With Ramadan set to end this week, this is your last chance to sample some of the UAE’s classiest suhoor meals in a relaxed setting. After which, many tents will become rowdy hubs as they screen matches from the World Cup, which begins on Thursday. Enjoy the calm vibes while you can.
1. Ramadan Pavilion, Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi
When it comes to lavish suhoors, Emirates Palace’s Ramadan Pavilion wrote the rule book. For more than a decade, the plush beachside tent has managed to dazzle with its spacious and elegant surroundings and attention to culinary detail. This year is no different. The tent has had a subtle redesign that embraces earthier colours; the tables and couches are well-spaced to guarantee your privacy; and there are more than enough members of staff to guarantee your meal arrives in minimal time. This tent is a boon for those with a sweet tooth – the melt-in-your-mouth kunafa is a highlight.
For reservations, call 02 690 7999, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Al Maryah Ballroom, Four Seasons Abu Dhabi
It takes a lot to transform a ballroom into a teeming hub, but the Four Seasons has managed to do just that with its Al Maryah Ballroom. The space is unrecognisable, with its billowing burgundy fabrics, oriental furniture and soothing oud soundtrack. When it comes to food, you have the option of both a buffet, located in the centre of the ballroom, or an a la carte menu. The smaller majlises, which are located just outside the hall, are also a winner with their intimate seating and individual flat-screen televisions.
For reservations, call 02 333 2444, or email email@example.com
3. Dallah, Emirates Golf Club, Dubai
Suhoor on the greens: named after the traditional Arabian coffee pot, Dallah is a breezy tent situated within the serene environs of the Emirates Golf Club. The two-storey structure is packed with couches and dining tables to suit various dinner-party sizes in a chilled out and modern setting. In addition to regional bites, the a la carte menu also offers soups, burgers, platters and grills.
For reservations, email firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Sean Connolly at Dubai Opera
If late nights and loud settings are not exactly your scene, then Sean Connolly at Dubai Opera is an ideal spot for a quiet meal. The suhoor menu offers a variety of traditional Arabic dishes, alongside Connolly’s signatures, such as the duck-fat chips, and watermelon, strawberry and whipped feta salad.
For reservations, call 04 362 7312
5. Tania’s Teahouse, Dubai
Trade in the tent and the traditional Ramadan card games for a fun night of Monopoly and Scrabble at this hip new eatery. With a colourful set-up that’s ideal for groups, this is a great spot to indulge in good old fashioned conversation and board games, while sipping on one of the 25 flavoured teas.
For bookings, call 04 324 0021
6. Crystal Tent, Abu Dhabi
Big, lush and elegant, The Crystal Tent is ideal for a classy evening out with friends. Located in the car park adjacent to Abu Dhabi's Nation Towers mall, the expansive space has a slightly oriental feel, with light-coloured walls, tables and upholstery. The food is a well-prepared selection of Middle Eastern fare (the crunchy calamari plate is a particular treat). Sports fans looking to watch the football away from rowdy crowds will enjoy the large-screen TVs situated around the tent or in the more intimate confines of the near dozen majlises situated around the perimeter of the dining hall.
For reservations call 050 422 3814
7. Al Fayrouz Tent, Ras Al Khaimah
If you are spending the weekend in the northern emirate, you should definitely spend an evening in this lovely tent on the picturesque Al Marjan Island. The colour scheme is a soothing turquoise and white, and you can sit on comfy chairs and listen to a trio of cracking musicians perform smooth takes of classical Arab hits while savouring regional food – some of which comes with little twists, such as the butter chicken spring rolls and beetroot fatayer.
For reservations, call 056 503 9786 or 056 418 4332
8. Hubbly Bubbly at Holiday Inn, Abu Dhabi
This is a little gem of a suhoor tent. Located on the grounds of the Holiday Inn Abu Dhabi, the tent’s intimacy and ambient light deliver a chilled suhoor experience conducive to a good game of cards and a spot of conversation. The food is also a winner, with a rich selection of hot and cold mezzes. If you have a sweet tooth, don’t pass on the ice cream, which is served in the shell of fruits – the coconut flavour is the bestseller.
For reservations, call 02 657 4874
9. Mijana at The Ritz-Carlton Grand Canal, Abu Dhabi
This one is for the anti-tent brigade. With the weather still decent enough to enjoy a meal outdoors, the quiet and comfy surrounds of Mijana are ideal. There is nothing that screams Ramadan at this fine Lebanese restaurant, but that’s the point: it is perfect for those who like to keep their evenings low-key during the holy month. On the culinary front, it is all the usual mezze suspects, done particularly well.
For reservations, call 02 818 8282
10. 3in1 at Vida Downtown, Dubai
This is another good one if you want to enjoy what’s left of the breeze outdoors. Located in the hip surroundings of Vida Downtown, the 3in1 provides a cool urban setting for suhoor patrons – you can lounge and indulge in a good session of people-watching. For those who feel hummus-ed out, the menu is also more expansive, with both Arabic and international selections.
For reservations, call 04 888 3444
11. Hawa Beirut, Traders Hotel, Abu Dhabi
Situated on a private stretch of beach within the hotel in the Qaryat Al Beri complex, the Hawa Beirut tent is an utterly relaxing experience. Tastefully decorated with dark fabrics, oriental chandeliers and purple-hued lighting, the tent feels very spacious. The food is on point: those looking for more than mezzes should check out the international menu, particularly the tasty, tangy chicken wings and quesadilla.
For reservations, call 02 509 855
12. Byblos Sur Mer, InterContinental Abu Dhabi
A firm favourite on the Abu Dhabi Ramadan scene, this gourmet Lebanese restaurant continues to deliver a luxury suhoor experience. While it boasts comfortable couches, hushed oriental music and slick service, the star of the show is the food. The menu doesn’t pack too many surprises, but the hot and cold mezzes are fresh and done so well that this tent deserves regular visits.
Suhoor requires a minimum spend of Dh150. For more information, visit www.dining-intercontinental-ad.ae
13. Saraya Tent, DIFC, Dubai
Suhoor and the city – that sums up the theme of this tent in the heart of Dubai’s financial district. However, the venue doesn’t ape the slickness of its surroundings. Instead, with its soothing colour scheme, spacious setup and super-comfy couches, it aims to act as welcome respite from the daily hustle and bustle. The food is decent, with the kibbeh and cheese pastries a particular standout. Best of all, the tent also boasts a decent-sized car park, which is a rarity in DIFC.
For reservations, call 050 306 0628, or email email@example.com
14. Sofitel Dubai, Jumeirah Beach
Despite being held in a ballroom within the hotel, the suhoor here isn’t a stuffy experience. This is another place to go when you are looking for the staples done well: a relaxed vibe, strong service and solid menu. When it comes to the latter, the hotel boasts a slightly wider food selection than most, with the addition of Moroccan and Turkish dishes into the mix. As a result, those with a sweet tooth are in for a treat.
For reservations, call 04 448 4848, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
15. Al Zorah Marina Kahraman Tent, Ajman
Those taking a trip to the northern emirate shouldn’t pass up on a chance to visit the Kahraman Tent. Nestled within Al Zorah Marina, the tent resembles a coastal retreat, decked out in Turkish and Arabic decorative elements, and mixing the traditional and the modern. Each evening offers an array of tasteful musical performances, with the usual assortment of hot and cold Arabic dishes.
For reservations, call 056 422 6521, or email email@example.com