Balkan @ Gino Panino Trattoria
I know what you’re thinking… Gino Panino is a pizzeria. Indeed, that may be the mainstay of this clubhouse restaurant but turn the menu over and look out for the small section of Balkan specialties such as pleskavica (beef patty) and gulash (beef stew). The stuffed cabbage sarma is succulent and oh so wondrous – it’s a good thing then that it comes in portions massive enough for leftovers. The hit of the house, however, has to be its signature cevapi kebabs which are reminiscent of koftas.
Open daily 9am-11pm. Asas Towers, West Bay (4412 9065).
Indonesian @ Central Restaurant
For a quick meal, get a plate of rice and pile on the assortment of ready-made dishes featuring stews, curries and stir-fries. There’s also a menu with items cooked to order such as meat skewered satay and bakso noodles. The restaurant is plain but remarkably clean. Just try not to grin too widely when the bill comes – you’ll feel like you’ve stumbled upon a steal of a deal. Because you have.
Open daily 11am-3pm, 4.30pm-9pm. Umm Ghuwailina Street (4437 1699).
German @ La Gourmandise
My cravings for schnitzel and streusel haven’t gone unsatisfied since friends introduced me to this gem. To enter the residential compound, just inform the security guards you’re heading for the restaurant. Make sure you arrive with an appetite, especially because you’ll want extra portions of the potato salad (proper German kind with mustard, not mayo). If you’re feeling adventurous, ask the chef to whip up the daily special.
Open daily 11am-10pm. Al Jazi Gardens Compound, Onaiza (3321 6108).
Nepalese @ Nepali Banchha Ghar
Not only can you get a full meal for under QR10, but you’ll leave in a happy state, perfectly satisfied without being stuffed. The spices in Nepalese cooking are milder than its Indian cousin, though the dishes are equally delectable. The momos (dumplings co-opted from Tibet) are obligatory, but this is also the place to try the food of the Newar tribe who call the Kathmandu Valley home.
Open daily 9.30am-midnight. Abdullah bin Thani Street, opposite Jaidah Tower (7758 4376).
Ethiopian @ Habesha
Doha’s open secret for fluffy injera (flatbread) and scrummy tibs (gravied meat cubes) has rapidly gained a loyal following. Far from the Ethiopian enclave in Muaither, this restaurant off C-Ring Road in the city is open from breakfast through to late dinner. Ignore the spaghetti and burger offerings and instead take a plunge with any the firfir dishes with injera or wonderful wat stews with clarified butter. End the meal with an aromatic cup of Ethiopian coffee. Bam!
Open daily 6am-midnight. Ibn Seena Street, Muntazah (6679 0019).
Malaysian @ Oriental Kitchen
This humble yet bustling joint could very well have been transported from the streets of Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur. The food is decidedly Chinese-Malaysian, featuring authentic stir-fries with sambal, ginger and even Marmite. Those in the mood for a one-dish meal can look forward to noodles of every width in sauces of every colour. Plus, vegetarians and vegans could have a field day in the tofu section of the menu alone.
Open daily 8am-10pm. Al Khalidiya Street, Najma (3336 3279).
Yemeni @ Bandar Aden Restaurant
The utensils are your fingers and the floor is your seat. Come in a group, get settled on the carpeted rooms, and indulge in the hearty food served in portions to share. The mandi dishes of grilled meat over rice are glorious, as are the salta and fahsa stews. The best part of the meal must be the oven-hot bread, which keeps coming until you wipe the bowls clean. And yes, there are tables and cutlery for the less adventurous.
Open Sat-Thu 8am-11pm, Fri 12.30pm-11pm. Souq Waqif, further down from Al Bidda and Arumaila Boutique Hotels (4437 5503).
Somali @ Harjisah Restaurant
This place isn’t for the faint-hearted. Loud and crammed, this home-style restaurant has served Somali meals every day from sun up to twilight for decades. The specialty at breakfast is the pancake-like lahoh with egg and honey (called hard cake here) while stewed meats, fish and rice are available thereafter. There are no menus – you just point at what other diners are having and the food arrives in minutes no matter how packed the place is, and it always is packed.
Open daily 5am-11.30pm. Al Dostour St, near Doha Stadium (4441 5999).