NIBBLES AND BITES

Must try eater­ies in Doha

Business Traveller (India) - - CONTENTS -

The Qataris be­lieve in liv­ing a good life, and the at­ti­tude is quick to be con­tracted by the ex­pats here. Eat­ing out is a big deal, and the week­ends of­ten see crowded restau­rants. In fact, it isn't un­com­mon to spot of­fice ex­ec­u­tives at these places dur­ing lunch hours on week­days ei­ther. A meal out is usu­ally at the restau­rants in ho­tels, as op­posed to the stand alone ones. Al­most all have bar of­fer­ings to ac­com­pany your food, and most have up­beat mu­sic to cre­ate a lively vibe. Con­sider these seven places on your next visit to Qatar’s cap­i­tal city.

FUEGO

An au­then­tic South Amer­i­can eatery, Shangri-La’s de­scrip­tion of its restau­rant reads: "Fuego de­liv­ers the culi­nary fire and pas­sion of the Ar­gen­tine pam­pas to din­ers who wish to chan­nel their in­ner gau­chos and paisanas”. Vis­it­ing this es­tab­lish­ment means sign­ing up for a night of foot-tap­ping mu­sic and fan­tas­tic food. Ev­ery evening, ex­cept on Mon­days, a duo plays en­gag­ing Ar­gen­tine folk mu­sic for 45 min­utes. It is here that meat lovers will en­joy a fine se­lec­tion of prime beef “pre­pared in the time-hon­oured tra­di­tions of the Ar­gen­tine grill”. Com­ple­ment­ing the meal is an 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 as a rib eye, ten­der­loin, striploin and the bone-in rib eye or Tom­a­hawk steak. They weigh any­thing from 250 grams to 550 grams. Apart from this, Fuego 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/`3,092 and the mains start from QAR 90/`1,636. Open daily 5:30pm-12am; tel: +974 4429 5295; shangri-la.com

IPANEMA

A Rodizio style restau­rant means a Brazil­ian style steak­house. Here, cus­tomers pay a fixed price on en­ter­ing the eatery and wait­ers bring dif­fer­ent foods to the ta­ble un­til the diner has sa­ti­ated his/her ap­petite. It is ba­si­cally an all-you-can-eat buf­fet, but back­wards, where the food comes to you. Such is the case with 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. Apart from this, there is also a buf­fet that of­fers 30 items in­clud­ing gourmet sal­ads, fresh cut veg­eta­bles, im­ported cheeses, cured meats and Brazil­ian side dishes. As tempt­ing as it may sound, with the meat se­lec­tion that is brought to you, it can be an easy miss. The am­bi­ence is lively with bright car­ni­val colours for the decor, 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/`5,486. Open Fri­day 12:30pm3:30pm, daily 5:30pm-11:30pm; tel: +974 4419 5000; mar­riottmar­quis­do­ha­din­ing.com

LA MER BISTRO

This restau­rant in The Ritz-Carl­ton is a typ­i­cal ex­am­ple of a French bistro. The ho­tel de­scribes the space as “a com­fort­able, dy­namic and ca­sual yet el­e­gant so­cial place”, and right­fully so. For one, the en­trance wel­comes you with a sign: “snob free, ca­sual restau­rant”. Inside, it has a breath­tak­ing panoramic view of Doha’s sky­line as it is on the 23rd floor of the build­ing. El­e­gance oozes from its wooden in­te­ri­ors, crys­tal chan­de­liers, false ceil­ing with smart lines for struc­ture, and floor-to-

ceil­ing win­dows. The for­mal aura is off­set by red cush­ions on leather up­hol­stery of sim­ple pa­tio fur­ni­ture. The bar has an old-world charm to it with sim­ple lamps, glossy work­top, a dis­play of bot­tles, and daily spe­cials scrib­bled on a chalk­board. Though lim­ited, the one-page menu has an im­pres­sive se­lec­tion of typ­i­cal French dishes. These in­clude the foie gras mousse on brioche toast; French onion soup served with coun­try bread and gruyere cheese; 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 appetisers start from QAR 40/`733 and the mains start from QAR 80/`1,466. Open Satur­day-Wed­nes­day 5pm-12am, Thurs­day-Fri­day un­til 1am; tel: +974 4484 8000; ritzcarl­ton.com

