Let's face it: when Ramadan rolls around, the thing we most look forward to is the food. After fasting all day, the last thing you want is an underwhelming iftar, and I believe a majority of restaurants provide just that.
The first problem I usually encounter is finding a restaurant that isn't teeming with hungry people. It's impossible to find space in the more popular restaurants and I have been forced to settle for sub-par spots on many occasions. Reserving tables is a solution, but that means sudden iftar plans are a no-go.
I've discovered that most of the special Ramadan platters that restaurants offer are either misleading or disappointing. Over the years, I've wasted an awful amount of time scouring through offer posts online to find the perfect one. The ones that have a reasonable price tag usually only consist of cut up fruit, two hard jilapis, a sad-looking beguni – basically all the staples and nothing more. If I wanted only that, I would have just stayed home. At most, they might add a simple roll or sandwich that isn't even filling.
The offers with a hefty price tag will have better food but it is almost never worth the money. The portions of food are always small. They might think that they're compensating by adding the fruits, but they're not. The worst part is that the regular menu isn't available during iftar. A lot of restaurants have cheap, filling food already on their regular menu that I would love as my Iftar but of course, they need to take advantage of our empty stomachs. Restaurants are also well aware of our Eid pocket money, hence the overpriced platters. Profits soar during Ramadan but customer satisfaction goes on a downward slope. All I want to do after having iftar out is go home and eat another meal.
Don't even get me started on the unlimited pizza offers. If you're not someone who wins eating contests on the regular, please don't opt for these offers.
First of all, they don't provide a variety of toppings so you might not even enjoy the pizzas to begin with. Sometimes the pizzas are made extra doughy so you can't eat too many slices. The I-don't-eat-crusts technique doesn't always work. They also make sure to keep serving you fizzy drinks in an attempt to fill you up. In the end, it's highly likely you'll go home either feeling ripped off or like you could puke for hours.
Joining your friends and family to eat iftar is something we love and will continue to do. Since having “iftar parties” at home isn't an option for everyone, and the last thing fasting people want to do is cook up a storm, many people are bound to go out for iftar.
I hope the teachings of Ramadan will reach the restaurants soon and they will begin to care about customer satisfaction as much as they care about their profits.
Mayabee Arannya is a confused soul still searching for a purpose. Give her advice on life at facebook.com/mayabee.arannya