Sign in Register
Posted On: 12 October 2019 09:00 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 10:18 am

Must try food in Qatar on a 12 hour layover

Sumaica Asad
Sumaica Asad
Discuss here!
Start a discussion

If you are transiting through Qatar and roaming the country isn't on your agenda, this guide will change your mind. Good food is one of life's biggest blessings. And Doha offers a lot of that. So keep reading to see what you can eat in this city.

When the Ottomans left in 1915, Qatar became a British protectorate, gaining independence on 3 September 1971.

In 1995, H.H. Hamad bin Khalifa took over and the country progressed rapidly under his guidance, going on to host international events, opening Ivy League universities, winning 2022 FIFA World Cup hosting rights and attracting thousands of expats to the country. In 2013, H.H. Hamad bin Khalifa stepped down, giving reign to his son, the current Amir, H.H. Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

Disclaimer: This layover plan is based on an arrival time of 9 am (Qatar standard time). If your arrival time is different, you may consider rearranging the order of the places to visit depending on the opening hours of each location.

Transportation in Qatar

Hamad International Airport (HIA) offers you a wide variety of transport options, including car rental, limousine, taxi, bus and metro services.

Hiring a taxi: All airport taxis are operated by Mowasalat; a Qatari state-owned company. You can board a taxi at the Taxi Pavilion located at the left end of the Arrivals hall. All taxis are metered and the minimum flag down fare at the airport starts at QR 25 (USD 7) and QR 1.20 per kilometre between 5 am to 9 pm and QR 1.80 per KM between 9 pm to 5: am.

Bus service: Doha’s bus network connects HIA to various destinations across the city, offering a convenient transport option. You can buy or top-up the Smartcard at ticket vending machines located at Arrivals, Ground Floor, Bus Pavilion at HIA. The machine only accepts Cash – Qatari Riyal (QR) 1, 5, 10, 50, and 100 currency notes. Since it does not have a refund feature, you are advised to pay using the exact amount. There are three types of Karwa Smartcards to choose from:

- Classic Card: QR 30 (USD 8): rechargeable card for long term / future journeys.
- Limited Card: QR 10 Card (USD 3): two inner-city trips within a 24 hour period
- Unlimited Card: QR 20 Card (USD 5): unlimited trips across Qatar within a 24 hour period

Doha Metro: The Doha Metro is fully functional with all stations now open with HIA being accessible to Qatar residents and visitors through Doha Metro’s Red Line. A single journey costs QR 2 for Standard cardholders (including Family Class), while a day pass costs QR 6. A single journey costs QR 10 for Gold Club members, while a day pass costs QR 30. You can top up you reusable cards with Travel Credit, which can be purchased at ticket vending machines in all Doha Metro stations. There is also a free MetroLink service to different locations from all Doha Metro stations.

Please ensure you are carrying enough Qatari Riyals to pay for your trip as taxis and buses only accept cash payments in local currency. ATMs are located in proximity to the taxi pavilion for your convenience.

With more than 94 different nationalities living in Doha, you are bound to benefit from this multicultural society. And the food options that come along with it. So if you are a foodie and truly want to experience the delicacies that this city has to offer, keep reading.

1. Karak at Chapati and Karak

At Chapati & Karak, you can gobble down hot Chapatis (equivalent to Desi parathas) while you sip Karak (frothy, strong, milk-based tea). After you are done eating, get lost in the alleys of Katara. Katara is the cultural hub of Doha, housing restaurants, public art installations, Art Galleries, an amphitheater, etc and hosts events all year round. These alleys truly depict what Qatar used to look like in the 70s. Take pictures, walk along the Katara waterfront. You can also visit the Katara art gallery if you are interested. Katara is home to art installations along the waterway, as well as a gorgeous mosque that you can explore.


Location: Al Moasses St, Katara
Distance from Hamad International Airport:
24 km, 30 min
Average taxi fare:
24 hrs Sat-Thu, 12 pm-12 am Fri
+974 4408 1408
Restaurant cost:
QR 40/USD 11 for two people approx
Recommendation: Chapati with Nutella, Karak

More recommendations in Katara

Sukar Pasha

Location: Building 31 S, Katara
Timing: 8-1am, Sat-Fri
Cuisine: Turkish
Recommendation: Tahinli Corek, Mixed Pide
Cost: QR 200/USD 55 for two people approx

Khan Farouk

Location: Near Amphitheatre, Katara
Timing: 9-12am, Sat-Fri
Cuisine: Egyptian
Recommendation: Koushari, Daoud Basha
Cost: QR 100/USD 27.4 pp approx

2. Lamb Chops and Fattoush at Baladna Restaurant

Pearl is our beautiful man-made island that houses so many different restaurants. And Baladna is one of them. It is a restaurant operated by Qatar’s leading dairy production company of the same name. They serve fresh from the farm to the table concept food with authentic dishes like Fattoush, Hummus, etc. They use fresh produce from their farms in their food and all the bread is baked on-site. The restaurant also has a shop section where people can buy Baladna products like Milk, Yoghurt, Cheese etc.


Location: Porto Arabia, Pearl Qatar
6 km, 11 min
Average taxi fare: QR 11/USD 3
8 am-12:30 am, Sat-Fri
+974 5000 8872
Restaurant cost:
QR 200/USD 55 for two people approx
Hummus with Zaatar Bread, Shawarma, Lamb Chops, Date Basbousa

3. Kunafa at Al Aker Sweets

And then we have the mother of all things, Al Aker. Kunafah is the stuff of your dreams. If there is one Arabic dessert that can beat the much-loved Cheesecake, it’s this baby right here. Thin, crispy noodles like pastry stuffed with cheese, infused with Rosewater sugar syrup. Al Aker opened in 2013 by a Palestinian called Bassem Al Aker who wanted to serve simple, authentic Arab sweets at a budget price. Since then it has expanded to over 8 branches in Doha, becoming a staple dessert name in every household.


