The cosy ones with cool dcor
There’s nothing remotely cute about this café, but if we’re talking cosy, we’re convinced this spot is almost impossible to beat. The chairs are big and comfy, the lighting is dim and the city views are gorgeous. They serve shisha and an excellent Moroccan tea here, too.
Open daily 12.30pm-midnight. Al Jomrok Boutique Hotel, Souq Waqif (4433 6905).
It’s hard to bypass this gourmet café if you’re in the Rotana lobby. There are lots of delicious-looking sweet and savoury bites on display, it has top service and an afternoon tea you really shouldn’t miss. It’s a great escape from the city, while being at the centre of it all, and it’s a perfect place for good conversation.
Open daily 6am-midnight. City Centre Rotana, West Bay (4445 8888).
Sugar & Spice
The worthy winner of Time Out Doha’s Best Café award in 2017 is also one of Qatar’s cutest. It’s almost always packed, there are varied styles of comfortable seats and so many elements of the décor will keep your eyes busy. It serves a small selection of savoury bites and some of the best desserts in town, no joke. Whichever jar of gooey goodness you get you won’t be disappointed.
Open Sat-Thu 9am-10.30pm; Fri 1.30pm-11pm. Aspire Park, Al Waab (4039 9668).
This small coffee shop in the W Doha is almost off the beaten track, but no café connoisseur can claim he or she is one, if they haven’t been here. The cappuccino is one thing, but the colourful décor and cosy seating is quite another. Bonus: it sells a selection of baklava prepared by a specialist chef from Turkey. The rainbow coffee is exciting, as is the red velvet cappuccino.
Open daily 6am-11pm. W Doha Hotel & Residences, West Bay (4453 5353).
The luxurious ones
You might not expect an especially luxurious café to be tucked away in a mall, but let’s not forget, we’re in Doha. This Parisian café is lavish, and it serves a wonderfully rich, thick and decadent hot chocolate made from three different types of cocoa. Do you need any more convincing?
Open daily 7am-10.30pm. The Gate Mall, West Bay (4411 8988).
A luxurious eatery in the Marsa Malaz Kempinski. This used to be a bar, but is now a classy, sleek and super stylish café. The wooden flooring, blue leather couches and massive robotic sculpture made from Bohemia glass makes this spot a real treat for those seeking a luxury café experience. While you’re being wowed by the ambience, try the sliders.
Open daily noon-midnight. Marsa Malaz Kempinski, The Pearl-Qatar (4035 5011).
The attention to detail here is impeccable and it feels ultra-luxurious. You won’t miss how exquisite the Japanese custom-made cutlery is, how royal the furnishings are or how beautiful the view is from the floor-to-ceiling windows. Throw in some dreamy tiramisu and you have a winner.
Open daily 8am-10pm. Marsa Malaz Kempinski, The Pearl-Qatar (4035 5011).
Fancy a very expensive cappuccino? Tired of drinking regular water? If you answered yes to both of these questions drop whatever you’re doing, right now, and head to Café Noir in Al Hazm Mall. It’s every bit over the top (in a good way), and the quality is right up there, too.
Open daily 9am-midnight. Al Hazm Mall, Al Markhiya Street (7075 3953).
Everything about this café feels larger than life in a fairy tale sort of way. Also, since it’s in the Mondrian, we’re not surprised at all with how luxurious it feels. If you want a good cup of black in an Alice in Wonderland setting, you know where to go.
Open daily 7am-midnight. Mondrian Doha, West Bay Lagoon (4045 5555).
MIA Park Café
Walk across one of Doha’s most beautifully landscaped parks to reach this café. There’s an outdoor seating area with stunning views of West Bay and Doha’s burgeoning skyline. Everything about it is impressive. The food served is classic, light café fare, but with a distinctly gourmet twist. Don’t miss Richard Serra’s 7 sculpture nearby, too.
Open Sun, Mon and Wed 10.30am-5.30pm; Thu-Sat noon-8pm, closed Tue. Museum of Islamic Art Park, Corniche Street (4422 4120).
Seasons Tea Lounge
The Four Seasons knows what it’s doing when it comes to luxury. From the service to the food, everything is always on point. The Victorian ambience at this lounge is majestic and you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to tea. Try the yummy raspberry macarons, too.
Open daily 8am-midnight. Four Seasons Hotel Doha, West Bay (4494 8888).
