Restaurants cafes open daytime Ramadan UAE
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Restaurants, cafes, food and drink outlets open daytime during Ramadan UAE in 2020
List of cafes, coffee shops, restaurants open daytime during Ramadan in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, UAE in 2020. 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.
- Dubai Festival City, large curtained off area with a good selection, free parking.
- Ibn Battuta Mall lower food court daytime dining area much larger than in 2018.
- Mall of the Emirates, both upper and lower food courts open for daytime dining from 10am (12pm in 2018).
- Mirdiff City Center, good selection of outlets in two food court areas, not too busy during the day.
- Oasis Centre food court has a large daytime dining area, open from 10am.
- The Dubai Mall, good selection of outlets but is popular so upstairs food court can get quite busy.
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 ...
- the first reponse from the DED was "If you have already a restaurant license from Dubai DED, you can open your restaurant during Ramadan day time without needing to apply for permit."
- and the next day the DED sent a statement to the GN saying "There is no waiver announced on permits mandatory for restaurants and other outlets for serving food during fasting time in Ramadan this year."
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
- Tue 28 May 2019: A directive was issued to F&B outlets in Abu Dhabi (or malls in Abu Dhabi) to remove curtains and partitions hiding daytime consumption of food and drinks for the remainder of Ramadan. No information given regarding fines for non-compliance, or how strict the ruling was.
- This is quite an unusual directive. It was only applied in the last week or so of Ramadan, possibly as some sort of trial. Until 2019, nowhere in the UAE had outlets ever been permitted to have unshielded dine-in facilities during Ramadan. Even outlets open daytime in free zones and hotels make it very clear with thick curtains or reflective glass that there could be eating and drinking customers hidden inside.
- This was only for Abu Dhabi city, not other locations in the emirate (Al Ain for example)? A notice from Abu Dhabi Mall reportedly said "This is for the entire city."
- It might have been restricted to only some malls. Confirmed for Abu Dhabi Mall and Yas Mall (which both had a good selection of outlets open in 2018), but Al Wahda Mall still had partitions (in 2017 very few or no outlets were open daytime in the mall).
- www.thenational.ae/uae/abu-dhabi-restaurants-to-remove-partitions-during-ramadan-fasting-hours-1.867658, 29 May 2019.
- www.gulfnews.com/uae/mixed-response-to-removal-of-eatery-partitions-1.64286620, 30 May 2019.
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
- Dubai daytime delivery permit fee (not free zones), AED 5,060 (ref: Dubai DED, applies at least from 2011-2019).
- [Update] Dubai daytime dine-in permit cost (only a delivery permit category is listed on DED website).
- Daytime dine-in permit for Dubai Creative Clusters Authority free zones AED 2,000 (2018 information). Refers to D3, DIAC, DIC, DKP, DMC, DOC, DPC, DSC, DSP, Emirates Towers. Presumably delivery permit is included by default.
- Daytime dine-in permit for DMCC (JLT area) AED 1,515 in 2017 (includes delivery and takeaway permission).
- Ajman daytime delivery permit fee, AED 5,060, only for takeaways and deliveries, dine-in not permitted (ref: Ajman DED, May 2019).
- RAK daytime delivery permit fee AED 500 (according to information supplied by RAK DED, might be a typo, assume AED 5000 until confirmed). Also assume for deliveries and takeaways only, information not clear about dine-in. May 2019 information.
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.
- Abu Dhabi: bigger hotels, some shopping malls, and many stand alone establishments open for dine-in and takeaways. Alcohol expected to be available daytime in licensed establishments. Spinneys and other liquor stores open as normal.
- Ajman: bigger hotels might have a dine-in area. In shopping malls expect nothing open for dine-in, and very limited takeaway availability. [Check for 2019] Unisat liquor shop and Oscars Grand Cellar closed for Ramadan?
- Al Ain: bigger hotels might have a dine-in area. Shopping malls expect nothing open for dine-in, and very limited takeaway availability.
