We checked out three different locations offering their approach to this significant supper in the Holy Month.
But they, like hundreds of other hotels across the emirate, are united in offering a variation on the meal that breaks the daily fast.
It’s often a sumptuous affair, bolstering the usual buffet offering in most all-day dining restaurants with subtle or themed additions.
Our first stop this time around was Al Maeda, the stylish speciality restaurant in the DoubleTree, at the very end of Jumeirah Beach Residence.
There’s a warm Mediterranean vibe about this venue at all times, and with the Levant figuring in normal service it is no surprise they serve a quality iftar.
That translates as a well-presented and pleasingly fresh cold mezze and salad selection, featuring family favourites done with flair; a zesty baba ganoush, a hummus that has substance and depth of flavour, a refreshing tabbouleh.
On the opposite side of the aisle, tagine servers and shiny metal dishes were packed with many more temptations, including MustDoDubai winners such as a vibrant dawood basha stew of rich meatballs, a huge lamb ouzi and majbous chicken, an addictive spicy dish best described as the Arabian take on a southern Indian biriyani. Also grabbing our attention and tastebuds was chermoula fish, a Moroccan offering that is kind to the waistline without stinting on flavour, especially when sharing a plate with Al Maeda’s artistic vegetable cous cous.
There’s a Turkish slant to the iftar offering at Rixos The Palm – as you might expect from a luxury chain from Turkey.
It’s more of an influence than a takeover with stations dotted about the resort’s A La Turca restaurant dedicated to scrumptious delicacies indicative of the nation.
Among other things that means lamb presented several ways, meaning some more tough choices for those wanting to sample far and wide from this generous spread without testing belt loops.
A rich sahan kofta kebab vies for plate space, alongside the sometimes breakfast dish of tomatoes, eggs and onions, shakshuka, and another sturdy dawood basha.
The beans and vegetables in the Istanbul piyaz removed some of the calorific guilt as did some of the choices of dolma; plum and zucchini among the ‘coats’ worn by a moreish mixture that was hard to resist.
Hunkar begendi – otherwise known as sultan’s delight – is a sumptuous lamb stew worthy of any iftar, while a fragrant lamb tandir, vibrant fish harra and urfa kebab with its subtle paprika flavouring, provided further adventure for this palate.
With the Ottoman candy man spinning sweet colours and a traditional ice cream artisan entertaining the kids, us adults were presented with a world of pistachio and honey-imbibed pastries, creamy creations and all manner of inspired cakes and mousse-based naughtiness. A La Turca always excels in this department.
Our final iftar inspection was at the Millennium Plaza Hotel Dubai, on Sheikh Zayed Road - helpfully placed at the footbridge to Financial Centre metro station, for those who want to dodge the traffic.
The lifts – on the other side of a bright and welcoming lobby – take you to the fifth floor and the hotel’s all-day dining Metro Restaurant.
Spacious and brightly lit, it has a practical feel about that is presumably given more of a feel of Ramadan during the Holy Month.
On the cold mezze side, the chefs excel at their seafood salad and chicken liver salad, fried cauliflower salad; tight and flavour-packed stuffed vine leaves and the tree of prawns proved hard to ignore.
Desserts were also a tough resist, the umm ali rich and indulgent and crème caramel light enough to offset the calorie quarms.
In between courses, special word has to be given to an exceptional butter chicken, the rich masala sauce coating perfect nuggets of white meat. Likewise, the harra potatoes were an appealing red colour with good flavouring that demanded a second helping.
Chicken thareed doesn’t pop up often enough for our liking, but this Emirati version makes a welcome appearance at Metro.
Although usually cooked with lamb, the white meat absorbed the gentle spicing to make a graceful stew that was balanced by onions, potatoes and sliced vegetables for an authentic Arabic taste this Ramadan.
IFTAR at Al Maeda iftar buffet will be served every day from sunset to 9pm. Suhoor will be available from 9pm to 2am
Iftar buffet inclusive of Ramadan drinks costs 139AED. Suhoor a-la-carte menu offers a standard platter at 69AED and premium platter for 89AED. Call 04 453 3333 or email http://doubletree3.hilton.com/en/hotels/uae/doubletree-by-hilton-hotel-dubai-jumeirah-beach-DXBTHDI/offers/100090136.htm
A LA Turca’s iftar costs 185AED per person. Children aged four to 12 dine for half price while under fours go free.
It is served from sunset until 9pm. Suhoor is served from 10.30pm until 2am with price dependent on menu selection. To book call 04 457 5454 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
IFTAR at Metro Restaurant runs from sunset until 11pm and costs 150AED per person. Suhoor is from midnight until sunrise and costs 99AED.
To book a table call 04 387 7122 or email email@example.com
DON'T forget to check your Entertainer app for monthly offers, including iftar deals, as well as the regular service 2-4-1 offers at the above restaurants.