We are at the pointy end of the year and for foodies this is great news. The weather starts to change oh so slightly, events start rolling into the city and this is the time when new menus, new restaurants and more start to open. So here is your October Hit List – where to eat and drink in Doha this month…
1. Pizza Box
Another pizza place…yes. But this one is a little different. It offers New York style pizza – the pie is larger, the dough thinner and the toppings a bit more eclectic. You can buy by the slice or the whole pie. Toppings include traditional pepperoni, a supreme and even a cheeseburger pizza (with Big Mac sauce). Sides are equally good – frickles (fried pickles) are the right mix of salt and vinegar, their pizza knots are carby and delicious dough balls you can dip in marinara sauce. The interiors are fun and New York themed but they also deliver all over Doha. This isn’t a chain – it’s a local start up, it’s amazing to see more like this. I’m a fan.
Must order: The pepperoni pizza and the fried pickles
2. B Lounge
The much anticipated Doha outpost of the Buddha Bar franchise has finally opened at the Ritz Carlton Doha. Gone is the dingy Admirals Bar with its eclectic clientele and cheap beer. The transformation of this venue is astounding. They have added a sushi bar and seating upstairs plus expanded the two terraces. In winter I predict they will be THE place to be seen and seen and seen. The ground floor seating is tight but the decoration makes up for it – cosy tables a deux plus bigger options for groups.The centerpiece is a sleek rose gold bar for people watching. The food? Well executed renditions of crowd pleasing pan Asian favorites.
A fried lobster dumpling is plump and brimming with flavor. Their signature chicken salad is a riot of flavors and textures. A robata grill Teriyaki chicken bathed in sauce and perfectly pitched while their sushi was fresh and beautifully presented. I do think the starters and sushi were stronger than the mains, and you could easily enjoy a dinner of shared smaller plates with their excellent and fun cocktails. For wine fans, they have an in-house sommelier – a rarity in Doha and they are hoping to expand their wine offering in coming months. Prices are as expected for a five star hotel restaurant and as the weather cools, it may just be that perfect outdoor venue.
Must order: the chicken salad and lobster dumplings
The Mandarin Oriental quietly opened their sleek bronzed bar last month and I am kind of glad people are slow to respond. But it’s time to give it some exposure! It’s a gem of a venue – larger than expected and a lot of effort and thought has gone int the menu and the design. The cocktail list contains some drinks – including liqueurs aged in clay pots – I’ve not seen in Doha before.
They make their own limoncello and also use honey from the hotel’s own bees in many drinks. My advice though? Come for the cocktails and the relaxed vibe and stay for the food. Spanish inspired small plates like a criminally tender braised octopus and a firey perfectly pitched prawn dish. This place will be very popular very soon – visit now and snag your favorite seat.
Must order: Everything. No really.
4. Toro Toro Saturday Lunch
I’m going out on a limb here and calling this restaurant Doha’s most improved for 2019.After an identity crisis (was it a restaurant? Was it a bar?) it’s now back on track – a new chef and new energy. They have now added a Saturday brunch to their offering and I am here for it. In fact, I liked it so much I went two weeks in a row. Served a la carte style, the menu is a greatest hits of their repertoire. Cheesy and gooey corn pancakes with a chilli jam, smokey guacamole and unlimited BBQ meats if you have room. The dining room really is a different beast during the daylight hours – drenched in sunshine and the water views help as well. Lunch is QR295 and drinks are a la carte. I can’t think of a better place for a lazy weekend afternoon of good food and views.
Must order: They will bring all the things – but don’t leave without the cheesy pancakes.
5. Autumn Menu at IDAM
It’s a good month when I get to dine at IDAM. This place never fails to impress me with its attention to detail and open embrace of local flavors. The autumn menu is another tour de force – featuring sea bream with a Swiss chard and plum sauce, an almost too pretty to eat beetroot salad and a take on seafood risotto using nutty spelt grains.
The small touches like additional dishes (like a wafer thin small plate of smoked kingfish), the trolley of small treats like house made marshmallows and the matching juices – they all make this a truly unique experience.
Must order: They have set menus or you can order a la carte – but I suggest the team do the honors for you
So there it is – your October hit list – where to eat and drink in Doha this month! I’m looking forward to seeing you around!