- Dubai: Most or all 4-5 star hotels will have a dine-in area open daytime. Most larger shopping malls have an area for eating food court takeaways, and some stand-alone cafes and restaurants open for dine-in. Smaller shopping malls might or might not have dine-in but will usually have at least one takeaway outlet open. Shopping centers might or might not have anything open. McDonald's, Burger King, KFC, Hardee's, etc usually open from 12pm for takeaway and drive-through. A&E and MMI open normal hours. Eurostar Cellar liquor store in Ghantoot Ramadan opening hours as normal.
- Dubai International Airport (DXB) airside everything operates as normal, 24/7, no change for Ramadam. T1, T3 landside food court some shops open for takeaways with a dining area available. T2 landside outlets closed daytime.
- Fujairah: bigger hotels might have a dine-in area. Shopping malls expect nothing open for dine-in, and limited takeaway availability. [Check for 2019] The Cellars liquor shop Fujairah branch timings: closed during Ramadan?
- Ras Al Khaimah (RAK): most larger hotels should have a dine-in area. Shopping malls and stand-alone establishments nothing found (so far) open for dine-in, but a few for takeaways. Try your luck at Al Hamra Mall, or a petrol station fast food place. [Check for 2019] The Cellars liquor shop and MMI Al Hamra RAK branches open as normal during Ramadan?
- Sharjah: bigger hotels might have a dine-in area, or possibly room service only. Shopping malls expect nothing open for dine-in or takeaway. Fast food outlets at gas or petrol stations might be open for takeaways after 12pm. No alcohol available anywhere except possibly Sharjah airport lounge (but don't count on it).
- Umm Al Quwain (UAQ): no know knows what's happening in UAQ, except people who live there. Barracuda liquor store Ramadan timings are usually closed for Ramadan (it was in 2018), but The Cellar in RAK is apparently open. As are liquor stores in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The Beach Hotel and Resort, and the Barracuda Beach Resort might have a dine-in restaurant open daytime ... or room service.
General information about F&B consumption daytime in UAE
-  Shopping mall information counters, in Dubai at least, are better at providing consistent and correct information now. Possibly because it's become easier with the much larger number of F&B outlets open during the day for dine-in. In the past it was common to get conflicting information, for example to be told nothing at all was open and then go to the food court and find places that were open.
-  Alcohol sales during daytime in Dubai became permitted during the first week of Ramadan, but only in licensed venues.
-  Asking information counters in shopping malls if any outlets are open during daytime can result in conflicting information being provided. We've often been told nothing is open, not even for takeaways, and then found outlets open for takeaways and dine-in.
-  Information about opening times can be confusing or inconsistent. As is information about what is legally permitted. Some sources will say nothing is open daytime except in 4 and 5 star hotels, some will say there are secret places which are open daytime but they are not allowed to inform customers about timings (not even on Facebook or Twitter). Clearly some degree of information is permitted since UAE based magazines and newspapers publish lists of places which are open daytime. And many or most places in free zones are open normal hours during the day for dine-in.
- [2014 or 2015 update: larger malls close off food courts and allow dine-in eating] Larger shopping malls in Dubai might have takeaway facilities from food court restaurants and other cafes but few, if any, will have dine-in facilities open during the day. Mall of the Emirates at the Ski Dubai end, and The Dubai Mall Food Court (in 2011; but not in 2012 or 2013; open again from 2015 for dine-in) are a couple with dine-in areas that we know of.
-  Increasing number of shopping mall food court areas allow daytime dine-in in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. [Check dates] Started in Dubai Mall in 2010, then takeaways only 2011-2013, then dine-in available again from 2014 onwards.
-  Food court areas might have some outlets that allow takeaways. Only likely in larger malls in Dubai.
-  Food and drink outlets open during the day during Ramadan will not always be obvious. This is to be discreet, not because it's illegal - a special licence is needed from the Dubai Municipality to operate for dine-in during daylight hours in Ramadan (costs about AED 5,000 or AED 10,000 in 2010?).
-  Some places (very few actually, we only found one or two) might let you consume takeaways on the premises even if closed for normal dine-in, but we don't want to name them specifically since we're not sure if that's legal or not.
 Supermarkets, hotels, gas stations, shopping malls in Dubai and UAE during Ramadan
Information below mostly still valid in 2014 ... 2019.
- In general, supermarkets, service stations and similar outlets in the UAE are open during the day during Ramadan, and will sell food and drink (but not for consumption on the premises, in your car, or in public).
