The Best Iftars in Dubai this Ramadan

Ramadan begins on the 29th of June, but where can you find the best iftars and suhours in the city of Dubai this year? We take a look.

 

The dates for Ramadan have just been announced and it will begin on June 29th. This of course means that Dubai will be home to dozens of exciting iftars, served after sunset so that you can break your fast in fine style.

Here are four great options to check out this Ramadan. Try them all throughout the month to celebrate traditional flavors and contemporary dishes.   

Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding

The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding is a fantastic non-profit organization dedicated to promoting understanding between the many nationalities living in Dubai. Appropriately, they are putting on an iftar where expats in particular can go to mix with local people and learn more about Ramadan.

The experience is an exciting one, which aims to promote peace and tolerance between different religions as people come together to eat and listen to each other. After the iftar, the organizers encourage guests to take a stroll through the Al Fahidi heritage site where large houses, cafes and galleries line the streets. Make sure you book in advance for this event, as it’s hugely popular.

Hakkasan

Hakkasan is one of Dubai’s finest restaurants and a truly unique setting to enjoy iftar. Renowned for its delicious dim sum and Chinese food it is without a doubt one of the best places to enjoy Asian cuisine in the UAE.

For Ramadan they are offering a special iftar at 188 per person. This will give you a sumptuous 5 course meal that includes a welcome mocktail, dim sum, a main course and dessert. While the meal is not a traditional approach, it’s sure to be a delicious one.

The Address Dubai Marina

The Address Dubai Marina will have a fantastic air conditioned suhour tent running throughout Ramadan. From fish masala to turkey and what feels like a million other dishes to suit different palettes, the food is eclectic and the Constellation Ballroom – which faces out over the Marina – provides a grand setting for this expansive feast.

Taj Palace Hotel

The Taj Palace Hotel offers a much more authentic approach to iftar with Arabic cuisine including Egyptian tajines and seafood fattah. This is the place to go with a big group as you’ll be able to benefit from a special rate of AED 119 per person. That’s a lot of friends and family to round up, but well worth it for such a deal.

Image by Sham Hardy used under Creative Commons License.

The World Cup – Where to Watch

The World Cup has hit Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Find out where to watch all the action

  

The World Cup is the greatest spectacle on earth. It’s like the Summer Olympics, focusing and uniting a global audience on one sporting event…except it involves a sport people actually watch on a regular basis (no offence fencing).

Soccer, football, the beautiful game whatever you want to call it, there is nothing that unites us like this sport that combines deft skill, endurance, athleticism and intelligence. And as a global game, there can be few better places to take in the World Cup than Dubai, one of the most international cities in the world.

At YaDig our favourite part of the World Cup is not the games: it’s the camaraderie between new friends who are wearing the same coloured shirt, or the 50+ nationalities collected around one giant screen, all sharing the same highs and lows. The World Cup is a way for people from different nations to connect, argue and share in the glories and tragedies of the beautiful game.

This weekend has an entertaining slate of games on tap book-ended by Uruguay taking on England on Thursday at 11pm and Germany facing off against the Black Stars of Ghana on Saturday at the same time. 

Here are three great venues to watch the games this weekend in Dubai:

Claw BBQ

Claw is the perfect place for real sport aficionados with tons of TVs and an Americana menu well suited to the event. They are going all out for the World Cup and have special platters and drinks deals. The food here is delicious and well loved by YaDig reviewers, be sure to try the buffalo shrimp, a tangy and spicy delight.

Click here for Claw’s World Cup 2014 specials.

Atlantis the Palm

Atlantis the Palm is an ideal place to relax during the summer months—perched on the top of the Palm it enjoys cool breezes that make all the difference when the mercury heads above 40 degrees. And of course it’s a stunning place to watch the World Cup with giant HD LED screens to capture every moment and cooking stations to keep you well fed.

Yas Beach

The Brazilians know a thing or two about football, so it’s worth taking their word about Yas Beach which has been named the official venue to watch the World Cup by the Brazilian Embassy. This is a perfect location for friends from Abu Dhabi and Dubai to meet in the middle and watch the games on HD projector screens. Homesick Brazilian nationals get in for free!

Enjoy the weekend and all the games on tap.   

Introducing YaDig Menus

YaDig has even more informative reviews with YaDig Menus. Check out the 3000+ new menus online

At YaDig it’s our mission to help you search for, find and review great local businesses…and we have a new feature that will allow you to do just that. It is our pleasure to introduce YaDig Menus.

Right now you'll find over 3,000 menus on YaDig business pages. That's 2,200 food and beverage menus and over 700 spa and beauty treatment menus.

