It’s back by popular demand – your definitive guide to eating and drinking at Hamad International Airport. Since I wrote this post in 2016, the airport has become a global hub, added new shops and welcomed 120 million passengers. It has also opened some new cafes, restaurants and grab and go places to keep hungry passengers fed and watered. So if you are leaving from Doha’s airport, or just transiting through on Qatar Airways, here is your up-to-date guide to staving off the hunger pains and having a happy flight!
If you want something a little bit luxe try:
Champagne and caviar pre flight? Yes please waiter! The raw bar is the best and I am a fan of their seafood plate of oysters, smoked salmon and prawns. They also up the luxury quotient Swiss Balik Salmon and Prunier Caviar washed down with bubbly and a spot of people watching thanks to its prime location near the yellow teddy.
If you really need to catch that big game between flights (and need to eat healthy), stop by:
Serving up wraps, salads and healthy juices, this cafe is the brainchild of Qatar’s sports TV channels. You can watch the game/s on the dozens of screens inside the cafe, fuel up on some quality fresh food and even cheer (it’s expected) your team.
If it’s one of those times when only burger will hit the spot, head to:
These US-style burgers are a little on the expensive side but worth a look. The range of gourmet burgers include the Continental with bacon and cheddar and the Philadelphia comes with cream cheese. A nod to Qatar is the Lamb Burger which is sprinkled with zataar and a yoghurt sauce.
When you are totally craving sushi try
Grab-and-go sushi and other Asian-style food including noodles, soups and snacks like spring rolls. This is located in the food court and meant for speedy service.
If you are looking for something family friendly try:
With a menu that runs from Asian-style salads through to crab cakes and burgers, the stylish design (in red of course) sets this apart. The burgers are a work of art and use USDA prime beef and toppings including goat cheese. Kid friendly and speedy service.
Seating up to 600 people, this is as it’s name suggests, market style dining. Arabic, Asian and Indian as well as European favorites, it has something to try to please everyone. Operating 24 hours, they even have screens updating departures so you have no excuse to miss your flight as you scoff your breakfast pancakes.
If you can’t decide what you want, head to:
OK so this is technically a food court that you would see in all major airports and malls, but with a few additions to pique your interest. While you have the ubiquitious Burger King (I have been guilty of gobbling a Whopper pre flight), it also has
- Camden Food, offering organic sandwiches, a fresh salad bar, smoothies and dried fruit
- Negroni, an Italian outlet with a variety of pastas and pizzas (but alas, no actual Negronis)
- Azka, offering Indian favorites and some Arabic options
- Red Mango serving up frozen yogurts, coffees and juices for the thirsty
Could use more seating as at peak times (mornings and late evenings) can be a squeeze. Don’t forget, you are paying a premium for its location within an airport, so be prepared.
When you want a big bowl of pasta (carbloading!), head to
The cool thing about this outlet is the glass roof gives the impression it’s outside. Probably one of the few locations with actual natural light in the building. Along with Caviar House and Le Grand Comptoir one of the only places outside of the lounges where you can get a glass of wine or a beer with your pasta or pizza.
When you are looking for somewhere to people-watch head to
An attempt at a Parisian brasserie in the heart of a heaving airport. The one time I have been, I found the service impeccable. Serving up pastries and hot dishes for breakfast as well as French brasserie favorites like Salad Nicoise and steak and frites. It’s an overused word, but it’s actually a little classy and there is even a live pianist. The only drawback is the proximity to that flashing ginormous TV in departures. Get a table inside and you can also order a cheeky vino.
For an authentic Qatari experience without leaving the airport, head to
A little slice of Qatari hospitality in the heart of the airport. This place is designed to resemble a majlis – gathering place – with richly textured fabrics and a menu that runs from local coffee through to mezze, dates and Arabic sweets. Make sure you order the Arabic coffee. Very Instagrammable.
Traditional mezze – photo courtesy of Qatar Duty Free
When you want to indulge your hipster tendencies, head to:
This funky, exquisitely designed cafe serves up wraps, sandwiches, sushi rolls good coffee and no attitude. They also stock Raw Middle East juices and a concept of Qatar Museums they also have a gift shop on site.
To indulge your sweet tooth head to:
With a menu of waffles, cakes and creamy dreamy concoctions, this is the place to indulge or chill out with a coffee.
When you want to channel your quirky side head to:
I’m not hip with the kids so the tea phenomenon has passed me by. But this outpost of the international chain that prides itself on using organic ingredients, you can sample a range of teas as well as sandwiches and wraps. For the tea sceptics, they have Illy coffee.
When you are rushing for your flight and you need to grab and go head to these places:
The only food outlet on Concourse A, this little gem serves up made to order fresh sandwiches, smoothies and coffee as well as pre-made options. With some of the smiliest staff in the airport, it’s worth the pitstop.
You can also head to…
Grab and go outlets (one on concourse B and one on C) with free trade coffee, some snazzy organic packaged snacks and the usual sandwiches.
Or hit up…
A pizza-based concept combined with an international bakery, there are also humongous fresh salads and some interesting snacks including arancini, mozzarella sticks and tempura veggies.
When you want to indulge your foodie side head to:
With open cooking stations and food options ranging from noodles through to a decent steak, the menu caters for everyone. You can get a traditional English breakfast, pastry treats from the bakery, and other light options. This is becoming one of my favorite places to eat before I fly.
When you need a last minute gift for a foodie friend head to
Not a restaurant or cafe, rather a store packet with delicious foodie gifts. I pick up Arabic sweets for family and friends here but they also have Bateel dates and Kusmi Tea. I wish this shop was in Doha city!
These offerings, not all five star, are better than a hot pocket and an elbow in the ribs on the plane any day.
Safe travels foodies!
*This post was made possible by the great people at Qatar Airways, Hamad International Airport and Qatar Duty Free.