Qatar is home to a wide variety of cuisines – Chinese, Thai, Lebanese, Turkish, Italian, French, American – you name it. But you can’t leave Qatar without trying the Qatari cuisine at traditional and modern local restaurants across the country.
Qatari cuisine shares many traditional dishes with the Middle East and North African (MENA), and especially the Gulf. Their food consists of meat, grain, and dairy as well as vegetables with many stew-like and rice dishes often cooked in a single pot. Traditional dishes include harees, mathrooba, margooga and machbous as well as sweet dishes such as balaleet, luqaimat and esh asaraya. Other popular Qatari dishes include mandi, mansaf, kabsa and biryani. However, these dishes are not originally Qatari, but are variations of common Middle Eastern dishes. In addition, coffee and tea are important to the daily lives of Qataris. Similar to the well-known Arabic coffee, Gahwa helw, also known as ‘sweet coffee’, Qatari coffee is a bright orange mixture with cardamom, saffron, and sugar. It can also be served with milk.
If you want to try the best of the Qatari cuisine, there are plenty of choices. You’ll be spoiled for choice at Souq Waqif and Souq Al Wakra. Local restaurants and cafes to look out for are below
Al Jasra Traditional Food
A group of five Qatari women run the traditionally decorated restaurant serving home cooked meals prepared with fresh local ingredients.
Souq Waqif Doha, 5529 8871
Fouj Café is a Qatari restaurant that serves international dishes with a Qatari twist. The restaurant and coffee shop serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, with Qatari dishes the main feature in addition to international dishes.
Souq Al Wakra, 4431 9552
Mugalat Harees Al-Waldah
Salwa Road, 4444 0059
Karak Mqanees is a popular karak tea restaurant. It offers traditional food prepared according to age old recipes by Qatari women. Visit Karak Mqanees for a delicious Qatari breakfast and dishes such as balaleet, biryani and omelets; popular Qatari deserts such as luqaimat, saffron cakes; and authentic karak.
3394 9898, 4444 0439
Nassayem Qatar, Diplomatic Club
The Diplomatic Club’s signature Qatari restaurant, Nassayem Qatar, was created to respect and highlight the indigenous cuisine of Qatar. Local enthusiasts will savour traditional food infused with contemporary presentation and a thoroughly modern style of cooking. Lunch and dinner, served with an accompaniment of beverages, are reflective of the agricultural produce of Qatar.
The Diplomatic Club, 4484 7444