Since it first opened in 2010, Katara Cultural Village has been a beacon of multiculturalism, heritage and the arts in Qatar.
Regularly hosting dance performances, poetry readings, art exhibitions, film screenings and many more cultural activities, it is a hub of creativity. All that culture is likely to make a visitor a bit peckish, but, we’re glad to say, Katara also has worthy foodie options which would stand out in any neighbourhood. From fine-dining to superior street food by way of delicious desserts and gluten-free snacks check out our pick of Katara dining.
Al Jazeera Café
More like a media museum than just a café this Al Jazeera-themed outlet has an interactive television news studio, artefacts from the history of the news network and a behind-the-scenes view. Oh, and the comfort food and international dishes are decent enough to make this like the Planet Hollywood of Arabian news.
Open Sat-Thu 8am-11pm, Fri 1pm-11pm. Al Jazeera Cafe, Building 4, www.aljazeeracafe.com (4034 2220).
Chapati & Karak
Can you guess what this roadside favourite sells? That’s right, it involves chapatis and sweet tea karak. Very little else actually, but so popular has it become and so well do the simple treats hit the spot that you will often find a line of cars queueing outside waiting for the infamous roadside delivery.
Open Sat-Thu 24 hours, Fri 1pm-6am, Chapati & Karak, Al Hikma Street, www.chapatikarak.com (4408 1408).
Khan Farouk Tarab Café
Few Doha restaurants offer up the promise of authenticity quite like this Egyptian stalwart. Inspired by the Golden Age of Cairo it successfully recreates the 1950s feel of a genuine souq restaurant. Nothing about the setting feels fake and with plate after plate of kebabs, grills, meat with rice and mezze, you can spend a very filling evening here.
Open daily, noon-midnight. Khan Farouk Tarab Cafe, Building 7, www.khanfarouktarabcafe.com (4408 0840).
L’Wzaar Seafood Market
Atmospheric seafood restaurant with a fresh fish market which allows you to pick and weigh the catch from the icy stations in front of you. The standard is consistently excellent with the freshness of the catch evident in the tasting. Grilled, fried, biriyanied or even in a plump risotto – you decide (if you can realistically make that choice).
Open daily, noon-4pm, 7-11.30pm. L’wzaar Seafood Market, Building 27, www.lwzaar.com (4408 0170).
La Gelateria Fina
Of course with all of the culture and artistic heritage on display in Katara your reasons for visiting may well not be food-related. No reason not to stop for prime Italian ice cream as you walk by, though. More than 60 varieties of gelato and sorbet are served up – on a French crepe or Belgian waffle.
Open daily, 6am-midnight. La Gelateria Fina, opposite entrance number 8 (4408 0777).
An island of European elegance amid the heritage-inspired alleyways of Katara, Le Vesuvio takes pride in the authenticity of thin pizzas from the wood-burning stove. Look deeper into the menu, however, to uncover Italian dishes of high ambition such as a Milanese ossobuco, gnocchi with gorgonzola and a rich red seafood fusilli.
Open daily, Noon-1.30am. Le Vesuvio, Building 20, www.facebook.com/levesuviokatara (4408 2022).
Armenian and Lebanese cuisine often sit together and do so to great effect at this frequently rammed spot. The mezze list is as long as a particularly extended arm, and kebabs are as excellent as the bay-facing rooftop dining terrace. Service is attentive too, so it’s no wonder that there’s always a tangible bustle.
Open daily, 1pm-midnight. Mamig, Building 2, www.mamigdoha.com (4408 0800).
Red Velvet Cupcakery
A parlour dedicated to all things cupcake? Erm, yes please. The classic Red Velvet flavour rules the roost but we’re also partial to peanut butter, carrot cake and vanilla bean flavours. For treats of a newer variety there are mini-cronuts, perfect for those times when you can’t decide between croissant and donut. They even cater to the vegan crowd.
Open daily, 9am-midnight. Red Velvet Cupcakery, Al Hikma Street, www.redvelvetdoha.com (4408 0700).
Time Out Doha has awarded the Saffron Lounge a record five years in a row – this is easily one of the most consistently excellent restaurants in the city. The brainchild of Michelin-star-winning celebrity chef Vineet Bhatia, the menu takes in a culinary tour of North, East, South and West India with meaty, fishy and vegetarian bits for all palates.
Open daily, 12.30-11.30pm. Saffron Lounge, Building 26, www.saffronlounge.net (4408 1234).
This Turkish restaurant stages a full-on assault of the senses with Ottoman charm and flavours. Whether eating inside in the ornate dining hall (imagine hand-painted ceilings, mosaic walls, lots of chandeliers) or on the Westbay-facing outdoor terrace, the Turkish cuisine could well win you over. Sink your teeth into a spinach pide, or pick your grills hot off the barbecue, you won’t go far wrong with any of your choices. The authentic Turkish breakfasts are impressive, too.
Open daily, 8am-11.30pm. Sukar Pasha, Building 31, Katara Cultural Village, www.sukarpasha.qa (4408 2000).
Also in the area
Beyond the food Katara’s key attractions are profoundly cultural. The most striking being the Katara Amphitheatre known for its delicate combining of Greek and Islamic architecture. The 5,000 capacity seating area plays host to occasional international concert performers.
Katara Opera House
Elsewhere in the culture hub is the Katara Opera House, a grand theatre with plush seating for more than 500 enlightened spectators of music, theatre and performance art.
Similarly the 1.5 kilometre stretch of beach comes as surprise to many first-time visitors but frequently makes regulars out of them. It’s a serene spot simply for sitting down and enjoying the West Bay views, an afternoon stroll, or for just making your own sandcastles. Alternatively, dive in and try watersports such as skiing, kneeboarding and parasailing.
For more information about upcoming cultural events, venue timings or to find out more about the neighbourhood visit www.katara.net or call 4408 0050 for more details.