From classic Middle Eastern dishes to alternative international cuisine, the iftars on offer in Oman cover an astounding range of palates. We round up the best places to spend your Ramadan nights this holy month, with Oman Magazine’s discerning taste-test team.
Grand Hyatt Muscat – Al Majlis Tent
It’s the Arabian dream. 1001 nights. The epitome of Arabian hospitality; statuesque horses, gilded detailing and a sweet selection to rival that of an entire baklava factory. For the expat, it’s the perfect Omani tapestry of tales, for the locals, it offers a sense of home. As one of Muscat’s oldest hotels, it carries a history of rich offerings and memorable experiences. With a new team in tow, the food and beverage offering has never been better. Presenting not only one, but two entire wings for the evening’s buffet, guests can explore both the savoury and sweet corners with endless options. With live cooking stations, diners may enjoy delicacies such as slow-cooked Omani Shuwa, Egyptian Koshari, chargrilled Eggplant salad and freshly-prepared mishkaak straight from the flame. If you have a serious sweet-tooth, Grand Hyatt has gone over and beyond to wow your senses with their dessert stations and magnificent choco-holics alcove. Whether a home-made ice cream trolley, chocolate fountain, salted caramel cups or baklava take your fancy, there is something for everyone looking for an endorphin-awakening treat.
Iftar Improvement? There could have been a wider selection of vegetarian main dishes, for the non-meat eaters. Aside from that, grand dining indeed!
Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah – Layali Tent
Modern, chic and neutrally-toned, the all-new Layali tent offers a contemporary and inviting air-conditioned lounge to unwind and relax to the backdrop of an oriental duo performing traditional music all evening long. With a large spacious venue, beautiful rattan furniture and indoor trees and lanterns, the overall vibe is that of a luxury tent you might expect to find at a lavish wedding. Food-wise, we were incredibly impressed by the freshness and flavour of some of the classic Arabic dishes enjoyed at this time of year; Tabbouleh, Grilled Halloumi, Hot Mezzeh, Lamb Kofta to name but a few. The hero dessert has to be the Halawet El Jibn, a stuffed sweet cheese with milky pudding, rose water and crushed pistachios. The perfect ending to a decadent feast; light, fragrant and perfectly married with a pot of Moroccan tea.
Suhoor Improvement: Perhaps for next year, some additional entertainment options. However, very hard to fault!
Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah – Al Tanoor Restaurant
A large homely space, perfect for the alcoves of food, drink, chef’s tables, dessert station, wood fire overs and mishkaak pits to be showed off in all their full-glory!
The Chedi Muscat – Ramadan Tent
Whatever time of year you visit, The Chedi Muscat exudes the magic and mystique that Ramadan so wonderfully embraces. The ‘outdoor’ area of the restaurant has been carefully created into a sealed Ramadan setting with beautiful, majestic trees adorned with lanterns, sparkling away to the melodies of Arabia. The immediate sense of calm you encounter upon entering The Chedi, is perhaps what makes this property so popular. With the holy month of Ramadan being a time of reflection, the hotel offers the perfect aura to embrace one’s thoughts and immerse yourself in the beauty and quality of your surroundings. Our personal favourite would have to be the homemade warm, crisp and doughy luqmat drenched in Omani honey; the taste of perfection in our eyes. The iftar buffet selection was a bit more limited in variety, however whatever was prepared was done well. Perhaps a good example of quality over quantity? That being said, our table of hungry diners were very satisfied and enjoyed ‘seconds’ of their favourite dishes.
Iftar Improvement? An element of the unexpected. It’s a delicious fare, but we would welcome a different hook from previous years for that element of surprise. Consistently good however and highly recommended.
The Sheraton Oman
Cherry blossom, golden lanterns and the playing of kanun can be enjoyed upon entering the all-day-dining area of the newly opened Sheraton hotel. The décor defines its status as a luxury destination, yet the personalized welcome and familiarity allow you to feel immediately at home. The iftar buffet offered a nice variety of starters, mezze and mains, for our vegetarian food-critic, they were thrilled at the variety on offer here. Hearty salads with clever toppings, vegetarian curried dishes and mezze dishes, stewed veggie mains and much more. The consensus for the group was that the desserts were fairly limited, despite having a vast rotating ice-cream deep freeze with over 15 varieties. However, having since returned for a corporate iftar, the dessert station was more plentiful than ever. Great to see a hotel taking customer feedback and raising the stakes. Overall a lovely dining experience with a relaxing and informal setting.
Iftar Improvement? More variety needed for dessert station and a few more main dishes to choose from to ensure a plentiful iftar buffet. Lovely experience and great to have the Sheraton open in it’s dwelling of Oman once again.