Dubai - It's easy to feel spoilt for choice when it comes to selecting the best Iftar buffet in town.
We try and do justice to the astounding variety out there in this list of hotels where you can find some of the most scrumptious offerings. Gaurav Achipalya explores.
Saraya Ramadan Tent, Armani Hotel
For the first time a Ramadan tent has been organised by Armani Hotel Dubai. Named Saraya, the tent will cater from in-house restaurants - Amal for Indian, Hashi famous for its Japanese food, and Ristorante that brings Italian flavours to your table. Dh250 a head.
Rang Mahal, JW Marriott, Dubai
Rang Mahal by Atul Kochhar offers 11 Indian dishes. There's a 50% discount for children between 7 and 12, and only children above 7 years are allowed in. Dh325 for one.
Aseelah, Radisson Blu
Over 200 dishes under one roof. Enjoy the delicacies offered at Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek. Their dining portfolio that includes Minato, The China Club, Shabestan and Fish Market. Dh169 per person.
Nobu, Palm Jumeirah
Rock your taste buds with mouth-watering slow-cooked lamb along with famous savouries like Rock Shrimp Creamy and Mochi Ice cream. Dh270 per person.
Al Majlis, Madinat Jumeirah
With a seating capacity of 1,000 guests, Al Majlis is bound to make you feel the ardour and hospitality of the Arabian tradition here. The experience is spectacular. Dh210 for one.
Tesoro, Taj , Dubai
Live cooking stations, and a buffet of lamb ouzi, shawarma, date smoothies, and Arabic ice cream and chocolate fondue. Children under five years eat for free. Dh195 per person. Dh97.5 for children aged 5-12.
GIARDINO, Palazzo Versace
Live cooking on offer; kebabs, rotisserie and grilled meats, and sumptuous lamb ouzi, as well as salad. Fresh juice stations have also also been set up. An an unforgettable Iftar experience, this place is a must. Dh220 per person.
Al Falak Ballroom, Burj Al Arab
The colossal Al Falak Ballroom is embellished with arabesque patterns and harmonised by classical Arabic music notes. On the 27th floor of Burj Al Arab, it offers a breathtaking view of the Dubai coastline. Authentic Arabian delicacies are on offer. Dh400 per person.
Palermo, Dubai Polo Equestrian Club
Excellent cuts of beef, succulent seafood, salads and desserts will fill your Iftar table here. The stunning panoramas across the polo field just add to the beauty of moment. Dh190 per person; Dh80 per child aged 6 to 12.
For every two Iftars they serve at Accents in Dubai Marina, they give one to a person in need. Cold and hot mezze, soups, vegetarian dishes, grilled meat, seafood and a range of dessert options including Umm Ali, Kunafa, as well as ice-creams, sorbets, and crepes. Children under 12 dine at 50 per cent off. Dh165 per person.
OLEA, Kempinski Hotel, MOE
Heaven for lovers of Levantine cuisine. If you want to get a taste of true Arabian cuisine, don't miss this one. Great selection and great desserts. Dh175 a head.
The Ritz carlton, DIFC
The Samaya ballroom has been transformed. Six private majlis areas and traditional music plays through the night. The choice is plenty of traditional Ramadan dishes- hot and cold mezze, seafood, salads, grills, dates and Arabic sweets. Dh195 for one. Children aged 6-12 dine for Dh110.
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Pilot at heart, chef in action
Sri Lankan Dewendra Vijith Priyantha is a 52-year-old Sous Chef for the main kitchen banquet at Jumeirah Beach Hotel. He moved to Dubai in 1991, joining the emirate's first resort hotel, Chicago Beach Hotel, before it got demolished in 1997 to become today's Jumeirah Beach Hotel.
He has been a chef for 25 years. His first job was at House of Le Meridien in Sri Lanka. Sherouk Zakaria caught up with him for ?a chat
How has Sri Lankan cuisine evolved in Dubai?
The Sri Lankan community is quite big in Dubai and they are picky about their food. There are many Sri Lankan restaurants in the emirate that are frequently visited. Our food is very spicy, and contains more chilli than Indian and Pakistani food.
What are some popular Sri Lankan restaurants in Dubai?
There are at least twelve restaurants in Dubai. There's Chef Lanka restaurant in Al Karama and Al Quoz, Peacock Restaurant in Al Karama and Thai Rock in Al Quoz. I always visit those when I have the time. It feels like home.
Do you find people are eager to try out Sri Lankan food?
Yes, I meet many guests who have visited Sri Lanka and they ask me about places to go in Dubai to have Sri Lankan food.
What are three most popular dishes that diners order?
Rice and curry, hoppers and string hoppers, which is very famous and known by tourists who visit Sri Lanka.
And how much do people spend on average, per head?
It costs around Dh25-30 for the buffets. There is a Sri Lankan restaurant at Panorama Hotel Bur Dubai that offers dinner buffet of Dh30 per person with a lot of variety to choose from. It usually gets busy there.
The best compliment you've received for your cooking? And from whom?
A compliment from my general manager who always says my food is tasty. Once we had a group of 200 guests, and he said a lot of them talked about the food.
Which is your favourite dish that you love to whip up even in your kitchen at home?
Mainly rice and curry. I work full day and I try not to eat because I like to eat my wife's cooking at home. On my day off, I cook for my wife and children. They love my Indian food, especially biryani.
Which is your favourite cuisine? And where in Dubai do you go to eat it?
I love Indian cuisine, and we visit Chappan Bhog in Karama because my wife is a vegetarian.
Back when you first started cooking, what was the first dish you were proud of?
I was proud of the rice I first cooked in the hotel school. It was not perfect, but I learned its timing and recipe, and with time I perfected it.
How did you decide to become a chef? Were you always interested in food?
My neighbour's father was a chef and he inspired me. He cooked tasty food that I enjoyed, and I decided to follow in his footsteps.
What is the best thing you love about your job?
I enjoy cooking and serving guests. I am lucky to share my passion with people.
If not a chef, what would you be?
It was my childhood dream to become a pilot. My school results were not good enough for me to join aviation, so I joined a hotel school in Sri Lanka instead. I am happy with what I do!