Seven New Restaurant Openings to Look Forward to in Qatar in Before the End of 2018

With a slew of new restaurant openings it looks like the last quarter of 2018 is going to be one of the most interesting  and delicious Qatar foodies have seen.

After the uncertainty of 2017, investment and creativity is flowing and food lovers have a lot to look forward to. Here’s a look at what’s opening in coming weeks and months and a peek at what we can look forward to in 2019.

A word of caution about opening dates – as is always the case, they are fluid. But buckle up this should be a fun end of the year!

La Mar

Doha’s future dining has a distinctly Peruvian tint. An offshoot of Peruvian celebrity chef Gaston Acurio, this place at the Intercontinental Doha has foodies buzzing. The menu is heavily seafood based – his signature dish is ceviche – the restaurant focusses will have both indoor and outdoor seating.  Peruvian food is a perfect storm of  the best of Japanese, Chines and Spanish food and the restaurant has also promised its drinks list will include Pisco (yaaaassss).

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Peru or bust at La Mar – Photo supplied

Opening date: October 2018 

Manko Doha:

Another of Acurio’s brainchild, more of a bar with great food, this outlet (also at the Intercontinental Doha, which seems to have a new energy) has gained cult status in Paris.  Expect amped up cocktails and unique Nikkei cuisine, a combination of Peruvian and Japanese influenced dishes sushi, ceviches and more.

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Pisco is nothing to be sour about – photo supplied

Opening date: October 2018

Maya Doha:

I visited the Dubai branch of this restaurant waaaaay back in 2006 and have been anticipating its arrival ever since. From the sprawling empire of Richard Sandoval (who also has Toro Toro and Zengo in Doha), this is his homage to Mexican food with a modern twist and it’s located at the Kempinski Doha (in West Bay). I’m looking forward to this opening proving there is more to Mexican food than tacos.

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Wait..there’s churros? Photo – Facebook

Opening date: October 2018

La Vista 55:

Located in the venue formerly known as the Intercontinental Doha the City’s  skyhigh bar Strata which struggled despite the best views in the city, this is one of the more surprising new openings of 2018. A “vintage Cuban-themed bar”, it will feature a live Cuban band and food from the island. All staff – including the band – are Cuban and they will have a range of cocktails and beers (including a gluten free one!). The lounge will be over two floors and include a restaurant area. Expect dishes like Ropa Vieja (Cuban-style shredded beef) and more.

Opening date: TBC but looks like late October.

Tahitian Village at Trader Vics

Trader Vics is a very underrated venue in Doha – drinks, dinner, brunch it delivers on all three with a stunning location. And who can argue with cocktails the size of bathtubs? Their new extension – the Tahitian Village – ups seating capacity by 200, includes an outdoor bar, a new indoor bar area and a revamped menu. It will be the biggest outdoor venue in Doha. . I had a glimpse of this place on a recent visit and am predicting it will be packed from day onePass me the Tiki Tiki Puka Puka!

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Tahitian Vibes at Trader Vics (photo supplied)

Opening date: TBC but September/October

Novikov:

Originating in London’s Mayfair, this Japanese/Chinese fusion restaurant is beloved by celebrities and scenesters around the world. The restaurant is in the heart of Katara’s long-awaited Katara Plaza, a mix of luxe stores that will host performances, fashion shows and other events. The restaurant will have a “seafood market” concept and an open kitchen. Look for their signature sushi rolls. Heads up, given the location it’s likely to be dry.

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So instagrammable – photo from website

Opening date: “Before the end of 2018”

STK 

The grand dame of Doha’s hotels, the Ritz Carlton, is undergoing a full renovation and now it’s time for the restaurants to match the lush rooms and suites. STK is an American-style steakhouse, billed as “not your Daddy’s steakhouse” (PS I don’t think my Dad ever went to a steakhouse unless the Black Stump counts?). Taking over the space formerly occupied by the much misunderstood La Mer, there will be big steaks, a DJ and lots of meat sweats. Can we just take a moment to remember the once great Admirals, that home of pub food, sports and views of the marina. Now closed, it will morph into B Lounge, an offshoot of the incredibly popular Buddha Bar. Not sure how the Admirals regulars will feel about that…but I’m looking forward to this place! There is also a French brasserie in the works.

STK
Meat sweats on the horizon

Opening date: STK by end of 2018 and B Lounge first quarter 2019.

Jason Atherton will also bring another celebrity chef led restaurant to Doha on the site of the old Antica Pesa (another wasted opportunity) at Marsa Malasz Kempinksi.

Also in soft opening/soon to open stage is Paris legend Le Train Bleu (at Al Hazm Mall) and its more casual sister Le Petit Train Bleu at Doha Festival City. Special mention should go to the new hotel openings in coming months and in 2019 – all brands with solid foodie credentials. This includes Centara Residence and Suites Doha (expect great Thai food), Park Hyatt Doha and Mandarin Oriental Doha. 

I know I may have missed a few and it seems the scene is changing at a rapid pace. But the future looks bright for foodies in Qatar!

*This has been updated to include Jason Atherton’s new venture

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