As temperatures cool to comfortable we round up where to eat al fresco
October 30, 2013 11:23 AM
We’ve been watching the temperature gauges slowly creep down and the evenings are back to beautiful again. So let’s celebrate by eating our meals on the best terraces in town. Here are our top 15 picks…
Isaan Best for: Big groups and sharing style Thai dishes Recommended dish: Papaya salad
Mouthwatering Thai food on a spacious terrace overlooking landscaped gardens and moat-like pools – that’s what you can expect from Isaan. This hotel restaurant offers (arguably) some of the best Thai food in the city, a great selection of beverages and a relaxing, intimate atmosphere. The service is great and the chefs are more than willing to let you watch them in their open kitchens as they prepare your meals. It’s perfect for groups as you have to order as many of the sharing-style dishes as possible because they’re all delicious. Plus, you don’t have to worry about not ordering enough rice because the servers float around the tables scooping out complimentary sticky rice for all. Open Sat-Thu 7pm-11.30pm; Fri 12.30pm-3pm, 7pm-11.30pm. Grand Hyatt, West Bay Lagoon (4448 1050).
Mykonos Best for: Family dining and authentic Mediterranean food Recommended dish: Prawn saganaki and tzatziki
Sitting on the terrace at this popular Mediterranean restaurant with a jug of Spain’s favourite fruity beverage is enjoyable at any time of day. During lunch hours expect a bustling atmosphere as punters and their kids splish splash round the pool and in the evenings enjoy a more relaxing experience. The food is delicious and hearty, service is friendly and the vibe is laid back. Put it this way – if you’re a fan of Greek and Mediterranean food then this is a must-try. Open daily noon-11.30pm. InterContinental Doha, West Bay Lagoon (4484 4444).
Al Sultan Brahim Best for: Fresh seafood and shisha Recommended dish: Red snapper grilled with lemon, garlic, butter and coriander
This modern, chic seafood restaurant was brought to Doha from the shores of Beirut by three Lebanese brothers who found notable success with this place in their home country. The wide variety of tasty mezze selections and fresh seafood options are fantastic and are best enjoyed in the massive outdoor seating area with a good bunch of friends and Lebanon’s brand of hops. We recommend waiting around for the carob and molasses dipping sauce with biscuits, which is served after dinner. Open Mon-Sat noon-4.30pm, 6.30pm-11.30pm. The St Regis Doha, West Bay (4446 0105).
Orient Pearl Best for: Tourists, traditional touches and a choice of cuisines Recommended dish: Hurrakspeou in the Syrian section
Perched along the corniche is this new-ish addition to Doha’s culinary landscape with its choice of three cuisines. Upstairs, you can try the Italian selections while downstairs they’re offering Lebanese – both with outdoor terraces overlooking the corniche. We like the large garden area, however, with their Syrian options. Have you ever been to Damasca in Souq Waqif (also another good al fresco option)? Well, it’s the same food! We suggest heading over with visitors to enjoy the lovely weather, fantastic mezze, fluffy bread and free tamarind juice from a guy who comes round to pour and sing with all the flair of a showman. It’s also great if you have kids because there’s a dedicated playground with slides and all that jazz. Open daily noon-1am. Doha Corniche, Museum Park Street (4410 6600).
La Veranda Best for: Romance, couples and a fantastic West Bay view Recommended dish: Oven-baked fish
With the waves of West Bay lapping so close by you could practically touch them, this al fresco dining option has to be one of our all-time favourites. It’s certainly unpretentious with its rustic Italian food and selection of vino, which you can enjoy in a relaxed but romantic atmosphere under the stars with your loved ones. It’s had a bit of a decor revamp recently and the new chef has made sure the updated menu is more than worthy. If you haven’t been in a while (or at all) now is the time to check it out. Open daily noon-3pm, 7pm-11.30pm. Sheraton Doha Resort & Convention Hotel, West Bay (4485 4444).
Hakkasan Best for: Chic dining and the wide beverage selection Recommended dish: Grilled Chilean sea bass with Chinese honey
The recipient of Best Newcomer at the Time Out Doha Restaurant Awards 2013, Hakkasan has been winning over people’s hearts since opening. The décor is chic, the bar selection is extensive, the service is good (especially the sommelier) and most of all we love the modern Cantonese food, which is prepared by Chinese chefs. The outdoor seating area is just as stylish as inside and the ambience is fabulous, plus you have the Ling ling lounge where you can head on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 10.30pm for small bites and drinks. Open daily 7pm-11.30pm. Bar opens at 6pm. The St Regis Doha, West Bay Lagoon (4446 0170).
Museum of Islamic Art Park Café Best for: A stroll and a quick bite Recommended dish: Waffles
The MIA Park café isn’t just any ordinary café, as it offers one of the best views in Doha, as well as some of the tastiest café fare we’ve ever come across with sandwiches, salads, hot meals and tasty desserts such as waffles and ice cream. Each dish encapsulates French cuisine with Arabian flavours for a unique dining experience. Their giant cup of karak is worth a sip as well as you recline in the stylish wicker chairs and look out onto West Bay with friends or alone with a book and their free Wi-Fi. If you time it right, you might just catch a jazz performance here, too, as the musicians from Jazz at Lincoln Center Doha pop by once a month to put on a show (this month November 13). Open Wed-Mon 10.30am-10pm. Museum of Islamic Art Park, Corniche near Doha Port (www.mia.org.qa/en/mia-park).
