Doha has a buzzing food scene, bringing together cuisines from all across the globe. All the top names such as Nobu, Gordon Ramsay, Alain Ducasse and Wolfgang Puck have eateries in some of Doha's most luxurious hotels, but there are also local restaurants that might not have a named chef, but instead give you a down to earth, local experience of food the Qataris love and eat on a daily basis. At these top Doha restaurants, you can eat rice with your fingers one day, and check with the sommelier about wine-pairing your duck à l’orange the next.
Best for Fine Dining: Hakkasan
Hakkasan in the St. Regis Hotel is a chic place offering modern Cantonese food in an elegant black and gold dining room, with comfortable seating and dimmed lights, overlooking the gardens. Eating here is a nearly spiritual experience, with the dishes presented like small pieces of art, looking as pretty and spectacular as they taste. Then there is the in-house cocktail mixologist, who can do magic with alcohol. They also do Friday brunch, which gives you a good opportunity to try all they have to offer for a set price.
Best Japanese Food: Nobu
Chef Nobu has a bit of a chain going, but still manages to serve superb Japanese food every time. This Nobu, part of the Four Seasons Hotel Doha, but in its own building perched between the marina and the sea, is the largest of them all. A great way to sample all the best signature dishes, such as the blackened cod, wagyu tacos, tuna tartare and the lobster with wasabi, is the Friday brunch which comes with a cocktail and sparkling wine option.
Best for European Cuisine: Market by Jean Georges
Market, at the W Hotel, serves up signature European food from a French chef who has three Michelin stars, in a setting that is comfortable and upmarket at the same time. Here you can sample some of the favorites of many a European country, such as: fresh burrata, crispy calamari, black truffle pizza and slow-cooked salmon. The food here is fresh, light and healthy, but also there are also some comfort food options such as beef cheeks, and grilled Halloumi salad.
Best for Elevated Comfort Food: Opal by Gordon Ramsay
Famous for his potty mouth, there is no doubt though that Gordon Ramsay can cook. Opal, in the St. Regis Hotel, specializes in comfort food in a relaxed setting. Think falafel salad, wagyu burgers, chicken cashew curry and pan roasted hamour all with a side of chunky fries. The diverse menu means you certainly can find something for everyone in the family. To add to the choices, the in-house sommelier can pair your food with wine from one of Doha’s largest wine cellars.
Best for French-Arabic Fusion: IDAM
Three-Michelin-starred chef Alain Ducasse has devised an elegant menu in a Philippe Starck-designed restaurant within the I.M. Pei designed Museum of Islamic Art. The food is French Mediterranean with an Arabian twist and the menu changes with the seasons. If you want to learn to make some of their dishes, they also offer Masterclasses for visitors.
Best Steakhouse: CUT by Wolfgang Puck
He is known for feeding the stars at the Oscar Ceremony, and his popular restaurant in the super trendy Mondrian Hotel has a huge selection of his best dishes. At lunch you can choose from pastas and pizzas, while at night they serve up various fish dishes according to the daily catches. The speciality though, as the name hints at, is steak, best served with fries and homemade bearnaise sauce.
Best for Good Food With a View: Three-Sixty
The main reason most people come to this restaurant, it has to be admitted, is its location. On the 47th floor of the iconic Aspire Tower, also called the Torch, the restaurant not only offers great views the city and the bay, but it also revolves, giving guest 360 degree views. The real surprise of the visit though will be the excellent service and superb food, served under large cloches and with great panache. The food is Mediterranean-inspired, with plenty of options for everyone, from pasta to fish, steak, salads, and, not to forget, warm chocolate cake for dessert.
Best Persian Food: Shebastan Palace
Away from the fancy hotels, this little gem has been Doha’s best Persian restaurant for years. Decorated in the Iranian style, full of arches, tiles and glittering chandeliers, the food is authentic and fresh. Warm flatbread with dips, chicken and lamb dishes, crispy rice rings and fresh juices to wash it all down. Note that the restaurant serves no alcohol.
Best Traditional Yemeni Fare: Bandar Aden
If you have never tried Yemeni food before, you are in for a treat. This simple restaurant is very affordable and is as traditional as they come: you can sit on the floor, eat with your fingers (use only your right hand), or sit at a table and use cutlery. Try the stews, the succulent chicken served with rice, the tandoor-oven cooked meats, the whole charred fish, and the buried meats, cooked in the ground. There is no alcohol served here.
Best Outdoor Dining: Mamig
Here you can sit outside in the evening, watch the world go by with the glittering skyline as a backdrop, while you are eating great Armenian and Lebanese food. Located in the Katara Cultural Village, this is the perfect place to end the day and indulge in great mezze, salads, succulent marinated meats. It is a sprawling place, so do ask to sit on the terrace outside, for best views. There's is no alcohol served here.
Best Breakfast and Lunch: Jones the Grocer
This Australian concept restaurant, part of a chain, might not deliver your local Arabian-inspired cuisine, but should you be traveling with kids, or you just want a light, healthy lunch, followed by a decent coffee for a reasonable price without sitting down at a dressed table, this is the place for you. Favorites range from Eggs Benedict to Cesar Salad, an array of sandwiches made with seriously good bread, soups and burgers. There is an entire section for vegetarians, and the desserts are to die for. There is no alcohol served here.
Best for Sweet Treats: Al Aker Sweets
The most famous exports of Arabian food is probably the sweets: usually sticky, full of honey, some with rose essence, others with dates and nuts. Utterly sinful and addictive. If you have a sweet tooth, then this is the place for you: stop off in Souq Waqif for an indulgent afternoon break and sit down with a tea and some sweet baked goods. Alcohol is not served here.