Make the most of Ramadan by joining in family activities or the Middle Eastern tradition of iftar, the sunset meal for those who have been fasting throughout the daylight hours, or ghabga, the later meal that’s become a major social occasion. Whether you want things to do, a sumptuous repast or a budget feast, we’ve got options to suit everyone and you don’t have to fast first to enjoy them.
Abd el Wahab
One of our favourite Middle Eastern restaurants has a lavish iftar buffet with music and live shawarma and saj stations plus mezze, grills, kebabs and traditional Ramadan juices. Daily from sunset. BD15 plus service. Abd el Wahab, Moda Mall (17 131 111).
Al Areen Palace
There are three venues to choose from at Al Areen, all of which, given its proximity to the desert, get very close to the traditional Ramadan feeling. Iftar is served at the stunning Rimal restaurant, it’s the one up in the tower with the panoramic view, with a lavish buffet, ouzi station, Arabic sweets and Ramadan juices. Or visit the Ramadan tents where you’ll find a la carte offerings including live cooking stations for tikka, barbecue, breads and more plus Bahraini dishes and shisha.
For ghabga try the Arabic restaurant where there’s a set menu and shisha. Iftar daily 6.15-9pm. BD12++. Ghabga 10pm-midnight, set menu BD16++. Ramadan tents open daily 6.15pm-midnight. Al Areen Palace & Spa (17 845 000).
Bahrain City Centre In partnership with the Ministry of Social Development, the mall is hosting Lewan Ramadan, an activity station set up in the central galleria which will be transformed into a heritage village where families can take part in a range of activites from henna painting to traditional games.
The shopping centre wll also celebrate Gergaoon – a Bahraini custom typically taking place at the mid-point of Ramadan where children dressed up in traditional garments and visited relatives’ houses to collect gifts and treats. At BCC kids will be roaming the mall, accompanied by a traditional band, and handing out small gifts.
Bushra at Bushido Bushra, the traditional tent with a Bushido/Buddha Bar twist, returns with a surprise in store in the shape of electronic, almost magical 3D trickery. Aiming, once again, to be ‘the most trendy Ramadan place in Bahrain’, if last year’s gorgeous offering, which saw the venue swathed in white fabric and bathed in neon-hued lighting, is anything to go by, they may well succeed.
There’s a selection of traditional Arabic and international cuisine prepared by Bahraini female chef Noor Murad and make sure to check out the original artworks on show. Iftar buffet 6pm-8pm, BD13.5++ weekdays, BD15.5 weekends. Ghabga buffet and a la carte, 9pm-1am, BD10.9++ weekdays, BD12.9++ weekends. Bushido, Seef (17 583 555).
Coral Bay Either dig in at Rayes, the Lebanese restaurant, or move outside to experience the real spirit of the season in the Ramadan tent on the terrace overlooking the marina.
Each will be offering both a daily iftar buffet and ghabga menus including all the Ramadan favourites such as lentil soup, saj manaeesh, falafel, various varieties of fateh, hares and, of course, a traditional array of homemade, Lebanese Ramadan sweets.
To top off the evening there will be live entertainment. Iftar buffet BD12++ weekdays, BD14++ weekends. Ghabga minimum charge of BD12++ weekdays and BD14++ weekends. Hours sunset to 3am. Coral Bay, Al Fateh Corniche (39 777 701/17 312 700).
Diplomat Radisson Blu This year the iftar will be hosted at Alfanar rooftop venue with all the traditional foods, a kids’ area, oud and rababa players, carom, games, cards and henna ladies. Ghabga will be a la carte at the Kontiki restaurant where shisha will be available at the air-conditioned terrace overlooking the pool. Iftar: Come together with family and friends throughout the holy month of Ramadan and enjoy our delicious traditional Arabic Iftar dishes at Al Fanar rooftop ballroom at BD16 net per person. Ghabga: Experience an authentic Arabian night at the Diplomat Radisson Blu Ghabga with classic set menus. Served at Kontiki restaurant and terrace overlooking the garden and pool, Price: BD16 net per person, Timings: Iftar sunset-8.30pm; Ghabga: 8.30pm-1am (39 945 208).
Elite Group Elite Resort & Spa Al Noor tent at Elite Resort & Spa is the largest of its kind in Bahrain, comfortably seating up to 600. The interiors are designed to resemble an Arabian Nights fairy tale, set against the backdrop of the sun setting over Muharraq Bay. Oud music sets the mood and you don’t need to worry about missing your favourite TV programmes, there’ll be large-screen sets all around.
