Qatar Food and Drink
Within Doha, there is a wide range of quality dining options, particularly among the five-star hotels. Souq Waqif is also an excellent choice for food - you can expect a variety of Middle Eastern-themed eateries here.
For most expats and visitors, the most important meal is brunch (particularly on Friday and Saturday) when hotels compete to layout the widest and most varied choice of food. Booking ahead at any of the five-star hotels is essential.
Despite most produce is imported from abroad, Qatari food is surprisingly varied with influences from the Indian Subcontinent, Iran, the Levant and North Africa. The main course is generally accompanied by a variety of side dishes. When it comes to dessert, locally grown dates, fresh fruit and halwa (flour-based or nut-based dessert) or Umm Ali (similar to a bread pudding) are excellent choices.
• Kousa Mahshi (stuffed zucchini)
• Machboos (said to be the national dish of Qatar, this slow-cooked mutton or seafood served with yogurt dish is delicious)
• Thareed (lamb stew made with pieces of bread, usually Raqaq or Khobez)
• Ghuzi (a whole roast lamb served over a bed or rice and nuts)
• Umm Ali (bread pudding with nuts and raisins)
• Mehalabiya (rose water and pistachio pudding)
Things to know
Alcohol is available in most top-end restaurants and hotel bars in Doha. Drinking alcohol in public outside these establishments is prohibited.
A service charge is often added to bills in hotels and most restaurants, otherwise 10% is appropriate.
Coffee is perhaps the most popular drink in Qatar. Coffee is served in small cups, sweetened with sugar or served with dates. Karak Chai, black tea infused with crushed cardamom and sweetened with evaporated milk, is also popular.
Most restaurants offer wonderful fresh juices. Limonana (a lemon and mint drink) and karkadeh (hibiscus tea) are very refreshing.