March is a funny month – that awkward bridge between Winter and Summer. This time last year…well we all know what happened then. On a more optimistic note, this year March is also the final full month before Ramadan and frankly, it’s a feast for foodies.
This month’s list is probably more diverse than in previous months. I’m aware it’s easy to fell down a five star guilded rabbit hole here in Qatar. It’s also a solid mix of places I have been invited to try and those I pay for myself – it’s important to be transparent but also make more of an effort to get back into my pre-COVID mindset and actively search the best eats.
But onto what you are actually here for – the best places to eat and drink in Doha in March, 2021!
While the days may be warm, the nights are still cool and that’s the best thing about Barefoot Thursdays at the Four Seasons Doha. Well that and the menu of BBQ favorites and the laid back vibe. Every Thursday the hotel opens up its beach area to diners. Highlights include a BBQ pit, a raw bar and of course, the FS service. The night I went (an invite) it was a little too cool to kick off the shoes, but the concept remains the same. Price is QR250 with soft drinks and QR395 for the alcohol package.
Must order: The slow cooked prime rib and the BBQ lobster.
This hotel (formerly known and the Oryx Rotana) punches well above its weight on the food and beverage front and this brunch is a great illustration of that. A chef assisted buffet (you point they cook and deliver to you), it ticks all the boxes with brunch classics (a raw bar, pizza, burgers and sushi), then amps up the feel good factor. Eggs benedict comes surf and turf style with a slice of beef and prawns; a smooth foie gras pate is embedded in a piece of perfectly toasted brioche and served with stone fruit jams. Another dish that had our table oohing was a bow of freshly cooked waffle fries with pulled beef and a tangy cheese sauce. Unpretentious both in terms of delivery and in pricing – QR280 with soft drinks (QR150 extra buys you unlimited alcohol) and are available both on The Entertainer and MyBook. We paid for ourselves (using the entertainer) and would gladly pay full price again.
Must order: Don’t leave without trying the roast beef.
The growth in restaurants serving Russian, Eastern European and Caucasus food in Doha has come as a pleasant surprise to me. The dishes are much more diverse and interesting than the cuisine is often given credit for. Case in point is this Uzbek restaurant in Bin Mahmoud. If you want a tasty intro to food from this reason, this is the place to start. Dishes are hearty yet also imbued with spice and flair – expect tender grilled meats, dumplings and tangy salads. A revelation was laghman – handmade noodles with veggies and meat. The spread below cost me QR115 with delivery fee.
Must order: The pumpkin dumplings and the fried laghman
Still on the Eastern theme, this underrated gem in Souq Waqif serves up Azerbaijani food. Their breakfast is terrific value at QR140 for two (I was flying solo so they did a cut down version for me for QR70) which includes shakshouka and a veritable feast of accompaniments including fresh honey, farmhouse cheeses, sausages and more all served with serving hot tea. With a view of the souq from the top floor and cheerfully helpful waiters, this is a true gem.
Must order: breakfast from 8am is the best time to go. Just let them bring everything.
This my friends, is a pasta in pink sauce free zone. The real (Italian) deal and I am so happy it is open again (I was invited by the hotel) and firing on all cylinders. Everything on the menu is not only prepared with care but also has a story behind it – from the bread basket through to the desserts. A great example is their take on steak tartare – the filet of beef is hand cut. Not a lot of room for error there – the result is silky soft and beautifully seasoned with the earthiness of truffle. Tuna with green spaghetti uses fresh tuna and is an illustration of why this dish earned Chef Pino Lavarro his first Michelin star. Prices are firmly in five star territory – pastas and starters hovver around the QR100 mark – but worth it for the showmanship and the execution of these dishes. A rare find in Doha.
Must order: The tuna spaghetti is a showstopper.
So that was my guide to the best places to eat and drink in Doha in March 2021. But there’s more on the menu this month.
Pro tip: Keep an eye out for more about the Chefs of Qatar series and some announcements related to this in coming days.