Ramadan in UAE: Guide to traditions, Iftar spots, and dining etiquette

UAE’s diverse dining, blending traditional Emirati and international cuisine, offers a unique Ramadan experience for global expats and visitors alike

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TableCheck

Mar 1, 2024 - 8 min read

Ramadan in UAE: Guide to traditions, Iftar spots, and dining etiquette

Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, holds profound significance for Muslims globally, characterized by fasting, prayer, and reflection. During this sacred period, Muslims demonstrate self-control by refraining from eating, drinking, smoking, and vices from dawn until sunset, fostering qualities of discipline and empathy. Breaking the fast, or Iftar, is a momentous time of the day, symbolizing not only the end of a day-long fast but also the communal spirit of sharing and gratitude.

As home to a multicultural population comprising expatriates and alongside the local Emirati population, the UAE is known for hosting grand and extravagant Iftars. Residents and visitors can experience diverse and traditional dining experiences ranging from traditional Emirati Iftars, extravagant buffet offerings in hotels and restaurants to Ramadan tents with unique atmospheres, and global cuisine Iftars reflecting the city's cosmopolitan nature.

In this article, we have compiled a collection of notable venues during Ramadan in UAE, particularly in Abu Dhabi and UAE, where patrons can mark the Ramadan Iftar season with a diverse array of traditional global culinary experiences for both residents and tourists

Dubai: Best restaurants in Dubai for Iftar delights

The spirit of Ramadan comes alive in Dubai through the city's rich cultural traditions during the holy month but also in the diverse culinary landscape that guests can enjoy when breaking their fast. From sampling regional dishes at Dubai Iftar restaurants, or having lavish Iftar buffets in the city's finest hotels, the gastronomic delights of Dubai bring everyone together.

Al Bahou The Grand Atrium: Iftar every day from sunset until 9 pm

Al Bahou The Grand Atrium at Oaks ibn Battuta Gate Dubai
Al Bahou The Grand Atrium at Oaks Ibn Battuta Gate Dubai

Al Bahou The Grand Atrium presents a grand Moroccan ambiance set in a stately hall where guests can relish a rich Iftar buffet among close friends and family while dining under 88 majestic Moroccan lanterns that add an Arabian flavor to everything. Ramadan favorites like lamb ouzi, mixed grills and seafood saloona are all on offer to celebrate the holy month.

Address: Oaks Ibn Battuta Gate Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road 25 Adjacent To Ibn Battuta Mall, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Website: Al Bahou The Grand Atrium
Reservations: TableCheck

Crescendo: An uplifting Iftar with loved ones

Crescendo at Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort
Crescendo at Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort

Crescendo offers a great global culinary ambiance for guests to enjoy world cuisine within the luxurious Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort. During the holy month, family and loved ones can break their fast with an array of Arabic favorites and other international dishes to satisfy diverse tastes. At Crescendo, guests can enjoy a satisfying Iftar prepared by skilled chefs.

Address: Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort, P.O. Box 71607, East Crescent, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Website: Crescendo
Reservations: TableCheck

La Sirene: A perfect location to break the Ramadan fast with a beautiful Palm Jumeirah backdrop

La Sirene at the Avani+ Palm View Dubai Hotel & Suites
La Sirene at the Avani+ Palm View Dubai Hotel & Suites

Guests can enjoy the very best of Lebanese cuisine at La Sirene in Avani+ Palm View Dubai. With a set menu of Lebanese classics, Ramadan juices, and other specialties, it's the perfect Iftar to break one's fast while watching the sunset and the spectacular views of Palm Jumeirah.

Address: Avani+ Palm View Dubai Hotel & Suites, P.O. Box 502624, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Website: La Sirene
Reservations: TableCheck

Pele Pool Bar & Social Hub: Celebrate the spirit of togetherness with a delightful Iftar buffet

Pele Pool Bar & Social Hub at Avani Ibn Battuta Dubai Hotel
Pele Pool Bar & Social Hub at Avani Ibn Battuta Dubai Hotel

Pele Pool Bar & Social Hub is a perfect backdrop to experience a delicious feast of Ramadan Iftar buffet. Lamb Ouzi and Vegetable Ratatouille are just one of the many traditional dishes on offer plus many types of soups and desserts to choose from. Guests can hang out outside the large pool deck while listening to music in an open-air setting. It's an ideal spot to celebrate with family and friends.