Sukar Pasha Ottoman Lounge Best for: Overeating delicious mezze and mains, plus shisha Recommended dish: Chargrilled lamb kofta (Adana kebap)
This is one place we fully recommend taking visitors to. Looking out over Katara’s corniche and at the rest of West Bay Lagoon, Sukar Pasha is a fabulous example of traditional Ottoman dining. We suggest having a stroll around Katara’s art exhibitions before sitting on this humungous terrace and ordering far too many hot and cold mezze dishes. Follow that with some grills and kebabs and you’ll be waddling home in no time. Open Sun-Wed noon-2.30pm, 6pm-11.30pm; Thu noon-2.30pm, 6pm-12.30am; Fri-Sat noon-3.30pm; 6pm-12.30am. Katara Cultural Village, West Bay Lagoon (4408 2000).
La Dolce Vita Best for: Real rustic Italian and ice cream Recommended dish: Any of the gelatos from the ice cream parlour opposite
Buried in the back streets of Souq Waqif is this quaint Italian eatery with outdoor seating in a courtyard shared with an Iranian restaurant and an independent art studio. It’s a tiny place, run by Italian owners, that shares a door with Souq Waqif Art Centre and is so rustic that you won’t believe you’re not in a village in Italy. On the opposite side of the art gallery, La Dolce Vita also runs an ice cream parlour. We dare you to try and then not to go back for one of those gelatos! Open Sun-Thu 12.30pm-3pm, 6pm-11pm; Fri-Sat 1pm-11.30pm. Souq Waqif, Grand Hamad Street (4436 7991).
Pampano Best for: The unusual Mexican seafood cuisine mix Recommended dish: Guacamole
With a phenomenal waterfront location on the Pearl and fantastic, unique food to match, Chef Richard Sandoval’s flagship Doha eatery is worthy of a spot in our top 15. The guacamole is to die for and (almost) makes up for the slow service as we could sit and dine with those chips and dip for hours. The seafood selections are also delicious – try anything with the lobster and you’ll be singing. Be warned, it is a tad pricey though. Open daily noon-midnight. The Pearl-Qatar (4495 3876).
Thai Snacks Best for: Budget eats and tasty treats Recommended dish: Thai green curry
We love how cheap and cheerful this restaurant is with its odd metal boxes overflowing with cutlery on each table and the tacky but homely décor inside and out. The food is delicious and the menu selection is epic. Ask your waiter for recommendations if you get lost but it’s hard not to find a dish you know and already like. The best bit is the outdoor seating, however, as with all the plants and greenery about you don’t feel like you’re in Doha anymore. It isn’t our Best Budget Restaurant of the year for nothing! Open daily 10.30am-2.30pm; 5pm-11pm. Al Nasr Street, off C-Ring Road (4432 9704).
Carluccio’s Best for: Family dining by the ocean Recommended dish: Seafood linguine
When you walk through the light, airy restaurant, past all the fabulous gourmet products and the tempting deli bar, onto the beautiful terrace which overlooks the Pearl-Qatar marina, it’s hard not to feel relaxed. Add a family-friendly atmosphere, reasonable prices and tasty Italian food into the mix and you’ve got a winner for al fresco dining. Open Sun-Thu 10am-midnight; Fri and Sat 10am-1am. Porto Arabia, The Pearl-Qatar (6690 1777).
Nusantao Best for: Business lunch on the patio Recommended dish: The sushi platter
Nothing beats the business lunch on the terrace here as during the day, surrounded by palm trees with a view of the beautiful Four Seasons pool and beach, it’s easy to feel as though you’re on a tropical island. The menu also offers a fantastic selection, catering to most taste buds, from all across Asia with Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Malaysian, Arabic and Indian options. You’re bound to find something you like! Open daily noon-3pm; 6pm-midnight. Four Seasons Hotel Doha, West Bay (4494 8888).
The Courtyard Best for: A tranquil café atmosphere in the back alleys of the souq Recommended dish: The mezze platter
Buried in the back alleys of Souq Waqif, in one of the stunning boutique hotels, is The Courtyard. It’s a café concept with unique fusion dishes that touch on a range of cuisines from Japanese to Arabic. The menu is interesting with a range of café bites like salads, mezze and sandwiches or hot meals and tasty breakfasts. Plus, you’re surrounded by contemporary works of art by local artists. Open daily 7am-11pm. Al Najada Boutique Hotel, Souq Waqif, Grand Hamad Street (4433 6666).
Opal by Gordon Ramsay Best for: Simple but delicious dishes in a casual setting Recommended dish: Opal burger
The menu may be small but it brings together some uncomplicated yet tasty flavours in dishes that denote Gordon Ramsay’s signature style of simple cooking. Their wood-fire oven pizzas are great, the warm goat’s cheese and beetroot tart is possibly the best starter we’ve ever had and we love heading down for burger and pint nights where you get a patty, pint, fluffy fries and homemade tomato sauce for QR100. Enjoy all of this on the elegant St Regis patio in the breezy Qatari atmosphere and you’re in for a good night. Open Sun-Wed noon-3pm; 6pm-11pm; Thu noon-3pm; 6pm-midnight; Fri noon-4pm; 6pm-midnight. The St Regis Doha, West Bay Lagoon (4446 0105).