The menus are displayed down the left hand-side of  YaDig business pages. Click there and you’ll be able to see all the great things on offer at that specific business. For a spa you can check out their individual treatments, while restaurants will show exactly what you can order and at what price.

Our menus are so much more than just a list—they’re YaDig’s way of improving the whole experience of finding and reviewing great products. Tag what your ordered in your next review, and people will be able to go straight to that menu item and find out what it was really like. So now you can find the best place to eat and whether to order the filet mignon or the sirloin.

And let’s not forget about pictures: users and business owners can upload images and tag them as menu items. This means you can see exactly what that burger looks like, or how your nails might look after a manicure at your local spa

Menus are the perfect way to connect consumers with business, by providing up to date pricing and product information all across the Middle East. And so we’ve set out to upload as many menus as possible with our teams scouring local businesses to collect a unique trove of information that we can bring digitally to our listings. 

 

The YaDig office: flooded with menus

Businesses can of course upload menus themselves, and we’re excited to see this grow into the largest, and best, collection of menus in the Middle East. It's all about making information available and easy to digest; we can't wait for you to see our new menus!

How the Trams Will Change Dubai

The Al Sufouh Tram system is going to transform Dubai and make it a better place to live.

As soon as November, Dubai will have its very own tram system. Right now this is a source of frustration for motorists as construction clogs up traffic.

But the Al Sufouh Tramway will change Dubai, for the better. And at YaDig we are incredibly excited to take our very first ride in November. Here are a few important ways that this new transport system will change this fair city.

Goodbye Traffic Jams

Even if you would never set foot in public transport, the trams will help make your life better. While construction does cause some delays, successful public transport systems help pull cars off the road and decrease traffic density considerably.

This won't happen immediately, but you’ll be able to drive through Dubai and spend less time weaving through traffic. Less traffic also means less pollution and a cleaner, greener city for us all to enjoy.

The route of the Al Sufouh Tram

Cancel the Cab

Dubai taxis can be rather expensive (especially compared to rates in Abu Dhabi) and if you’re out enjoying Dubai’s delightful nightlife, you’ll likely need a ride home at the end of the night.

Recently it has been announced that trams will run until 1am, so revelers will be able to hop an affordable ride home instead of shilling out for a cab.

The service will also start at 5am, which will be a boon to poor souls who need to rise and shine at that hour.

Tight Knit Dubai

Dubai is a city of malls, highways and SUVs. It will forever be thus and it’s part of the city’s appeal.

But a greater focus on public transport will encourage people to leave the car behind and head to work via other means. This may very well change the vibe of the city—as people walk more (at least in the winter), local Dubai businesses, cafes and restaurants will spring up to serve them.

These businesses are the fabric that knits Dubai together. Every new coffee shop and tram stop will become an opportunity for people to meet and engage with new and old friends alike. The tram will help Dubai grow as a city and as a community—the businesses and residents of Dubai should be excited for November.

Things to do this weekend in Dubai and Abu Dhabi

The stars are coming out in Abu Dhabi and Dubai this long weekend.

The long weekend is upon us and most of us will have three wonderful days off to relax, go on and adventures and enjoy. Long weekends are precious and a great opportunity to explore the delights of your city.

How should you fill your long weekend? Here are three perfect activities to keep you entertained and refreshed in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

JT at du Arena

Justin Timberlake is playing this Friday at du Arena on Yas Island on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi. JT is one of the best performers we have today and his latest album, The 20/20 Experience, has a set of hits that will make for an incredible concert.

A recent check revealed that there are still tickets available so get online and get booking. Then all you need to do is grab your suit and tie and hitch a lift through to Abu Dhabi.

Staring at the stars

The Camelopardalis meteor shower is due to hit Earth this weekend and it will create an epic show in the sky. The shower is expected to start Friday night, although the time frame may vary across the weekend.

A meteor shower from this constellation has never been observed so the exact size and nature of it is unknown, but experts and enthusiasts are predicting and hoping for something quite spectacular. The Dubai Astronomy Group is hosting an event Friday night to view the shower and you can find details about it on their Facebook page.

Or you can grab a car and go desert camping. What could be better than some good friends, the stillness of the desert and an astounding show in the sky?

A cup of coffee and a magazine

If you are up all night watching the stars, or just the star (for those heading to see JT) you’ll need to relax and recoup from a busy Friday night. We recommend a quiet cup of coffee at The Magazine Shop, one of our favorite coffee shops in Dubai.

The Magazine Shop serves excellent coffee and sandwiches and has a collection of unique magazines to read. Kick back, read a book or have a conversation with a friend. 

Whatever you do, make sure you find time to explore, have fun, and relax. And of course, keep one eye peeled to the stars.

Image credit: David Dugdale

Second Burj Khalifa BASE Jump Video To Be Revealed

In a month's time a second video of the record setting Burj Khalifa BASE jump will be revealed.