Address: Avani Ibn Battuta Dubai Hotel, P.O. Box 22315, Sheikh Zayed Road, Ibn Battuta Mall, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Website: Pele Pool Bar & Social Hub
Reservations: TableCheck

Nine7One: Breaking Ramadan fast with sumptuous meals in a verdant courtyard

Nine7One at Anantara Downtown Dubai Hotel
Nine7One at Anantara Downtown Dubai Hotel

Part of Anantara Downton Dubai Hotel, Nine7One's sumptuous Iftar meals and Ramadan juices, are served every evening during the holy month. Guests can listen to the sounds of qanan while dining on the finest regional dishes and international recipes to their heart's content.

Address: Anantara Downtown Dubai Hotel, P.O. Box 71847, Business Bay, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Website: Nine7One
Reservations: TableCheck

Qamar: An unforgettable Iftar experience with breathtaking views of the Arabian Gulf

Qamar at Anantara World Islands Dubai Resort
Qamar at Anantara World Islands Dubai Resort

Oceanfront views, and wonderful Arabic and Indian dishes as the sun sets make Qamar an ideal location to spend Iftar with loved ones. From grilled meats to richly spiced stews and fragrant rice dishes, and traditional favorites such as Muhallabla and Kunafa, diners can enjoy delectable cuisine while immersing in traditional Arabic opulence. Sipping coffee and eating desserts while listening to the lapping waves of the Arabian Gulf make Qamara one of the best Dubai Iftar restaurants.

Address: Anantara World Islands Dubai Resort, P.O. Box 566548, South America, The World Islands, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Website: Qamar
Reservations: TableCheck

Anise: An exploration of genuine global flavors

Guests can relish the captivating vistas of Dubai Creek while indulging in an exquisite buffet featuring eight live cooking stations. The diverse array of authentic global flavors includes Thai, Indian, Japanese, Levantine specialties, and traditional Arabic cuisines. During the holy month of Ramadan, visitors can partake in the celebration with a specially curated Iftar buffet, featuring a blend of traditional and contemporary dishes, creating a memorable culinary journey.

Address: Intercontinental Dubai Festival City, PO 45777 Dubai 45777 United Arab Emirates
Website: Anise
Reservations: TableCheck

Charm Thai: An unmistakably authentic Thai flavor experience

Charm Thai is an elite culinary gem that promises a peerless Thai dining experience in Dubai, holding the esteemed "Thai Select Signature" certification. This recognition sets it apart as one of the city's authentic Thai havens. During Ramadan, guests can break their fast with a Thai-twist Iftar, adding a unique touch to the traditional celebration.

Address: Crowne Plaza - Al Yahoom St., Dubai Marina
Website: Charm Thai at the Crowne Plaza Dubai
Reservations: TableCheck

Channels: Where one can indulge in a daily Iftar buffet of global flavors

Channels at Media Rotana
Channels at Media Rotana

To celebrate the spirit of Ramadan, guests can savor an exquisite Iftar buffet featuring Arabian delights complemented by rejuvenating drinks and engaging live cooking stations. The chefs at Channels have crafted every dish with care to bring the warmth of home to guests. Later, guests can unwind on The Terrace and enjoy the Suhoor menu in a cozy setting perfect for the evening.

Address: Media Rotana, Hessa St, Barsha Heights, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Website: Channels
Reservations: TableCheck

Salt & Pepper Restaurant: Global Iftar cuisine with a magnificent outdoor terrace

Salt & Pepper Restaurant at Al Bandar Rotana Hotel Dubai
Salt & Pepper Restaurant at Al Bandar Rotana Hotel Dubai

Diners can experience an authentic Ramadan atmosphere at Salt & Pepper Restaurant in Al Bandar Rotana Hotel Dubai. The skilled culinary team surprises and delights with an international repertoire and Arabic dishes, to be enjoyed in a contemporary indoor setting or on the impressive outdoor terrace. The Ramadan Iftar buffet features a mix of traditional Arabian and international dishes, accompanied by refreshing beverages and captivating live cooking stations.

Address: 1st floor of Al Bandar Rotana Hotel Dubai, Banias Road, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Website: Salt & Pepper Restaurant
Reservations: TableCheck

Abu Dhabi: Exceptional hospitality during Ramadan

Amidst the city's mosques, Abu Dhabi shines as a destination of choice for those who observe Ramadan and has a plethora of activities for non-Muslims alike. Abu Dhabi's hospitality has a lot to offer guests during the holy month, including a wide array of restaurants that serve delectable Iftar cuisine.

Al Shorfa Lounge: A lavish buffet with a spectrum of flavors

Dingers can indulge in an Iftar buffet and Suhoor à la carte menu amidst a luxurious ambiance at the Al Shorfa Lounge. Lamb ouzi, mixed grills, Ramadan drinks, and many other international dishes form part of the buffet perfect for those who want to break their fast in luxury while enjoying time among family and friends.

