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Posted On: 13 October 2019 09:00 am
Updated On: 9 December 2019 09:32 am

Must try food in Qatar on a 24 hour layover

Sumaica Asad
Sumaica Asad
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Qatar, the land of sand, marvellous architecture, a favourite of the expat community and home to world-renown museums, is a treasure for foodies. So if you have a layover in Doha, get ready to experience all the amazing food that the city offers.

Like Oscar Wilde said, "After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relations." So keep reading if you want to eat some of the best dinners of your life.

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: HIA is 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 your reusable cards with Travel Credit, which can be purchased at ticket vending machines in all Doha Metro stations. Please note that only certain parts of the metro line are open; connection to HIA is currently closed.

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. Shay Al Shoomos at Souq Waqif

Start your day in this beautiful country by having breakfast at Shay al Shoomos; a tiny restaurant, tucked in an alley of Souq Waqif. Souq Waqif is Doha's traditional souq, built on the original design and structure after it burnt down in 2003. The restaurant serves a variety of dishes such as Baid o Tomate (eggs and tomato), Baid Shakshoka (scrambled eggs), Khobiz Regag (crepe-like bread), and Balaleet (saffron-infused vermicelli). Shams al Qassabi, a Qatari lady runs it herself giving you a taste of authentic Qatari cuisine. She opened the restaurant in 2014 and you can often catch her cooking and serving the customers at the restaurant.

Details

Location: Abdullah bin Jassim St, Souq Waqif
Distance from Hamad International Airport:
14 km, 20 min
Average taxi fare: QR 30/USD 8.2
Time: 8 am-1 pm, 6-11pm, Sat-Fri
Phone: +974 5551 5561
Restaurant Cost:
QR 60/USD 16.4 for two people approx
Recommendation:
Meat Rogag, Eggs and Tomatoes

2. Dates and Saffron Shopping

After breakfast, it's time to explore Souq Waqif and do some shopping. Souq Waqif is made up of tiny alleys that twist and turn, connecting shops, restaurants, art gallery and hotels. These alleys are lined with vendors selling various merchandise. Just make sure your luggage has some space to take these things back. Some of the things you can buy in the Souq are dates, saffron, zaatar (herb mix commonly used in Arabic cuisine), ready-made Thobes (traditional clothes that Qatari men wear), fridge magnets and other souvenirs.

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

3. 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. They are found in an open courtyard in front of Jasmine Thai Restaurant. I would recommend that you try a little bit of everything that they offer. However, if you find yourself too full, then at least try Luqaimat (a dumpling snack dipped in Date syrup).

Details

Location: Open area near Jasmine Thai Restaurant
Time: 7:30am-12:30pm, 3:30-10pm Sat-Thu, 4-10pm Fri
Cost:
varies, starts from QR 5
Recommendation:
Luqaimat (dumplings dipped in Sugar syrup), Harees

More recommendations in Souq Waqif:

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

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

4. Al Mandarin Juice at Al Nasr

In between all the eating, you need something light and refreshing. If you are visiting between May and September, the weather is boiling hot in Doha. And nothing beats the heat than cold, freshly pressed juices. Al Mandarin serves all sorts of juices from fresh fruit juices, smoothies to health shots. This is also an excellent stop for all the health fanatics who are always looking for healthier options.

Details

Location: Opposite Ramez, Salwa Road
Distance:
6km, 12min
Average taxi fare: QR 15/USD 3
Timing: 24 hrs
Cost:
QR 50/USD 14 for two people, approx

5. Shawarma at Jabal Lebnan, Al Nasr Street

Shawarma is one of the most loved foods in Doha. It’s everyone’s go to when you cannot think of anything else to eat. Shawarma is said to be originated in Turkey when chefs figured that rotating meat on a rod and letting its fat drip down, getting soaked in the meat makes it juicier and more tender. A thin flatbread is filled with this meat, topped with Tahini sauce, Pickles and French Fries. And Al Nasr street is lined with a bunch of Shawarma places that offer this food with their spin on it. You can do Shawarma hopping and eat from different shops. Or stick to one. Regardless, Jabal Lebnan is a must-try. For more information regarding the best shawarmas in Qatar, read this article.

