Monday 16 December 2019 (UAE)

Restaurants cafes open daytime Ramadan UAE

Restaurants, cafes, food and drink outlets open daytime during Ramadan UAE in 2019

List of cafes, coffee shops, restaurants open daytime during Ramadan in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, UAE in 2019. Smoking and alcohol restrictions, eating and drinking rules, and other information. From 2018, for Dubai especially, but also Abu Dhabi city, there was a noticeable increase in the number of available outlets with daytime dine-in services, and another significant increase in 2019. Other emirates continued to have limited availability of daytime dine-in options.

Ramadan 2019 changes

Apart from earlier opening times for shopping mall food courts in Dubai (10am in 2019 vs 12pm in 2018), there don't appear to be any other significant changes to the daytime rules for eating and drinking in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and UAE for Ramadan 2019 compared to Ramandan in 2018 (or 2017 or 2016). Meaning that most places which were open for daytime dining in 2018 are open again for daytime dining in 2019. There seem to be more street entry cafes and restaurants in 2019 with daytime dine-in permitted. Alcohol is available during the day in those places which are normally licensed to offer that, unless the rules change suddenly as they did in 2016 when it became permitted, or unless the venue itself changes its alcohol policy during Ramadan (rare but we did encounter one or two in previous years).

Most larger shopping mall food courts will have an area to consume your takeaways from food court outlets (they don't serve "dine-in", they serve "takeaway" and you sit down somewhere behind a curtain or wall in the food court and eat your takeaway. If you're new to Dubai, don't panic, just go to a food court. It will be obvious how it works. The best ones are (in our opinionated order of preference): City Centre Mirdif (less busy than the others), Dubai Festival City (less busy than the others), Mall of the Emirates, Dubai Mall, City Centre Deira (very busy), which just put a wall or curtain in front of the whole food court area. Other malls are more restrictive with dining space so you can end up with quite a crowded small room.

In Abu Dhabi, our favorite locations for daytime dining in food courts during Ramadan are Abu Dhabi Mall (but not Abu Dhabi Marina Mall which is mostly closed), The Galleria Mall on Maryah Island, WTC Mall, and Yas Mall.

More and more stand alone restaurants and cafes in shopping malls are open for daytime dining, including fast food and Starbucks etc. If you're not fussy about where you want to eat go to any large shopping mall and you'll almost certainly find something, unless it's a small shopping mall, or you're not in Abu Dhabi or Dubai. Otherwise try a free zone for example Dubai Design District (D3) while it still has free parking. In the past, JLT and DIFC were good choices but parking has become expensive or difficult or both, so it's easier to just go to a shopping mall, and they are not too busy during the day. Except for MOE and Deira City Centre, and except on Fridays.

Also noticeable in 2019 is the number of standalone places outside shopping malls which are open for daytime dining, including a few roadside cafes which were only open for takeaways in 2018 and previously.

If you're looking for a favorite restaurant or cuisine, contact the restaurant directly, or for an area or cuisine, try one of the plethora of online guides to restaurants open during the day. The UAE newspapers usually have a list, as do Time Out and What's On magazines. Your favorite foodie blog is bound to have a list also. Don't depend 100% on what online guides say, in the past we've discovered many of them copy/paste from each other or from previous years, so it's hard to know which guides really do phone or visit establishments to confirm timings. There are many places to visit or phone. Each year we try and visit one or two shopping malls or areas every day (we get better information from a site visit than a phone call) and update this page, so we know how time-consuming it is to get accurate information.

Friday brunches sound like they'll continue almost as normal during Ramadan. Bars and pubs will continue to operate. Nightclubs probably not, or they'll be very quiet since loud music is not permitted during Ramadan.

