Foodie’s Guide to Qatar – Everything You Need to Know about Fine Dining in the Middle East
Last Updated on by Denise Castellvi
Going to Qatar and missing out on the culinary experience is a huge mistake. This Middle Eastern country is well-known for high-quality restaurants and hospitality that feel out of this world.
Finding great restaurants in Qatar isn’t a time-consuming task; in fact, it’s much easier than you think. You can experience everything in Doha, Qatar – from international cuisine to traditional Qatari dishes.
So, let’s begin with the foodie’s guide to Qatar – and enrich your holiday time with delightful meals!
Best Dishes to Try in Qatar
Qatar, located on the Persian peninsula, has a lot of traditional Arabic dishes to try. Most of the time, those dishes have a Qatari spice – and the dishes we will discuss below certainly shouldn’t be slept on.
Here are the best, must-try dishes you can try in Doha, Qatar:
Saloona is a traditional food served in Qatar. The best thing about Saloona is that it can be made with anything you have in the fridge, and it’s served in virtually every traditional cuisine restaurant in Doha.
This dish is extremely popular in the Middle East, and it’s typically served at family gatherings. This dish has a strong aroma of garlic and ginger, and it’s made out of beef or lamb, sometimes even fish.
Along with the spices and meat, Saloona can contain other ingredients such as carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, and even aubergine. In Doha, you can expect Saloona to be served with broth or a pot of stew, which is one of the best techniques for eating Saloona.
Where can you find a great saloona?
If you are wondering if one of the most popular restaurants in the capital is serving Saloona, they probably are. If you aren’t sure where to start the search, we advise you to check out areas such as Souq Waqif and Pearl Qatar because you can expect the food to have an authentic Qatari taste rather than catering the taste to international guests.
Madrouba, a rice porridge, is a traditional food in Qatar. It is one of the tastiest dishes in Qatar, as it offers an unexpected mix of spices that surprisingly go so well together.
Madrouba is rice cooked with milk, butter, cardamom, and chicken, which takes hours to prepare. The meal is simmered until it becomes completely mushy. The interesting thing about Madrouba is that it is served with a topping, and every restaurant in Doha, Qatar, will have a different topping.
If you are particularly picky about these things, we advise you to read about Madrouba before ordering it, or you might be in for a surprise. This meal has an incredible taste, and it’s typically eaten during the day, but you can order it at any time.
Where should you order madrouba?
If you want to try this dish, Qatar is the best way to do so, and we advise you to check out the courtyards in the Souq Al Wakrah. Cafe Elsir also offers a great Madrouba, and the taste will blow your mind!
3. Kousa Mahshi
Kousa Mahshi is a typical Arabian peninsula meal with a million variations. Typically, Kousa Mahshi is made with minced meat – typically lamb, along with a selection of the most popular vegetables, parsley, and mint.
On another note, this meal is a great choice if you want to try traditional Qatari cuisine but are a vegetarian. Kousa Mahshi can be served with chickpeas instead of minced meat, so you don’t have to skip on this incredible meal because of your dietary restrictions.
Where to order kousa mahshi in Qatar?
We advise you to visit Salwa RD in Qatar, or the Al Shami Home Restaurant, as these restaurants offer an unforgettable dining experience.
Machboos is one of the traditional Qatari dishes, and the native people deeply appreciate this meal. In essence, Machboos is a spicy rice meal that consists of marinated meat. The meat choice varies from beef, lamb, chicken, camel, and sometimes fish.
Considering that Machboos is a traditional meal in Qatar, you can find it in virtually every restaurant in Qatar. The meal is slowly cooked, taking hours to prepare, and because of the hours-long process, it offers an intricate blend of flavors.
Where can you try authentic machboos?
The interesting thing about Machboos is that every restaurant in Qatar offers a fusion of tastes, so you can taste something entirely different, despite ordering the same meal. However, if you wish to taste something authentic, we advise you to check out the restaurants in Souq Waqif in Doha.
Even if you are a picky eater and only like certain flavors, we advise you not to sleep on the fine dining in Qatar because of it. The incredible heritage took Qatari cuisine to the next level.
Locals are extremely hospitable and open-hearted to help you have the best time in Qatar. Baleelat is a favorite breakfast food in Qatar, and many tourists worldwide love it.
Sometimes, Baleelat can be served as a dessert, hot or cold. It looks a bit unusual once the waiter brings it to the table, but it all comes together once you bite into it. Baleelat has exceptional taste, and you have never tried anything like it.
Where to try one of the most popular dishes, Baleelat?
This Qatari dish is served in most restaurants in Doha, and once you try it, you will have to return for more. No matter how it’s served, it is one of the best Qatari dishes!
6. Warak Enab
If you don’t like eating a full meal and want a snack instead, you should try Warak Enab. Warak Enab is a light, snack-like dish with lots of different ingredients.