The ones for great coffee
Espression by LavAzza
This place needs no introduction – the coffee is unquestionably brilliant. So let’s focus on why we hang out here so often. The outdoor seating area isn’t exactly comfortable, but you really feel in the middle of all the action. There are heaters, too, to keep you warm on chilly nights, plus, it’s beautifully lit up at night.
Open Sat-Wed 7am-11pm; Thu 7am-midnight; Fri 8am-11am, 1pm-midnight The Gate Mall, West Bay (4407 7199).
Remember the old Flat White that used to be in the outdoor area of The Pearl-Qatar offices? While we really loved that one, we can’t ignore how popular this new one is. They don’t have sugar here (the team believe in you enjoying what coffee should actually taste like). But if you can’t forgo your sweet tooth and sneak in a few packets of your own, we won’t judge.
Open Sat-Wed 7am-11pm; Thu-Fri 7am-11.30pm. The Pearl-Qatar (4477 4441).
Luminous Espresso Industry
This café is easily one of our favourite spots, not just for all the art motifs and creative touches, but also because it’s quiet and serves excellent coffee. If you class yourself a connoisseur, you might like to know that this place does a really good V60 (hand-brewed coffee). We also love the semifreddo.
Open daily 6am-midnight. Falcon Tower, Dafna (4450 3523).
The coffee here is seriously top-notch (whichever option you choose). The desserts are decadent and the décor is fun and cosy, too. You can have a chat with your pals, get some work done or just go solo with a good book (of which there are several to choose from). You’ll make this a regular, we reckon.
Open Open Sat-Thu 7am-2.30am; Fri 6am-11.30am, 12.30pm-1am. Ezdan Tower 1, Dafna (4040 9540).
The ones for great food
Bagel Bar Coffee House
It’s open 24 hours and has a great selection of coffee and a Cajun bagel that will be on your mind for days for good reasons.
Open daily 24 hours. Sara Residences, West Bay (4476 3686).
Why Fy (see what we did there)? Because it has incredibly delicious breakfasts, a delightful rose latte and a pistachio milk cake that we defy you not to adore. And crave every now and then.
Open daily 8am-11am, 1pm-11pm. Barwa Towers, Al Sadd (4444 4656).
This café is a life-saver for residents of Bin Mahmoud. It’s never too crowded, the wi-fi is speedy and the service efficient. Beverages and savoury items are reasonably priced, too. Give the cheese pimiento bakes for QR12 (four pieces in one portion) a try.
Open Sat-Wed 8am-11pm; Thu-Fri 8am-midnight. Fereej Bin Mahmoud (4462 0878).
Horatii Tiramisu Lounge
Tucked away in Al Hazm Mall this café claims to have the best tiramisu in Doha (not surprising given its name). You might want to call before going – it’s almost always full, especially at the weekend.
Open daily 10am-1pm, 3pm-11.30pm. Al Hazm Mall, Al Markhiya Street (4483 6983).
It has a great salad bar, a tempting business lunch and an entire table filled with an assortment of some of the best desserts you can possibly find in this area. Still not convinced? Then know that every Monday is ladies’ day, when gals get free goodies (yes, make-up from Sephora, too).
Open daily 7am-1.30am. Al Hazm Mall, Al Markhiya Street (4447 5287).
Life with Cacao
We have just two words for this impressive new café – cookie fondant. It’s true, it’s real and it’s absolutely delicious. The cookie fondant is everything you dreamed of. Imagine cutting into the chewiest biscuit only to be hit with super-gooey milk chocolate. Life with Cacao also serves breakfast and savoury stuff, as well as a whole lot of drool-worthy desserts. Yum.
Open daily 9.30am-11pm. Mall of Qatar (5000 1335).
Al Jazeera Media Café
In between the Al Jazeera theme and good food, the venue serves great coffee, too. Follow the sequence here – browse the memorabilia on display, spend some time in the makeshift newsroom, play with the interactive table, order food on said table, play games and watch dozens of screens across the room showing Al Jazeera network channels. The prawn mac ’n’ cheese is the most exciting thing you’ll find. It’s gooey and packed full of flavour. And the Al Jazeera logo on the cappuccino is kind of cool, too.
Open daily 8am-11.30pm. Katara Cultural Village, West Bay Lagoon (4425 6666).
The interiors are eye-catching and interesting art adorns the walls. In fact, you can even catch a few interesting art exhibitions from time to time. Thankfully, the chefs have put as much effort into the food as the management have into the décor. Fans of quinoa will be happy, as there are plenty of salads featuring the ingredient. And the quinoa brownie is epic.
