Are these the best iftar offers in the city?

There are countless iftar offers around town at this time of year, making it difficult to choose where to break your fast. From Latin-themed set menus to traditional buffets, we put some of them to the test

Al Forsan Iftar

Special set menus

Tamba

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Tamba brings its signature Indian fusion flair to the table with a nine-course menu for iftar. Kicking things off is a smoked pineapple soup for an inspired riff on the usual lentil option – don’t worry, it’s not as sweet as it sounds.

After that, you’ll enjoy a series of small sharing dishes, including baba ghanoush with pulled beef, potato samosas smothered in chutney and the restaurant’s popular smoked chicken in tomato gravy.

The dessert – a milky strawberry parfait with rose and pistachio reduction – is not as bold as Tamba’s usual sweets, but is a lighter note to end things on.

AED 180++, minimum two people. The Hub, The Mall at World Trade Center, Khalifa Street. Daily from sunset. Contact: 02 672 8888, tambarestaurant.com

Hakkasan

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The intimate setting at this Cantonese fine-dining spot is perfectly befitting of the season’s solemn vibe.

An impressive four-course set menu comprises the restaurant’s signature dishes but with an Arabic touch.

The Peking duck is a winner, as well as the handmade dim sum, stir-fry tiger prawns in spicy lemongrass sauce and Wagyu beef ribs.

AED 228. Emirates Palace, Corniche West. Daily sunset-8pm. Contact: 02 690 7739, hakkasan@emiratespalace.ae

BU!

A dimly lit interior sets the mood at BU!, where the culinary team adds an Arabic twist to its flair for Latin flavours.

The Ramadan chef’s menu features four courses of sharing dishes, starting with dates filled with agave-sweetened cheese and skillet gobernador, tender roasted shrimp with mixed capsicum and chilli.

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A trio of grilled meat makes up the main course platter, with our favourite being the perfectly cooked grilled halibut piled with marinated chunks of tomato, avocado and onion.

Desserts are more traditional with umm Ali, baklava and kunafah all on the menu, but with a gourmet Latin twist courtesy of dulce de leche, pistachio and orange. It’s a knockout. AED 195 per person. Dishes also available à la carte.

The Hub, The Mall at World Trade Center, Khalifa Street. Daily from sunset. Contact: 02 666 8066, butrinity.com

99 Sushi Bar & Restaurant

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Get a taste of the East with a nine-course gourmet Japanese menu. Expect an iftar featuring the finest ingredients, all beautifully plated and served in a manner in keeping with this sophisticated joint’s reputation.

The menu is packed with some of the restaurant’s signature dishes so you can expect tasty tuna maki, tiger prawn tempura, sweet miso eggplant, lamb gyoza and nigiri with some of the most tender butterfish we’ve tasted.

Round things off with a perfectly-sized serving of mochi – we recommend the passion fruit flavour.

AED 199 per person. The Galleria, Al Maryah Island. Daily sunset-9.30pm. Contact: 02 672 3333, 99sushibar.com

Seasonal spreads

Giornotte

The stylish iftar at Giornotte offers a huge choice of cuisines, including Moroccan, Turkish and Tex-Mex.

We recommend starting with the flavourful and warming lamb harira soup. After that, take your pick of the grills, which include kofta and prawns, chicken shawarma or the wide range of tagines and curries.

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For dessert, a variety of traditional and international favourites are on offer, including umm Ali and baklava, but hold out for the luqaimat – tiny fried dough balls drenched in date syrup – made fresh while you wait.

AED 235 for adults, AED 120 for children aged six to 11. Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal, Khor Al Maqtaa. Sunset–9pm. Contact: 02 818 8888, ritzcarlton.com

Khayal

This international iftar buffet ticks the boxes when it comes to both quality and quantity –and with everything from Asian fare and fragrant curries to slow-cooked brisket and lamb ouzi, there’s no shortage of variety either.

