RIXOS SAADIYAT ISLAND
Set in the main all-day dining restaurant, Turquoise, the Iftar spread at this luxury, all-inclusive 5-star resort is simply breathtaking. Merging together the best of Arabic and Turkish cuisines, you’re really spoilt for choice. As we arrive a little close to 7pm, the dining crowd is a mix of corporate gatherings and in-house hotel guests. We see families, both local and international, enjoying the lavish food spread. The tables are elegantly topped with dates and water whilst, although packed, there is no queue or congestion at the buffet (just how we like it). We begin to navigate the buffet and find that a few stations are mirrored on both sides of the restaurant, so no matter which side you’re sat on, you have direct access to the freshest food. If you’re someone who knows what they want, then navigating this vast buffet will be a treat. Otherwise, have a couple of walks around and see what catches your eye! This is when you’ll also recognise the soothing sounds of an Oud player, adding more Ramadan vibes to your melodic route around the buffet.
We start the feast with a plate full of fresh greens and our favorite cold mezzeh – hummus, muhammara, tabbouleh, spinach salad and more. If you’ve been fasting, this alone will be enough to tempt the taste buds but, word of advice, leave room for the mains. Before that, make sure you head over to the far end of the buffet which is where the bread station sits in all its glory. We’ve got two words for you, Turkish Pide. The hot, oven-fresh bites of oozing cheese topped on beautifully light bread is the standout dish of the evening for us. In fact, we had around three helpings of it – SO yummy!The mains are, with no surprise, meat heavy – there’s lamb, beef, and a live grills station to keep things sizzling. We highly recommend trying the lamb soup which is a beautiful hot broth with tiny meat pieces, reminding us of true winter warmer dishes back home. The beef short ribs are also appetising, and the one item that seems to run out at a quick pace (try and hang around the counter to get it served hot and fresh). Indian and Italian dishes also make a prominent appearance, with curries and rice as well as a huge Parmesan wheel taking centre stage – if you love pasta and cheese – this is a dream dinner choice.
What’s Iftar without desserts? At Rixos Saadiyat Island, you’ve got tables packed with sweet offerings as far as the eye can see. Traditional Turkish Delights, different kinds of dates, a crepe station, chocolate fountain, cakes galore and even an extensive fruit option, there isn’t a single craving that you can’t satisfy here – they really have it all. We quickly agreed that the Turkish Baklava, which was presented in abundance, was some of the best we’ve tasted in the city. This Kadayıf was crispy on top and sticky and chewy in the middle. There file pastry brought the crunch whilst the nuts, butter and sugary syrup brought the flavours. For those who prefer a savory ending, there’s an impressive cheese table to get your fix. We have to commend the service of the waiters. They were incredibly attentive and friendly to all the tables around us. They accommodated various requests with urgency and efficiency – like walk-ins, big families who wanted specific seating for small children, and drink orders that showed up to the table within minutes. We must point out that as the restaurant is fully-licensed and operating with alcohol being served throughout Ramadan, expect to find many visiting guests sipping on a pint of beer or other alcoholic beverages at tables all around. It’s a jarring scene, and it would perhaps be better during the Holy Month to separate dining areas for those who want to drink alcohol.
For the variety of food alone, the Iftar at Rixos Saadiyat Island is well worth a visit this Ramadan (and it’s one of the most instagrammable too!).
Time & Price: Sunset to 8.30pm, AED260.
GO: Call (0)2 492 2222 for reservations and more information.
RIXOS PREMIUM DUBAI
An Istanbul Iftar? Yes, please! With its Turkish roots and traditions, Rixos Premium Dubai offers an inspiring atmosphere and genuine hospitality during the Holy Month of Ramadan. Savour authentic local flavours of Turkish cuisine, impeccable service and the most exquisite Iftar experience. Discover authentic dishes including a wide variety of hot and cold mezze, soups, salads, and main courses, with juicy Turkish grilled meats stealing the show. This is all washed down with Ramadan juices, Arabic coffee and soft drinks.
From 9pm onwards, diners can then head upstairs to Turquoise Restaurant’s private enclosed terrace, which will be transformed into a traditional majlis lounge for the occasion. Here, guests can enjoy shisha and help themselves to baklava, an ice cream bar, and special Turkish teas and coffees.
Time & Price: Daily from sunset to 9pm, AED199.
GO: Call (0)4 520 0333 for reservations and more information.