Open Sat-Thu 8.30am-midnight; Fri 8.30am-11.30am, 1pm-midnight. The Pearl-Qatar (4002 7554).
This café is unique for so many reasons. It’s in the former civil defence headquarters of Qatar and has a food truck (that’s an actual fire truck). The cappuccino is good, as is the selection of sandwiches. The camel meat burger is a nice touch, too. Local influences are all over the menu, with a sticky sujuk burger another highlight (if a bit messy). For dessert, you can’t go wrong with a lemon tart.
Open daily 8am-11pm. Bin Omran, Civil Defence Roundabout (4458 2556).
From the plants to the fridge stocked with fresh coconuts, and the white exposed brick walls with inspirational health phrases, Evergreen Organics feels every inch healthy, and it’s one of the most pleasant café settings in the city. There’s a lovely outdoor area by the water and it’s the first café in town to serve only raw vegan food. Carnivores, don’t worry – the food is more exciting than you might think. The tacos are spicy and layered with vibrant Mexican flavours, and the raw beet ravioli is made with a combination of mushrooms and cashew cream that tastes remarkably good. Whether you’re vegan or not, this café is truly worth a visit.
Open Sat-Thu 7am-10pm; Fri 7am-11am, 12.30pm-10pm. The Pearl-Qatar (4472 0437).
Fleurs Et Café
If we’re talking about novel concepts, Fleurs Et Café takes the cake with its flower boutique in a coffee shop. You can enjoy a selection of coffees, teas and home-made pastries, while being in the midst of sophisticated, elegant floral arrangements. The blooms are imported from Holland and can be purchased on the spot. This café could be the star of your Instagram.
Open daily 9am-8pm. The Pearl-Qatar (7737 3739).
This international franchise from Greece puts a new spin on Doha’s coffee shop culture with a selection of products derived from Mastic (the resin from a Mastic tree). We highly recommend you do not chew this gum (it’s incredibly bitter) but definitely try the mastic cappuccino. Also, the coffee flavours are unusual and exciting (think masticcino, caramel rose latte and coconut lavender latte).
Open daily 10am-2am. The Pearl-Qatar (5065 0700).
One of the most beautifully decorated Arabic cafés we’ve seen in a while, it has elements of Islamic art in every corner of the restaurant, very beautifully blended with the design. Colourful, ornate cushions thrown around and multicoloured, porcelain camel heads on the walls are just a few of the interesting things dotted around. The food is hit-and-miss, but there’s a good selection of teas (read: tempting varieties of karak) and a selection of board games on every table.
Open daily 10am-10pm. The Pearl-Qatar (no number).
The Chemist Café
There’s cool, there’s super-cool and then there’s The Chemist Café, where everything is quite obviously lab-themed. We fall into that category of people who hated chemistry in school, but then watched Breaking Bad. And if you’re a fan, you’ll love this as much as we do. All items are served in test tubes, beakers and measuring glasses, just like in a laboratory, with smoke coming out of pretty much everything. For fans of the aforementioned show, there’s a massive gas mask mural and a drink to match. Enough said.
Open Sat-Thu 7am-11pm; Fri 1pm-midnight. B-Square Mall, F Ring Road, Mesaimeer (5034 0340).
Torch Tea Garden
Get to the 21st floor of The Torch Hotel and enjoy this stunning spot that does full justice to its name and really brings the outdoors, indoors. With views of the lush green Aspire Park and some tie guan yin tea, you’ve got the recipe for a fantastic afternoon. Torch Tea Garden is almost a hidden gem. It’s not nearly as popular as some of the city cafés, but ambience-wise, it’s unbeatable. The décor is plush and colourful and the setting is just what the doctor ordered. Try the sharing bites platter, if for nothing more than the well-spiced short rib quesadilla. Just yes.
Open daily 3pm-11pm. Torch Doha, Al Waab (4446 5600).
The ones to work in
A hospital might not be the first place you think of to enjoy a great café, but Al Emadi Hospital has hit home with this one. It has decent décor, good coffee and tasty eats. We love the fact that this café is on the other side of town, as well, on the side that’s lacking in good options such as this. Pull up a chair, soak in the relaxing ambience, grab a cuppa and type away.
Open daily 3pm-10pm. Al Emadi Hospital, D Ring Road (4466 6009).
Quiet. That’s the key word to describe this one. And by quiet, we mean pin-drop silent. If you’re a loud breather, you probably don’t want to head here. But if you’re not, and really need to get some work done, this small café is the right choice. It has good food (try the excellent mushroom soup), sufficient choices of caffeine and some amazing cakes and pastries.
