is located 40 minutes from Abu Dhabi city

Break your fast amid the dunes at Al Wathba, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, which is a 40-minute drive from Abu Dhabi city. The Bedouin-inspired meal will be accompanied by an oud player as well as storytelling around a bonfire.

The iftar buffet includes Middle Eastern, Indian and Asian dishes. Appetisers include hot and cold mezze, salads and soups, while live stations will serve baked manakeesh, shawarma, and grilled meat and seafood. Mains include shrimp in harra sauce and chicken molokhia, and dessert takes in kataif ashta, kunafa, koulaj, Umm Ali, red velvet cake, brownies and light French pastries.

Dh195 per person; until 8.30pm; Al Wathba, Abu Dhabi; 02 204 4444; Restaurants.alwathba@luxurycollection.com

Garage, W Abu Dhabi

Taking place in Garage at W Abu Dhabi, this iftar spread revolves around the restaurant’s food hall concept with plenty of choice on the menu. Start with nibbles and pass around plates of zaatar manoushe and chicken shawarma tarts and then get set for the main attraction. The Meat Vault serves kebabs, ouzi and snapper, while Mezza House offers biryani, hummus, salads and more. Try the prawn spring rolls and wok-fried noodles from The Steam Room and save space for the spicy salmon uramaki and haramchi ceviche from Nikkei House. Finish things off with a New York-style kunafa cheesecake from the tart van.

Dh198 per person; until 9pm; W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island; www.garageabudhabi.com

Hakkasan Abu Dhabi

For fine Cantonese fare, sample the Hakkasan iftar menu, which features some of the restaurant’s most popular plates. Expect dim sim selections that include Wagyu beef truffle puff and Chilean sea bass dumping; mains that include roast duck lettuce warp, crispy beef, wok-fried sesame walnut chicken and XO tiger prawns with pineapple. Dessert is a regional take on Umm Ali, served with date ice cream.

Dh288 per person; until 8pm; Emirates Palace; Abu Dhabi; 02 690 7739

India Palace

Enjoy iftar on a budget with delicious Indian fare at all India Palace restaurants across the UAE. There’s plenty to choose from at this “Royal Indian Buffet”, which includes 10 types of salad, five starters (including samosas and daal-chawal balls) and six main courses, including shahi seekh kebab, chicken kurkure and biryani. Afterwards, tuck into a choice of desserts and a fruit salad, and wash it all down with your choice of Ramadan beverage.

Dh80; until 10pm; India Palace; www.indiapalace.ae

La Carnita

La Carnita is located at Yas Bay Waterfront

Head to this vibrant cantina if you’re in the mood for a Mexican iftar you can linger over. The three-course set menu comprises four sharing starters: tortilla chips with spiced beans and corn salsa guacamole dips; charred corn ancho barbecue soup; avocado hummus; and Cali salad. For mains, choose from chicken or beef sizzling fajitas, pan-seared sea bass and tacos. Desserts include tres leches, plus churros with Mexican caramel sauce.

The chefs have also whipped up three Ramadan-inspired mocktails: the Movimto is a mix of mint, lemon and Vimto; the Jallaberry melds jallab and hibiscus lemonade; and the Amardin is a fusion of apricot, passion fruit and ginger beer.

From Dh149; until 9pm; Yas Bay Waterfront, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi; 050 185 8068; www.lacarnita.ae

Olea

The Mediterranean restaurant at The St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort offers indoor and outdoor seating for its elaborate and extended iftar, which ends at 11pm. Feast on crunchy salads, including fattoush and fried cauliflower with tahini; and small bites such as shrimp kunafa, fatayer, kibbeh, falafel and fried halloumi.

The live cooking stations serve grilled prawns, chicken shawarma, lamb botti, fish kebabs, prime rib-eye beef and rosemary chicken, cooked a la minute with sides of steamed vegetables, roasted potatoes and ricotta spinach. End the meal on a sweet note with ice cream and ashta with honey and pistachios, among other classics such as Umm Ali, baklava and kunafa.