We’ve all seen the fantastic video of the world record setting BASE jump off the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. A new report reveals that we are going to be receiving a second video—this time of Vince Reffet and Fred Fugen jumping off the skyscraper at night!

The video is likely to released next month as part of a short documentary about the Guinness World Record setting feat. We can look forward to another viral hit, perhaps even better than this one:

The night jump occurred the same day as the original. In total, Vince Reffet and Fred Fugen jumped an exhausting 6 times. They were accompanied by two daring, and un-named, cameramen and had to climb up an 84 meter vertical spire before leaping.

At YaDig we’re incredibly excited to see this second video that will draw even more attention to Dubai’s incredible center-piece. We profiled the Burj Khalifa in an infographic last week, and this new video will only serve to underline how it is becoming the world's coolest building.

Also be sure to check out yet another video of the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Mall this time from space, courtesy of Skybox Imaging. 

Happy Monday everyone, and be sure to appreciate Dubai's skyline on this lovely day.

The Burj Khalifa vs. The Kingdom Tower

Construction has just begun on The Kingdom Tower in Saudi Arabia. But the Burj Khalifa is still the world's greatest building.

In 2019, the Middle East will be home to the two tallest buildings in the world: the Burj Khalifa and The Kingdom Tower. The Kingdom Tower will soar past the Burj Khalifa and become the world’s tallest structure and an incredible symbol of the growth and prosperity of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.

So does that mean that the Burj is old news? Even though its pinnacle of 828 meters is about to be surpassed, we believe it is still the most impressive building in the world. And we created an infographic to prove it!

While height is important, it’s the people and businesses of Dubai that make the Burj Khalifa so impressive. It’s the surrounding collection of hotels, restaurants and businesses that bring it to life, and the fireworks displays and French daredevils that make it truly remarkable. It’s the fact that it is a living, working symbol of Dubai’s growth and international importance.

In short, while The Kingdom Tower will be jaw-dropping it has some work to do before it becomes the world’s most impressive building. At the very least, they should take a stab at the record for the world’s highest base jump!

tThe Burj Khalifa vs The Kingdom Tower from YaDig

This infographic was created by YaDig.

Brunch at Atlantis: Asian Delights and the Ultimate Brunch Crowd

The Saffron brunch at Atlantis the Palm is one of the most famous in Dubai. But is it any good?

Saffron at the Atlantis on the Palm is one of the most famous dining experiences in town. Coming in at AED 485 and with 220 dishes on offer it is the quintessential Dubai weekend brunch.

When you first arrive at Saffron you are likely to be greeted by a giant line stretching out the door. Don’t be discouraged, once the doors open it will move swiftly as customers collect wristbands—just like going into a nightclub. This is an enormous brunch and it’s quite staggering how many people pack in to gorge themselves every Friday between 12.30pm and 4pm.

Once you are seated, it’s time to get a drink; this is where Saffron truly excels as drinks stations dot the room creating a buffet of options for you to imbibe. There’s nothing like returning to your table with a plate full of dim sum and a fruity drink in a pineapple.

The food spans the globe with a focus on Asian cuisine—across the board the presentation is beautiful although the sheer span of this brunch can be somewhat daunting. With a crowd full of hungry patrons, you’ll need to take some time to work your way around the whole thing.

There is a large sea food selection on offer with oysters, mussels and sushi. This section functions as a great starter before you indulge in heavier options several plates down the line.

This reviewer particularly enjoyed the siu mai dumplings that are amongst the best you’ll find in Dubai. The curry was also a stand-out with the usual Indian favorites as well as some treats from Southeast Asia such as simmering beef rendang and addictive prawn crackers.

Saffron offers a bevy of Western dishes, including burgers and roasts. Our recommendation is to steer clear, and dedicate your limited stomach room to the Asian delicacies on offer. You can’t possible eat all 220 dishes, and the Western section isn’t anywhere near as good as the rest of the brunch. The burgers were particularly disappointing despite being quaintly presented in Americana wax paper.

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But it’s the clientele that sets this place apart. The crowd is raucous, friendly and up for indulgence. While this reviewer was visiting a 50+ person rendition of the Cupid Shuffle broke out. These things just happen at Saffron.

Some YaDig reviewers have panned Saffron as far too over the top. And that may well be true: it's loud,boisterous and the food doesn't quite live up to the presentation. But it's a truly fun place to spend a few hours, and it will certainly get your Friday night off to a roaring start. So take in Saffron at least once, if only for the experience, and if you're parents are in town visiting definitely DON'T bring them along.

Image credit: Atlantis The Palm

Dubai: A Global Fashion Super-power?

