Weather is a preoccupation in Doha. Whether it’s the heat, the humidity or the alleged “rainy season” (on now apparently), it’s the number one topic for discussion at dinner tables, office kitchens and cafes across the city.
I also love it how it’s a COMPLETE surprise that come October, things start to cool down.
Well, it has actually. Evening temperatures are now hovering in the high 20s. Time to turn down the AC, put the Netflix subscription on hold for a few months and head outside – this is the time of year we live for in Qatar.
I mean, I even come out of my summer hibernation for this time of year.
And here are my top five places to enjoy some good food, good vibes and good weather:
It’s open finally and it was worth it. Literally sitting on the hotel’s previously unused pier and overlooking the marina and the bay, this place is sure to be popular.
Cool white couches and recliners, a menu of re-imagined Arabic food (foie gras kibbe and truffle infused hommous feature), quality shisha and a menu of interesting cocktails and mocktails. I’m thinking of taking up residence. Open daily from 4pm.
This outpost of the popular Italian restaurant may be surrounded by commercial buildings and located on one of the busiest roads in the city, but you wouldn’t know. This is one of my favorite spots in the Doha (and it’s close to home)- the terrace is sheltered yet has a very cool vibe. In winter they show old movies on a makeshift screen. The food is classic Italian – pastas, pizzas but also they have a seasonal menu. their current lobster dishes are worth a look. And, for those worried about the cross town trek – they have valet parking.
While it has one of the sexiest dining rooms in the city it also has a lovely terrace. Regular promotions and happy hours in their upstairs bar can keep the prices down (their Friday happy hour from 4pm is very popular). The terrace looks out over the sparkly lights of The Pearl, squint and you could be…well…anywhere.
This has to be one of the prettiest terraces in town – think Santorini meets Doha, and most underrated. A revamp a while back saw this mainstay of the Doha dining scene lift its game. Good, relaible Greek standards (moussaka, grills and a perfectly garlicky tzaziki). Open from 12pm daily, it’s an ideal after work dinner spot, but is equally as good for groups or a sneaky date night.
I’m on the record about how much I like the food at this place, but it also has a spacious terrace which opens onto the Porto Arabia boardwalk. To me this smacks of a lazy autumn evening of guacamole, tacos and people watching. Great for Pearl locals but also worth the drive for us lesser mortals.
Outshone to some extent by other, newer and shinier restaurants, this remains a favorite of mine. The restaurant’s wraparound terrace gives a great view over the grounds of this lovely hotel and onto its beach. The food, heavily seafood based, is served tapas style and the service is genuine and informed. Check out their Thai street food style Friday brunch for some fresh, beautifully presented food.
- I would be remiss not to mention Nobu Doha, whose upstairs bar has one of the best terraces in Qatar, if not the region. Drinks and snacks have never been so scenic! There is a smaller terrace also attached to the dining room.
- La Veranda at the Sheraton Doha has a lush waterside location right on the Corniche. I haven’t been lately so can’t attest to the food, but the view is worth it.
- Souq Waqif is crawling with cafes and restaurants with outdoor seating. For something a little more high end, climb (in an elevator) to Al Matbakh Grill which is open daily from 6pm. Decent steaks and Arabic style grills plus a unique view of the Souq and the corniche.
- It’s a 30 minute boat ride away, but worth it to try the laid back Q Lounge at Anantara’s Banana Island. The menu has an indian bent – samosas and a very good biryani were highlights of my recent trip. the resort, which has Maldives vibes, offers a great deal – QR350 for the day (includes the luxury ferry over, beach and pool access, QR200 voucher to spend in restaurants and a QR50 voucher for activities).