A month of prayer, fasting, charity, and deep contemplation, this year’s Ramadan begins at sundown on March 22 and ends with Eid-al Fitr on April 21. For those looking to break their fast with a hearty iftar meal, sambusas, stuffed pigeons, whole lamb, and baklava are on the menu at restaurants around the Twin Cities. Here are some local spots serving Ramadan specials and buffets this year.
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Marhaba Grill on Nicollet Avenue is known for its bountiful annual iftar buffets, prepared by chef Mohamed Shehata, which often feature dishes like whole lamb, Egyptian-style grilled tilapia, roasted duck, stuffed pigeons, and grape leaf rolls. (Look for desserts like baklava, basbousa, and kinafa, too.) Shehata has been cooking iftar buffets out of his Eat Street location for years — his restaurant serves as a place for gathering and community throughout the month of Ramadan. Special prayer spaces will be available at the restaurant.
The full menu for Big Marina Grill and Deli’s iftar buffet hasn’t been set yet — but chef Abdou Gadhour’s menu often features specials like lamb, quail, and chicken kebabs, plus classic menu items like falafel, sambusas, and baklava. The restaurant, with its saffron-colored walls and glass chandeliers, is a warm, inviting place to share a family meal.
Golden Fingers serves generous portions of halal Mediterranean and Middle Eastern fare like gyros, falafel, and Persian kebabs cooked on open-flame charcoal grills. The restaurant also offers customizable iftar boxes: Build a box with up to three meats (like goat curry, lamb kebabs, and beef shawarma), grains, and sides like malva and mandashi. Dates, green salad, fruit salad, three beef sambusas, sauces, and dessert are included.
There are a few ways to enjoy iftar at Holy Land: Dine in and feast on baba ghanoush, stuffed grape leaves, and Persian kebab platters; order a hot iftar meal for takeout, or stock up on grocery supplies to cook at home. Holy Land’s grocery and deli has everything from halal meats to puff pastries, custards, and dates.
Filfillah’s Ramadan specials have yet to be announced — but keep an eye on its Facebook page for details coming soon. A Turkish and Mediterranean restaurant known for its gyros and extensive halal menu, Filfillah’s previous Ramadan specials have featured chicken with onions, sliced beef with gravy, and ezogelin soup. Don’t skip an order of the knafeh.