It’s September. That means it’s back to business, back to work, back to school runs, and back to the daily grind after a holidays and enjoying something of a slower pace of life. The good news? September also means it’s time for the yearly food revolution. What Doha does best comes back to life - food, glorious food.
Brunches are back in full swing, there’s a new roster of restaurant openings and renovations, not to mention a whole new wave of lunch deals, afternoon teas, dinner buffets, themed nights and more. This is your ultimate guide to everything edible and new, in the Gulf’s fastest-growing foodie city.
The Crowne Plaza’s newest shisha spot, with floor-to-ceiling windows and a retractable rooftop for cool winter evenings. While this licensed spot isn’t the place for a sit-down meal, you can snack on Lebanese specialties from minted labneh and fattoush to chicken shawarma and shish taouk.
Open noon-2am. Crowne Plaza Doha – The Business Park, Airport Road (4408 7777).
The Fire Station Gallery’s brand-new food spot is easily the most exciting café opening the city has seen for a while. With a clean, bright look and feel that retains original architectural features of the old fire station building, the light space is simple and calm – you’d hardly guess that the chaos of Civil Defence roundabout is just outside. Food is international with a local twist. You’ll find ingredients like camel and saffron throughout the menu, alongside freshly squeezed healthy juices, salad and mains like Oriental prawns. The café also serves a variety of healthy, organic and gluten-free options (as well some less-healthy, but delicious, baked items). Just outside sits the café’s gourmet food truck where you can order burgers, hotdogs, sandwiches, chapati stuffed with nutella and saffron karak.
Open Sat-Thu 8am-11pm, Fri 2am-11pm. The Fire Station, Civil Defence Roundabout (4452 5555).
Say hello to Arabian sushi. Cactus Senshi’s sushi uses Middle Eastern flavours and fillings from chicken mansaf to lamb maklouba, though you’ll still find all the usual maki, nigiri and sashimi on the menu, which can be washed down with homemade bubble teas. This intriguing new restaurant has been two years in the making, and will finally open its doors in the first week of September in Al Sadd.
Open Sun-Thu noon-3pm, 6pm-11.30pm; Fri 12.30pm-3.30pm, 6pm-midnight; Sat noon-3pm, 6pm-midnight. Shoumoukh Tower, C Ring road, next to La Cigale, email@example.com (4444 7454).
Eau de Rose
A new addition to Gulf Mall, Eau de Rose is sleek, contemporary and a refreshing change from the usual run-of-the-mill cafés and chains that populate most malls. It serves a fairly standard variety of café fare, from eggs Benedict to burgers and pasta dishes, but made all the more interesting with unusual flavour combinations such as curry dressing on a shrimp and edamame salad. There are plenty of guilty pleasures to order, too, including a decadent spinach and artichoke dip, while mocktails and ice-cream sundaes arrive to the table smoking, or piled high with whipped cream.
Open daily 8am-midnight. Gulf Mall, Al Gharaffa (3377 7898).
Canadian import Eggspectation is now open at The Pearl. If the name hasn’t already given it away, the menu is all about eggs. Eggs in omelettes, eggs in pancakes, eggs Benedict, eggs on steak. Eggs every which way you can imagine. It’s a plain and simple space – almost diner-like in appearance – and super casual. It’s the kind of place to pop into for a quick meal when you can’t be bothered to cook, or to head to on a lazy weekend morning when you fancy a big slap-up breakfast that won’t break the bank. There are plenty of healthy options on the menu, too, so this one is a real crowd-pleaser.
Open daily 8am-midnight. Medina Centrale 58, The Pearl-Qatar (5040 9900).
The traditional Turkish chain has opened its second Doha branch at The Pearl. Specialising in breakfast, milk desserts, meats, specialty cheeses and breads – plus traditional Turkish tea and coffee to round off the meal – the focus here is on the ancient traditions of Turkey in everything from the menu and recipes to service.
Open daily 8am-11.30pm. 18 La Croisette-Porto Arabia, The Pearl-Qatar (4441 3626).
Richard Sandoval’s third restaurant in Doha is more casual than his other ventures, Toro Toro and Z Lounge by Zengo. A meal here is informal and authentic, and Sandoval raises the bar, once again, when it comes to Latin American fare in Doha. The menu is street food-inspired, – with an entire section dedicated to classic and gourmet churros, – and traditional plates of guacamole with crisp tortillas, hearty tacos and warming bowls of tortilla soup. Don’t miss the sublime tres leches cake which comes covered in a silky vanilla custard cream and tart berries.
