No…I’m not going veggie on you. This is a response to the many requests I get from readers and followers about vegetarian and vegan offerings in Doha. So, I ditched the meat, cheese and seafood and headed out to scour the sweltering city for our veggie loving friends – and found some tasty and moderately-priced food in the process.
I will let you in on a little secret – I was a vegetarian during my first year at university back in another century, before Instagram and before the interwebz (yes Virginia – there was a world before social media). This was mainly because all I could afford was chips and gravy from the cafeteria in the Wentworth Building at Sydney University – but it was a longish phase. But, regardless of this brief time on the dark side, I am not an expert – I just love good food and know there is a lack of information out there for veggie foodies (and many readers have begged for a post about new options).
Of course there is the pioneering Evergreen Cafe at The Pearl Qatar – the menu there is diverse and interesting. But for many, the location and frankly the cost, is prohibitive and the portions leave you wanting more. I also like RAW ME, who were perhaps the first to offer vegan food delivery (now with a cafe also at The Pearl). Superheroes Eat Plants, a vegan home delivery service is taking a break but check their page for updates.
I was looking for vegan and vegetarian options hiding in plain sight and offered cost effective dining for people. As I found, there is more to this veggie caper than avocado toast (ok maybe there is a fair bit of that too).
Better known for their breakfasts and hearty cafe fare, this West Bay stalwart recently introduced some vegan options beyond their usual menu. This includes a wrap with pea protein – a first for me but surprising texture and its delicious taste – as well as a few of their flatbreads and salads can be customized. Their lentil soup is also a warm and comforting option.
It goes without saying that Indian and South Asian restaurants offer the best value, and often most tasty, vegetarian and vegan food in the city. I could name any one of the dozens of great options but one of my favorite is Bharath, which has multiple locations in Qatar and offers tasty, pocket friendly renditions of Indian favorites. I love the rava dosa for breakfast and the budget busting thali for QR19. Hard to beat for value and flavor and proof once again that good food doesn’t have to cost the earth.
Don’t let the designer name and posh location at The Pearl Qatar fool you. This is possibly one of the most underrated eateries in Doha. Dario the head chef there has transformed this once run-of-the-mill outlet into something truly special. Along the way he has also opened up some untapped markets – producing gluten free baked goodies as well as world class vegan and vegetarian dishes. This includes a vegan ragout made with lentils and a cheesecake made with cashews. On the vegetarian side, the stars are the handmade pastas and salads. You can also check out the gluten free pastas being created by Chef Dario who has quite rightly earned a cult following. Take your non-veggie friends for the authentic Italian food.
Stay with me on this one folks – I have written about my love for this place before – but in a menu as extensive as theirs, you can find some veggie/vegan gems (including the aforementioned avocado toast). Case in point – their avocado egg rolls which come with a cashew and tamarind sauce and their vegan version of a cobb salad that is stuffed with grilled asparagus and roasted beets. For mains they offer a veggie burger (which is topped with cheese but this is removable) and a range of pastas including one with broccoli and pine nuts. As I said, the offerings are limited but other dishes are adaptable.
One thing to remember, the food here is made fresh, nothing frozen and servngs are huge. So, winning.
A little bit of Melrose avenue in Qatar, this cafe is hidden in the gorgeous Katara Beach Club, the simple menu has some vegetarian (no strict vegan options as yet) gems. This includes a handmade gnudi (ricotta dumplings similar to gnocchi) served with a spinach volute and crispy leeks and a wonderfully spicy masala omelette.
For something a little decadent try the cauliflower melt which is laced with fontina cheese.
Nobu is my “big night out” restaurant and I came to learn recently it also has solid veggie cred. The menu has some highlights including the warm mushroom salad and a deliciously moreish eggplant miso.
Their renowned sushi comes with a veggie option and there is an off menu version of their legendary rock shrimp with cauliflower replacing the seafood.
If this is veggie living, where can I sign up?
7. Fresh Doha
While this is not a sit down restaurant, rather a home delivery service, they do offer something very different – tasty vegan home delivery options made with love.
They have a daily delivery option of hearty dishes like curries, soups and salads, but it is their new “On the Fly” “fastish” food delivery menu that got me interested and people talking. You can pre-order delivery vegan “fish and chips” – made with banana blossoms (or artichokes depending on availability) and non-soy based protein in the form of sea vegetables. And yes, the fish substitute even fooled this fish loving foodie. Bonus points for the gluten free batter made from chickpea flour.
The tartare sauce that comes with it is ridiculously creamy and there is a tang of salt and vinegar with the wedges. I can also vouch for the “meaty” mushroom and nut burgers which are piled high with salad, onion rings and more. Check out the Facebook page mentioned above for ordering details and brainchild Thomene’s infectious love of vegan food.
I know I haven’t covered the growing depth and breadth of vegan and veggie options in Qatar, but I hope this gives you an idea of what is available…and you never know…you might even delve into the meat-free dark side.
If you have any suggestions or favorite spots, share in the comments below!
*Click here for my fabulously written disclaimer.