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Restaurant Reviews

Mid-Year Report Card 2023 – The Qatar Dining Scene

It’s mid-June, Summer is well and truly upon us and vacations are being planned. This also means it’s time for my Mid-Year Report Card 2023 – The Qatar Dining Scene. For those new here, the Mid-Year Report Card is my annual check-in about the Qatar dining scene – what’s great, what’s leaving us a little cold, what could be improved. It’s also a chance to look ahead to what’s happening and what we can look forward to.

What I’m Loving

Filipino food in the spotlight, finally: This cuisine may finally be getting its time in the sun – with some international and local buzz

New Openings Delivering the Goods: The M (still the scene of one of the best meals I have had in a long time), Kai’s Songbird, Chotto Matte and more all lighting up the dining scene. Great food, engaged service – this gives me hope. Here’s to their ongoing success.

Vietnamese food! It’s here! And it’s great! Tuk Tuk Saigon and Hoi An – we salute you!

Speaking of new cuisines: Mosavali is championing the sleeper hit of the Caucases – Georgian food. And some new African eateries like Jikoni and Naija representing these cuisines. More of this please.

Offers galore: It’s never been a better time to be a lady in search of a Ladies’ Night in Doha. Or a happy hour. Cheers to that!

Korean soft power: I’m here for it. New Korean eateries like Hanok are proving that Korean cuisine is here to stay and our tastebuds are accepting the takeover. Take me to your leaders (aka Black Pink)

Consistent performers: Hakkasan, Liang and Nobu, take a bow. Still keeping up the exceptional quality and packing in the regulars and new diners.

Room for Improvement

Plastic straws and containers: Everywhere. Literally. Still. Come on guys, we can do better in 2023 – there are alternatives available in the market and I feel I have been banging on about this for years. Also, why do restaurants insist on wrapping items for home delivery in meters of plastic wrap? Whyyy? No wonder the Orcas are turning on us.

Pricing: Yes, life and food is expensive. But QR320 for a baby chicken? Some on guys.

More independent venues please: We love a big name. And a big brand. But we can also make room and support new, locally grown talent and ideas.

ChatGPT: I’m more horrified by this as a writer than as a diner. The use of this tool is creeping into marketing and social media posts all over Doha and it’s so obvious that so much content is being written by three racoons asking ChatGPT to “make it more like Shakespeare”.

What I’m Looking Forward to

New hotels: the Rosewood and Waldorf Astoria West Bay both open later this year and bring some interesting restaurant concepts with them.

Filipino Food on the Rise: See above x 10. It’s happening globally with acclaimed restaurants opening in Australia, New York and the UK. It’s a matter of time before we see a similar boom here.

Cocktail hour: More venues like Ambar are taking cocktails more seriously and developing new and developing new snd exciting blends and flavors.

The Half Yearly Assessment

This year was always going to be an uphill climb – coming off three years of COVID and the big 2022 event. So we never really knew what to expect. Given the ongoing challenges and disruptions, Qatar is doing pretty well…so far. We don’t know what the long summer months will bring. That said, a solid performance in an uncertain time. B+

While you are here…

So that’s the Mid-Year Report Card 2023 – The Qatar Dining Scene done and dusted for this year! But while I have you here:

  • Do you subscribe to my weekly newsletter? If not, why not? It’s got news, reviews, my views and the odd special treat! I’m biased but each week’s is a cracker.
  • For my best restaurants of 2023, check out this post.

Qatar's favorite food and travel blogger.

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