Details

Location: Mirqab al Jadeed St, Al Nasr
Distance:
2km, 10min
Average taxi fare:
QR 8/USD 2.4
Time:
7 am-2:30 am, Sat-Fri
Tel:
+974 66475530
Restaurant cost:
QR 40/USD 11 for two people, approx
Recommendation:
Chicken Saroukh

Hot tip: Ask them to add all the sauces, Mayo, Tahini, etc in the shawarma, brush their signature red sauce on the Shawarma and then toast it on the grill.

More restaurant recommendations at Al Nasr:

Mashawi al Arabi
Location: Mirqab al Jadeed St, Al Nasr
Timing: 9-4am, Sat-Fri
Cuisine: Turkish
Recommendation: Chicken Shawarma, Cheese and Zaatar Fatayer
Cost: QR 40/USD 11 for two people, approx

Yee Hwa
Location: Al Kinana St, Al Nasr
Timing: 12-10:30pm, Sat-Fri
Cuisine: Korean, Japanese
Recommendation: Dumpling, California Roll
Cost: QR 160/USD 44 for two people, approx

Afghan Brothers Restaurant

Location: Mirqab al Jadeed St, Al Nasr
Timing: 11-1am, Sat-Fri
Cuisine: Khaleeji
Recommendation: Mutton Mandi, Chicken Roz Bukhari
Cost: QR 100/USD 27 for two people, approx

6. Visit the local supermarket (Al Meera)

What kind of a foodie would you be if you didn’t walk around the local supermarket at your travel destination? It’s one of my favourite ways to discover the country. You get to eat all the weird, crazy amazing food and discover a new favourite snack in the process. Our top recommendations are Camel Milk, Qatar Pafki, Bon Bon Ice cream, and Mamoul biscuit. There is a separate section for products made in Qatar. So be sure to stop by that and take a look.

Details

Location: Markhiya
Distance:
10 km, 20 min from Al Nasr Street
Average taxi fare: QR 16/USD 4.4
Time:
24 hrs Sun-Fri, 7-12 am Sat
Tel: +974 4469 9649
Cost:
QR 20/USD 4.4

7. Umm Ali at Sheraton Grand

Umm Ali, Egyptian bread pudding is one of the most loved desserts in Doha. It has a dark twisted history. According to folklore, Shajarat al Durr (a prominent figure in Egypt's history) killed her husband. His other wife Umm Ali, in turn, had Shajarat ul Durr murdered and then ordered her cooks to create a new, delicious dessert in celebration of her death. You can read the rest of the story here.

To try this much-hyped up dessert and decide for yourself, Sheraton is the place to go. Sheraton is also one of the oldest hotels in Doha. You can walk around it, seeing the beautiful architecture or take a walk along its private beach.

Details

Location: Al Corniche St, Sheraton Grand
Distance:
5 km, 10 min from Al Meera
Average taxi fare: QR 9/USD 2.5
Time:
8-12 am, Sat-Fri
Tel:
+974 4424 7365
Restaurant Cost:
QR 50/USD 14 for two people approx

8. Yasmine Palace at Pearl Qatar

A trip to Qatar wouldn’t be complete without taking a glance at the luxury that this city has to offer. After a tiring day roaming around the city, we all like to take a deep breath, freshen up and eat at a nice restaurant. Yasmine Palace is the perfect place to unwind. The hotel looks straight out of the set of Aladdin with gorgeous furnishings in Blue and Teal with hints of Gold. They have a variety of table settings, inside the hotel, facing the ocean and on the balcony, facing the road.

Details

Location: Porto Arabia Drive, Pearl Qatar
Distance:
11 km, 18 min from Sheraton Grand Doha
Average taxi fare: QR 12/USD 3.3
Time:
6 am-11:30 pm Sat-Wed, 6-12:30 am Thu-Fri
Tel:
+974 4411 1503
Restaurant Cost:
QR 300/USD 83 for two people approx
Recommendation:
Chicken Kibbeh, Mansaf, Chicken Machboos

More restaurant recommendations at Pearl:

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

Dipndip
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: 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

1990 Nineteen Ninety
Location: Porto Arabia, Pearl Qatar
Timing: 1-11:30 pm, Sat-Fri
Cuisine: Contemporary
Recommendation: Chicken Taco Trio, Miss Universe
Cost: QR 200/USD 55 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.