The best of the best

Here are the winners of the Time Out Doha Restaurant Awards 2018 Discuss this article

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ASIAN
Winner: Spice Market

There are so many reasons to love Spice Market, from its chic interiors with ornate, modern brass chandeliers to its incredible food. Thursday evenings are the liveliest, but if you’ve lived in Doha long enough, you couldn’t have missed the business lunch and the very-popular sushi night here. The lively atmosphere is infectious and the staff are courteous, proactive and even remember your name. We love the tuna tartare here with its spicy radish and ginger vinegar sauce. The chicken wings are new on the menu and an absolute must-try, in all three flavours. The red curried duck comes without a trace of fat. Also new to the menu, the Sri-Lankan and Cambodian curries are just as impressive. If you love the Ovaltine kulfi, we assure you the pistachio kulfi with chocolate barfi shavings and mango is much better, as is the decadent Japanese cheesecake with kumquat. Just perfect.
W Doha Hotel & Residences, West Bay (4453 5000).

Highly commended
Elements

There’s something incredibly stylish about this restaurant, whether you opt to dine indoors or outdoors. Some of Doha’s best Peking duck is served here, we’re always up for trying of the Arabic, Asian and Indian flavours.
Four Seasons Hotel Doha, West Bay(4494 8888).

Zengo
Its sushi and pan-Asian fare are impressive enough, but the panoramic views of Doha from here go above and beyond. Plus, all the avian-themed décor and an intriguing menu with phrases like “truffle ponzu” and “vanilla avocado” will keep all your senses the best kind of busy.
Kempinski Residences & Suites, West Bay (4405 3560).

CHINESE
Winner: Hakkasan

The first thing that springs to mind when one says Hakkasan is the fried dim sum here. These little parcels of goodness are shaped like fruits and are stuffed with favourites like truffle and wagyu. The restaurant itself is synonymous with top-class fine-dining. When you enter through tall black sliding doors and look around at their chic interiors, you already know what you’re in for. The Hakka steamed dim sum platter not only looks great but tastes it, too. With a mix of scallops, prawns, sea bass and wagyu beef dumplings, it’s definitely a crowd-pleaser. The black cod and the spicy prawn lemongrass curry are both excellent and go well with the edamame egg fried rice they come with. Service is flawless and a dinner here easily sits on top of our ultimate Doha experiences list.
The St. Regis Doha, West Bay Lagoon (4446 0170).

Highly commended
Ruby Wu’s

The crispy prawn mayonnaise here is one for the history books. The duck noodles here are noteworthy, too. Ruby Wu’s is an underrated gem and if you’re looking for some authentic Chinese that’s not overbearing at all, this is your best bet.
Radisson Blu Hotel Doha, Ramada Signal (4428 1555).

Shanghai Club
The tall ceilings, green and pink lighting and overall vibe of this restaurant really makes you feel like you’re in downtown Tokyo. It’s fine-dining and it’s excellent.
Shangri-La Hotel Doha, Conference Centre Street, West Bay (4429 5295).

EUROPEAN
Winner: Market by Jean-Georges

It’s virtually impossible to go here on a weekend, or even a weekday, and find this place drab. Always buzzing and always serving up our favourite foods, Market by Jean-Georges is easily one of Doha’s top dining experiences. From the breakfast buffet and the business lunch to the brunch and regular dinners, Market never disappoints. Top of the list is the distinctly nouveau sushi, with options such as yuzu-infused shrimp tempura rolls. Crowd favourites continue to impress and with new items regularly on the menu, we feel obliged to visit here at least once a week.
W Doha Hotel & Residences, West Bay (4453 5000).

Highly commended
IDAM by Alain Ducasse

Dining here is an extraordinary experience – immense and exquisite décor by Philippe Starck, unparalleled views of Doha’s spectacular skyline and the chance to sample Alain Ducasse’s contemporary French Mediterranean cuisine with an Arabic twist.
Museum of Islamic Art, Al Corniche (4422 4488).

Mykonos
Our favourite spot to groove to some bouzouki beats is right here. Kitted out in blue and white, the spot is reminiscent of fun evenings out in Santorini. You can never go wrong with the saganaki, souvlaki and moussaka.
InterContinental Doha, West Bay Lagoon (4484 4444).