Open daily 7am-10pm. Kempinski Residences & Suites, West Bay (4405 3326).
Here’s a swanky, industrial and chilled-out spot where you’ll not only admire the little details that adorn the space, but also happily plug in that incommodious laptop whose battery dies after five minutes. Get into the work zone for a few hours here. It’s quiet, relaxing and studious, and has great coffee and some excellent eats. Try the Mexican beef wrap or just head straight for the desserts. Plus, you get 50 percent off the sweet and savoury items on display from 10pm until midnight.
Open daily 7am-midnight. Crowne Plaza – The Business Park, Airport Road (4408 7744).
Victoria Tea Lounge
If you want to pretend to be fancy while getting some work done, you need two things: a comfy chair at this tea lounge and its afternoon tea set. You’ll also be happy to know that this café has plenty of sockets to plug your laptop into. Pick from the options of white, black, green and semi-fermented varieties of beverages, which are all intricately described on the menu, should you not be well-versed on such drinks.
Open daily 7am-midnight. Mövenpick Al Aziziyah, Al Waab (4445 5547).
A beautiful café in one of Doha’s most picturesque locations? Yes, please. Volume is strategically located right next to the valet (so you can evade the summer heat) and has an unforgettable Spanish latte and honey cake that will satiate your sugar cravings for days. And there are books that you can pick up to read when you get bored of typing.
Open daily noon-11pm. Qanat Quartier, The Pearl-Qatar (6624 2769).
The secluded ones
There are so many reasons to spend at least one day of your weekend exploring Souq Wakra (as far from the city as it may be) and this café is one of the top. It has a hamsat chicken musakhan with sundried tomatoes on the breakfast menu (just try it), and beautiful views of Wakra beach.
Open Sun-Wed noon-midnight; Thu-Sat 8am-1am. Souq Al Wakra (4017 7777).
The branch in Doha Tower might just be the definition of seclusion. Not only is the building hard to find, but the café isn’t visible from the main road and you literally have to go underground to get to it. The food is great here and the afternoon tea is spectacular if you fancy a treat.
Open Sat-Thu 7am-10pm; Fri 3pm-midnight. Doha Tower, Al Corniche Street, Dafna (4441 7214).
Whether it’s a business meeting or a quiet space for conversation that you’re after, Lobby Lounge is as private as it gets. The café does not disappoint with it’s offer of coffees, teas and pastries, either. It also serves shisha.
Open daily 8am-midnight. Shangri-La Hotel Doha, West Bay (4429 5295).
Tucked away behind the Westin lobby, you could easily miss this lounge, but you won’t forget it once you’ve been in. It has a beautiful display of pastries in the centre and serves a good selection of teas and coffees. There’s a small, cosy outdoor seating area, too.
Open daily 6.30am-11pm. Westin Doha Hotel & Spa, Fereej Bin Mahmoud (4492 1685).
This spot is fairly new and hence, quite exclusive. The décor is sophisticated and the menu is satisfying with its varieties of salads, starters and some really expensive but delicious teas. It also serves a selection of mocktails. Don’t miss the fresh bread with herbed garlic butter. Pro tip: it’s buy one, get one free on beverages and desserts from 7pm to 11pm.
Open daily 8am-11pm. Fraser Suites West Bay (4495 5000).
Learn the lingo
If you don’t fully understand all the talk of single-origin beans, local roasteries and syphon filters, it could be enough to give you a headache (if all that caffeine hasn’t got you there already). So here are ten terms you can use to bluff your way through any conversation with
A combination of varieties grown from a number of regions, countries or continents. They can be blended before or after roasting. If they’re blended after roasting, baristas can come up with interesting flavour combinations.
This is a glass coffee maker that uses the pour over method.
The creamy, foamy bit on the top of an espresso, though it’s neither cream nor foam.
The brewing process itself. The flavour comes out of the ground coffee and into the water.
Ground coffee lies in a filter basket and hot water flows through it and out of the other side into a jug.
Boiled water is poured over ground coffee in a glass jug and a lid with plunger placed on top. After waiting a while, the plunger is pressed. The action is more enjoyable than the drink.
A little like the filter coffee, but a barista will do it all manually.
The term refers to the fact that the coffee is sourced form a single producer, crop region and country, thereby giving it a flavour characteristic of the area of production. When you see a coffee on a menu referred to by the name of a place, it will be single origin.
It’s complicated. There are chambers and tubes and science is involved. A way to get the most flavour out of the coffee, but probably best left to the pros.