Dh250; until 11pm; The St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi; 02 498 8888; restaurant.saadiyat@stregis.com

Vendome

The revamped restaurant at Emirates Palace should be your go-to for at least three reasons: its elaborate buffet, views of the Arabian Gulf and live qanun music to set the mood. The meal spans local and international cuisines, with a wide selection of salads, soups, hot and cold mezzes, cheeses, meat and seafood, plus delectable Middle Eastern sweets, all courtesy of chef de cuisine Johannes Tafel.

From Dh175 per person (prices go up each week); until 8.30pm; Emirates Palace, Corniche Road, Abu Dhabi; 02 690 7999; epauh-restaurants@mohg.com

Dubai iftars

11 Woodfire

Chef Akmal Anuar’s charming new eatery, which specialises in traditional woodfire cooking, has put together a set iftar menu for a minimum of two guests. Break your fast with Emirati Kholas dates, green salad with pomegranate molasses dressing, and cold tamarind juice with agave. The main event is a slow-fire-roasted lamb rump, cooked in rich lamb broth and fresh pineapple pachri, and served with rice. More dates come for dessert, alongside a flourless dark chocolate cake.

Dh220 for two; until 9pm; Villa 11 75B St, Jumeirah 1, Dubai; 04 491 9000

Al Hadheerah

The buffet area at Al Hadheerah, Bab Al Shams

Dubai’s popular Bab Al Shams Desert Resort, located on the outskirts of the city, recently announced it was closing for renovation in May for the first time in 17 years. The good news is that its in-house restaurant is still serving iftar this year, with no fewer than 10 live stations serving meaty mixed grills, manakish, seafood, poultry and vegetarian dishes. Al Hadheerah is also known for its signature lamb ouzi, which is cooked underground for up to 10 hours.

Dh299 per person; until 10pm; Bab Al Shams Desert Resort, Al Qudra Road, Dubai; 04 809 6100

Al Nafoorah

Amid opulent surroundings at Jumeirah Al Qasr, Al Nafoorah is hosting an iftar that aims to transport diners to Lebanon. Chef Ali Fouad Hassan has created a set menu that’s served to the table, but there are also live cooking stations to peruse.

Dishes include traditional hot and cold mezze plates, from fattoush and tabbouleh to sambousek, fatayer, kibbeh and cheese rakakat. Choose from a mixed grill and lamb ouzi for main course, and partake in the dish of the day, from shish barak and fish sayade to maklouba chicken and molokhia. Desserts are a selection of hand-made Ramadan sweets.

From Dh285 per person; until 8pm; Jumeirah Al Qasr, Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai; 04 432 3232; www.jumeirah.com

Allo Beirut

The popular restaurant is serving more than a dozen dishes, spanning Lebanese, Mediterranean and the wider Arabic cuisines, on a rotating basis through Ramadan. Break your fast with dates, lentil soup and sambousek, followed by starters such as fattoush, moutabel and hindbeh, plus a choice of a daily dish main course. Not to be missed is the traditional Lebanese spicy potato, seasoned with garlic, lemon juice, coriander and chilli powder.

Dh95; until 9.30pm; Al Barsha and City Walk, Dubai; 800 8623 4788, www.allobeirutstreetfood.com

Baba

Make yours an Ottoman-flavoured iftar at Baba. On the menu is a zaalouk, an Egyptian salad with aubergine; chicken maftoul; a Yemenite soup with hawaij spice blend; a sizzling mixed grill and borek, a stuffed pastry. The dessert menu features Turkish sweets, ice cream and kunafa, along with tea and coffee.

Dh205 per person; until 8pm; The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina, Dubai; 04 511 7373

Caviar Kaspia

Caviar Kaspia is located in Dubai International Financial Centre

The Dubai outpost of the Parisian hotspot — which welcomed Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, in October — is going all out for its first iftar. Once you break your fast with dates, soup and fresh juice, move on to appetisers including beef carpaccio, smoked salmon and beetroot salad. Mains are a choice of beef stroganoff, pan-fried sea bass and asparagus risotto, while dessert is a fluffy honey cake.

Pro tip: the restaurant’s famed Kaspia potato (served with fresh cream and caviar) is not on the iftar menu, but we’d get it anyway.