Open daily noon-11.30pm. La Croisette 2, The Pearl-Qatar (4409 5285).
Tucked away in Al Sadd, you might not look twice at the unimposing entrance of this new Chinese restaurant, but you won’t regret seeking it out. The tastefully designed dining room is dimly lit and edged by private rooms and partially screened-off tables. Service is exceptional – particularly for a new restaurant finding its feet – and staff make excellent recommendations. The menu is a good mixture of well-known Chinese fare, and more unusual creations like deep-fried crackling spinach with roasted almonds. Clay pot dishes are excellent, as is the variety of vegetarian options, while fans of spicy food should try the fried tofu.
Open Sat-Wed noon-3.30pm, 6.30pm-11pm; Thu-Fri noon-3.30pm, 6.30pm-midnight. First floor, Barwa Towers, Suhaim Bin Hamad Street, Al Sadd (4038 7376).
Though the atmosphere of new Lebanese restaurant Misk needs a bit of work, the food here is truly excellent. Feast on authentic mezze, such as chicken liver in pomegranate sauce and crisp cheese rolls, and tuck into platters of spicy kebabs. Dessert is a highlight, including a selection of traditional pastries to enjoy with tea or coffee, and creative riffs on traditional treats such as the deconstructed halawet el jibn, served with rose petal jam.
Open Sat-Thu 6pm-1am. City Centre Rotana, West Bay (4445 8888).
Following the huge success of eclectic Lebanese eatery Debs W Remman, a second café branch has opened in West Bay that’s open 24 hours. The menu includes traditional Lebanese breakfast dishes such as eggs with awarma and foul with yoghurt, as well as mixed grills, kebabs, salads and more for lunch and dinner. There’s also a plat du jour of anything from roasted lamb with rice to fresh fish and even stuffed cabbage.
Open 24 hours. Ezdan Tower 1, West Bay Doha, www.remmancafe.com (4040 9595).
Doha's newest Chinese restaurant isn't really a restaurant. Not in a traditional sense, anyway. There is a dining room, and a dinner menu, but the space also doubles as a trendy lounge-bar which sees entertainment from international DJs and amazing city views. Turn to page 51 for a preview of one of the restaurant’s signature dishes.
Open Mon-Sat 7.30pm-11.30pm (dinner); 5.30pm-1am (lounge bar). Shangri-La Hotel, Doha, Level 43 & 44, Conference Centre Street, West Bay (4429 5295).
As the opening of Mall of Qatar – the country’s biggest mall yet – inches closer, much is being made of the 500 shops, 3D IMAX screen and The Oasis area with its huge central stage and capacity for 2,600 seats. But we can’t help feeling more excited by the 100 new food outlets planned. Though many of these will be familiar – Debs w Remman, Carluccio’s, Royal Tandoor – at least 30 of the outlets will be opening for the very first time in Qatar.
Cheesecakes are, of course, the most famous menu item at this hugely popular global chain, which began in a humble Detroit home back in the 1940s. Now, with more than 200 restaurants across the world, that fresh home-baked quality has disappeared from the brand, to be replaced with gargantuan slices of sugary, creamy cheesecake in flavours from fresh strawberry and mango key lime to red velvet and peanut butter cup fudge ripple. There’s an equally long menu of main dishes and savoury items, so you can actually get a full fledged meal here, and there are a number of other specialty desserts if cheesecake isn’t really your thing.
Originating in Lebanon, Babel is all about traditional Lebanese hospitality and authentic Arabian-Mediterranean dishes, serving plenty of mezze and fresh seafood in a casual, relaxed setting.
In addition to its small café area – which is a great place to stop for coffee and pastries – Eataly outlets also incorporate an Italian food market selling fresh pastas, sauces and other delicacies. Skip the food court and try out the traditional thin crust Italian pizzas, which Eataly is also well-known for.
Greek restaurants are few and far between in Doha, so we are looking forward to seeing what Greek Fresh brings to the table. Focusing on authentic Greek recipes, the menu leans towards grilled meats and pita sandwiches and traditional sides like orzo with feta and tzatziki.
