It’s been an incredible year for foodies (us included). Some exciting restaurants shut down, but some even better ones opened up. Big names have graced the dining scene, our favourite places have improved their menus, and our not-so-favourite ones have launched brand-new ones. The brunch scene is better than ever and so many new concepts have been dreamed up. Although, as we approach the new menus of 2018, the possibility of anything, and we mean anything, happening to our favourite dishes starts to loom large. So, you have exactly 30 days to try all 30 of our most-loved plates from 2017. Fair warning: lots of deliciousness (and burgers) ahead.
1 Thai burger at Spice Market
This recent (and amazing) addition to Spice Market’s new menu is our favourite dish in their armoury. It’s a burger loaded with mouth-watering, Oriental flavours sandwiched between the softest buns and packed with a relish that you will literally want to pocket and take home. It’s sweet, it’s spicy, it’s tangy – it’s perfect. Seriously, go try it out for yourself if you don’t believe us.
W Doha (4477 4281).
2 Eggs benedict with spiced hollandaise at SMBC
This might be a dish only available during brunch on a special egg menu, but we make the rules and we’re totally including this here. We’ve already declared this the greatest egg creation we’ve tried, so you know when we introduce you to a perfectly poached egg, on a muffin ensemble doused with the most delicious and spicy hollandaise sauce, we mean business. The egg menu at SMBC’s brunch single-handedly makes the whole package completely worth it.
Grand Hyatt Doha (4477 4411).
3 Slow-cooked beef short ribs at Opal by Gordon Ramsay
This signature dish at Opal makes us come back every single time, to try the same plate over and over again (we’re obsessive like that). But can you blame us? When we see irresistible, sticky, chewy, sweet and sour ribs with a glaze that blends vibrant, citrusy flavours with the sweetness of honey and a punch from the spices, we just go for it. And we don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t, too.
The St. Regis Doha (4446 0000).
4 Butter chicken at Taj Rasoi
After trying the best the city has to offer, we know our butter chicken. Taj Rasoi’s is really special. The chicken is marinated overnight with exotic spices, then roasted and cooked in tomato purée, cream and, of course, copious amounts of butter. One bite into this dish, and you’ll quickly travel from Doha to the cholesterol-inducing foodie streets of New Delhi. We must also add that nothing goes better with butter chicken than Taj Rasoi’s piping hot, crisp garlic naan.
Doha Marriott (4429 8499).
5 Cajun fries at Five Guys
Obviously, the burgers here are amazing. There’s no need to make a big noise (the long queues during the first few opening days already did). But can we scream and shout and let it all out for these incredible and mildly spicy fries? We love a little kick and until we mercilessly devoured several large cups of these Cajun fries, we always thought KFC’s spicy offerings were the don. They’re second best now. Sorry, not sorry.
Doha Festival City (4493 1228).
6 US prime tenderloin at Zengo
We are talking 220 grammes of the most tender US prime tenderloin, covered in a sauce that transcends the highest expectations of a sincere foodie on a good day. The delicious foie gras, yakitori and truffle sauce, served with a creamy parsnip coconut purée, asparagus and baby carrots, really makes this dish so sought after. At least by us. And now, hopefully, by you too.
Kempinski Residences & Suites (4405 3560).
7 Dry aged beef brisket at Astor Grill
They have a new burger menu at Astor Grill and you can already tell from this list how much we love burgers. This one in particular is exceptionally tasty. It’s a limited-edition offering showcasing a gourmet, 28-day, dry beef patty cooked over an open flame.
The St. Regis Doha (4446 0000).
8 Warm confit duck salad at Quick Bites
Every time we feel guilty (after eating all those burgers), we head over to Quick Bites to eat this amazing salad. We’re really not sure how healthy it is, and after a couple of bites, we don’t even care, because happiness is a warm confit duck salad with truffle and walnuts.
Marriott Marquis Doha (4419 5000).