- Supermarkets in Dubai, and service stations, have pies, prepared meals, salads, sandwiches, snacks.
- Large high end 4 or 5 star hotels in Dubai and Abu Dhabi will usually have daytime dine-in facilities and room service, some hotel pool areas might also allow food and drink, and also alcohol starting 2016.
- Some drive-thru (and non-drivethru) fast food outlets like Burger King or McDonalds in Dubai (but probably not other emirates) for takeaways.
- In other emirates, especially Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah, Umm Al Quwain, it will be difficult to find anywhere to eat or drink during the day. A supermarket or service station will be the only likely places, but not for dine-in, and perhaps Fujairah hotels on the East Coast, and Ras Al Khaimah hotels.
- [Update, from 2016 bars in Dubai serve alcohol during the day] No establishments anywhere in the UAE will serve alcohol during the day during Ramadan, at least not that we've heard of, except airside only at Dubai airport (bars open 24 hrs). Unknown if also at Abu Dhabi airport or Sharjah airport. In 2013, alcohol serving time starts at 8pm.
- Young children (up to about 11 or 12 years old) can eat and drink in public during the day since Muslim children are not required to fast before puberty, although some do, or fast for part of the day. But try and be discreet about it - find a quiet corner in a food court rather than walk through the middle of a shopping mall with your sprogs slurping on an ice cream.
- Individual hotels and outlets within hotels are not listed since most 4 and 5 star hotels in Dubai will have somewhere open during the day.
2018 changes (see 2017 listings, most outlets and malls have similar timings for 2018)
This section for additional outlets or significant changes from 2017
- Mazyad Mall. Daytime dine-in: Cafe Julie, India Palace, La Brioche. Takeaways: Aryaas Express, McDonalds, Papa Murphy's, SFC Plus.
Dubai best places to visit
- Most outlets open daytime in 2017 are open again for daytime eating and drinking in 2018. Simplest choice is to go to one of the larger shopping malls which have food courts open from 12pm (Dubai Mall, MOE, Dubai Festival City, Mirdif City Centre, Deira City Center, etc).
- JLT still a good destination for the varied selection of cafes and restaurants open for daytime dining. Note that parking rules have changed since 2017. A parking ticket is required but there are no machines to purchase one, you'll need a Dubai registered vehicle for using the SMS system, or a smartphone with the RTA app if vehicle is registered in another emirate.
Dubai changes for 2018
- A number of cafes and restaurants in shopping malls outside the food court areas are open for daytime dine-in in 2018. Based on a brief walk around we'd estimate around 20-25% are open, less in Deira, more in Bur Dubai. Look for ones with obvious partitions shielding the daytime diners from public view. More shopping malls have dine-in eating areas for food court purchases. Malls with food court dine-in areas in 2018 which did not have one in 2017 include: Burjuman Center, Ibn Battuta Mall (very small areas), Oasis Center Mall.
- Burjuman Center: Tim Horton's near metro access for dine-in, food court has a dine-in area for 2018 (not in 2017).
- Ibn Battuta Mall has two food courts with many (but not all) outlets offering takeaway purchases during the day, and several other outlets offering daytime dining.
- Both food courts have a small closed off area for customers to consume their purchases in. The downstairs one near Carrefour is very small, the upstairs one in the metro link is small.
- Several other outlets in Ibn Batuta Mall are open for daytime dining, and have larger dining areas than the food court sections: Caffe Nero, Carluccio's, Habit Burger and Grill, Paul Cafe, Shakespeare's (but no smoking in their shisha area daytime), Switch Bowling, TGI Fridays, Tim Horton's (both of them - 2nd branch opened in Tunisia Court May 2018).
- Costa Coffee, Starbucks, Taqado, are open for takeaways only. Caribou and Dome Cafe are no longer in operation.
- Oasis Center (Oasis Mall) has part of the upstairs food court sectioned off for daytime consumption of food court takeaway purchases. Most food court outlets are open, most other outlets are closed daytime. Jamba Juice, Krispy Kreme open for takeaways.
- Bateel Cafe daytime dine-in branches. Abu Dhabi: The Galleria Mall Al Marayah Island. Dubai: Arabian Ranches, DIFC, Dubai Media City, Emaar Business Square, JBR The Walk, Marina Walk.