Address: Beach Rotana, 10th St, Al Zahiyah, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Website: Al Shorfa
Reservations: TableCheck

c.taste: Traditional Arabic Iftar available from sunset onwards

At c.taste, diners can embark on a culinary adventure this Ramadan with daily Iftar buffets, delectable starters, and indulgent desserts. Guests can immerse themselves in live stations showcasing the artistry of Shawarma, Saj, and Ouzi and an enticing array of Ramadan delights. At C.Taste, it's a culinary journey of traditional and diverse flavors that seamlessly harmonize, creating an unforgettable celebration of the season's spirit.

Address: Centro Al Manhal, Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed St. Al Nahyan, Zone 1, Abu Dhabi. United Arab Emirates
Website: c.taste
Reservations: TableCheck

Ginger: A stylish venue with modern Arabian vibe

Ginger at Park Rotana
Ginger at Park Rotana

One can Indulge in diverse gastronomic experiences at Ginger All Day Dining in Park Rotana, offering international cuisine for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The modern Arabian vibe of the terrace at Park Lounge provides a relaxed setting for beverages and bar food. Ideal for families, Ginger All Day Dining is a stylish venue for Ramadan Iftar, featuring daily buffets with Middle Eastern and international dishes, live cooking stations, and a tempting dessert display. Enjoy trendy indoor and outdoor seating with various Iftar packages, including free-flowing Ramadan drinks.

Address: Park Rotana Abu Dhabi, Park Rotana Al Salam St, Easter Ring Road, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Website: Ginger
Reservations: TableCheck

Kamoon: The essence of the Middle East amid captivating views of the Arabian Sea

Kamoon offers an authentic Middle Eastern experience with captivating views of the Arabian Sea. The talented chef prepares dishes using the finest regional ingredients. Whether indoors or on the al fresco terrace, the warm ambiance reflects Arabian hospitality. Kamoon's terrace is the perfect spot for a special Ramadan Iftar, featuring the best view, a magical ambiance, and a sunset accompanied by live oud tunes, creating a memorable experience in the heart of the UAE Capital.

Address: Khalidiya Palace Rayhaan by Rotana, Corniche Rd, Al Bateen, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Website: Kamoon
Reservations: TableCheck

Tazal: a distinctive fusion of international flavors with an Arabic touch

Tazal in Abu Dhabi, awarded the Michelin Guide BIB Gourmand, offers an upscale all-day dining experience with a unique fusion of international and Arabic flavors. From bakery delights to signature meals, Tazal takes guests on a diverse gastronomic journey. Tazal delicately prepares the celebration with its special Ramadan Iftar, with a harmonious blend of international and Arabic influences for a memorable dining experience.

Address: Al Qana Walk Rabdan Area, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Website: Tazal
Reservations: TableCheck

Sim Sim Restaurant: Enchanting tents to experience the ultimate Ramadan 

Sim Sim Restaurant at Saadiyat Rotana
Sim Sim Restaurant at Saadiyat Rotana

In the heart of Saadiyat Island, Sim Sim Restaurant offers an expansive buffet featuring Middle Eastern specialties and perfectly cooked Asian dishes. Live cooking stations present themed or seasonal plates. The Ramadan tent adds a touch of wonder, where guests can enjoy traditional delicacies amidst lantern-lit surroundings. The distinctive and traditional Ramadan Iftar experience at Sim Sim includes captivating performances by a Tanoura dancer and an Arabic fusion duo band, and soothing melodies that add to the magic of Ramadan.

Address: Saadiyat Rotana, Al Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Website: Sim Sim Restaurant
Reservations: TableCheck

Marmoura Lebanese Restaurant & Lounge: Lebanese culinary authenticity with a modern twist

Situated on Hudayriat Island, Marmoura Lebanese Restaurant & Lounge offers a picturesque dining experience with an Arabian Gulf backdrop. The menu, featuring traditional mezze and succulent grills, combines Lebanese culinary authenticity with a modern twist. Guests can anticipate an unforgettable Iftar experience at this newly opened establishment.

Address: Building 2, Marsana, Al Hudayriat Island, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Website: Marmoura Lebanese Restaurant & Lounge

Bushra by Buddha-Bar: An extraordinary fusion of Middle Eastern and North African delights

Bushra by Buddha-Bar
Bushra by Buddha-Bar at The Pier, Yas Bay Waterfront

Bushra by Buddha-Bar, an extraordinary fusion restaurant curated by an award-winning celebrity Chef, blends ancient Middle Eastern and North African civilizations with a modern twist. The carefully crafted menu promises a tantalizing array of Middle Eastern delights. Bushra offers a vibrant ambiance for a unique gastronomic adventure, complemented by curated music, creating an unforgettable Iftar dining experience.

