Summer beckons, kids are graduating, and for many vacations await so this means it’s time for my Mid-Year Report Card 2022 – The Qatar Dining Scene. For those new here, the Mid-Year Report card is my annual check-in about the the Qatar dining scene – what’s great, what’s leaving us a little cold, like the AC in malls. It’s also a chance to look ahead to what’s happening and what we can look forward to.
What I’m Loving
New Coffee Spots! Juan Valdez at Katara and the soon to open Toby’s Estate are great examples of the move away from the fancy coffee we’ve seen pop up around town in recent years. Good quality beans and well trained baristas FTW!
New Cuisines! Georgian cuisine has landed (with another new Georgian restaurant opening soon) along with a slew of other new tastes and flavors like Senegalese and Uzbek restaurants and I am here for it.
New concepts! Instantly iconic when it opened earlier this year, Public House at the Marsa Malaz Kempinski is the pub/beer garden/casual hang out we have been crying out for in Qatar. More please!
QDC Home Delivery: As I live and breathe I NEVER thought I would see this happen. But there we are….QR1800 minimum spend though.
Old favorites New Fire: Places like Nobu and Hakkasan have stepped up again to face the World Cup challenge. Two of the best meals I have had this year have been in these restaurants. They just keep delivering. You can add relative newcomer Riyasat to this list.
Small Business. I’ve long been a standard bearer for the small eateries around town and I’m pleased to see more people seeking these out. Check out The Guilds; Ray’s Jerk Shack; Mama Rozie; Kopi Cup and Ninja Ramen for some foodie finds. Spend local folks – you will save money, eat well and support the industry!
Celebrity Spotting. And I don’t mean David Beckham. Just as we have many home grown smaller outlets, there is certainly some additional culinary star power coming to town. Dani Garcia continues his delicious rampage across the Doha dining scene; Jean Georges is opening at the Four Seasons; Tom Aikens is opening at the 321 Museum.
Room for improvement
Consistency. I mentioned Nobu and Hakkasan above as two of the most consistent restaurants in this city. This attitude for constant improvement needs to be replicated across the board. We still have the age old problem of starting strong then petering out.
Plastic straws and containers. Everywhere. Literally. Still. Come on guys, we can do better in 2022 – there are alternatives available in the market.
Also, and I know I keep banging on about this, but how is it in 2022 in a culturally diverse and food loving country like Qatar that we still don’t have a decent Vietnamese restaurant? Asking for a friend…OK me actually.
Mid-Week Blues. It pains me to see places empty mid-week. Atmosphere is everything. I’d love to see restaurants embrace some tactics used by other outlets to draw in diners.
What I’m Looking forward to
Added value! Hotels and restaurants are starting to finally see how price sensitive this market is. Be it better priced drinks packages or just a rethink of pricing all round. Great examples of this include the Seafood Night at Four Seasons Doha; the Friday Brunch at Crowne Plaza
New hotels and openings! And that means new restaurants. Keep an eye out for Raffles Doha and the Chedi Doha as well as the Waldorf Astoria Lusail which will be home to Sushi Samba and Al Maha Island where the much anticipated Zuma is landing.
Spotlight on Qatari food. The World Cup will shine a light on the underrated Qatari cuisine and demonstrated it’s far more complex than machboos!
And the final grade?
Always tough but the buzz is building for the tournament, many new and exciting things happening so I’m going to give it an A-
While you are here:
So there it is, Mid-Year Report Card 2022 – The Qatar Dining Scene. As mentioned above, with a slew of new hotels set to open around town pre FIFA, expect lots of action on the dining front. Some happenings around town and things to watch out for:
- My instagram is baaaack. Cash me outside at @rachelannmorris71
- A Kite Beach resort is opening in Qatar! Check it out here.
- A great round-up of afternoon tea spots in Doha in Time Out Doha
- Doha’s newest hotel opening is Le Royal Meridien in Lusail. It has a sport bar which looks interesting.
- KAIA Beach Club at Salwa Beach Resort has launched a pool party brunch that includes transport to the resort!