There’s a multi-cuisine selection of salads, large spread of Lebanese mezze and a host of authentic Bahraini dishes plus a live grill and shawarma station and a great selection of desserts.
There are smoking and a non-smoking sections with live entertainment and games as well as shisha and a daily prize draw. Iftar buffet from sunset-8pm, BD6.9++ adults, BD2.9++ children. Ghabga 8.30pm-12.30am, BD 12.9++. Sohour runs from 1am until morning prayers, BD 3.9++. Elite Resort & Spa, Sheikh Hamad Causeway (17 313 333).
Elite Crystal Hotel, La Cascada Daily iftar buffet with all the traditional Arabic favourites. BD6, Elite Crystal Hotel, Juffair (17 558 200).
Elite Grande Hotel Daily iftar buffet or set menu. Also outside Arabic seating area with small tents and shisha at H2O poolside. BD6++, Elite Grand Hotel (17 565 888).
Elite Seef Residence & Hotel Daily iftar buffet at Il Giardino featuring Arabic food with a Lebanese touch, special drinks and oriental sweets. There’ll also be Arabic music, live entertainment and shisha served at the Oasis poolside. Iftar daily 5.30-8.30pm, BD8.500 adults, BD4 for under 12s. Sweets buffet 10pm-1am, BD4 adults, BD2 under 12s. Elite Seef Residence, Seef (17 583 388).
Golden Tulip One of the island’s most popular iftar buffets is in the Al Wasmayyah restaurant serving traditional dishes plus live cooking stations, a big dessert selection and Ramadan juices.
Or go for ghabga in the Afandi tent where you’ll find an a la carte menu, smoking and non-smoking sections and lots of games plus a weekend raffle with some really impressive prizes. Iftar all evening from sunset, BD8.500++, kids aged six to 12 half price. Afandi tent 8.30pm-2am. Golden Tulip, Diplomatic Area (17 535 000).
Gulf Hotel The Gulf Hotel has the ever popular Ramadan tent, Khaimat Al Khaleej as well as lavish iftar buffets served daily at Al Waha and Takht Jamsheed restaurants.
Al Waha offers traditional Arabic specialities while popular Iranian restaurant Takht Jamsheed features both Arabic and Persian delicacies every evening from sunset onwards.
At Khaimat Al Khaleej there’s a delicious buffet, including a wide variety of traditional Bahraini and Arabic specialties, set against a background of traditional Arabic music with a live oud and tabla player performing nightly. Iftar buffet daily at Al Waha and Takht Jamsheed, from sunset BD15++. Khaimat Al AKhaleej 9pm-2am Sat-Wed, 9pm-3am Thu, Fri. BD14++ weekdays and BD16++ on weekends. Gulf Hotel, Adliya (17 713 000).
InterContinental Regency This year the Al Thurayya Ramadan tent is set to exceed everyone’s expectations with a fresh new design following refurbishment featuring traditional majlis sections and low-seating areas combined with traditional Egyptian folklore dances, including the colourful El-Tanoura dance.
Expect a really good buffet coupled with traditional Ramadan juices and, at ghabga, you’ll experience additional Egyptian entertainment too. Iftar daily from Maghrib-8.30pm, BD14. Ghabga 9pm-2am, BD14 weekdays, BD15 weekends. InterContinental Regency Hotel, Manama (17 227 777).
Kempinski Kempinski’s Ramadan experience takes place in the Arabic restaurant Baharat featuring an eclectic array of classic Arabic dishes with a modern twist spanning the Middle East, plus entertainment in the form of a traditional Yemeni oud player. There’ll also be juices and a selection of shisha can be enjoyed in the ornate Ramadan tent.
Also featuring during the Holy Month is the winning dish from Kempinski’s competition in which members of the public submitted their favourite Ramadan-inspired recipes, the creators of the three most interesting menus took part in a cook-off and the winning entry is featured on Baharat’s nightly iftar menu. Iftar daily 6pm-2am, BD17++. Baharat, Kempinski Ixir Hotel Bahrain City Centre (17 171 144).
The Kempinski also has special Arabic coffee and treats in T-Spoon throughout the Holy Month as well as its regular European pastries and offerings from the extensive tea menu. Arabic coffee 6pm-2am. T-Spoon, Kempinski Grand Hotel Bahrain City Centre.
K Hotel The K Hotel has come up with a variety of more than 100 selected dishes to help celebrate Ramadan at its iftar in Klouds and ghabga in Kenza restaurant.
The traditional Arabic buffet in Klouds features authentic dried fruits and nuts, a full range of Ramadan starters and main courses including Bahraini ouzi as well as live cooking stations and an array of international dishes from almost every corner of the globe.