New York Fries
What’s better than huge a pot of fries smothered in nacho toppings, beef chilli or even butter chicken? Hot, crisp, skin-on, hand-cut fries smothered in nacho toppings, beef chilli (but maybe not butter chicken – we’ll get back to you on that post-opening). The fries are also cooked in non-hydrogenated sunflower oil if that makes you feel better about substituting a huge portion of chips for one of your meals.
TWG Tea Salon & Boutique
Any respectable connoisseur of tea will know that TWG is far superior to almost anything else (with the exception, perhaps, of a proper Yorkshire brew). TWG Teas around the world incorporate patisseries and fully fledged cafés with afternoon teas, lunch and brunch menus and more, plus, of course, their menu of tea from their huge collection which covered more than 800 single estates, fine harvests and blends. You’ll also be able to shop for tea accessories (pots, diffusers and the like) and stock up on lovely vintage-style tea tins of loose-leaf tea.
On the menu
This September, to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the original Hakkasan in London’s Hanway Place, Hakkasan restaurants around the world will launch different Only At menus. Expect Middle Eastern flavours and ingredients exclusive to Hakkasan Doha, as well as specially-created dishes and mixed beverages. The menus are all about local culture and cuisine, so while you can still look forward to the signature style of Hakkasan's food, there will be plenty of Gulf influences and seasonal ingredients, served with style and stunning presentations (dumplings in the shape of a swan, anyone?).
Open daily 7pm-midnight. The St Regis Doha, West Bay Lagoon (4446 0170).
Illusion's new menu is everything you would expect it to be. Trendy, unusual, eclectic and interesting are all words that spring to mind. Everything has a bit of a gourmet edge, from the sweet potato bravas with honey jalapeño glaze and feta to the mussels with parsnip purée and lobster beurre blanc – but there are plenty of classic bar bites on there, too like tempura buckets, tacos and sliders. Fun creations like a Nutella and marshmallow pizza with toasted pecans and toffee glaze sit alongside quinoa salad and fried calamari, as well as some pretty extravagant options like the huge Tomahawk and jumbo prawn surf ‘n’ turf. Head there on a Wednesday for a more formal affair at their dinner show. Order anything from the menu à la carte while enjoying performances by Illusion's in-house performance artists and live DJs.
Open Mon-Sat 6pm-2am; last food orders 1am; dinner show Wed 8pm-midnight. Marsa Malaz Kempinski, The Pearl-Qatar, firstname.lastname@example.org (4035 5757/58).
Isaan is known for its fragrant and dainty sharing-style dishes which, though delicious, can quickly begin to add up on the bill. But the new Ban Mee Nights offer fantastic value for money. Choose four noodle dishes to share with a choice of noodle appetiser, soup, curry and stir-fried dishes – all for just QR100.
Open Sat 7pm-11.30pm. Grand Hyatt Doha, West Bay Lagoon (7021 8097).
The bustling café at Marriott Marquis City Centre Doha has been slowly refreshing its menu for a few months, introducing huge freakshakes in flavours from macha topped with pound cake to banana and peanut butter. The new menu now includes breakfast dishes such as ricotta hotcakes and flatbreads from the brick oven with toppings like shrimp and beef chorizo.
Open daily 6am-11pm. Marriott Marquis City Centre Doha Hotel. West Bay (4419 5000).
Under the hammer
Bohemia is a bar-turned-café, and re-opened last month as a totally new concept. Serving a selection of freshly baked cakes, frozen coffee smoothies and Middle Eastern finger food, it’s become something of a cooler counterpart to bright and airy Café Murano across the lobby. It has the same moody-chic, dark décor from its original bar setting, but instead of a nightspot it’s more of a casual meeting place with an overhauled menu and garden views.
Open Mon-Sat noon-midnight, Sun 8am-2pm. Marsa Malaz Kempinski, The Pearl-Qatar (4035 5011).
Who says fast food can’t have a great setting? The Nando’s outlet at Hyatt Plaza mall has re-opened following an almost eight-month renovation. The new Afro-Portuguese space is as vibrant as the food, with bright colours and patterns, and artwork all the way from South Africa on the walls. Plus, Nando’s new lunch deal means you can get a burger, pita or wrap with a side and a beverage for QR45 throughout September at any Nando’s branch.
Open Sat-Thu 11am-midnight, Fri 12.30pm-midnight. Lunch offer valid daily 11am-4pm. Hyatt Plaza, Aspire Zone, Al Wabb (4436 0606).
