three great places - Doha

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Doha’s lively foodie scene has never been better. Visitors will be surprised by the array of cuisines on offer, from the Arab world to Southeast Asia, Europe, and everything in-between. Doha is not a town for walking, but these Three Great Places showcase the ‘new’ Doha and are worth the taxi fare.

 

Saffron Lounge

Katara is Qatar’s newest attraction – melding the cultural aspirations of the country (exhibition spaces, an opera house, and amphitheatre) with dining outlets, a mini-corniche, and family atmosphere. A strange place, perhaps, to find a Michelin-starred chef’s restaurant, but Saffron Lounge has built a solid reputation in a city where Indian food is plentiful. The brainchild of Vineet Bhatia, within its interiors bedecked with rich earthy tones, Saffron Lounge pays homage to classical Indian food while embracing the ‘new’. The menu includes starters such as seekh kebab jehan kiri(minced lamb rolls with garam masala) and tandoori vegetables. Mains traverse equally interesting territory and include a grill platter of chicken, fish, and lamb served on a volcanic hot stone, so diners can choose how ‘well done’ they like it, as well as Bindi Rajastani, a take on traditional fried okra.



Isaan

Located on West Bay Lagoon, Isaan at the Grand Hyatt Doha has elevated Thai cuisine beyond pad thaiand tom yum. The Isaan style has strong influences from Laos, as well as Cambodian and Vietnamese elements. It is saltier, more sour, and hotter. Doha’s version of Isaan has family-style, smaller, tapas-type portions served with sticky rice. Favourites include steamed sea bass, a fiery green papaya salad, and red curry grouper. Other dishes include shrimp cakes, chicken in pandan leaves, and steamed mussels. The restaurant has a wrap-around terrace with views across The Pearl-Qatar, and to the city itself. The dining space is a fusion of East Meets Arabia – open kitchens provide drama while artefacts sourced from Thai markets provide a stylish edge. All the restaurant’s personnel hail from Thailand and are knowledgeable and passionate about the cuisine.



Al Mourjan – Souq Waqif

The newest outpost of the iconic restaurant is in the pedestrian-friendly Souq Waqif. Like its mother restaurant on The Corniche, Al Mourjan features a menu of Lebanese and Arabic classics, heavy on the mezze for sharing. The restaurant serves up dozens of offerings including hommous, fattoush, and – for the more adventurous – Armenian sausages from the mixed grill. Besides the food, the other real drawcard here is the outdoor seating – the best place for people-watching in Doha. Each evening, especially in the cooler months, the souq comes alive with people from all walks of life – Qataris, expats, tourists, and families. Al Mourjan has an extensive shisha(water pipe) menu including favourite apple and grape flavours. One of the most beautifully appointed restaurants in Doha, it fuses Arabic tradition with European style.

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