You know the drill – each year, Ramadan rolls around and you find yourself making a list of all the iftar buffets you want to try, only to crave something with a novelty factor just days later. Enter: Savoir Flair’s picks of the most unique iftar concepts in the city, guaranteed to impress even the most jaded of Dubai diners.
Keep It Real
Frying Pan Adventures
Ramadan in Dubai may be synonymous with glitzy and indulgent iftars, but the Old Dubai Iftar Walk proves otherwise. Jointly hosted by Frying Pan Adventures and Gulf Photo Plus, this photo walk deep into the heart of Old Dubai starts at 5:30 p.m. and gives participants insights into the humble spirit of the holy month through an area rich with mosques and traditional culture.
You’ll photograph your way through some of the city’s oldest and liveliest streets, pausing to join the neighborhood’s residents for iftar and a cup of piping hot tea. The experience is priced at AED 395 and will be offered several times over the course of Ramadan.
Dubai Museum, Al Fahidi Fort
(+971) 56 471 8244
A great buffet alongside contemporary design and cultural sensibility translates beautifully to Open Tent by kimono shop and art space CHI-KA. Centered around a Japanese-Arabic fusion theme, this cross-cultural concept will serve Japanese and Middle Eastern cuisine with an “out-of-the-box twist” and aims to promote cultural tolerance, compassion, creativity, and community building.
With the option of having iftar or dinner for AED 220 each, you’ll dine amidst minimalist Japanese décor, bonsai gardens, Arabic calligraphy murals, and the soothing sounds of live oud. Bonus: Also on-site will be Dubai’s first Japanese bakery, Yamanote, offering its decadent selection of sweet treats.
Warehouse 46, Alserkal Avenue
(+971) 56 180 2577
Calling All Carnivores
Tom & Serg
To the delight of Dubai foodies, Tom & Serg will once again host its beloved Rule the Roast dinner, but only for the first week of Ramadan (so act fast). For just AED 120, guests can enjoy the likes of roast chicken with apricot and herb stuffing or Australian roast lamb – with your choice of trimmings, sauces, and chips of course – from sunset onwards.
Al Joud Center, Al Quoz
(+971) 56 474 6812
Mother Knows Best
Each edition of INKED dinners brings with it plenty of new surprises, but we’re celebrating the return of Tawlet Souk El Tayeb this Ramadan. Tawlet is a “mom’s kitchen and table” concept based in Beirut that entails cooks coming in from different regions of Lebanon on a daily basis to share home-cooked favorites drawing on their own heritage.
INKED will host them from May 18th to 24th for two sittings daily – iftar and dinner – so there will be plenty of opportunities to hear their stories and savor the traditional dishes of their villages, all freshly prepared in INKED’s kitchens. The pop-up is priced at AED 275.
Unit 57, Alserkal Avenue
(+971) 4 344 1788
Veganism is on the rise in Dubai, and Common Grounds is keeping up. The popular café will host the city’s first ever all-vegan iftar, with each thoughtfully crafted dish packed full of goodness. Diners can look forward to innovation dishes like hokkaido, pumpkin, and peanut stew followed by an umami-mushroom burger and vegan bread-and-butter pudding served with tonka ice cream. The three-course menu, inclusive of a wholesome smoothie, will be priced at AED 110.
Level 2, Mall of the Emirates
(+971) 50 478 1094
Float Your Boat
Breaking your fast with Middle Eastern staples such as shish taouk, lamb kofta, and falafel isn’t exactly revolutionary, but throw a BBQ Donut into the mix, and it’s a whole other story. Get some friends together, float down the creek, and take in views on the city skyline from a new perspective, all while preparing your own food – or opting for the à la carte option if you’re not up to the grilling grunt work. The iftar is priced at AED 165 per person, with each vessel catering for up to eight people at a time.
Boardwalk, Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club
(+971) 4 295 6000
The Great Escape
If you have a picky palate – and are proud of it – take note of the fact that Ramadan Nights by Dish will return for a third edition this year. Hosted by the highly reputable catering and event-management company Dish, the pop-up restaurant at Warehouse Four will feature a four-course menu accented by Moroccan lounge furniture, candlelit tables, and a romantic garden.
Prepared in a unique open-plan show kitchen, the culinary offerings will draw inspiration from flavors of the region – think: spiced carrot and saffron soup, roast-pumpkin salad, cured sea bass with freekha tabouleh, and the signature slow-braised shoulder of lamb in Middle Eastern spices. The iftar will set you back AED 195 and includes signature cold beverages and coffee.
Warehouse Four, Al Quoz
(+971) 56 128 3247
Journey back to the deserts of Dubai circa 1970 by indulging in a traditional iftar with Platinum Heritage. You’ll arrive at a luxurious, lantern-lit bedouin camp in a vintage Land Rover, just in time to dine on a lavish Emirati iftar at sunset and join a local bedouin to hear stories about Ramadan and his culture.
Priced at AED 350 per person, the package will also grant you access to cultural activities like falconry, henna tattoos, and Arabic coffee making. A resident astronomer will even delve into how bedouins relied on the stars for navigation and storytelling purposes in an astronomy session.
Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve
(+971) 4 388 4044
If you’re feeling fancy, this one’s for you: the auditorium at Dubai Opera will once again be transformed into an elegant banquet hall for iftar. On offer will be live cooking stations and a generous spread of classic Arabic dishes with a contemporary twist catered exclusively by award-winning brasserie Sean Connolly at Dubai Opera.
Taking it all up a notch will be live entertainment in the form of classical and Arabic melodies in addition to a pop-up market located in the foyer of the iconic venue. Iftar is priced at AED 250 per person.
Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard, Downtown Dubai
(+971) 4 440 8888
Queen Elizabeth 2
13-deck ship Queen Elizabeth 2 is steeped in history (a whopping 1,400 voyages and almost 2.5 million passengers in 39 years), yet continues her legacy as a 224-room floating hotel and entertainment destination that is docked permanently at Port Rashid. 2018 marks the first time she will host iftar, which will take place at a purpose-built majlis on the ship’s largest deck.
For AED 250, you can dine on an Arabian buffet rife with live cooking stations, traditional Emirati dishes, fresh salads, hot and cold mezze, and plenty of desserts. While you’re at it, you can cross boarding this iconic vessel off your Dubai bucket list.
Port Rashid, Deira
(+971) 4 526 8888
Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding
This might just be the definitive iftar if you’re hosting out-of-town guests this Ramadan. Held in the courtyard of a wind-tower house in the atmospheric Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, the evening will begin with the call to prayer followed by the breaking of the fast with Emirati hosts, who will then happily answer all questions related to the holy month as well as the culture and traditions of the UAE.
After iftar, guests will have the special opportunity to visit the Diwan Mosque before returning to the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding for dessert and tea. Kicking off on May 19th and priced at AED 185 per person, the iftars will be held daily (except for Fridays) until June 12th.
House 26 and House 47, Al Fahidi District
(+971) 4 353 6666