No neighbourhood shows off modern Doha quite like West Bay. There are beaches, massive skyscrapers and it’s the business hub of the city. With all the apartment buildings and offices nearby, there’s no shortage of diners looking for fine dining in luxury hotels. But step away from the five-star lounges and you can still find good eats. From business-friendly sandwiches to cool Australian cafés, check out our pick of the best dining outside of West Bay’s hotels.
Get a sense of West Bay by sitting out on a terrace jutting into the water, looking over to the towers. In fact, we’re so taken by the view and waterside setting that we consider it to be one of the most romantic places to dine in Doha. A claim only marginally undermined by the lashings of Lebanese food and the mountains of mezze and barbecued meats you’ll inevitably end up scoffing here. The prices are reasonable and the style is casual, making it a good all-round option.
The Corniche, www.almourjan.com (4483 4423).
Giant breakfasts, speciality sandwiches and gut-busting desserts all have, as the name suggests, an American heritage here. Considering the size of the dishes we’re impressed by the value and reckon this is a top spot for families looking to take on some stodge. Pancake stacks to start, steak and cheese sandwich to follow and a hot fudge sundae dripping with sauce and cream won’t win any health awards, but for a meal costing less than QR100 it’s incredibly tempting.
Somerset Tower, Diplomatic Street, www.somerset.com (4411 0188).
You can find fine dining and budget Indian restaurants aplenty across Doha, but you won’t get anything else quite like this quirky joint next to Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex. We’re not quite sure how to best label the interior décor, but the timber pillars and beams and floral wall art give it a unique, rustic charm. Try any of the numerous, excellent traditional Indian dishes from the tandoor grill alongside an aromatic curry.
Behind Khalifa International Tennis Comlex, Khalifa Street www.sterlingrestaurants.com (4483 3345).
This giant restaurant has multiple kitchens with masses of variety, including Italian, Middle Eastern, Japanese and dessert. Shake off pictures of a food court, as this is of a much higher quality. It’s excellent for casual meals when your dining group can’t decide on a single cuisine.
The Gate Mall, www.eatopia.co (4020 6400).
jones the grocer
This Australian import is one of the coolest café brands in the Middle East, known for its gourmet food and trendy deli vibe. Never far from a Time Out award plaque, fantastic dishes like marinated beetroot, goats’ cheese and truffle salad show the chef’s willingness to offer intriguing flavour combinations, while the brilliant breakfasts and wagyu burger make this a café worth crossing town for.
The Gate Mall, www.jonesthegrocer.com (4407 7175).
The French bistro in Tornado Tower stands out for its superior breakfasts (think perfect, buttery croissants) and authentically French dishes like roasted duck, chicken or a simple steak frites. The panoramic vistas from the 28th floor don’t hurt, either.
Tornado Tower, West Bay, www.lavarenne.qa (4499 0680).
A bright and functional snack stop serving sandwiches, baked goods and light lunches. Load up on croissants, paninis, ciabattas, baguettes and wraps with a variety of fillings and finish with one of the dozen or so coffee varieties. Perfect for lunch.
Tornado Tower, www.montes.qa (4499 0689).
This little Italian has been making huge waves in the city thanks to its truly authentic Italian cuisine. Executive chef Franco Della Toffolo grew up on a farm in Italy and learned cooking from his mother. This has translated into a restaurant that prides itself on using quality, locally sourced ingredients to create authentic dishes with contemporary twists on flavour – which means you’ll find classic cacio e pepe alongside beef bresaola with orange pulp and cheese.
The Residence Tower, near Regency Residence, West Bay (4029 0348).
Shades is one of those joints that takes coffee seriously without becoming pretentious about beans. You can get your brew as a frappé, latte, skinny, caramel, cappuccino or far more besides, while the numerous salads, sandwiches and cakes are pitched on a similar level: above the standard chain fodder, but casual enough to skip under gourmet radars. Simple, quick, tasty.
Doha Tower, Al Corniche Street, www.shadescafe.qa (4477 4083).
Whichever way we spin this, Shanghai Garden remains a shopping mall restaurant, but it’s distinctly separated from the mall by both its ornate Oriental styling and above-average food. There is a central buffet station, but go for sit-down dining. There’s basic dim sum and a few clear soups to try before selecting one of the dozens of beef, chicken, seafood and vegetable mains, of which the firepots provide an authentic taste of sizzling Shanghai.
City Centre Mall, www.citycenterdoha.com (4493 3188).
An American sandwich chain boasting too many filling and bread combinations to count. Diners can build their own or select ready-made signature creations. They all come with a spicy pickle and either orange or apple slices, plus there are paninis, some basic burritos, croissants and pizzas as well as piadina – an Italian take on street food.
The Gate Mall, www.spicypickle.com (4407 7118).
Also in the area
This popular luxury spa offers one of the widest ranges of services in the city. From classic massages and facials to DNA testing, fitness classes and beauty treatments, this is a one-stop shop for pampering.
Beverly Hills Tower, West Bay, www.battitudespadoha.com (4412 2046).
City Centre Doha
An excellent mall featuring high-street brands like Mango and Nike, as well as plenty of one-off shops that you won’t find elsewhere such as Dollar Plus (which stocks a huge variety of items for cheap prices). There’s an ice-skating rink, too, and a great little salon called Beauty Box on the ground floor.
www.citycenterdoha.com (4493 3355).
Poseidon Dive Centre
This dive centre offers no less than 32 different courses, including PADI Open Water, PADI Bubblemaker, rescue diving, MSD (Master Scuba Diver) certificate, emergency response courses and even underwater photography or a course in propulsion vehicle diving.
Hilton Doha, Diplomatic Street, www.pdcqatar.com (6608 4040/ 5551 0633).