Dh250 per person; until 9pm; Gate Village 2, Dubai International Financial Centre; 04 243 5633

Fi’lia

The female-led restaurant offers an Italian iftar, plus spectacular sunset views from its 70th-floor vantage point. An assortment of dates and juices is followed by antipasti including focaccia, potato and mascarpone soup, and a tomatino salad made of cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, thyme and olive oil. Diners can choose two mains from a selection that includes spaghetti al pomodoro, polpette meatballs in marinara with Parmigiano, ricotta-stuffed chicken breast with rocket salad and roasted potatoes, and sea bass feta (a Fi’lia signature). The meal ends with Fi’liamisu, made of light mascarpone cream, savoiardi and espresso syrup.

From Dh230; until 8pm; SLS Dubai Hotel & Residences, Business Bay; 04 607 0737; www.sbe.com

Gastro Kitchen

Grill by the Wheel iftar at Gastro Kitchen, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Dubai — Jumeirah Beach

Enjoy this Grill by the Wheel iftar in a garden with a beachside view of Ain Dubai. Break your fast with dates and pickles, followed by salads and hot mezze. Live stations will serve up various hummus flavours, lamb ouzi, the catch of the day, and barbecued lamb and vegan koftas, shish taouk, tiger prawns and chicken shawarma. Jallab and tamarind juice aside, Gastro Kitchen has concocted an Arabian Nights mocktail, served in a genie lamp.

From Dh149; until 9pm; DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Dubai — Jumeirah Beach; 055 166 8092; dine.jbr@hilton.com

Ikigai Resto & Bar

The UAE’s penchant for Japanese food shines ever strong during the holy month, with a number of restaurants serving the cuisine across the Emirates. Our first-hand recommendation is the chef Reif Othman-helmed Ikigai, which is serving a three-course set menu. Choose from appetisers such as mushroom tacos and chicken gyoza; mains such as miso chicken, salmon teriyaki, a Wagyu burger and vegetable wok-fired ramen; and desserts such as yuzu cheesecake and passion fruit-mango cake.

Best of all, diners will have unlimited access to the sushi bar during iftar, which offers up tuna maki, salmon carpaccio, California rolls, zuke sashimi, yasai maki and miso soup.

Dh199 per person; until 8pm; Millennium Place Marina, Dubai; 04 550 8114; reservation@ikigaidubai.com

Li’ Brasil

Why settle for one cuisine when you can have two? At this Brazilian-Lebanese restaurant, enjoy cold mezze such as stuffed vine leaves alongside a pineapple avocado salad; and hot mezze that includes cheese cigars, empanadas and coxinha Brasileira croquettes, plus falafel and kibbeh.

The mains meld churrasco with shish taouk, and a vegetable moqueca stew with fish sayadieh, while desserts take in kunafa and cafe com leite.

Dh228; until 8pm; Address Beach Resort, Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai; 04 879 8888

LPM Restaurant & Bar

This award-winning restaurant’s iftar spread is full of French-Mediterranean classics sprinkled with some Middle Eastern flavour. Welcome drinks, soup and dates are available to break the fast, before dishes such as a butter bean dip with aioli and quinoa crisps, grilled aubergine and mozzarella with prawns, arrive, as well as LPM’s famous burrata with cherry tomatoes and basil. Mains include home-made rigatoni with cream and mushrooms, marinated lamb cutlets with olive and aubergine caviar, and marinated baby chicken. To finish off, sweets include French toast with “spice ice cream”, and a date and almond cake.

Dh250 per person, minimum two people; until 7.30pm; Gate Village No 8, DIFC, Dubai; 04 439 0505; www.lpmrestaurants.com/dubai

MasterChef, the TV Experience

Themed on the popular cooking show, the restaurant recently welcomed chef Juan Ramon Sobero Llaca, who will serve a three-course iftar menu made up of dishes from MasterChef champions past. The sharing starters include creamy cauliflower and crispy calamari; mains are a choice of sea bass, roasted chicken, Josper-grilled striploin, a margherita pizza and quinoa risotto. Desserts are also sharing-style, with a meringue, brownie and cheesecake all on offer.