9 Spicy miso ramen at Megu
Not only is this authentic and delicious, it’s super-colourful. The broth is a lovely shade of rust with the lawn green from baby asparagus on top. The carrots, sweetcorn and boiled eggs are in unison, and one slurp of the broth brings about some serious heat from the chilli sauce, with a subtle yet much-needed sweetness to it. It’s excellent. Try it with shrimp for a delicious flavour that’s not overpowering at all. The ramen portions are really generous, which is exactly how they should be.
The Pearl-Qatar (4409 5237).
10 Mushroom truffle pizza at Illusion
When this pizza arrives at your table it has the unmistakeable scent of truffles and it really is perfect. Caramelised onions cut through the saltiness. Mushroom and truffles already make for a brilliant combination, but this is beyond brilliant.
We can even go as far as to say that this is the best mushroom truffle pizza we’ve had.
Marsa Malaz Kempinski (4035 5757).
11 Mixed grills at Reem Al Bawadi
It’s one thing to eat meats that have been brilliantly marinated and perfectly grilled, but eating that by the sea side, listening to the waves while having some shisha and watching the sun go down as the roof above retracts and the whole restaurant transforms into a beautifully lit, cosy, evening spot, is a whole other thing.
Hilton Hotel Doha (5000 4705).
12 Giouvetsi at Mykonos
Mykonos has revamped their menu and we can safely say this giouvetsi might be the star. Tender, succulent beef cubes that melt in your mouth are mixed with al dente orzo pasta tossed in a rich, flavourful stew sauce. There’s only thing that’s as good as a biryani, and it’s this Greek biryani (or so we’d like to call it).
Intercontinental Doha (4484 4444).
13 Gajar ka halwa at Al Matbakh Rooftop Grill
Al Matbakh has a really interesting version of this super-sweet Indian dessert made from grated carrots. It’s far less sweet here, and laid out in a French tart. The crunch from the tart makes this really special, and we’re all for the idea. Add to that a rooftop setting that’s as exclusive as it is colourful and we have a winner.
Al Rumaila Boutique Hotel (4433 6712).
14 Crispy mayo shrimp at Ruby Wu’s
The crispy prawns here are really something else, and we’ve tried them all. (Yes, they’re better than P. F. Chang’s.) They’re deep fried, coated with a delicious mayonnaise and topped with black sesame seeds. It sounds simple, but we assure you’ll be blown away with its taste and sultry heat.
Radisson Blu Hotel Doha (4428 1555).
15 Hyderabadi biryani at Sangeet
The best Hyderabadi biryani in Doha is right here and if you find suspiciously large bags of biryani being delivered to a car, it’s most likely ours (come say hi, there'll be plenty to go around). This restaurant is an underrated gem. Besides the biryani, its curries are excellent as well and QR50 can easily buy you a really filling meal for two, with some leftovers even. The takeaway service is pretty efficient, too.
Najma (4017 2867).
16 Chocolate fondant at La Boca
La Boca is already one of our favourite places to hang out at Souq Waqif and cutting into a warm cake to see gooey chocolate lava oozing out is going to be the best thing to do this winter. What exactly are you waiting for?
Souq Waqif (no number).
17 Papardelle at Papermoon
The solution to tears on a sad evening, stress on a crazy work day, and the quest for comfort food on a chilly, winter night is this dish at Papermoon. We cannot stress enough how much this dish makes us feel alive. That might be a slight exaggeration but we really, really love every element in this, from the pink sauce to the meat, in this pasta that tastes like home.
Jaidah Square (4477 4287).
18 Miso black cod at Nobu
This signature dish at Nobu is scene-stealing, crowd-pleasing goodness. The black cod is marinated in a sweet sauce for 24 hours, and it is one of the best we’ve tried. It literally melts in your mouth, followed by an explosion of Oriental flavours that make you want to up and leave immediately for a foodie trip to the Far East. Go for it, we reckon.
Four Seasons Hotel Doha (4494 8600).
19 Huntsman burger at Hunters Room & Grill
This double Australian Angus beef patty marinated in barbecue sauce is Hunters' signature burger and one of our beloved indulgences from 2017. The insides also feature crispy meat strips, battered onion rings, wild rocket and sharp cheddar. We don’t know how much longer they’re going to hunt for burgers, and this is plenty good reason to head there today. Or now, in fact.
