Ramadan Kareem to my Muslim brothers and sisters around the world. Whether you are Muslim or not, Middle East travel during Ramadan is an experience in itself. For the past week, I have been giving advice and tips on how to have a unique iftar experience in different countries throughout the Middle East, good for foreigners and locals alike. Enjoy!
The following list of restaurants, compiled by AmmanSnob.com, offer traditional Jordanian iftar menus and special suhoor deals, good for families that wish to have iftar in Jordan outside the home to switch things up or a tourist that simply wishes to walk into a restaurant and be certain to have an authentic Jordanian iftar experience:
FOUR SEASONS HOTEL
5th Circle, Al-Kindi Street
Tel: (962-6) 550-5555
DIAL ON YOUR MOBILE: 065505555
IFTAR: The Magic of Morocco Iftar Buffet. 40JD including tax
Enjoy an unforgettable outdoor Iftar experience during the Holy Month of Ramadan. This year, the Four Seasons Amman, in partnership with Alissar, Chopard, events avp, Jaguar, Land Rover, Tufenkjian and Zain Jordanthe take you on a journey to explore the delicacies of Morocco (ironically enough! Perfect fr today’s post! Eh?!). As sunset approaches, feast outdoors on the largest variety of Moroccan food available, all while listening to an Oriental trio band. Better yet? A portion of the proceeds will go to a local charities. Moreover, The South Terrace has also been redecorated for Suhoor with lounge seating for the enjoyment of shisha, Ramadan snacks, sweets and tea.
GRAND HYATT AMMAN
Hussein Bin Ali Street
Tel: (962-6) 465-1234
DIAL ON YOUR MOBILE: 064651234. 37JD inclusive
IFTAR: 37 JD includes Iftar Buffet and live band at Sawani Terrace
SHERATON AMMAN AL NABIL HOTEL & TOWERS
Tel: (962-6) 593-4111
DIAL ON YOUR MOBILE: 065934111
Iftar: 35 JD at Dushara Lounge. Also, at The Sanctuary, for a 15 JD minimum order, you can enjoy the serenades of Guitai Nai Band and a nice selection of suhoor dishes that are traditional, innovative and everything in between. Travel through Souqs of times past for medley of old favorites like Ka’ak stations, saj delights and a myriad of Manakeesh.
Iftar with a Bedouin family
You could walk into any local travel agency and it is very likely you will be able to arrange to have iftar with a Bedouin family during Ramadan–just ask! Another way you can arrange a unique iftar in Jordan is, of course (I will always tell you), through Couchsurfing. Talk to a Couchsurfer in the area you are staying in and ask him/her whether there are any special gatherings for iftar during your time in Jordan (or Morocco as well!). This way, you can simply join a Couchsurfing meeting and have iftar with several Jordanians (or Moroccans) that are CSers. The group is likely to be big and well-traveled, which means a myriad of interesting conversations and a sure-fire great cultural experience =)
In my opinion, the best cities to have iftar in Morocco are Fes, Marrakech, and Essaouira. To me, these old cities ooze Moroccan tradition and are the most authentic I experienced. As previously stated, my advice to you is to try to find a Couchsurfer or any local (perhaps a fellow student if you are studying abroad at a university in Morocco?) and have an authentic iftar with them. Personally, I enjoyed a very authentic iftar in Morocco thanks to my Moroccan roommates at Al Akhawayn University (AUI). Additionally, I had the privilege to have iftar at a ryad (Moroccan mansion) in the middle of the old medina (city) of Marrakech, owned by one of my best friends (half-Moroccan, half-American) at AUI, Laura.
However, I recognize not everyone will feel comfortable with a CS stranger or are not studying in Morocco. Also, what about the locals looking for something different!? Thus, below I have compiled a modest list of restaurants and ideas to have an authentic iftar in Morocco
* In Marrakech, Djemma El Fna Square – here, you have a couple of options. You could choose a restaurant such as Le Marrakechi (52, rue des Banques, just off El Fna), which offers not only great views of the famous square but also large portions and a charming Moroccan atmosphere. It is a quite beautiful restaurant with stellar service, including a free belly dance show to guests. A different, cheaper option? Simply head to the middle of the action, where you can see all the food stands lined up, boasting their identifying stand numbers. I ate in so many of them that I can’t remember which one I liked best, but pastillas and fish tagines were my favorite dishes to ask for. Simply venture out one night and go stand-hopping during iftar, enjoying a small dish of several stands. The Koutubia mosque is nearby, so being there before the call of prayer and subsequent iftar is an impressive, lasting memory in the minds and hearts of tourists–highly recommended!
* In Fes, a restaurant that I keep hearing about is the Palais de Fes (5 Makhfia Ech Cif). Also located in the heart of the medina, this restaurant is known for its excellent pastilla. Another place that is authentic and I highly recommend, sp to those tourists that do not have Moroccan friends or roommates is Dar Roumana (30 Derb el Amer, Zkak Roumane). THere, you will be able to have an authentic Moroccan iftar in a ryad–how more authentic can you get!? Menu offerings are a combination of Fassi, Moroccan and French cuisine. Please note, reservations are required so make sure you call first (+212-35-741-637).
* In Essaouira, the most authentic experience is to go to the fish market, select your fish, and take it to any hole-in-the-wall restaurant and request that it be prepared for you. Naturally, this is a whole-day affair (and well worth it), so make sure you time yourself so you take the fish to your local chef at least an hour before iftar. This way, you make sure that your food is ready by iftar. Prices, of course, vary, so taking a local with you or asking in Moroccan forums online about pricing is recommended. I did this and it was a great experience =)
Hope you enjoyed this special iftar series! =)
Feel free to comment below, telling us about any iftar ideas I might have left out!