Ramadan in UAE: No money for Iftar? Walk into this fine-dining restaurant to get free meal

The owner noted that all the delicacies in their Iftar box are the same dishes they serve their customers; everything is prepared in one kitchen, with high-quality ingredients

by

SM Ayaz Zakir

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Photo by SM Ayaz Zakir
Photo by SM Ayaz Zakir

Published: Fri 31 Mar 2023, 3:51 PM

Last updated: Fri 31 Mar 2023, 10:19 PM

While most UAE restaurants are bustling with diners enjoying lavish Iftar spreads this holy month of Ramadan, one fine dining place in Sharjah is doing it differently. Instead of coming up with special menus and promos to draw in customers, Al Nawab Restaurant is inviting all those in need — for free Iftar.

Outside its outlets in Mujarrah and Mahatta, the restaurant has put up a signboard saying: ‘Iftar is on us if you are in need.’ And anyone — regardless of faith and nationality — can come in for a free meal.


“The purpose is to get close to Allah and share our blessings with those in need. Many of our community brothers and sisters have cut down their expenses to support their families amidst inflation in their respective countries. By providing free Iftar Meals to all, we hope to ease their burden with this little gesture of ours,” said Jahanzeb Yaseen, owner of Al Nawab Restaurant.

Yaseen recalled that when they opened the fine-dining restaurant in 2021, many delivery boys complimented them for their food.


“This is how I got the idea that I must cater to people who at times cannot afford (to eat out) or has a huge responsibility back home so his primary focus is to save money,” he said.

This Ramadan, Al Nawab has been giving away more than 700 meals every day. Each meal box is packed with 500g of chicken biryani, a bunch of dates, fruits, salad, and a water bottle. And the restaurant management is exerting every effort to get the word out to as many people as possible so that everyone in need can savour their delicacies.

While the free Iftar drive is for anyone in need, many of those who come in are bike riders, job hunters, blue-collar workers from a nearby construction site, cabbies, and residents of the locality, Yaseen said.

"The great charitable actions of UAE leaders highly encourage us to share our blessings with others this blessed month," he said.

Yaseen noted that the Iftar meals they give away are exactly the same dishes they offer their customers.

“We do not compromise on it, especially even more when giving in the way of Allah. We maintain the highest standards as we prepare our free Iftar meals in the same kitchen, with the same quality ingredients as found in the dishes in our ala carte or buffet menu,” he said.

Imran Aseem, a delivery rider, said he heard a lot of good things about the restaurant and was planning to stop by for the Iftar kit. As luck would have it, he received three online order requests for Al Nawab — so he was able to get a free meal as part of the job.

“This is a fine dining restaurant, and I have heard much about it. But this is the first time I have had food here. I wanted to come the next day to pick up the free kit. Surprisingly, I received online order on my app from this restaurant. It happened thrice,” said Aseem.

A Sharjah resident who recently lost his job also grabbed the offer. "This has come as a blessing for me,” said the expat who wished to remain anonymous.

A few lucky ones may get more than an Iftar box, though. Al Nawab is treating a number of beneficiaries to a sumptuous Iftar buffet, which usually costs Dh79 per person.

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