It’s well known that Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) has grown into a world-leading destination for entrepreneurs, tourists and investors, under the guidance of Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi. The emirate has also gained a well-deserved reputation as a global center for high-quality healthcare. A project that his highness has enlisted the help of his daughter, Amna bint Saud bin Saqr al-Qassimi. Outsiders might be more surprised to learn that RAK is also an emerging hot spot for fine dining, innovative cuisine and exciting nightlife.
The World at Your Fingertips
Visitors to RAK expect the emirate to showcase the finest cuisine that the Arabian Peninsula has to offer. It doesn’t disappoint: Favored local institutions like Maarid and La Palmeraie offer traditional dishes like al harees, hummus, matchbous and more. Their ambiance and authenticity will impress even the most worldly diners, and their expertly trained wait-staff treat guests like members of their own families.
Then again, there’s much more to Ras Al Khaimah’s culinary scene than well-prepared Middle Eastern fare. Thanks in part to the sophisticated palate of His Highness, restaurants from every corner of the world have sprung up here. Feast International Buffet & Steakhouse offers a stunning array of meat-centric and vegetarian-friendly dishes, including presentations that would look right at home on the Texas range or in Minnesota. Hoof’n’Fin offers a surf-and-turf take on Eastern European cuisine, and Piaceri Da Gustare makes accessible, authentic Italian food. Visitors who crave Asian fusion or Latin-style food can opt for the excellent Pura Vida or the surprisingly affordable Passage to Asia.
Powering Past Sundown in the Rising Emirate
While Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi is deeply respectful of the traditions that make RAK and the entire UAE so remarkable, he accommodates the tastes and desires of visitors from all over the world. Revelers who wish to experience an authentic Arabian night festival in the heart of the desert can’t miss the Bassata Desert Village, a hip venue that features a sumptuous buffet, camel rides, non-alcoholic libations and pulse-pounding music. Most of the hotels in town sport classy bars and well-stocked wine cellars, but the Al Hamra Cellar is a true gem. Guests at Al Hamra will be surprised and gratified to discover a deep roster of rare vintages that are hard to find anywhere else in the world.
Respecting Tradition, Looking Toward the Future
Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi believes that RAK’s seaside location is an indispensable piece of its identity. Although all of the UAE’s member emirates have significant Persian Gulf or Gulf of Oman frontage, Ras Al Khaimah has a special relationship with the nearby sea. Throughout history, the emirate’s inhabitants have taken advantage of the sea’s tremendous bounty and incorporated healthy, delicious saltwater fish into their already-varied diets.
It shouldn’t be surprising that many of RAK’s homegrown eateries manage to respect this tradition. They’re also known for incorporating ancient ingredients into startlingly innovative dishes. Many restaurants offer exciting new takes on old favorites like falafel, tabbouleh and shawarma. Visitors who order entrees at any of RAK’s fine-dining establishments are sure to notice classic regional meats like lamb, goat and chicken. Those who attend local celebrations and street festivals might be a bit more surprised to discover true local gems like stuffed camel, a multifaceted bonanza that manages to incorporate eggs, chicken, fish and mutton into the belly of a whole camel. Anyone who’s presented with the rare opportunity to partake in this special feast must seize it.
His Highness is proud to introduce international tourists and entrepreneurs to RAK’s innovative and eclectic cuisine. With its unique mix of age-old recipes, modern creations and international flavors, the emirate’s culinary scene is unlike anything that has come before it. It’s not likely to remain under wraps for long.