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Five Great Restaurants to Try That Are Not in West Bay or The Pearl

Newsflash! Great food in Doha does start at The Pearl and end just before you hit the Corniche. There are some great restaurants offering really diverse cuisines outside the rarefied confines of these two areas – and I’m here to help you find them.

The options include – Spanish, Thai, brunch classics, Brazilian meat palace and a homegown Qatari concept. And all have the Life on the Wedge seal of approval.

So grab your friends and get out there and try these gems (and if those mates don’t want to go that far, question whether or not they are REALLY your friends) – maybe add in a nearby happy hour for extra value/allure.

The Cellar

I recently rediscovered this place and what a revelation it was. Tucked away inside the Oryx Rotana, it pumps out well executed versions of Spanish/Med classics like paella and heft tapas. But delve a little deeper in the menu and you will find some stunners. The slow cooked beef cheeks is tangy and fall apart tender while the crisp cauli bites will have you ordering more for later. You can enjoy a jug of sangria or a glass of well chosen Spanish wine and they have almost daily specials like Tapas Tuesday to make it even better value.. There is no pretension, just good food and good service.

Must order: It would be criminal of me not to suggest the cauliflower bites which are dusted in parmesan.

Arnag

When I am asked what the best burger in Qatar is, there is only one answer – the Jboor burger at Arnag. Made with prime Angus beef, the size and quality is just right. Located just inside the Souq al Wakra this place also offers unique takes on comfort food. Check out the chicken sliders which are coated in Pafki chips and topped with pickles. And you can’t leave without trying the now famous Japanese cheesecake – a fluffy sensation with just the right amount of wobble. OK yes, it can be a drive for some, but jump on the Doha Metro and make a trip of it.

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Must order: any of the burgers (the chicken burger is also great) and the Japanese cheesecake.

Khao San

Known for its all you can eat Thai BBQ, this place in eternally busy Bin Mahmoud also has a menu of Thai classics that keeps diners coming back time and time again. Their versions of Thai food are as good as they come in this city and they are pocket friendly to boost. Do come for the BBQ but you should also check out the Thai hotpot – a steaming clay bowl of aromatic broth that you dip in meat, seafood and veggies. I’m still feeling the effects of the three alarm spicy papaya salad and the barometer of decent Thai food – the pad Thai more than passes muster.

Must order: Pad Thai, the fried rice and the Thai BBQ.

Rodizio

This place located inside the Crowne Plaza – The Business Park is the number one restaurant in Doha on Tripadvisor – and for good reason. A Brazilian-style steakhouse, the food is tasty, the cocktails lethal and the staff are among the friendliest and best informed in the city. the small but interesting salad bar is worth a visit and they have recently beefed up (see what I did there?) their free starters – now offering little empanadas as well as the Brazilian cheesy bread. There are 12 cuts of meat on offer for the Churrascaria including duck, flap steak and picanha. also, for those who like an early dinner (ahem…me) they have special offers if you dine before 7pm.

Must order: the meat sweats inducing all-you-can-eat BBQ (special mention to the palate cleansing cinnamon dusted pineapple) and one of their cocktails.

The Brunchery

This place is brand spanking new but there is already a lot to like about it. Located on C Ring Road in al Mana Towers, I’m hoping it will lead a bit of a revitalization of this moribund and frankly underused strip. As the name suggests, the menu leans heavily on American style brunch and breakfast items including eggs, pancakes, waffles. But there are also sandwiches, salads and main menu items. I recently tried their Buffalo burger – which had just the right hit of spiciness and a well made bun (made in house apparently). Sides include the usual fries but also macaroni cheese! They have bottomless filter coffee, a big and airy dining room and relentlessly cheery staff – it’s the kind of place you want to plant yourself with a group of mates for the afternoon.

Must order: The burgers and the Lumberjack’s Breakfast (flannel shirt not included).

What’s your favorite non-WestBay/The Pearl eatery?

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