INDIAN
Winner: Chingari

Chingari has been around for well over a decade, but from the minute you walk through the caved entrance with painted walls to the moment you soak in the traditional music after eating a very rich meal, the entire experience is immaculate. The place is dimly lit, there are sections with beautiful red suede couches and right in the centre, you’ll find the most soothing live music from incredibly talented Ghazal singers. The ambience is very palatial, to say the least. We always start with the tandoor platter – it’s got the best of the smoky meats and it never disappoints. Over the years, we’ve been known to come back for the tandoor prawns and if you don’t want to get the platter, we definitely recommend these. On theior menu is a delightful selection of vegetarian items but the meaty mains in rich gravies are what we go back for. The menu primarily features North Indian specialties, but it does feature some coconut-based curries, too.
Radisson Blu Hotel Doha, Ramada Signal (4428 1555).

Highly commended
Saffron Lounge
Contemporary Indian food that’s well-presented and very tasty. There’s something from all four corners of India and picking something isn’t easy. Start with the saffron kebab, if in doubt.
Katara Cultural Village (4408 0808).

Zaffran Dining Experience
Going out for Indian is now more exciting than ever. Zaffran takes the cuisine up a notch and focuses on the gastronomic element adding a wow-factor. They have interesting dishes like a black truffle lamb curry, a typical Indian canteen-style dhal and lots more. Try the smoky biscuit just for fun (just be prepared for a lot of smoke).
Al Emadi Financial Centre, C Ring Road, Muntazah Signal (4447 7747).

ITALIAN
Winner: La Spiga by Paper Moon

When it comes to Italian dining, La Spiga is as archetypal as they come. Everything about it oozes the charm and sophistication of the country. At night, it transforms into a stylish venue, perfect for a night out of socialising with good friends and even better food. The massive glittery oven in the kitchen is quite the eye-catcher. The menu is reliable and features the likes of fettucine Bolognese, seafood linguine, porcini mushroom risotto and veal Milanese. But what really wins us over here is the pappardelle. The pink sauce is perfect and the salty bacon just adds a whole new dimension of flavour to this dish. Anything you order here arrives to the table delicious, perfectly seasoned and expertly presented. There is a bunch of new items on the menu and we’ll just let you go and find out what those are for yourself.
W Doha Hotel & Residences, West Bay (4453 5135).

Highly commended
Antica Pesa

It’s dimly lit and the ambience here is quite romantic. The menu is creative yet sophisticated with dishes such as fettuccine with porcini mushrooms and pistachio. With sleek décor and beautiful views, this might be a perfect option for a special night.
Marsa Malaz Kempinski, The Pearl-Qatar (4035 5011).

Paper Moon Doha
With classic Hollywood prints in sepia adorning the walls and a beautiful yet rustic vibe in the restaurant, this place has a timeless quality about it. The excellent food and flawless service are just bonuses.
Jaidah Square (4016 6000).

JAPANESE
Winner: Nozomi

With fancy views of the majestic Marsa Malaz and the adjacent beach, Nozomi is a brilliant place to devote an elaborate evening out to sampling the best Japanese cuisine in town. Nozomi’s menu deftly combines dishes that highlight minimalistic Japanese cuisine with a pinch of European influence. Any food connoisseur in Doha will know Nozomi means business. Start with any of the sushi rolls (the Gulf prawn tempura sits at the top of our list), kobe beef sliders if you’re feeling slightly adventurous or kobe beef tacos if you want a true taste of excellence. Nozomi is as luxurious as it is contemporary and if you pay attention to the service, you’ll find the experience is wonderful.
Marsa Malaz Kempinski (4035 5089).

Highly commended
Morimoto

Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto (remember the 75kg tuna from Japan he was slicing on the QIFF stage?) has opened his famed chain of Japanese restaurants at the wondrous Mondrian Doha. Expect contemporary Japanese cuisine in a very spectacular setting.
Mondrian Doha, West Bay Lagoon(4045 5999).

Nobu
The three-tiered, ocean-facing restaurant is beautiful and the food, naturally, is outstanding. The omakase menu here is one of the best experiences in the city.
Four Seasons Hotel Doha, West Bay (4494 8500).

LATIN AMERICA
Winner: Toro Toro

Toro Toro features some really interesting décor, a blend of flame and muscle-inspired interiors, strong, deep accents and striking, large, floor-to-ceiling windows with beautiful views of The Pearl-Qatar. The food here follows a sharing philosophy and their selection of hot and cold small plates is hard to narrow down. We recommend the tacos, mushroom flatbread and guacamole. You’ll enjoy judging the winner for battle of the beefs here. The striploin and the Brazilian picanha may run neck-to-neck toward the finish line, but just one bite of the picanha is enough to declare it winner. If there’s one restaurant in Doha that really does top-quality pan Latin American food, this is definitely it.
Marsa Malaz Kempinski (4035 5101).

