There’s something different in the air right now.

Allow me to introduce you to La Vista 55.

It’s a cliché, but Latino cool has come to Doha and brings the hip party vibe of Havana to life on the 55th floor of the Intercontinental Doha The City. No one who enters the calm lobby of the hotel for the first time will have any inkling of what lies in store on the 55th floor, where rhythms pulsate, hips rotate, and taste buds salivate. We are talking of Doha’s very own slice of Cuba.

A lively mix of South American and Caribbean cuisine and cocktails are set to Latin beats played out by the three-piece, all-lady band and, later, as tunes selected by the in-house resident DJ. The bar is dressed with what appears to be foliage and flags to conjure up the Cuban atmosphere.  Guests soak up the ambience while gazing across Doha’s impressive skyline, which is unbeatable at night.

The tapas-style menu, prepared by Chef Lourdes Machado, a native Venezuelan, is more of a grazing menu but lovingly put together and brings out all those authentic lime-based flavours in perfect little packages that will give your taste buds a good workout.  Try the Tacos Latinos, soft flour tortillas with juicy chicken or beef fillings and Salchi Papas, crispy baby potatoes with chicken sausage and melted cheddar cheese. Limes, not lemons, feature heavily in this type of cooking and I have to say that it makes a difference. The tapas are exceptional and will leave you craving more. Tangy but not bitter, meaty but not overly so. Then clean the palate with Halado De Coco Y Pina, a fabulous coconut and pineapple sorbet. Bueno.

Spread over two floors, the bar and dance floor being on 55 and the laid back, get-away-from-it-all cigar-room, which even has a no-smoking section, perched on the upper floor. And then there is that view again.

A few nuevo Latino moves are a great way to wind down and get the pulses racing at the same time. Loosen up those hips and shuffle on to the floor. The house band – from Cuba – belts out the Latino tunes, and everything in between, from bossa nova to Italian pop, and it’s not long before the first few brave ones are up there, strutting their stuff and shaking their hair in time to the rhythms from the music.

At this height, you deserve a window seat – if you run out of conversation you still have the view.

For those that just want to party there are deals on the refreshments, for the ladies on Wednesdays and the gents on Sundays, from 8 pm until the wee hours.

This is a hot ticket item that’s become a magnet for Qatar’s Latino community, so put it on speed-dial and tell them the man from Marhaba sent you.

Review by:

David Moore
International man of mystery, beachcomber extraordinaire, raconteur and bon vivant

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