Best Qatari Foods and Where to Find Them in Doha
Doha has such an incredible diversity of international cuisine that it can be hard to find classic Qatari dishes during your visit to the country’s capital. But it's worth the effort of hunting down traditional local restaurants for the amazing food, ranging from hearty home-cooked stews to delicate desserts.
Over the centuries, Qatari food has been influenced by the Levant, North Africa and the Indian subcontinent, as well as nomadic Bedouin culture. The result is a cuisine full of complex flavours with a combination of slow cooking techniques and a rich blend of spices. The food in Doha could easily be the highlight of your trip, so we’ve compiled a list of real Qatari dishes that locals love... and where to find them.
Saloona is a classic Arabic stew that's often cooked at home for family dinners. It's designed to be made with whatever you have on hand, but usually starts with beef, lamb or fish plus seasonal vegetables flavoured with garlic and ginger. It should be eaten with a generous helping of bread to soak up the broth.
Walima does a contemporary twist on this and other Qatari dishes at their gleaming, modern restaurant, which is decorated with light colours and Middle Eastern touches like coloured glass lamps. Their take on saloona is a rich and satisfying version, based on chicken and served with thin slices of lime.
Location: Mondrian Doha, West Bay Lagoon, Doha 24685, Qatar
Open: Daily from 6 pm to 12 am
Phone: +974 4045 5999
Stuffed vine leaves are common to most Middle Eastern cuisines, but the Qatari ones are especially tasty. Warak enab usually contains minced beef or lamb and rice, seasoned with garlic, pepper and coriander. It's best to enjoy this Qatari dish with slices of fresh lemon.
Located in the courtyard of La Cigale Hotel, Shisha Garden makes you feel like you've escaped the hubbub of downtown Doha. The verdant greenery and soft waterfalls create a lovely, peaceful atmosphere. It's a great place for casual snacking on finger food like warak enab and enjoying a cup of coffee or a shisha.
Location: La Cigale Hotel, 60 Suhaim Bin Hamad St, Doha, Qatar
Open: Daily from 7.30 am to 1 am with seasonal variations
Phone: +974 4428 8702
Vermicelli and omelette might sound like a strange marriage, but don't knock it till you've tried it. Balaleet is a popular pasta dish flavoured with sugar, saffron and rose water and topped with an omelette to create a unique sweet and savoury flavour. It's often served as a breakfast dish during Eid-al-Fitr celebrations.
Al Jasra is a bit of a secret gem, hidden in the back streets of Souq Waqif. The food is cooked fresh every day by the 4 Qatari women who run the restaurant, using the same recipes they follow at home. The traditional Qatari textiles everywhere give the place a snug, homey feel.
Location: Ali Bin Abdullah St, Souq Waqif, Doha, Qatar
Open: Daily from 8.30 am to 10 pm (Fridays from 8.30 am to 10.30 am and from 12.30 pm to 10 pm)
Phone: +974 5529 8871
Source: In Hotel