Highly commended
Fuego

Choose from a wide range of South American-inspired dishes. You’ll love the beef or chicken brochettes or the king crab ceviche. The meat platters are ideal for sharing. But no matter what you order, you’ll admire the classic steakhouse vibes here from an open kitchen along with the excellent staff and ambience.
Shangri-La Hotel Doha, Conference Centre Street, West Bay (4429 5295).

Rodizio
The authentic churrasco-style meats and seafood from the open flame grills are served to the table, and are all so good that you’ll find it hard to turn down second helpings.
Crowne Plaza Doha – The Business Park, Najma (4408 7777).

LEBANESE
Winner: Debs W Remman

Vintage décor and colourful furniture are only a part of what we love about Debs W Remman. The restaurant location in cheerful Medina Centrale is spot on, but top of our reasons to love it-list is the food. The mezze here is the best we’ve tried in the city. The moussaka is our favourite — eggplant chunks grilled and folded into a tomato sauce with aromatic fried onions. An entire bulb of baked garlic rounds off the plate and sends it into umami overdrive. The hummus, smooth and creamy, has a beautiful proportion of chickpea to olive oil and tahini. While the fattoush introduces chopped parsley and scallions for some extra punch, with pomegranate molasses binding it together. And that’s really all you need to know to make a booking this, or any, weekend.
The Pearl-Qatar (3333 4663).

Highly commended
Al Mourjan

Located on the Corniche promenade, Al Mourjan has the most enviable location in Doha. Look to your right to see old Doha and to your left for brilliant views of West Bay. And while you’re looking left and right, order some of its incredible Lebanese fusion dishes such as the hummus with oregano, or go with a classic.
Al Corniche (4483 4423).

Mamig
Always busy and always of the highest quality, this Armenian-Lebanese spot has an almost unbelievable amount of utterly delicious mezze on offer. Head over here with friends for the wooden benches, a terrace with good views, beautiful fountains and tasty food. All the details here are spot-on.
Katara Cultural Village (4408 0800).

MENA
Winner: Al Sufra

This modern Arabian restaurant features contemporary décor and impressive food from across the Levantine region. All the staples of a good Arabic meal are strong, particularly the trio of hummus. Desserts are fun takes on classics, such as halawet el jibn with cotton candy and baklava ice cream. Sit at the outdoor terrace or the beautifully intricate indoor area and tuck into indulgent dishes from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Palestine and Cyprus.
Marsa Malaz Kempinski, The Pearl-Qatar (4035 5011).

Highly commended
Ard Canaan

This Palestinian restaurant has gone over and above with the incredible design. The stone and wooden interior and beautiful ceiling art create quite the impression, and so does the food. Every inch of the place has a story.
Katara Cultural Village (4408 0811).

Sazeli
The signature iskander kebab here is excellent, as are many of the other dishes in this massive Turkish eatery spread across three floors. They have unique shisha, too.
Mall of Qatar, Ar-Rayyan (4028 5668).

THAI
Winner: Isaan

Isaan is a long-standing foodie favourite for those who crave excellent and authentic Thai cuisine. Monday curry nights are a hit and the à la carte is just as impressive, down to the last bean sprout. The food is beautiful and dainty with even basics such papaya salad, green curry and pad Thai making a mark. There are set menus that take care of the guess work, while the all-Thai staff are excellent at recommending dishes and explaining what goes into each. Expect an elegant dinner and some outstanding food.
Grand Hyatt Doha Hotel & Villas (4448 1250).

Highly commended
Sabai Thai

After a short walk past the beautiful lawns and bridges of The Westin, you’ll find Sabai Thai tucked away behind a tiny beach. The menu is laden with unfamiliar but palate-pleasing, authentic Thai specialties. Everything feels royal from the stunning presentation to the balance of beautiful flavours. They do some of the best Thai iced-teas here, too.
The Westin Hotel Doha & Spa (4477 4300).

White Oryx Thai
If we can stop raving about the duck spring rolls, we’d have more time to focus on other interesting elements here like the authentic Thai purple and gold-themed décor and the spiciest, but tastiest, green curry we’ve tried in Doha.
The Pearl-Qatar (4477 4275).