Ghabga in Kenza is a la carte from the Lebanese menu with live entertainment. Iftar buffet daily, sundown-8.30pm, BD8++. Klouds and Kenza, K Hotel, Juffair (17 360 000).
Leewan AlKhor This one serves traditional Bahraini cuisine all year round so it should be the ideal place to celebrate iftar, particularly since it’s right on the water at Amwaj.
The nightly iftar buffet includes a variety of juices, soup, samboosa and vegetable kebabs with water, coffee and tea included. The main course is extra but we still reckon this is really good value. Daily from sunset, BD2.5. Leewan Alkhor, Lagoon, Amwaj (16 010 666/ 35 523 279).
Mercure Grand Hotel The Al Bawadi tent, which is set around the pool on the rooftop of the hotel, will have live entertainment from an Egyptian two-piece to accompany a huge range of traditional foods on offer throughout the night. Iftar daily sunset-8pm, ghabga 9pm-2am, BD12++. Al Bawadi tent, Mercure Grand Hotel, Seef (17 584 400).
Mövenpick Break the fast, or just join in the iftar tradition, at Mövenpick and be in with a chance to win a three-night trip to the Mövenpick Hajer Makka and two nights at Mövenpick Anwar Al Madina, both in Saudi Arabia. Enter each time you visit to take part in the prize draw on the last night of Ramadan.
The iftar selection is available in Silk’s restaurant and features seasonal favourites such as madrouba and quzi, thareed and harees. Iftar daily, sundown-9.30pm. BD12.500++. Mövenpick Hotel, Muharraq (17 460 000).
Organic Foods & Café Something a little bit different from the health-conscious folks over at Seef Mall, organic iftar which they promise will be both delicious and authentic. Traditional Arabic dishes with a bit of a modern and organic twist with innovative dishes like quinoa tabbouleh and organic chicken shawarma wraps. There’s also the organic take on Arabic sweets from the in-house bakery. Open daily 10am- 4pm (shop) and 7pm-midnight. Fixed iftar platter BD5. Organic Foods & Café, Seef Mall (13 333 285).
Pars International Hotel The Parsia restaurant offers true Arabian hospitality along with artistically prepared traditional and international dishes. Whether you’re breaking your fast or simply sharing the experience with family and friends, you can satisfy your cravings with a feast of traditional treats like hommus, fattoush and the mouth-watering signature dessert umm ali. Add in carom, dominoes and cards for an authentic Ramadan experience. Iftar daily from sundown, also serving suhur before morning prayers. BD5. Pars International Hotel, Manama (17 814 777).
Paul The mall favourite is offering an iftar set menu including dates, soup, salad, a choice of main courses from salmon, fillet steak or chicken and a choice of desserts. Daily from sundown, BD9.900. Paul, Bahrain City Centre (17 172 321), Seef Mall (17 172 321).
Ramee California Legends Sports Lounge has a daily iftar featuring traditional foods from chicken shorba soup to hot and cold mezze, biryani and shawarma with Bahraini dessert and Ramadan juices. Iftar daily from sundown, prices per individual item. Legends Sports Bar, Ramee California, Juffair (39 437 825/33 724 076).
Ritz-Carlton Celebrate Ramadan with live cooking stations where you can savour freshly- baked Arabic breads, mixed grills, roasted whole lamb and sumptuous buffets with sweets and Arabic desserts. A four-piece band with Arabic singer will also provide live ghabga entertainment daily. Iftar daily from sunset, BD 19++ weekdays, BD21++ weekends. Ghabga BD22++ weekdays and BD24++ weekends. Ritz-Carlton Bahrain, Seef (17 586 499).
Sheraton The Sheraton’s iftar is in the impressive Awali ballroom and promises a buffet of traditional and international dishes plus live cooking stations. Iftar daily 5-8pm, BD14.900++ weekdays, BD15.900++ weekends, kids aged four to 12 BD8.500 and under fours eat free. Sheraton Bahrain Hotel, Manama CBD (17 533 533).
Sofitel Break your fast with iftar at Saraya restaurant where for the two hours after sunset you will find a buffet of Arabic food and Ramadan delicacies from across the region such as tabouleh, hammour machbous, lamb tangine and lamb ouzi during weekends.
After iftar, enjoy Ramadan under the stars with ghabga at the uniquely decorated Layali Al Zallaq tent on the Saraya terrace. There’s a range of shisha flavourts, live Arabic music and lots of traditional games. Iftar daily from sunset, BD17++ weekdays, BD19++ weekends. Ghabga from 10pm, BD17++ and BD19++. Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea & Spa (17 636 363).