La Mer Bistro

A new chef and a new menu at this Ritz-Carlton restaurant Discuss this article

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Old world charm meets new age cuisine. La Mer has long held a reputation as one of Doha’s very finest places to dine. But in recent months, its menu took an unexpected turn, and the food never quite felt up to mark. That, ladies and gentleman, was 2013.

La Mer is back, and with unbridled panache. At the helm is Chef Ricardo Acquista, who introduced us to his peerless spinach risotto at Porcini. Now that he’s moved up – quite literally 23 floors to the top of The Ritz-Carlton – his culinary agility is on overdrive. And the hotel’s signature restaurant feels reinvigorated.

We start with grilled scallops, drizzled with vanilla oil and nestled in cauliflower puree. Brushstrokes of beetroot sauce add a sweetness and acidity to the tender mollusc, and when all the elements including baby spinach leaves are eaten together, they produce nothing short of one perfect bite.

Are we gushing? This is just the start. How about vegetable cannelloni that has no pasta but is instead encased in a cling film-thin layer of zucchini? It’s served with a warm, asparagus cappuccino that certainly awakens our palate. Or a Cataplana of seafood – the broth of the stew is essentially a lobster bisque with flavours so hearty and honest we feel we are slurping this Portuguese specialty by the river Tejo in Lisbon.

Of course, there is no slurping at La Mer. Through the years, the elegance of this restaurant has never wavered. The soft lighting and polished silverware all add to the graceful dining preserved from a bygone era.

Although, if we had our way, we’d request for the garish carpeting to be urgently updated.

It’s not just the food but also the impeccable service that leaves a lasting impression. Here diners are addressed by name, orders are remembered and not written down. And when asked for recommendations, the server describes certain highlights with commanding knowledge of ingredients and method of preparation.

We could get pedantic and complain that the La Mer salad is pleasant but forgettable. Then again, we’re judging that against a delectable semifreddo of coffee flan set in a pool of Bailey’s cream and caramelised pears cut to a fine brunoise. If we had to do it again, we would skip the salad to make room for a double serving of chocolate soufflé paired with an ultra-smooth, ultra-sensational Greek yogurt ice-cream.

The bill (for two)
1 x La Mer salad QR65
1 x scallops QR85
1 x vegetable cannelloni QR70
1 x sea bass QR165
1 x seafood Cataplana QR195
1 x Semifreddo QR65
1 x chocolate souffle QR65
1 x water QR30
1 x mango juice QR30
1 x tea QR33
Total QR803

By Time Out Doha staff
Time Out Doha,

Time Out reviews restaurants anonymously and pays for meals. Of course, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or independence of user reviews.


  • Location: The Ritz-Carlton Doha, West Bay, Doha
  • Tel: 4484 8000
  • Travel: Al Istiqlal Street
  • Website

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