THEMED
AFTERNOON TEA
Winner: The St. Regis Doha

The St. Regis is famous worldwide for its traditional afternoon teas. As well as the popular Lady Caroline Astor afternoon tea, there is also a collaboration with TWG teas. Dainty sandwiches such as egg mayonnaise and mustard cress, sit alongside more unusual date and tahini cream cheese creations, while the selection of desserts includes delightful little portions of almond sandwich cake, berry tart, caramel rice crisp, rose blossom nougat and more. The buttery scones, however, will always be a highlight.
The St. Regis Doha, West Bay Lagoon (4446 0105).

Highly commended
Seasons Tea Lounge

Four Seasons hotels always deliver on classy experiences without any stuffiness. This afternoon tea is no different.
Four Seasons Doha (4494 8888).

Café Murano
The afternoon tea here is a truly luxurious experience. Everything is exquisite from the custom-made cutlery to the wonderful pool and sea views.
Marsa Malaz Kempinski (4035 5011).

BAR FOOD
Winner: Zengo

It’s one thing to be sitting by the window of the tallest lounge in Doha on the 62nd floor and it’s a whole other thing to be savouring some of their incredible pan-Asian bar bites. Some of the city’s best views are from right here and you’ll spend a while figuring out whether to focus on that, or the classic interiors with tall, black leather couches and large tables. The beverages here are very uniquely presented. Try the rolls and the crispy calamari.
Kempinski Residence & Suites, West Bay (4405 3560).

Highly commended
Trader Vic’s

This Polynesian restaurant never disappoints whether it’s the food, beverages or just the ambience. The live band here really keeps you on your feet (we’re terrible at Salsa but that doesn’t keep us from trying) and the jalapeno cheeseballs are just the best. Try the island tidbits if you’re with a bigger group.
Hilton Doha, West Bay (4423 3118).

Wahm
Great music in a chic, contemporary lounge and upscale bar bites such as antipasti sound like a great combination to us.
W Doha Hotel & Residences (4453 5135).

BRUNCH
Winner: Four Seasons Brunch

Get ready for a lot of walking around an impressive spread extending across three eateries (Il Teatro, Arabica Café and Elements). Start with grazing on the many Asian salads, then move on to the fresh sushi and sashimi. Stop off at the charcoal-barbecued juicy shawarma station, then pick up a slice of hot mozzarella covered pizza. How can you pass on the dim sum trolley delivering delightful tiny parcels to your table? Just leave enough room for desserts (which are a lot). The kids can have their own brunch fun, which doesn’t just include popcorn, candy floss and juices, but also guided outdoor activities so parents can kick back and relax on the terrace. Truly the best brunch in town.
Four Seasons Hotel Doha, West Bay (4494 8888).

Highly commended
Sawa

This lively brunch covers a huge range of cuisines but we particularly love the Japanese section and the carvery. There’s plenty of international dishes to try and a live band, too.
Marsa Malaz Kempinski (4035 5555).

The Grand Brunch
One of the most popular big brunches in the city. Get a table outdoors when the weather is good and be prepared for multiple trips to the buffet. You will want to go back again and again to fill up your plate.
The St. Regis Doha, West Bay Lagoon (4446 0000).

BUDGET
Winner: Mashawi Al Arabi

You haven’t really lived in Doha if you haven’t driven by Mashawi Al Arabi, incessantly joining the herd of honkers and ordering copious amounts of rocket shawarma. Every late-nighter in Doha proudly wears a Mashawi badge and why shouldn’t they? It’s no secret Doha’s best shawarma is served right here. Everything on their menu is extremely reasonable and incredibly tasty. The shish tawouk and chicken kofta are juicy, smoky and loaded with Oriental barbecue flavours. The zaatar pie costs barely QR3, but we recommend splashing out on the meat or chicken pie for QR5. The staff are quick, efficient and very friendly. But what we love most? Car service, of course.
Al Nasr (4442 2900).

Highly commended
7st by Mumbai Spices

This spot is quirky, contemporary and it’s definitely not your usual budget diner sorts. It has some of the best Indian street food in town. Try the vada pav or the kacchi dabeli.
Barwa Commercial Avenue (4487 7795).

Turkey Central
Find some of the best budget Turkish food in the city right here. Besides great flavours, you won’t even have to worry about spending too much. The mezzes here are must-haves.
Al Nasr (4443 2927).

CAFéS
Winner: Evergreen Organics

From the dark wood and green plants to a fridge stocked with fresh coconuts and white exposed brick walls with inspirational health phrases, Evergreen Organics feels every inch a health food spot, and it’s one of the most pleasant café settings in the city with beautiful canal views from Qanat Quartier.
The Pearl-Qatar (4472 0437).

