NIBBLES AND BITES
Must try eateries in Doha
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.
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
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
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
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 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
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