Good Life

Qatar’s cap­i­tal city be­lieves in liv­ing the cui­sine and cul­ture of food

Business Traveler (USA) - - CONTENTS - By Neha Gupta Kapoor

Din­ing in Doha – The cui­sine and cul­ture of Qatar’s cap­i­tal

Eat­ing out in Doha is a big deal, and the week­ends of­ten see crowded restau­rants. In fact, it isn’t un­com­mon to spot ex­ec­u­tives at these places dur­ing lunch hours on week­days ei­ther. A meal out is usu­ally taken at ho­tel restau­rants, in­stead of stand alone eater­ies. Most have bar of­fer­ings to ac­com­pany your food as well as up­beat mu­sic for a lively vibe.

1. Fuego

Vis­it­ing Shangri-La’s au­then­tic South Amer­i­can eatery means sign­ing up for a night of foot-tap­ping mu­sic and fan­tas­tic food. Ev­ery evening ex­cept Mon­days, a duo plays gen­uine Ar­gen­tine folk mu­sic and meat lovers en­joy a fine se­lec­tion of prime beef“pre­pared in the time-hon­ored tra­di­tion soft he Ar­gen­tine grill .” Com­ple­ment­ing theme ali san equally im­pres­sive se­lec­tion of South Amer­i­can wines and ser­vice by a pre­dom­i­nantly Ar­gen­tinian staff. Steaks served here in­clude the cer­ti­fied Ar­gen­tine Kobe and cer­ti­fied Ar­gen­tine An­gus. Fuego also serves a good por­tion of char­grilled prawns, sea bass, roasted chicken, spiced lamb, chorizo meat­balls and coun­try-style veg­eta­bles for the mains.

Steaks start from QAR 170 ($46) and main cour­ses start from QAR 90 ($25). Open daily 5:30 PM – 12:00 AM; tel: +974 4429 5295; shangri-la.com

2. Ipanema

Rodizio style means a Brazil­ian steak­house. Here, cus­tomers pay a fixed price on en­ter­ing the eatery, and wait­ers bring dif­fer­ent foods to the ta­ble un­til the diner has had his or her fill. It is ba­si­cally an all-you-caneat buf­fet, but back­wards, where the food comes to you. At Ipanema, the Brazil­ian restau­rant at Mar­riott Mar­quis City Cen­tre Doha, wait­ers shave 15 types of roast meat from skew­ers onto your plate and con­tinue to feed you un­til you flip over the green coaster on your ta­ble to show red, an in­di­ca­tion that you’ve had enough. There is also a buf­fet that of­fers 30 items in­clud­ing gourmet sal­ads, veg­eta­bles, cheeses and Brazil­ian side dishes. The am­bi­ence is lively with bright car­ni­val colors, friendly wait­ers and a live band that only adds to the sense of rev­elry here. It is best to book a ta­ble be­fore you ar­rive.

An all-in­clu­sive Rodizio buf­fet starts from QAR 299 ($82). Open daily 5:30 PM - 11:30 PM, ex­cept Fri­day 12:30 PM - 3:30 PM; tel: +974 4419 5000; mar­riottmar­quis­do­ha­din­ing.com

3. La Mer Bistro

This restau­rant on the 23rd floor of the Ritz-Carl­ton is a typ­i­cal French bistro. The ho­tel de­scribes the space as a“ca­sual yet el­e­gant so­cial place,”and right­fully so. To be­gin with, the en­trance wel­comes you with teas­ing, at­ten­tion-get­ting sign:“Snob Free, Ca­sual Restau­rant.”A walk in­side re­veals a breath­tak­ing panoramic view of Doha’s sky­line out the floor-to-ceil­ing win­dows. Though lim­ited, the one-page menu has an im­pres­sive se­lec­tion of typ­i­cal French dishes. These in­clude the foie gras mousse on brioche toast, buck­wheat crepes with gruyere cheese, mush­room and spinach, cod fish with vegetable rata­touille, and duck leg con­fit to name a few. Don’t leave with­out try­ing the dark choco­late fon­dant served with pis­ta­chio ice cream.

