This week marks the first Ramadan fast, which is due to start on the morning of March 23. Ramadan marks a period of reflection, prayer, and giving. Both Iftar, the evening meal after Maghrib (sunset), and Suhoor, the meal eaten in the morning at dawn, are an important time to eat with family and ensure an successful fast through each day.
Based on the lunar calendar, Ramadan shifts by around nine days each year, and in some parts of the world, including London where clocks go forward on March 26, fasting periods will affected by daylight savings.
London is home to the largest Muslim community in the UK, with nearly 1.4 million people living in the capital – around 1/8th of the city’s population. There’s a whole host of restaurants around the city that are open to eat for Iftar and Suhoor, with many offering special menus, Iftar buffets, and extended opening hours. Here’s some of the best places in London to prepare to begin and to end your fast during Ramadan.
1. Ayam Zaman
If you’re wanting a London Iftar buffet then look no further. Perched on a corner of the Shepherd’s Bush end of the Uxbridge Road, Ayam Zaman is a large, beautifully decorated Syrian restaurant serving up classic Middle Eastern dishes, from mixed barbecue dishes to plates of crafted falafel.
During Ramadan, Ayam Zaman have a buffet that changes regularly, making it an ideal spot for a group outing for Iftar in London. Check out their Instagram page.
📍258 Uxbridge Road, W12 7JA
2. The Best Broasted
This Willesden Green restaurant is known for its original Broasted chicken recipe, the first in London to serve this variety, and thick cut chips. During Ramadan, The Best Broasted are known to serve buffets with favourites from their menu, which also includes ‘hot mezza’ items such as Kebbeh Meshwi, hummus shawarma. Those hoping to eat here during Ramadan are advised to call one hour in advance before Iftar due to demand. Read more about The Best Broasted on their website.
📍18-f High Road, NW10 2QD
3. Putera Puteri
Two of the finest spots for Malaysian food in London is certain to be a great eating out destination during Ramadan. Each year, they run an Iftar menu, and at the Queensway restaurant you’ll be be treated to plates including a variety of different roti dishes, oxtail soup, Nasi Kandaq, and much more.
Tables can be booked online, and you can check out more their dishes via their Instagram page.
📍 179 Queensway, W2 5HL and 56a Queensway, W2 3RY
This Indian street food favourite has plenty of branches around London, and several of them will be open in the early hours of the morning, which is ideal for those hoping for a large Suhoor meal for breakfast before fasting.
Anyone heading here is advised to treat themselves to the all-day Desi breakfast; an omelette, spicy beans or daal, roti and karak chai. Read more about Chaiiwala on their website.
5. Honey & Smoke
Coming at you with the most central London recommendation on our list so far: Honey & Smoke (from those behind Honey & Co). A Great Portland Street grill house that’s bound to have something you’re desperate to try out.
Their Iftar daily menu begins on March 22 and runs all the way up until April 21, from 5:30pm each day. Their roasted vegetables and selection of grilled meat and fish are surely calling out your name. Find out more about Honey & Smoke, and book your place here.
📍216 Great Portland Street, W1W 5QW
Let’s stick around in central London, shall we? We’ve raved about Berenjak on plenty an occasions–who wouldn’t be obsessed with bottomless kababs?–and during Ramadan, the Soho stalwarts are known to run an Iftar menu.
You’ll find the pair of Iranian restaurants in Soho and Borough Market, and a trip to either means feasting on their kababs and numerous smaller plates. Tuck in! Read more about Berenjak here.
📍27 Romilly Street, W1D 5AL (Soho) and 1 Bedale Street, SE1 9AL (Borough Market)
Over at Ritu Seasons Of India in St John’s Wood, a special Iftar menu for those looking to break their fast with a delightful set of dishes to enjoy with the family. You’ll be treated to an Iftar platter consisting of dates, fruit, traditional rose & nut sherbet, and Laban. Then, you can tuck into a hearty selection of appetisers, including stuffed yellow pepper pakoras before taking on the Nawabi style lamb chapli kebabs. For £30 a head, you really can’t go wrong here. Read more about Ritu, and check out their Iftar menu here.
📍 1 Blenheim Terrace, NW8 0EH
8. Ishbilia Lebanese Restaurant
A Knightsbridge favourite that master in the art of a Lebanese mezzes and grilled meat. You can expect their usual classics, and they’re also known to serve up special drinks, desserts and mains during Ramadan.. Their platters are as easy on the stomach as they are the eye, so it’s one to note down for an Iftar meal out in London. Find out more and book here.
📍8-9 William Street, SW1X 9HL
9. Alhaji SUYA
You’ll find Alhaji SUYA locations (Peckham, Greenwich and Walworth) around London, and they’re a fine spot to taste Nigerian cuisine.
They’re known for their beef suya (a type of grilled and spiced meat) with jollof rice, but you’ll also find tasty meat pies and shawarma. In previous years, Alhaji SUYA in Peckham was available to order before Maghrib, and you’ll also be able to purchase their food for an Iftar suya feast. Check out their website here.
📍15 Peckham Park Road, SE15 6TR; Arch 210 Carter Plce, SE17 2TF (Walworth); and Unit 15 Angerstein Business Park, 12 Horn Lane, SE10 0RT.
10. Spice Village
Another tasty London iftar buffet can be enjoyed at Spice Village in Southall. This runs everyday during Ramadan, costing £21.99 per head on weekdays and £24.99 on weekends. Spice Village also run a special Iftar set menu — a combination of chicken tikka, Lahori chana masala, gajar halwa, and a mango lassey is appealing to me, but there’s plenty of options to pick from. Oh, and before taking on the Iftar set menu and buffet, you’ll be treated to complimentary dates, pakoras and rohafza. Check out Spice Village’s website here.
📍185-189 The Broadway, Southall UB1 1LX