Highly commended
Café Murano

Exquisite Japanese custom-made cutlery, royal furnishings and stunning views are just few of the reasons you should visit here, besides the incredible selection of teas and coffees.
Marsa Malaz Kempinski (4035 5011).

The Chemist Café
Everything here is quite obviously lab-themed with Breaking Bad even playing on their TV. All items are served in test tubes, beakers and measuring glasses, just like in a laboratory. Expect some great coffees here.
B-Square Mall (5034 0340).

PUB FOOD
Winner: Belgian Café

Traditional décor and a menu of authentic Belgian cuisine (think variously flavoured mussel pots and chunky frites) brings a taste of Brussels to the heart of Doha. The food is consistently good and can be paired with hops (you’ll find a range of Belgian varieties you can’t find anywhere else in the city) and lovely views over West Bay Lagoon. The new extension is pretty massive and includes an outdoor terrace, too. So, finding a table here is never a problem anymore. Try the stew or the fish pot, you won’t be sorry.
InterContinental Doha (4484 4919).

Highly commended
Hudson Tavern

This New York-style underground loft is not only fun to be at, it’s got some tasty appetisers and excellent burgers – some of the best in town, in fact.
Mondrian Doha (4045 5999).

Stock Burger
You don’t have to be a football fan to enjoy a night out here. But you have to try the flat breads, burgers and the key lime pie.
Holiday Inn Doha (4031 3333).

ROMANTIC
Winner: Antica Pesa

Aside from great food and friendly, efficient service, Antica Pesa also offers a stunning setting and romantic atmosphere that’s pretty hard to beat. The contemporary décor is unfussy but sleek. Not surprisingly, this is the best place in Doha for date night, exclusive dinner or a very special occasion.
Marsa Malaz Kempinski (4035 5300).

Highly commended
Bentley’s Grill

Everything here is so intimate and romantic from the table setup to the service, and we don’t blame you if you feel like proposing every single time you go here.
Radisson Blu Hotel Doha (4428 1555).

Nozomi
You will love how quixotic the décor is. If you want to take it a step further (like get down on a knee), the terrace area is perfect. The menu features excellent sushi rolls and a brilliant selection of contemporary Japanese.
Marsa Malaz Kempinski, The Pearl-Qatar (4035 5089).

SEAFOOD
Winner: Lobster

This fairly new entrant into Qatar’s seafood scene boasts the most no-fuss lobster menu you can come across. The restaurant is luxurious, staff are beyond delightful and from appetisers to main courses – the menu is full of creative-sounding renditions of the eponymous crustacean.
Al Hazm Mall (4496 7022).

Highly commended
Al Sultan Brahim

Al Sultan Brahim was brought to Doha’s shores from Lebanon, which is why the Arabian-style seafood cuisine is so on-point.
The St. Regis Doha, West Bay Lagoon (4446 0000).

L’Wzaar
The sheer volume of seafood that the kitchen creates is impressive enough, but to get it all to taste delicious is no easy feat. They have one of the biggest fresh displays in Doha.
Katara (4408 0710).

STEAKHOUSE
Winner: CUT by Wolfgang Puck

Lunch here is a super option because if you stay long enough, you get to wash down that fantastic steak with something off the beverage menu and watch the entire restaurant transform into a stunning evening spot. And expectedly, the steaks here are the best in town.
Mondrian Doha, West Bay Lagoon (4045 5999).

Highly commended
Hunters Room & Grill

There is plenty of charm at Hunters Room & Grill, thanks to its indoor garden, with tree-trunk tables and trickling fountains, and sleek, contemporary décor.
The Westin Doha Hotel & Spa, Fereej Bin Mahmoud (4492 1555).

Prime
The steaks are the highlight, but the sides and desserts are textbook. There are several seafood options and decadent desserts, too.
InterContinental Doha – The City, West Bay (4015 8888).

NEWCOMERS
Winner: Nusr-Et

Worthy of its hype, this popular chain by Salt Bae serves some seriously slick steak, in the most entertaining way possible. You won’t get to see the legend himself, but he’s trained his men rather well and the splendid food here makes the whole experience is unique.
Sheraton Grand, West Bay (4442 9339).

Highly commended
Gemmayze

A colourful new spot at the InterCon with excellent Lebanese fare and a live band that’s sure to keep the night lively.
InterContinental Doha (4484 4919).

Le Train Bleu
Everything from the mains and dessert to the food and service in this luxurious and iconic Parisian restaurant is mind-blowing.
Al Hazm Mall, Al Markhiya (4443 4442).

By Shereen D’Souza
Time Out Doha,

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