Address: The Pier, Yas Bay Waterfront, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Website:Bushra by Buddha-Bar
Reservations: TableCheck

Zeera by Buddha-Bar: Redefining the rich heritage of Indian cuisine blended with global influences

Zeera by Buddha-Bar at The Pier, Yas Bay Waterfront
Zeera by Buddha-Bar at The Pier, Yas Bay Waterfront

Zeera redefines Indian cuisine by blending its rich heritage with global influences. Our menu features inventive, shareable plates crafted with traditional Indian flavors and innovative techniques. Here one can experience culinary artistry at the tandoori grill and open kitchen.  Whether it's breaking the fast during Ramadan or any occasion, Zeera by Buddha-Bar promises an extraordinary dining experience, combining flavors, creativity, and ambiance for cherished memories and a desire to return.

Address: The Pier, Yas Bay Waterfront, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Website: Zeera by Buddha-Bar
Reservations: TableCheck

Ornina Arabian Lounge: A true taste of Arabian and Moroccan gastronomy

 Ornina Arabian Lounge
Ornina Arabian Lounge

Ornina Arabian Lounge presents an authentic Arabian and Moroccan dining experience with sea views and enchanting Arabian-style details. Here one can enjoy traditional grills, kebabs, Moroccan tagines, and freshly prepared Arabian delights. Whether for quality time with loved ones or a vibrant setting with Arabian entertainment, Ornina is the place to be. Guests can't miss the opportunity for a remarkable Iftar experience this Ramadan.

Address: Al Bandar, Al Raha Beach, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Website: Ornina Arabian Lounge
Reservations: TableCheck

Ishtar Yas Marina: Mesopotamian Ramadan Iftar delights

Ishtar Yas Marina
Ishtar Yas Marina

Nestled in Abu Dhabi, the rooftop restaurant takes inspiration from the Mesopotamian goddess of love. It offers mesmerizing marina views and serves North African and Middle Eastern cuisine. Guests can share dishes, enjoy live entertainment, and create lasting memories with a modern twist on regional classics. It's a great place to break fast this Ramadan with its Iftar offerings while enjoying the best North African and Middle Eastern cuisine.

Address: Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Website: Ishtar Yas Marina
Reservations: TableCheck

Ramadan traditions in the United Arab Emirates and dining etiquette

Ramadan traditions in the UAE and general Ramadan practices are observed during this holy period, including tarawih and the reciting of special prayers, which are commonly held at mosques. Practicing Zakat and Sadaqah involves supporting others in need and contributing to charitable initiatives. This a time for family and communal time together to strengthen family bonds, whether through shared meals, religious activities, or other communal traditions.

Iftar: Breaking one's fast

The daily fast, observed from dawn to sunset, is a central pillar of Ramadan. Iftar is the meal with which Muslims break their fast and traditionally begins with the eating of dates and drinking water. Family members gather at a designated place in the home for iftar. The meal typically includes a variety of foods, often starting with a light soup or appetizers before moving on to the main course. Iftar is a physical nourishment and a communal and spiritual event, often shared with family and friends.

Non-Muslim guide to the Ramadan

For non-Muslims visiting the UAE during the holy month of Ramadan, it's advisable to familiarise themselves with the country's customs before their travel. During Ramadan, it is important to be mindful of practices and be respectful to those observing the holy month, avoiding any actions that may be considered disrespectful.

Visitors are exempt from Ramadan fasting during the daytime, however, it's important to be discreet and consume food in private areas.

Restaurant openings

Restaurants and establishments in the UAE generally remain open but may adjust their operating hours. Many establishments close during the day and reopen in the late afternoon or early evening, offering special Iftar menus or buffets for those breaking their fast.

Ramadan dining etiquette

With regards to Ramadan dining etiquette, it is polite to arrive on time and wait for the host to initiate the meal during iftar gatherings. It's crucial to be respectful and considerate of those who are fasting, refraining from eating or drinking in public during daylight hours. Once the Maghrib call to prayer is heard, signaling the end of the fast, people partake in a nutritious and balanced meal.

Additionally, expressing gratitude and engaging in charitable acts are valued practices during this holy month. Overall, being mindful of cultural traditions and respecting the spiritual significance of Ramadan contributes to a positive dining experience in the UAE.

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