Dh199 per person; until 8pm; Millennium Place Marina, Dubai; 04 550 8111; info@masterchefdxb.com

Osh

Expect bright interiors and Uzbek flavours at Osh. Photo: Osh

The Uzbek restaurant has created iftar and general Ramadan menus this year, with traditional dishes for the holy month infused with Uzbek seasonings, ingredients and cooking methods.

Break your fast with dates and lentil soup, followed by cold mezze such as baba ganoush, hummus, Olivier salad, marinated olives and watermelon salad. The meal also encompasses mains such as chicken cutlets and lamb kofta, served with a dish of French fries, Achichuk salad or tandoori bread, as well as baklava and a fruit platter for dessert. Beverages include aamar al din, tamar Hind and jallab.

Dh149 per person; until 8pm; Osh, La Mer, Jumeirah 1, Dubai; 055 963 6756; www.oshdubai.com

Roberto’s

The fine-dining Italian restaurant, which recently celebrated its 10th anniversary in the UAE, blends Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavours in its tramonto (sunset) iftar menu. On offer are a choice of eight appetisers, from Castelluccio lentil soup to creamy burrata with Sicilian Datterini tomatoes and pomegranate molasses. Mains include oven-baked ​​sea bass with artichoke and pepe sauce, and the Costolette d’Agnello marinated lamb chop with purple mash.

Michelin-lauded chef Enrico Bartolini and mixologist Vasile Dorofeev have also created a limited-time Black Clover mocktail, which melds Sea Arch Coastal Juniper, roasted Italian artichoke, liquorice of Calabria and bergamot.

From Dh250 per person; until 8pm; Gate Village 1, Dubai International Financial Centre; 04 386 0066; reservations@robertos.ae

Ruby Passion for Meat

A new Turkish spot in the heart of Jumeirah, Ruby (as its full name suggests) will serve a meat feast every day during Ramadan. Starters include Turkish cheeses, cold cuts, olives, lentil soup, Gavurdagi salad, steamed stuffed meatballs and a delicate findik lahmacun dough with minced meat. For mains, expect a selection of kebabs, including chicken sis kebab, adana kebab, cheese meatballs and begendi kebab with roasted aubergine. End your meal with a selection of Turkish teas and desserts, including baklava.

Dh180 per person; until 9.30pm; Al Wasl Road, Jumeirah, Dubai; 050 477 0827; reservations@ruby.ae

Samakje

Levantine restaurant Samakje is located on The Pointe, Palm Jumeirah Dubai

The fountain-facing Levantine restaurant at The Pointe has put together a rolling iftar, which features a different five-course selection every evening. Break your fast with the soup of the day, followed by mezze such as fattoush, hummus, fish tajin and Lebanese makanek sausages. Chef Ahmad Alfakier’s main event takes in fish sayadieh, mixed grill and lamb ouzi, which can be enjoyed alongside seasonal drinks such as qamar al din, jallab and laban.

Dh180 per person; until 8.30pm; The Pointe, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai; 04 584 6777; www.samakje.com

Shamiana

Those seeking out an elaborate buffet with extended hours this Ramadan can pencil in the one at Shamiana. On offer are Indian, Middle Eastern and international fare, doled out from numerous live stations, plus welcome drinks in the form of qamar al din and tamer Hindi, and a dedicated bread and soup station.

The selection is too extensive to list here, but it includes the usual hot and cold mezze suspects (hummus, fattoush, sambousek, kibbeh), plus Mediterranean salads, Middle Eastern cheeses and pickles, and Palestinian chicken wraps.

The Indian selection takes in a chaat counter, vegetarian and non-veg kebabs, and mains such as biryani and paneer butter masala. Middle Eastern options span everything from vegetable tagine to lamb saloona and ouzi. The iftar also includes Asian stir-fries, pastas and Malaysian noodles.

Finally, if you have room, treat yourself to no fewer than 10 desserts, from Umm Ali and kunafa to rasgulla and tiramisu.

Dh149 per person; until 9pm; Taj Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Dubai; 04 574 1111; shamiana.jltdubai@tajhotels.com

Shanghai Me

For a fine-dining Asian menu with plenty of vegetarian options, consider breaking your fast at Shanghai Me. The meal begins with a hearty soup (choose from options such as tomato egg drop with chicken, egg drop with shrimp and seaweed, and sweetcorn), followed by a multitude of dishes served tableside, plus mango mooncakes for dessert.