Wahm has been totally transformed from an ambient and kitschy poolside hangout to more of an upscale lounge. Designed by the creatives behind Market by Jean-George’s revamp earlier this year, sleek, modern fittings, gold detailing, leather furniture and plush velvets all feature, but a revamped setting isn’t the only thing going for this new and improved nightspot. Its menu has been similarly refined and now includes a selection of detoxifying raw juices, skinny mixed drinks and mocktails, and you’ll find bites like fresh tuna ceviche and lobster rolls on the menu. If you’re after something a bit more substantial, order a hearty pizza or plate of fish and chips, or tuck into an antipasti board which comes with olives, cheese, meats and grilled veg.
Open daily 5pm-2am. W Doha Hotel & Residences, West Bay (4453 5135).
Our Highly Commended European restaurant for 2016 at the Time Out Doha Restaurant Awards closed over the summer for a revamp. This little – and only – slice of Greece in Doha has re-done its menu and introduced a whole new series of lunch and dinner deals (accompanied, of course, by a live Bouzouki duo every evening). It’s all Greek to me! is available daily from 6.30pm-11pm for QR150 per person. It includes a three-course menu of traditional favourites like moussaka and Greek salad, plus indulgent desserts like silky Galaktoboureko (a custard dessert made with semolina and filo pastry) or a nutty Karidopita (walnut cake with syrup). In the afternoon, Mykonos’ Mykonian afternoon parties combine signature mixed beverages with deep house and funk music from 3pm-6.30pm.
Open daily noon-12.30pm. InterContinental Doha, West Bay Lagoon (4484 4919).
Brunch is back
The award-winning brunch from the UAE finally hit Doha back in May. Stretching across Hunters Room & Grill, Sabai Thai and the terrace of Seasonal Tastes in cooler months, this is a bigger-is-better kind of Friday brunch buffet.
QR295 (soft drinks), QR350 (house beverages). Fri 12.30-4pm. The Westin Doha Hotel & Spa, Salwa Road (4492 1555).
The Ritz-Carlton’s long-standing buffet brunch recently re-launched under a picnic theme. Expect bites from platters of smoked mackerel, cheese and dried beef, to hotdogs, sushi, dumplings and hearty mains like lamb leg and poached fish. With Lagoon restaurant’s cavernous indoor space, lush, leafy green setting (complete with faux palm trees) and pretty gardens outside, it’s one of the best brunch themes we’ve come across. Read our full review on page 54.
QR249 (with soft drinks), QR349 (with selected beverages), QR99 (children aged five-12). Fri 12.30pm-3.30pm. The Ritz-Carlton Doha, West Bay Lagoon (4484 8000).
Of all the street food in all the world Mexican has to be one of the most exciting. Paloma’s new Mexican Street Snack brunch is a bargain at just QR199 per person, and serves an unlimited selection of Mexican bar bites from tacos and fajitas to quesadillas. The bar’s new resident band Soul Shake will also be on stage providing lively entertainment.
QR199 (with selected beverages). Fri 12.30pm-4pm. InterContinental Doha, West Bay Lagoon (4484 4919).
From September 17, cosy pub Irish Harp will be bringing the city a late Saturday brunch. Running from 5pm-9pm, expect indulgent bar food like South Carolina smoked and barbecue-glazed ribs, as well as salads, desserts and more, all accompanied by a live band.
QR199 (food only), QR220 (food and two beverages); QR345 (with house beverages). Sat 5pm-9pm. Sheraton Grand Doha Hotel & Convention Centre, Al Corniche Street, West Bay (4485 3000).
Fine dining for less
For a more casual night out at Nobu, their bento box selection is a slightly more affordable way to enjoy the world-famous sushi. The three different boxes on offer include signature, deluxe and vegetarian and include options such as black cod, rolls, sashimi, and salads. Combined with the restaurant’s nightly happy hour, it’s an ideal low-key end to the weekend.
QR170 (vegetarian bento); QR195 (signature bento); QR265 (deluxe bento). Sat 6pm-8pm (in the bar and lounge); 6.30pm-8pm (in the main dining area). Four Seasons Doha, West Bay (4494 8500).
The casual, all-day dining outlet at one of Doha’s newest hotels has launched a new seafood night when you can tuck into a buffet of fresh lobsters, prawns, crab, mussels and more, plus seafood dishes from sushi to grilled fish from a live station.