Is Dubai set to join London, Paris and Tokyo as a global fashion power-house? We might be getting ahead of ourselves, but it looks like this ever-evolving city on the Gulf is growing by leaps and bounds when it comes to fashion.

Is Dubai set to join London, Paris and Tokyo as a global fashion power-house? We might be getting ahead of ourselves, but it looks like this ever-evolving city on the Gulf is growing by leaps and bounds when it comes to fashion.

Dubai’s trade in fragrance, beauty and fashion related products surged 8% to AED 206 billion in 2013. This is a huge jump powered by major retailers, small boutiques and organizations like the Dubai Design Collective.

And Chanel has just announced it will stage a 2.5 million dollar fashion show to reveal it's cruise collection on a private island off the coast of Dubai; Karl Lagerfield, Chanel's head designer, will be in attendance. The event is scheduled for May 13th and will be another feather in Dubai’s ever more fashionable cap.

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Dubai has every reason to become a center for global fashion and a connection point between east and west. As an emerging global hub, millions of tourists arrive with an eclectic range of styles and ideas about fashion— the city is becoming a fashion melting pot.

With supportive programs like the Dubai Design Collective and an economic climate ripe for entrepreneurship, there is every reason for young innovators to make Dubai their base. Events like Fashion Forward, which aims to become the definitive fashion platform in the Middle East, give voice to local designers and help export Dubai’s fashion to the rest of the world.

 

 

And did we mention the shopping? Dubai is a global capital for shopping with the Dubai Mall taking the crown as the world’s largest mall, and the Dubai Shopping Festival setting the standard for bargains. The city also has an enormous collection of incredible boutiques that add a dash of uniqueness to the commercialism of our giant malls.

Dubai is already a great city for fashion and it looks like the future is bright.

Fast Food in Dubai: Three of the Best in Town

Fast food is good for the soul, at least now and again. Check out these three tantalizing fast food restaurants in Dubai, courtesy of YaDig reviewers.

Fast food has become a dirty word. We’re taught to eschew double cheeseburgers for grain patties, and supplement fries for a side salad. But life is too short to be health conscious all of the time—although it will really be too short if you never eat healthily. We believe there’s nothing wrong with a bit of fast food now and again, especially if you’ve had a bad day or are just home from a terrific work out.

And if fast food is going to be an occasional treat, you need to make sure that you choose wisely. If you’re going to splurge on a 500 plus calorie meal you better enjoy every single one of them.

Courtesy of YaDig reviewers here are three delightful fast food joints in Dubai. We’ve left out the standard multi-national chains, sorry Burger King.

Burger Rebel

There’s nothing like a good burger. And we don’t mean a fancy one covered in gold and truffle oil, but an honest to goodness beef patty with cheese on a tasty bun slathered in ketchup and mayonnaise.

Head to Burger Rebel in Wafi Mall and order the American, a delectable classic burger that will set you back AED 37 and come with a side of fries.

YaDig reviewer Haitham said it best: “Awesome place!! Hidden gem to venture into... I got the American burger (classic style), and I gotta say, best burger I've tasted in a loooong time; and I've tried every burger joint in Dubai from the fast food to the fancy.”

If you’re tired of the stodgy burgers served at hotel bars, Burger Rebel needs to be on your Dubai eating bucket list.

Taza

Taza in Al Satwa has some of the best BBQ chicken in Dubai and they serve delicious, steamy portions with a delightful lemon citrus twist. The menu includes all your favorites such as chicken tikka (AED 17) and kebab (AED 22 for the combo). There are even a few salads on offer if you show up with a less meat-inclined friend.

YaDig reviewers will steer you towards the Taza Broast Combo (AED 20) and the delicious Arabic bread. There’s nothing like sharing a plate of chicken with some friends, and with three locations in Dubai, Taza is a great place to start.

Our honourable mention for fast food chicken is the ever popular Filipino joint Max’s Restaurant.

Moti Roti

Roti is a hugely underappreciated fast food, but it has all the necessary ingredients for a satisfying experience. Delicious meat? Check. Large amounts of sauce? Check. Breaded exterior for eating on the move? Check.

Moti Roti has pop ups in Media City, Sheik Zayed Road and Tecom and is a tantalizing lunch option for worker bees tired of hotel buffets. A roti wrap is a mere AED 15 and goes well with a mango, banana or strawberry lassi. A YaDig reviewer described their fare as a “pretty darn good healthy meal” and Moti Roti is just about the healthiest fast food you'll ever find!

And they deliver, so your roti can roll its way right to your desk.

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We should all aspire to eat healthily on a regular basis, but don’t let the calorie police rule your life. An occasional fast food treat is good for the soul, especially if it happens to be at one of these three fine establishments.

Photo credit: Ben Britten