Like many Qatari dishes we have discussed, if you want to try an authentic Warak Enab, you should go to the Souq Waqif area. This area is a touristic heaven, as it has a wide array of international and authentic Qatari restaurants, allowing you to try local meals the way they are meant to taste.
Warak Enab is made of grape leaves stuffed with rice, tomatoes, salt and pepper, lemon juice, and various herbs. Also, the dish can be eaten with minced meat – lamb or beef instead of rice.
Where can you try warak enab?
The best part about Warak Enab is that you can make changes to the meal – and it’s available in most Qatari restaurants, so make sure to try at least one!
7. Umm Ali
Once you try food in Qatar, we advise you to try some of the most popular desserts – Umm Ali. Umm Ali is perhaps the best Qatari dish, despite being mainly linked to Egypt. The Middle East has its special way of making the dish, which is why Umm Ali tastes different in the country of Qatar.
This dish is a bread pudding – made from butter, milk, flour, and sugar – stuffed with raisins and minced nuts. The mixture is then baked until it’s creamy soft on the inside, and extra crunchy on the outside. It is one of the best and sweetest desserts in this Middle Eastern country.
Where & how to eat umm ali?
Being one of the popular desserts, you need to try it, especially in a combination of it with Karaki, sweet tea. Umm Ali is an authentic meal, usually served in every restaurant, so you should try it sometime.
If you are a huge fan of desserts and sweet dishes, you will certainly have the time of your life in the country of Qatar. Kunafa is a must-try meal for sweets-lovers, as it’s one of the most popular foods for tourists in Qatar.
Kunafa is a traditional dessert in the Middle East, with every country having a dish variation. Mouth-watering and extremely sweet, the dish makes the tourists crave more, so much that they pack some to take home. Made of butter, milk, flour, sugar, saffron, and cardamom, Kunafa is filled with nuts, cream cheese, and even Nutella.
The flavors vary a lot, and it’s one of the best Qatari dishes, which is why it’s traditionally served at the breaking of the fast at dusk during the Holy Month of Ramadan. Kunafa is often served with cheese in Qatar, so you can expect the dish to feel crispy on the outside and creamy and soft on the inside.
Where to eat kunafa?
If you wish to try some of the best sweets in the country, we advise you to go to Souq Waqif, where are some of the best restaurants located. Al Aker Sweets is a sweet shop and one of the most popular choices, and you can even try a dish that tourists love – Nutella Kunafa!
Top Street Foods to Try in Qatar
Street food culture is an important part of the country’s tradition, and Qatar is no different. Street Qatari dishes are an entirely different story compared to the country you are coming from, which is why we listed some of the must-try dishes!
Every fan of the Middle Eastern cuisine or a tourist has heard of Shawarma, one of the traditional Qatari dishes. Shawarma is a dish that can be eaten anywhere in the world, and it can be eaten anywhere in Doha.
Made of beef or chicken strips grilled on a skewer, the edges are sliced and placed in a piece of special bread. Typically, Shawarma is served with pickles, French fries, and sauce. Each restaurant or street food place has its way of preparing Shawarma.
The special type of bread varies, and some street food places even have multiple options for you to choose from – from flat pita bread to khubbus. It is affordable, so if you try to stick to a certain budget, it’s a great meal!
Falafel is a must-try dish in every Middle Eastern country, mainly because it is a dish that has an endless variety of spices and ingredients. Despite being a vegan snack, it is popular among everyone, and it’s made from ground chickpeas or fava beans, with added parsley, tahini, and coriander to give Falafel that authentic taste.
If you want to know the best time to eat Falafel – it’s anytime. It can be a snack, breakfast, or a late-night snack, as it can be easily enjoyed at any point of the day.
Despite not being a traditional Qatari dish, it is extremely popular in the country. Crunchy on the outside, Falafel can be deep-fried and baked, and many of the best hotels in the country serve it as breakfast food.
Many of us are familiar with Indian samosas, but now it’s time to try the Samboosa in Qatar. Essentially, Samboosa consists of deep-fried dumplings with a thin crust.
Commonly served as street food in the finest street food outlets, it is filled with spinach, cheese, or minced meat. Samboosa can be served with chutneys to give the dish a different flavor.
Without a doubt, Samboosa is something you must try while in Doha, Qatar!
Now that you know what traditional food to try in Qatar, it’s time to tour the Souq Waqif area and explore the endless conventional food restaurants. Each dish can be eaten in a thousand different ways; for some, you can choose them according to your preference.
Qatari dishes are savory, and specific to the country. We have listed the must-try dishes you shouldn’t skip and a section on the best street foods. Qatari dishes are some of the tastiest in the world, and we advise you to use your time in Qatar!
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