- Jollibee daytime dine-in branches Mall of the Emirates and The Dubai Mall, timings from 12pm. Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Sharjah and other Dubai branches open for takeaways only before Iftar.
- Tim Hortons have more outlets open for daytime dine-in in 2018 than in 2017, e.g. in Burjuman Center, Ibn Battuta Mall. New branch at MOE opened 12 Jun 2018?
2017 Ramadan dining outlets open daytime in UAE
TL;DR version for Abu Dhabi 2017
- Abu Dhabi Mall food court (not Abu Dhabi Marina Mall): most food court outlets open for dine-in daytime, and you get a nice view over the water. Hardee's is closed daytime though. Other mall F&B outlets closed or takeaways only.
- The Galleria Mall, Maryah Island: most outlets open for dine-in from 12pm, a few cafes open earlier (8am). Free parking (probably until new Al Maryah Central mall opens).
- WTC Mall, downtown Abu Dhabi: Food court area most outlets open for dine-in; The Hub (Bu, PizzaExpress, Tamba) open for dine-in from 12pm. Free parking 0-3 hrs after 10am, all day on Fridays.
- Yas Mall food court has dine in, open from 10am. Vox Cinemas also allows consumption inside cinema theatres. Almost all other mall outlets closed except for a few offering takeaways. Free parking.
TL;DR version for Dubai 2017
- Food courts in shopping malls. Several open for dine-in after 12pm with takeaways only before that; if dine-in not available most malls have takeaways from some food court outlets. Free wifi at MOE and MCC (MallConnect) and Dubai Mall (DubaiMall by EMAAR). Easiest metro access at DCC and MOE. Free car parking all day at MCC and Dubai Mall.
- Dubai Festival City, large food court area, relatively quiet, free all day car park. No free mall wifi.
- Dubai Mall, very busy food court, free all day car park.
- Dubai Marina Mall, food court area open (but a bit hot), Pier 7 nearby has a couple places open afternoon for drinking and smoking. Free all day parking in mall car park.
- Deira City Centre mall (DCC), no sitting down before 12pm, even without food. Very busy.
- Mall of the Emirates (MOE), busy, both food court areas open, no sitting down before 12pm (takeaways only), 4 hrs free car park Sun-Thu, free all day Fri-Sat.
- Mirdiff City Centre mall (MCC), both food court areas open, relatively quiet, free mall wifi, free all day car park.
- Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT) for eclectic selection of cafes and restaurants along promenade level but is hot for walking around. Parking free for 3 hrs, difficult to find free all day parking Sun-Thu, easier on Fri-Sat.
- Last Exit food truck area on Sheikh Zayed Rd (desert side of highway, AUH to DXB direction), site visit 18 Jun 2017:
- most outlets open 24 hrs, and the dining area is open daytime with indoor seating where you can consume your purchases. Other sources (incorrectly) say it's closed daytime, including the first food truck we asked, go figure!
- The other Last Exit areas (Al Qudra cycle track and Al Khawaneej) are closed daytime.
- [Update: from May 2017 only 1 hr free parking at all times including weekends and after 6pm weekdays] DIFC for reasonable selection of cafes and restaurants. Busy at lunchtimes Sun-Thu, quieter on Fri-Sat. Easy metro access (short walk from Emirates Towers station). No more free all day parking on weekends.
Ajman, Al Ain, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah (RAK), Sharjah, Umm Al Quwain (UAQ)
- For 2018, much the same as 2017, i.e. almost everything closed for daytime dine-in.
- Ramadan restaurants open in other emirates - more information.
- Detailed information for 2017 when we did a comprehensive review, especially shopping malls and free zone areas. After 2017, making a detailed list started to become redundant since many more places were open in 2018, especially in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and even more in 2019.
- [Archive] Restaurants open during Ramadan 2016 - information for 2016 and earlier.
Last update Sunday 27-Oct-2019. Page development 1H 2T 3D 4L 5C.
- Coffee shops in Dubai - list of some cafes and chains with brief reviews.
- Places to eat during Ramadan daytime UAE - add any names of places to the forum topic.
- Ramadan - general information.
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