The ap­pe­tiz­ers start from QAR 40 ($11) and main cour­ses from QAR 80 ($22). Open Satur­day-Wed­nes­day 5:00 PM –

12:00 AM, Thurs­day-Fri­day un­til 1:00 AM; tel: +974 4484 8000; ritz­carl­ton.com

4. Misk

This restau­rant at City Cen­tre Rotana prom­ises au­then­tic Ara­bic dishes that stay true to Le­banese kitchens, all while “re­spect­ing the Ori­en­tal and Le­vant culi­nary tra­di­tions.”For for­eign­ers, it is a true ex­pe­ri­ence of Ara­bic din­ing, one that is as good as vis­it­ing a lo­cal’s home. Most of the cold mezze and raw items are pre­sented on wooden plat­ters with serv­ing tongs, cooked meat is gar­nished with roast veg­eta­bles, and most hum­mus, sal­ads and other ac­com­pa­ni­ments are gen­er­ous help­ings. The “wide se­lec­tion of sweets from the cities of Beirut and Tripoli”has its own dis­play island sur­rounded by big, cozy cush­ions. The dimly lit fine-din­ing restau­rant has an el­e­gant feel with de­tails such as vel­vet up­hol­stery, cas­cad­ing sheer drapes en­velop­ing chan­de­liers above the ta­bles, and car­pets with typ­i­cal Ara­bic de­signs.

The cold mezze starts from QAR 30 ($8) and grills start from QAR 80 ($22). Open daily 7:00 PM – 1:00 AM ex­cept Fri­day 12:30 PM – 3:30 PM, tel: +974 4445 8888; rotana.com/city­cen­trerotanadoha

5. Mis­tu­rado

The Brazil­ian bar and lounge at Crowne Plaza is an ideal place for ca­sual meet­ings with col­leagues over drinks and fin­ger foods. With seat­ing for 84 guests in­doors and 32 out­doors, it can be a busy spot on week­ends. Though the menu here may not be fancy with fu­sion foods or ex­per­i­men­tal twists, the fla­vors are def­i­nitely true to their roots. For ex­am­ple, the chicken que­sadilla with spicy pineap­ple is a smooth bal­ance be­tween fiery and sweet sen­sa­tions. The golden fried shrimp tossed in cashew nuts, mango and co­rian­der rel­ish is equally de­light­ful for the taste buds. Even the fish and chips are done right. Still, the most in­ter­est­ing of all is the Mis­tu­rado plat­ter that wraps chicken in turkey ba­con, and tops grilled fish with pis­ta­chio or­ange re­duc­tion. The best time to visit is early evening when the bar isn’t quite full yet.

Ap­pe­tiz­ers start from QAR 40 ($11). Open daily 12:30 PM – 2:00 AM; tel: +974 4408 7777; ihg.com/crowne­plaza

6. Parisa

Parisa means‘an­gel’in Per­sian. As the name sug­gests, the restau­rant in Sharq Vil­lage (by the Ritz-Carl­ton)“in­vites din­ers to en­joy an ex­cit­ing style of con­tem­po­rary Per­sian de­lights at its finest.”The menu has a good se­lec­tion of ke­babs such as lamb tenderloin mar­i­nated overnight in yo­gurt, char­coal grilled gulf ham­mer fil­let mar­i­nated in lime and golden saf­fron, and Per­sianstyle mar­i­nated jumbo shrimp fin­ished with saf­fron but­ter, to name a few. These are served on mini live grills that are placed di­rectly on the ta­ble. Guests may choose from any one of three set menus that of­fer cold and hot ap­pe­tiz­ers, a main course and a dessert. Each main course is served with three kinds of rice. The food is best en­joyed at Parisa’s ter­race that over­looks the sea. In­doors the Per­sian theme con­tin­ues in the dé­cor and in the art­work and im­agery.

The set menu starts from QAR 290 ($80) per per­son. Open daily 6:30 PM – 11:00 PM ex­cept Fri­day-Satur­day 12:30 PM - 3:30 PM; tel: +974 4425 6666; ritz­carl­ton.com

7. The Cel­lar

If it’s Mediter­ranean ta­pas you’re look­ing for, The Cel­lar at Oryx Rotana has an ex­ten­sive menu, in­clud­ing nine veg­e­tar­ian dishes, in ad­di­tion to the soups. Most of these can be or­dered“up­sized”: br­uschetta, cheese cro­quettes, as­sorted roasted veg­eta­bles and green as­para­gus tem­pura to name a few. The meat se­lec­tion in­cludes ke­babs, An­gus beef burg­ers, lamb chops, braised beef cheeks and the sim­ple chicken breast with chili salsa. The mus­sel pot, paella, creamy rice with squid ink and oven baked crab are some of the seafood ta­pas. This sim­plic­ity in the food adds to an equally laid-back vibe with great mu­sic and a good se­lec­tion of wines to go with ev­ery dish.

Veg­e­tar­ian ta­pas start from QAR 40 ($11), seafood from QAR 50 ($14) and meat ta­pas from QAR 45 ($12). Open Satur­day-Wed­nes­day 12 PM – 12 AM, Thurs­day-Fri­day un­til 2:00 AM; tel: +974 4402 3333; rotana.com BT

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