Vegetarians can enjoy spring rolls, dim sum, tacos, grilled corn on the cob wok-fried aubergine in chilli bean sauce, sauteed cauliflower flavoured with coriander and chilli, and fried rice, while meat-eaters can add barbecued lamb short ribs, sesame prawn toast, grilled beef tenderloin, and wok-fried prawns in chilli sauce to their plates.

Dh295 per person; until 7.45pm; Gate Village 11, Dubai International Financial Centre; 04 564 0505

Sucre

Sucre, one of Latin America's top restaurants, opened a branch in Dubai in early 2022. Photo: Sucre

One of Latin America's top restaurants opened its third branch in Dubai earlier this year and is celebrating its first Ramadan with an iftar menu curated by chef Fernando Trocca. The meal spans stuffed onions and peppers with aji verde sauce, smoked cheddar and onion empanadas, and lentil and corn soup with aji Amarillo sauce. Octopus tostada, seafood fideua with sofrito and striploin with chimichurri butter are among the larger options, with dulce de leche and date baklava for afters.

From Dh250 per person; until 8pm; Podium Level, Gate Village 05, Dubai International Financial Centre; 04 340 0829; www.sucredubai.com

The Bay

Beachside brasserie The Bay is serving an iftar buffet spread that incorporates Moroccan, Lebanese and Syrian cuisines. Break your fast with taktouka and zalouk salads from the Maghreb, plus a hearty harira soup, and hot and cold mezze including Moroccan pastries and spicy Lebanese sausages.

For mains, choose from tagine barkouk with aubergine couscous and chicken; a Lebanese sayadieh sea bass dish with rice; and a Syrian chargrilled quail frikkeh, served with an ancient grain salad, lamb kebab and batbot bread. Desserts include baklava, kunafa, pistachio date cake and Emirati luqaimat.

Dh280 per person; until 10pm; Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, Dubai; 04 777 2233

The Terrace at Roman Lounge

Outdoor seating at Roman Lounge, Caesars Palace Dubai on Bluewaters Island

If it’s an a la carte iftar (with locally sourced produce to boot) that appeals to you, head to this lounge on Bluewaters Island. Sample the chef-recommended Moroccan tajine (a meal best shared), or opt for lighter dishes such as watermelon and feta salad with marinated onions and sekanjabeen dressing; lamb pitta pockets with Arabic spices; and chicken pastille in Moroccan spices. A live oud player will provide entertainment, while water views come guaranteed.

Prices vary; until 10pm; Caesars Palace Dubai, Bluewaters Island, Dubai; 04 556 6666

Time Out Market

If you want to go iftar-hopping, make a beeline for Time Out Market. The various vendors at the food hall have whipped up special creations for Ramadan. Some of our favourites include: the Vimto-flavoured milkshake at Pickl; the lamb tenderloin with orzo guvech at 21grams; the pulled lamb shawarma pizza at Pitfire; the lamb shank with spiced Japanese rice at Reif Japanese Kushiyaki; and the kofta bao and super green hummus in a black waffle cone and at BB Social Dining.

Prices vary; until midnight from Sunday to Thursday; until 1am on Friday and Saturday; Souk Al Bahar, Downtown Dubai, www.timeoutmarket.com

Vietnamese Foodies

Known for its fresh, nutritious fare, Vietnamese Foodies will serve a four-course iftar at its Nakheel Mall, Downtown Dubai and JLT branches. Enjoy six South Vietnamese dishes across each course: appetiser, soup, salad, and main. The menu, which offers paleo, vegan, dairy and gluten-free dishes, includes options such as grilled chicken satay, vegan spring rolls, crispy coconut prawns with sweet chilli sauce, green papaya and prawn salad, vegan salad with baby gem lettuce, beef brisket or vegan pho, beef stir-fry with capsicum and basil, and Sichuan chicken stir-fry and vegan curry.

Dh109; until 10pm; various venues across Dubai; www.vietnamesefoodies.com

— Additional reporting from Evelyn Lau, Farah Andrews, Hayley Skirka, Katy Gillett and Sophie Prideaux

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