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Posted On: 14 October 2019 09:00 am
Updated On: 9 December 2019 09:32 am

Must try food in Qatar on a 48 hour layover

Sumaica Asad
Sumaica Asad
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Food makes everything in life better. And Qatar happens to have some of the most amazing restaurants, cafes, and other food options in the region. So if you are transiting through Doha, make sure to follow this guide and try some of the items.

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.

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 kilometer between 5:00 AM to 9:00 PM and QR 1.80 per KM between 9:00 PM to 5:00 AM.

Bus service: Doha’s bus network connects Hamad International Airport 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 Hamad International Airport. 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 QR2 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; the 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.

DAY 1

1. Karaki at Porto Arabia, Pearl

Coming to Doha and not sampling a cup of Karak is like leaving out on the essence of this city. Doha runs on Karak, with people drinking it at all times. From beach outings to dinner parties, life revolves around Karak. So you have got to start your trip right by drinking copious amounts of this delicious drink. It is a frothy, milk-based tea infused with Cardamom. Karaki is located in the centre of Medina Centrale with quirky decor and outdoor seating. Karaki is a must-visit because they serve Luqaimat (dumplings dipped in sugar syrup) with different flavours such as Kinder, Galaxy etc.

Details

Location: Medina Centrale, Pearl Qatar
Distance from Hamad International Airport:
28 km, 32 min
Average taxi cost: QR 30/USD 8.2
Time:
7 am-11 pm Sat-Wed, 7-1 am, Thu-Fri
Tel:
+974 3394 9898
Restaurant cost:
QR 60/USD 16.4 for two people, approx
Recommendations: Kinder Luqaimat, Karak

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

2. Mixed Grill from Turkey Central Restaurant

You know the first recommendation everyone gives when asked for a restaurant, this delicious place. Doha is home to many Turkish restaurants but no one can beat this one. Juicy, succulent, melt in your mouths BBQ platters served with their signature bread that is brushed with a special Red sauce. Don't ask the ingredients because nobody knows. Before the restaurant expanded to meet the never-ending demand, people would willingly wait for over two hours just to taste their Grilled Chicken and Chicken Wings.

Details

Location: Mirqab al Jadeed St, Al Nasr
Distance from Karaki:
17 km, 25 min
Average taxi fare: QR 20/USD
Time:
11-1 am, Sat-Fri
Tel:
+974 4442 3423
Restaurant cost:
QR 30 pp/USD
Recommendation:
Mixed grill, Shawarma, Hummus, Chilli Salad

More restaurant recommendations at Al Nasr:

Mashawi al Arabi

Location: Mirqab al Jadeed St, Al Nasr
Timing: 9-4 am, 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: 12-10:30 pm, Sat-Fri
Cuisine: Korean, Japanese
Recommendation: Dumpling, California Roll
Cost: QR 160/USD 44 for two people, approx

Afghan Brothers Restaurant

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

3. Date and Saffron Shopping

Souq Waqif is also home to some amazing shopping options. You can buy spices, be sure to try Zaatar and Sumac; two spices that are commonly used in Arabian cooking. You can also buy dates. There are more than 8 varieties of dates that Qatar grows. You can also find Date syrup, Chocolate covered dates, dates filled with nuts and sesame seeds. Souq Waqif also has numerous shops selling clothes, spices, fridge magnetics, rugs and other things.

Details

Location: Souq Waqif
Distance from Turkey Central Restaurant:
7 km, 20 min
Average taxi fare: QR 15/USD 4.4
Time:
7:30am-12:30pm, 3:30-10pm Sat-Thu, 4-10pm Fri
Shopping Cost:
QR 30/USD 8
Recommendation:
Khudri Dates

4. 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.

Details

Location: Souq Waqif
Distance :
150m, 5 min walk
Time:
9-12 am, Sat-Fri
Tel: +974 7092 7288
Restaurant Cost:
QR 15/USD 4 for two people, approx
Recommendation:
Kunafa

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.

Details

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

More recommendations in Souq Waqif

Tea Time

Location: Opposite Traffic and Immigration Department, Souq Waqif
Timing: 24 hrs
Cuisine: Cafe
Recommendation: Karak, Club Sandwich
Cost: QR 2/USD

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

6. SMAT

SMAT means ‘dining table’ in the Khaleeji dialect of Arabic. This is a unique restaurant that serves signature local dishes with a contemporary twist to them. It’s a fusion restaurant that offers a distinct taste and texture of the Qatari cuisine.Make sure to reserve a table either before coming to Doha or as soon as you land.

Details

Location: Al Corniche St
Distance from Souq Waqif:
3 km, 7 min
Average taxi fare:
QR 9/USD 2.7
Time:
1 pm-12:30 am Sat-Fri
Tel:
+974 4410 6600 (Reservation required)
Restaurant cost:
QR 400/USD 110 for two people, approx
Recommendation:
Harees Nata, Afgharti Chicken Majboos

DAY 2

Rise and shine! Time to indulge in some more food.

1. Breakfast at Sukar Pasha

Sukar Pasha is a Turkish lounge located in Katara. Their interior reflects traditional Turkish decor with hand-painted ceilings, beautiful mosaics and huge chandeliers adorning the restaurant. Their terrace has terrific views of the sea and Doha's skyscrapers. And their service is top-notch.

Details

Location: Building 31 S, Katara
Distance:
24km, 30min from HIA
Average taxi fare: QR 30/USD 8.2
Time:
8-1am, Sat-Fri
Tel:
+974 4408 2000
Restaurant cost: QR 200/USD 55 for two people approx
Recommendation:
Menemen (Turkish Eggs), Yumurta Kayganasi (French Toast with Tahini Date Syrup), Baklava stuffed with Ice cream

2. Camel Burger at Gourmet House

Camel meat is one of the delicacies that no one should miss while visiting Doha. It tastes a lot like Beef. