It should be no surprise to anyone that Qatar’s dining scene is driven by fads. If it’s new, shiny (and has a big brand or well known name attached), we flock to it like moths to a flame.
Then…it’s onto the next big thing. Don’t get me wrong, there are a host of new restaurants to look forward to in coming months, including Iron Chef Morimoto at the new Mondrian and (he was in town last week so this may actually be happening soon….finally) and a CUT by Wolfgang Puck at the same hotel.
But there are a handful of good restaurants that may have slipped off your dining radar or maybe you just missed them entirely.
So here is a list of the restaurants I think deserve a little more time in the sun and a second (or even first!) look:
This is in a slightly different category to the others and it’s fairly new on the scene but deserving of some more attention. Who would have known that you could find some seriously good Indian good on the chaotic stretch of road known as Ras Abou Aboud? On a recent visit, service was a bit timid (we didn’t know about the extensive chaat options), and it took some time to tease out our order, but it was worth the wait. While the Pav Bhaji was far from traditional (the bhaji was chunky and not actually the vibrant red color I was expecting), it was still delicious and the mixed grill was a sizzling pile of meaty goodness. They have valet parking – believe me, you need it.
This restaurant should be more popular than it is. It’s one of the few you can dine outside and I have consistently found the food well presented and on point. We love the Peking Duck (second course always sees us opt for the lettuce cups) which is carved at your table and the shredded beef. Servings are huge but the quality is consistent. While the interior is a bit overwrought and the service sometimes feels overstretched, the food more than makes up for this.
It seems my food blogger brethren have recently discovered this place. Three Peppers sits square on Airport Road with red Chinese lanterns hanging out the front. It also has a dedicated following of both neighbors and those from further afield. The extensive menu runs from the western favorites like sweet and sour chicken through to the more exotic like beef tendon and even jellyfish. My suggestion? Look to the next table to see what they are ordering. This place is a favorite for Chinese expats and they know best (heads up – try the Shan Xi Noodles).
Let’s be honest, there is something about Mexican food that just makes you happy. How can you not love a taco? While there may be better exponents of the South of the Border cuisine around town, this place has a fun vibe and decent quality food. With floor to ceiling murals on the walls and an in-house band, I challenge you not to smile. Check out the Street Enchiladas with beef tenderloin and Mexican cheese. Servings are huge as are the margaritas.
Yes, it’s far, but think of it as destination dining. This excellent Latin American restaurant is worth the mileage and the arguments over the directions (maybe that’s just us?). The chefs hail from Argentina, as does the meat they serve. A warm restaurant with an open kitchen, it also has well trained, charming service. For beginners, standout dishes are the silky ceviches and the wafer thin shards of beef carpaccio. Meat eaters will revel in the selection of cuts but seafood also features heavily on the compact but crowd pleasing menu.
The most underrated restaurant at this hotel, this venue deserves more attention than it gets. Chef Marco has been quietly turning out some of the most interesting and beautifully plated food in the city and he’s also one of the few chefs to create real and regular seasonal menus. The restaurant itself is old school but the food is very much of this time. The rigatoni with lobster is creamy and rich, studded with cherry tomatoes. Meanwhile cappelletti stuffed with ricotta, Piemonte chestnuts, parmesan sauce and black truffle is an earthy surprise. For the mains, check out the New Zealand rack of lamb with pumpkin cream, baby carrots and orange reduction. Prices will also surprise you – not as stratospheric as you may expect.
Possibly one of the loveliest locations in Doha, the white washed walls and view of the coastline makes this a little piece of Greece in Doha. When this place opened around eight years ago it was a revelation – clean and fun Greek food with a stunning setting. In my view it lost its way a little as Doha’s dining scene grew and it dropped off our radar and has struggled to claw back its place ever since. But its legion of passionate Greek expat fans can’t be wrong. Its menu is simple and traditional – a flaky and moreish cheese and spinach pie, moussaka even a Greek mama would approve of and a selection of tender and perfectly prepared souvlaki.
It seems that a new restaurant opens in Doha every week. But sometimes, the best dining experience are already open…
Do you have any restaurants or cafes to add to this list?