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The savoury selection is simply overwhelming but be sure to save room for dessert; the dainty brownie squares don’t look like much but are gloriously fudgy inside, while the amazing display of baklava and Arabic sweets tastes just as good as it looks.

AED 170 for adults, AED 70 for children. Marriott Hotel Al Forsan, Khalifa City. Daily sunset–9pm. Contact: 02 201 4131, marriottalforsanlife.com

Flavours

Looking for variety? Flavours has it in spades. You can start with dishes like cheese sambusek, stuffed vine leaves and beetroot laban, followed by hot plates such as fish  harra, curry and lamb ouzi, which, with its tender meat and fragrant spiced rice, is one of the star dishes.

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For dessert, try the pistachio cheesecake and mango sago, a welcome treat to balance the savoury flavours.

AED 174, AED 87 for children aged six to 12 years. Sheraton Abu Dhabi Hotel and Resort, Corniche East. Daily sunset-9pm. Contact: 02 677 3333, sheratonabudhabihotel.com

c.taste

Among the market-style display at this fuss-free iftar is a selection of cold salads and a hot section that includes traditional Arabic delicacies such as samkeh harra and lamb ouzo, plus Indian specialities like biryani and fried samosas.

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Our highlight is the Jordanian meat mansaf, lamb cooked in fermented yoghurt paired with herbed rice. Diners can also take part in a raffle for a chance to win a weekend trip for two to Amman, Jordan, inclusive of flights and five-star hotel accommodation.

AED 129. Centro Capital Centre, near Adnec, off Al Khaleej Al Arabi Street. Daily sunset 9pm. Contact: 02 409 6666, rotana.com/centrohotels

Bistro

Modest in space but brimming with options, this generous iftar consists of dishes from Asia, India and the Middle East. Gliding from station to station, you’ll find a range of dishes like pasta, rice, grilled meats, seafood, shawarma, salads and desserts.

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Try the seafood tagine with Moroccan spices and the fish stew mixed with a variety of spices and vegetables.

The buffet changes daily, too, so you can always come back again.

AED 170. Courtyard by Marriott World Trade Center Abu Dhabi, Hamdan Street. Daily from sunset. Contact: 02 698 2222, diningatcourtyardmarriottabudhabi.com

Essence

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To say that the iftar here is sumptuous is an understatement. The buffet includes everything from Lebanese hot and cold mezze and Arabic grills to Indian dishes, seafood and sweets, making it a great option for families and large groups.

Don’t miss the spiced lamb ouzi, but save room for dessert and take a slice of umm Ali and kunafeh – traditional desserts to end a filling meal.

AED 230. Beach Rotana, next to Abu Dhabi Mall, Al Zahiyah. Daily sunset-8.30pm. Contact: 02 697 9011, fb.beach@rotana.com

Latest Recipe

The all-day-dining restaurant at Le Méridien Abu Dhabi has been given an Arabic makeover with ornate framed doorways welcoming you in, camel figurines watching over the buffet and red and black majlis fabrics draped over tables.

The beautifully presented buffet offers everything from lentil soup and cold mezzo to Arabic grills and Indian specialities – don’t miss the chicken tikka masala.

The sweet section presents the best of both worlds with traditional desserts such as umm Ali, kunafah and halawa al jibn sitting alongside chocolate cake, crème caramel and ice cream. AED 159, AED 75 for children aged five to 12. Al Zahiyah. Daily sunset-10pm. Contact: 02 644 6666, lemeridienabudhabi.com

Ingredients

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You won’t be short of options at this buffet, which features Middle Eastern and international cuisine with a selection hot and cold mezze, sushi, grilled meats, Indian specialities and seafood.

For those with a sweet tooth, there’s a variety of cakes, Arabic sweets, ice cream and dates – best enjoyed with a cup of Arabic coffee or Moroccan tea.

AED 232 for adults, AED 116 for children aged five and 12. Eastern Mangroves Hotel and Spa by Anantara, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Street. From 7pm. Contact: 02 656 1000, emdining@anantara.com

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