Smoking areas for daytime puffing are harder to find during Ramadan since shopping malls and most cafes and restaurants don't permit smoking indoors at anytime. Bars and restaurants which normally have smoking areas, should still have those areas available if they are open during Ramadan daytime. Some hotels have secluded smoking areas behind the bike sheds, ask at reception. If you want to smoke and shop, try malls like Deira City Centre, Mall of the Emirates, Dubai Mall, and go to the attached hotel bar or restaurant which might have a smoking area. For example Apres and St Tropez in Mall of the Emirates (MOE). Also some Shakespeare Cafes have indoor smoking areas open daytime during Ramadan in 2019 (in Dubai, Ibn Battuta and Sheikh Zayed Rd Al Saqr Tower branches).

Dubai Municipality licenses for Ramadan daytime takeaways and dine-in, 2019 confusion

Normally a F&B outlet must apply for a special permit from the DM to operate during the day. But for 2019 there was some confusion.

Some outlets had reportedly received email notices from the DED Customer Happiness Department saying "Correct, Ramadan dine in and delivery permits are no longer required this year. Restaurants may serve meals inside or deliver food without applying for the permit in DED." Others were told there was no need to apply for a special permit when they went to apply for a special permit. Outlets were still required to hide displays of daytime gluttony behind curtains or darkened windows so they were not visible to the public (in contrast to Abu Dhabi in 2019 where outlets were directed to remove partitions hiding eating and drinking sections).

When the Gulf News made enquiries ...

Reference: gulfnews.com/uae/dubai-denies-claims-it-scrapped-permits-for-restaurants-to-open-at-daytime-during-ramadan-1.1557312695933, 08 May 2019.

Conclusion is that this was perhaps some sort of trial for a week or so, or the DED changed their mind, or someone from the DED sent incorrect notices, or the Gulf News and all the unpermitted establishments misunderstood the first notice from the DED. It was, however, apparent that there were many more outlets in Dubai with dine-in availability compared to 2018.

Curtains and partitions removed in Abu Dhabi for Ramadan 2019

References:

Food court timings in Dubai shopping malls Ramadan 2019

Update: Shopping mall food court opening times changed from 12pm to 10am for Ramadan 2019, at least in malls we visited so far. Original reference (visitdubai.com) still says from from 12pm. Seems like something changed during the first week of Ramadan 2019.

Outside the Ramadan period, normal food court timings are 1000 until closing. During Ramadan, if a food court is open for daytime dining, the opening hours change to 1200 until closing according to the information from the Dubai government tourism authority. Their official tourism and visitor website says "Major malls including The Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates will continue to operate their food courts during the month from 12pm to close, with these areas discreetly sectioned off for complete privacy." But ... just to confirm how often conflicting information is available in Dubai, at the first shopping mall we visited on the first day of Ramadan, they said the food court is open for dining on your takeaways in the partitioned area from ... 10am. Go figure.

Reference: www.visitdubai.com/en/articles/ramadan-shopping-mall-indoors-dubai (30 Apr 2019).

Permit fees for Ramadan daytime dine-in and delivery in UAE

Ramadan daytime timings and opening hours by emirate or city

If shopping malls have a food court open for dine in, the timings are expected to be from 12pm. Other outlets with dine-in might be open earlier but note that most shopping malls in the UAE are not open before 10am. Some shopping mall supermarkets and some restaurants open 8am.

General information about F&B consumption daytime in UAE

[2013] Supermarkets, hotels, gas stations, shopping malls in Dubai and UAE during Ramadan

Information below mostly still valid in 2014 ... 2019.

2018 changes (see 2017 listings, most outlets and malls have similar timings for 2018)

This section for additional outlets or significant changes from 2017

Abu Dhabi

Dubai best places to visit

Dubai changes for 2018

Outlets

2017 Ramadan dining outlets open daytime in UAE

TL;DR version for Abu Dhabi 2017
TL;DR version for Dubai 2017

References

Ajman, Al Ain, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah (RAK), Sharjah, Umm Al Quwain (UAQ)

Archived pages

Last update Sunday 27-Oct-2019. Page development 1H 2T 3D 4L 5C.
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