From QR185. Thu 7pm-11.30pm. c.taste, Centro Capital Doha, Freej Bin Mahmoud (4455 5000).
The newest themed night at Marsa Malaz Kempinski’s international restaurant offers a three-course meal for just QR95, including a starter or soup, a choice between red or green curry (with either chicken, beef, prawns or veg) plus a dessert or fruit to finish.
QR95. Tue 6pm-10.30pm. Sawa, Marsa Malaz Kempinski, The Pearl-Qatar (4035 5011).
Pick a theme
From vibrant curries on Spicy Sundays to Mexican Mondays, Italian Trattoria Tuesdays and an Arabian barbecue buffet on Saturdays, Seasonal Tastes has introduced a theme for every night of the week. The restaurant’s market-fresh concept means that the dishes on offer vary depending on the produce available each day. Head to the Claws & Shells seafood night on Thursdays to tuck into a selection of the freshest local fish from the morning’s boats.
QR150 (with soft drinks, Sun-Wed), QR229 (with soft drinks, Thu and Sat). Sat-Thu 6.30pm-11pm. The Westin Doha Hotel & Spa, Salwa Road, Fereej Bin Mahmoud (4492 1555).
Begin the week with unlimited healthy bites of sushi and tempura at the Ritz-Carlton’s classic lobby bar, along with selected cocktails.
QR180 per person. Sun 8.30pm-10.30pm. Habanos, The Ritz-Carlton Doha, West Bay Lagoon (4484 8000/5009 2272).
The Westin Doha Hotel & Spa
Luxe Lounge has launched a brand-new Asian-inspired afternoon tea. Nibble on dainty cucumber sandwiches, as well as spicy chicken wraps and sweet bites like banana and chocolate pancakes and macarons. The scones have an Asian twist, too, made with sesame, to enjoy with a pot of Jing tea.
QR140 for two. Daily 2pm-5pm. The Westin Doha Hotel & Spa, Salwa Road, Fereej Bin Mahmoud (4492 1555).
For the past few months, the Ritz-Carlton’s afternoon tea migrated over to the Lobby Lounge while La Mer underwent renovations. Now you can once again enjoy this elegant pastime with views across the water from the 23rd floor. The selection of premium teas are one of the best things about it, such as the Golden Rose of white tea with rose petals and rose water.
QR130. Sun-Wed 2.30pm-5pm. The Ritz-Carlton Doha, West Bay Lagoon (4484 8505)
Back to business
New lunch spots
This new Chinese restaurant’s four-course executive lunch deal offers excellent value for money, plus its partitioned dining areas are perfect for more private business lunches and meetings. The menu includes dim sum, a main course, rice or noodles and dessert for just QR54, plus valet parking is complimentary.
Sun-Thu noon-3.30pm. First Floor, Barwa Towers, Suhaim Bin Hamad Street, Al Sadd (4038 7376).
Renovated Mykonos has also launched a new light lunch deal, including a salad, a traditional dish of the day and a Greek dessert for QR99. Dine al fresco in the picturesque gardens, or inside surrounded by the quintessentially Greek blue and white décor.
Sun-Wed noon-3pm. InterContinental Doha, West Bay Lagoon (4484 4919).
The new chef in town
Shaking up South East Asian
New chef at Spice Market
Spice Market’s new Chef de Cuisine Taimoon Sun (also known as Spencer Sun) has gone from South Korea to Doha to Miami, and back again. His last gig was at Nobu Miami, where he worked with chefs like Thomas Buckly and trained as a senior chef. Over the past few years, Spice Market has been the recipient of a number of our restaurant awards, including Best South East Asian and Restaurant of the Year in 2014. We can’t wait to see what Sun brings to the menu – will he be the one to push it back into that top spot?
Look out for…
Three brand new openings
Founded by Qataris Ghanim Al Sulaiti and Jawaher AlFardan, Doha’s first ever vegan café and juice bar will be opening on The Pearl alongside Niya Yoga studio before the end of the year.
This casual crab shack and grill has been officially announced and will be opening within the next six months. Expect a dose of proper Southern hospitality, and huge buckets of crab to get (messily) stuck into.
Richard Sandoval’s fourth venue will open next to Z Lounge by Zengo, serving pan-Asian fusion food with panoramic views of the city.