MISK

This restau­rant at City Cen­tre Rotana prom­ises au­then­tic Ara­bic dishes that stay true to Le­banese kitchens; all this while “re­spect­ing the Ori­en­tal and Le­vant culi­nary tra­di­tions”. The chefs use ortho­dox cooking meth­ods in an ef­fort to bring nos­tal­gia to your ta­ble with its Ara­bic food. In case of 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 in stain­less steel and ce­ramic dishes. Its “wide se­lec­tion of sweets from the cities of Beirut and Tripoli” have its own dis­play is­land that is sur­rounded by big, cosy cush­ions. Each as­sort­ment is ar­ranged in glass jars or sil­ver trays with glass lids and placed on in­di­vid­ual satin cush­ions. The dimly lit fine-din­ing restau­rant has an el­e­gant feel to it with de­tails such as vel­vet up­hol­stery, cas­cad­ing sheer drapes en­velop­ing chan­de­liers above ta­bles, and car­pets with typ­i­cal Ara­bic de­signs.

The cold mezze starts from QAR 30/`550 and grills start from QAR 80/`1,468. Open Fri­day 12:30pm-3:30pm, daily 7pm-1am; tel: +974 4445 8888; rotana.com/city­cen­trerotanadoha

MISTURADO

The Brazil­ian bar and lounge at Crowne Plaza is an ideal place for ca­sual meet­ings with col­leagues over drinks and fin­ger foods. The no-fuss am­bi­ence that can get busy on week­ends, can seat 84 guests in­doors and 32 out­doors. Though the menu here may not be fancy with fu­sion foods or ex­per­i­men­tal twists, the flavours are def­i­nitely true to their salt. 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 with bat­ter that’s not too thick or too thin. The most in­ter­est­ing of them all, how­ever, is the Misturado plat­ter that wraps chicken in turkey ba­con, and tops grilled fish with pis­ta­chio or­ange re­duc­tion. The best time to visit is in the early evening when the bar isn’t quite full yet. Be­sides, the happy hours (12:30pm-7pm) are more than friendly for the pocket.

Appetisers start from QAR 40/`733. Open daily 12:30pm-2am; tel: +974 4408 7777; ihg.com/crowne­plaza

PARISA

Parisa means an­gel in Per­sian lan­guage. 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 Per­sian-style 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 appetisers, 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 is where the Per­sian theme con­tin­ues in its decor with shades of pur­ple and grey in the up­hol­stery, thick drapes on the large French win­dows, and del­i­cate Per­sian pat­terns for the table­cloths. It is more ap­par­ent, how­ever, in the art­work and im­agery dress­ing the walls, tra­di­tional de­sign in the iron mesh rail­ing of the stairs, and typ­i­cal glob­u­lar lanterns.

The set menu starts from QAR 290/`5,320 per per­son. Open Fri­day-Satur­day 12:30pm-3:30pm, daily 6:30pm-11pm; tel: +974 4425 6666; ritzcarl­ton.com

THE CEL­LAR

If it’s Mediter­ranean tapas you’re look­ing for, The Cel­lar at Oryx Rotana has a de­lec­ta­ble menu. For­tu­nately there is enough to go around for the veg­e­tar­i­ans too with a to­tal of nine dishes, apart from the soups. Most of these can be re­quested for as an “up­size”: bruschetta, cheese cro­quettes, as­sorted roasted veg­eta­bles, French goat cheese with sun­dried toma­toes and crispy baguette, and green as­para­gus tem­pura to name a few. It is this sim­plic­ity in its food that adds to the charm of The Cel­lar where you know ex­actly what you’ll be eat­ing, even if it’s your first visit. It has an equal­ity laid­back vibe with great mu­sic and a good se­lec­tion of wines to go with ev­ery dish. The meat sec­tion in­cludes ke­babs, An­gus beef burg­ers, lamb chops, braised beef cheeks and the sim­ple chicken breast with chilli salsa for meat lovers; the mus­sel pot, paella, creamy rice with squid ink and oven baked crab are some of the seafood tapas served here.

Veg­e­tar­ian tapas start from QAR 40/`733, seafood from QAR 50/`917 and meat tapas from QAR 45/`825. Open Satur­day-Wed­nes­day 12pm-12am, Thurs­day-Fri­day un­til 2am; tel: +974 4402 3333; rotana.com

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