Location: Medina Centrale, Pearl Qatar
150m, 5 min walk
9-12am, Sat-Fri
Tel: +974 7092 7288
Restaurant Cost:
QR 15/USD 4 for two people, approx

More recommendations in Pearl


Location: Qanat Quartier, Pearl Qatar
Timing: 8am-11pm, Sat-Fri
Cuisine: Cafe
Recommendation: Honeycomb Latte, Mango ice cream, Lotus Cheesecake Donut
Cost: QR 100/USD 27 for two people approx

Evergreen Organics

Location: Mercato-Palazzo, Qanat Quartier
Timing: 7am-10pm, Sat-Fri
Cuisine: Healthy, Vegan
Recommendation: King Kale Salad, Sunrise Bowl
Cost: QR 200/USD 55 for two people approx


Location: Medina Centrale, Pearl Qatar
Timing: 9-12am, Sat-Wed, 9-1am, Thu, 1pm-1am, Fri.
Cuisine: Cafe, Desserts
Recommendation: Brownies Crepe
Cost: QR 100/USD 27 for two people approx

Basta 23

Location: Thiry One Porto Arabia, Pearl Qatar
Timing: 7am-11:30 pm, Sat-Fri
Cuisine: Khaleeji
Recommendation: Mathrouba, Date Cake
Cost: QR 150/USD 41 for two people approx

Hasan Kolcouglo

Location: Medina Centrale, Pearl Qatar
Timing: 10am-11:30 pm, Sat-Fri
Cuisine: Turkish
Recommendation: Adana Kebab, Turkish tea
Cost: QR 200/USD 55 for two people approx

4. Harees at Al Jasra Traditional Food

This restaurant is a Qatari made heaven for all foodies. It is located in Souq Waqif. After the Souq was destroyed in a fire in 2003, it was rebuilt keeping the same structure in mind. So it is a new old market. It is home to authentic Qatari food as well as to food from all over the world. So you can enjoy a little bit of everything. Al Jasra serves one of the most traditional dishes that can be found on every Qatari's dinner table i.e. Harees. It is a porridge/stew made with Wheat and Chicken, cooked on slow heat for hours, making sure the ingredients enrich the dish.


Location: Ali bin Abdullah St, Souq Waqif
16 km, 24 min (from Pearl, Qatar)
Average taxi fare: QR 25
8:30 am-10 pm, Sat-Thu, 8:30-10:30 am, 12:30 am-10 pm Fri
+974 5529 8871
Restaurant cost:
QR 80/USD 22 for two people, approx
Harees (a stew made with Chicken and Wheat), Machboos

4. Dates and Spice shopping

After you are done eating all that yummy food and want to take a break before sampling the next thing on this guide, get lost in the alleys of Souq Waqif. Some of the things you can buy in the souq are Dates, Saffron, Zaatar (herb mix commonly used in Arab cuisine), ready-made Thobes (traditional clothes that Qatari men wear), fridge magnets and other souvenirs. The alleys are filled with shops selling all these things, with vendors trying to attract customers by displaying some of the goods outside. You can haggle with the shop keepers and bring the price down if you like.

If you want to find out what you should buy as souvenirs from Qatar, click here.

5. Homemade food in Souq Waqif

When visiting Souq Waqif, you cannot miss the local women cooking and selling delicious authentic Arab dishes like Machboos, Mathroba, Harees, Luqaimat, and Koushari. They also make Rogag (a type of crepe stuffed with Cheese, Oman Chips or Nutella) right in front of you. This is one of the best places in Doha to experience home-cooked Qatari food because these women have been coming here for years. And you can get small quantities of the food to try it instead of ordering the whole dish at a restaurant.


Location: Open area, near Jasmine Thai Restaurant
Time: 7:30am-12:30pm, 3:30-10pm Sat-Thu, 4-10pm Fri
varies, starts from QR 5
Luqaimat, Harees

More recommendations in Souq Waqif

Tea Time

Location: Souq Waqif
Timing: 24 hrs
Cuisine: Cafe
Recommendation: Karak, Club Sandwich
Cost: QR 2/USD 0.45

Shay al Shamoos

Location: Abdullah bin Jassim St, Souq Waqif
Timing: 8am-1pm, 6-10pm, Sat-Fri
Cuisine: Khaleeji, Qatari
Recommendation: Meat Rogag, Chicken and Cheese flatbread
Cost: QR 50/USD 13.6 for two people, approx

Bandar Aden

Location: Abdullah bin Jassim St, Souq Waqif
Timing: 6am-11pm, Sat-Fri
Cuisine: Khaleeji
Recommendation: Hamour Fish, Chicken Mandi
Cost: QR 100/USD 27 for two people, approx

Al Shujaa Restaurant

Location: Near Bird Souq, Souq Waqif
Timing: 4pm-12am, Sat-Fri
Cuisine: Afghani
Recommendation: Shish Tawooq, Hummus
Cost: QR 30/USD 9 for two people, approx

I hope that you have a wonderful time in Qatar. If you find this article informative, don't forget to comment and share it. You can also tag us in your photos on Instagram @ilqlive or tweet at @ilqlive.