If you truly appreciate food and are looking to hit an buffet-style iftars, not just at Ramadan but any point of time, try to avoid wasting the food on your plate. If the idea of different types of food choices appeal to you, then by all means go ahead. Personally, I can never eat more than a selection of five dishes that I can truly enjoy. Just keep in mind that during buffets, a lot of food goes to waste.
Some may argue that buffet iftars during Ramadan is almost defeating the purpose of it. This includes lots of dancing and music and smoking shisha into the wee hours of the night till suhoor. Ramadan is a time of the year everything tends to slow down in Dubai. It’s a time of self-reflection and regrouping; it’s a time for family and friends. By all means, you have the right to go out and have a meal during iftar or suhoor- (this is what the following list is for), but really it’s about time we as consumers start thinking about our carbon footprint as well. You can read more about my thoughts on buffet iftars in Khaleej Times here.
And so, here’s my list of alternative iftars you can hit this Ramadan!
1. Take an iftar walk through old Dubai
Frying Pan Adventures in collaboration with Gulf Photo Plus does an amazing iftar walk for AED 595 where they take you through the old Naif area. It will give you a chance to be part of an iftar with the locals.
This Ramadan, ditch the glitzy, 5-star buffets and get back to basics. Join us for our Old Dubai Iftar Walks as we explore one of Dubai’s oldest neighorhoods just before sunset. We’ll trek into the heart of Naif before the call to prayer signals the breaking of the fast, then we’ll join the locals of Old Dubai for a swift iftar meal before setting off to eat and photograph our way through the bustling streets of the city. Book via the link in our profile.
2. The All-American Buffet alternative
If you’re craving American food, but are worried that would be too heavy; Clinton Street Baking Company offers a 3-course set menu at AED 145 where you could go as light as their Kale & Quinoa Salad or as heavy as their Fried Chicken Waffles (which are delish, btw). Another alternative is Original Wings & Rings at AED 130 for a 3-course menu of onion rings, boneless wings and traditional lentil soup. Perry & Blackwelder located in the Madinat Jumeirah also offers you 2 sharing platters at AED 195.
3. Iftar in a ‘Dining District’
Al Ghurair Centre has unveiled its new dining district, where you have several options for set menus across their outlets for both iftar and suhoor. I’ve split them up accordingly:
Japanese Restaurant Atisuto offers a set menu priced at just AED 120 per person which includes soup, starter platter, main course, dessert and drinks. In addition, they also have ‘Ramen after hours’ offering a 2 for 1 on all ramen starting at 10 pm. Nando’s is introducing a ‘Ramadan special sharing platter’ which includes a full chicken, Spicy Rice, Hummus, Peri Drizzle, Portuguese Salad, Potato Wedges, Grilled Veggies, Corn-on-the-Cob, Pita Bread and Drinks for an all-in price of AED 139. French bistro Paul has a special 4-course Iftar set menu for AED 99. Choices include a ‘Pavé de saumon en patte phyllo’ which is Seared salmon, infused with anise seeds, lemon zest, mustard, rolled in phyllo dough, served with roasted eggplant in walnuts tomato salsa, lemon creamy sauce, and white rice.
Café Supreme at the Dining District offers both iftar and suhoor. Visitors can grab the special suhoor offering at the Café for AED 40 and Iftar offerings priced at AED 45.
4. Pizza fix
Because who doesn’t love pizza? 😀 Pizza Express’ iftar menu is made for sharing across all their outlets. The rates are 150AED for two, 280AED for four and 360AED for six. If you prefer a more sophisticated Italian menu, Carluccio’s offers a two-course menu at AED 99.
5. Make it a superfood suhoor!
If you’re looking for ideas for a healthy suhoor, get in touch on my fellow bloggers Judy and Alia on their Youtube as they cook up 15 healthy and delicious recipes for Suhoor. The show focuses on the importance of Suhoor and its added value for an easier fast.
6. An international iftar
Bazxar in DIFC offers a 3-course set menu for iftar that ranges from tofu black pepper with rice noodles to penne arrabiata.
7. Have a vegetarian iftar under 700 calories
Govinda’s in Umm Suqeim offers a special 3 course menu under 700 calories at a very reasonable AED76. The menu offers both Indian and Italian cuisines and composes of a beverage, salad, a choice of starters, 2 main courses and a dessert.
8. Indulge in Indian molecular gastronomy
If I had to pick ONE Iftar to have outside this #Ramadan , I’d pick the one at @tresinddubai over and over again. Priced at a (very) reasonable AED 150++, this is where you want to be, away from chafing dishes, buffet lines and messy plates. The artistically plated food (as usual) was simply phenomenal. It’s almost disappointing that I’m never ever disappointed with anything that comes out of @sainihimanshu.delhi’s kitchens 🙈 All the more reason to look forward to Ramadan now 😁
If you’re looking for a remarkable experience at (in my opinion) the best molecular gastronomy restaurant in town, look no further than Tresind. Chef Himanshu never fails to impress. If you don’t believe me, check out the above post by Haiya of Pass me the dimsum. At AED 150 for a 5-course menu, it’s a steal!
Jodhpur Royal Dining also offers a healthier 8-course iftar at AED 199 and includes some interesting dishes like a lotus stem galette.
If you’re looking for wholesome Indian food around the same price point, Mint Leaf of London offers a set menu at AED 145++.
9. At the chef’s table
For an insight into what goes on in a kitchen, then book your place at our Kitchen Bar for a unique menu and dining experience. #FollyDubai #FollyByNickAndScott #GatesHospitality #MadinatJumeirah #Dubai #DubaiFoodie #Food #BeautifulDestinations #DiningExperience #دبي #مطاعم_دبي #شارع_الشيخ_زايد #مطاعم_الامارات #قهوة
Check out the newly opened folly by Nick & Scott in the Madinat Jumeirah and enjoy an intimate experience at their eight seater open kitchen to observe the team upclose and in full flow. Then delight in their sharing menu.
Another experience offered is at Le Cirque Dubai, where each guest gets a bespoke 3 course menu based on their preferences. It costs AED 245 per person.
10. A royal iftar
If you really are in the mood for ‘pinky ups’, the Intercontinental in Festival City offers an intimate private Iftar dining experience in a Presidential suite at InterContinental Dubai Festival, catered to by personal butlers for a smooth AED 550 per person. You can upgrade by choosing to stay there after at an all-inclusive price of AED 3,200 for a family of 2 adults and 2 kids.
You could also head to At.mosphere at the Burj Khalifa for a 4-course set menu iftar for AED 475. Foie Gras, and Wild Mushroom Veloute soup form part of the menu.
Hope I’ve given you plenty of iftar ideas for this Ramadan! Let me know what you think in the comments below. Tag me on Instagram and use the hashtag #skipthebuffet this Ramadan!
If you’re looking for options for day time dining during Ramadan, here’s Foodiva’s list!
Cover image courtesy: At.mosphere, Burj Khalifa