Westin Doha (4477 4390).
20 Gnocco Sorrento at Cicchetti
Cicchetti is one of those quiet, elegant Italian restaurants that serve good food and don’t make a noise about it. The gnocchi here is the tastiest in town. The tangy tomato sauce and grated burrata on top are going to leave you craving for more (literally, because the portion is sadly way too small for our liking), but we’re not responsible for any ensuing fixations.
Fereej Bin Mahmoud (4421 5000).
21 Mussels pot at Belgian Café
What do we love to do on a weekend? Well, one thing is enjoying a pot of steaming mussels and chunky Belgian frites at the world's largest Belgian Café. Have your pot of mussels in classic, Mediterranean, Thai or flavoured with hops or bubbly. Our favourite is Thai and this is something you have to try (see what we did there?).
Intercontinental Doha (4484 4444).
22 Laal maas at Gymkhana
Laal maas literally translates to red meat and Gymkhana has the most delicious version we’ve tried in Doha. The meat is fall-off-the-bone tender and the aromatic spices make this dish so flavourful that you’ll want to head to Rajasthan, India (from where it originates) and sample more of their delicacies. And if you do, you know who to thank!
Al Jomrok Boutique Hotel (4477 4015).
23 Souvlaki at Santorini
“There is nothing cliché about having souvlaki at a Greek restaurant,” is what we tell ourselves every time we go to Santorini. If their souvlaki is this tender and well-spiced every time, can you blame us for going back?
Shangri-La Hotel Doha (4429 5295).
24 Mandi at Bandar Aden
This traditional Yemeni restaurant in the Souq will really leave you surprised at what you’ve been missing out on all these years. They have the best meat-rice combinations and we highly recommend the mandi here. The meat version is always tastier, but go for the chicken if you want to play it safe because it tastes just as good. Make sure you ask them for their cucumber yoghurt.
Souq Waqif (4437 5503).
25 Fusilli al pesto alla savonese at Lo Spaghetto
The reason we love this Savona-style pasta so much is because of how light and delicious it is. Lo Spaghetto is easily one of our favourite al fresco spots to dine at and this fusilli with basil sauce, green beans and potatoes is warm, homely and so delightful.
Al Nasr (4434 1601).
26 Mango Nutella kunafa at The Pier
They just opened this beautiful, French-style, contemporary outdoor venue on the sea at Four Seasons and as if the venue wasn’t top enough, they outdid themselves with the best version of a kunafa we’ve ever tried. This jar filled with mangoes and Nutella mixed in with kunafa is worth every riyal out of the 75 you will pay for it. You'll also get some beautiful views as a bonus.
Four Seasons Hotel Doha (4494 8600).
27 Thai green curry at L2
While there’s a bunch of options for green curry in Doha, L2 makes it like nobody else. Their green curry is thicker and has a tinge of sweetness which perfectly balances the heat from the chillies. This and some steamed rice is the ultimate comfort food, we think.
Doubletree by Hilton (5079 3203).
28 Schezwan chicken noodles at MRA
When you normally order schezwan noodles at a restaurant that serves Indo-Chinese cuisine, you will most definitely get a really spicy version made with egg noodles. What’s different about the one is MRA is they use ramen-noodles instead and the spiciness doesn’t really stick to it. The result is a mildly spicy but absolutely delicious noodle dish that’s simply perfect for a chilled weekday night in.
Al Markhiya (4442 2074).
29 Short ribs at Prime
This is one of Doha's best steakhouses, so are you really surprised they made it to the list? Try these 36-hour slow-cooked short ribs, served with roasted butternut, wasabi spinach sauce and walnut salsa. Seriously, try them.
Intercontinental Doha The City (4015 8888).
30 Scottish salmon tartar at Q LOUNGE
This Scottish salmon tartare with orange is super fresh and is loaded with balsamic and citrusy flavours. We also think it tastes better because it's served at the only floating restaurant in Doha.
Banana Island Doha by Anantara (4040 5050).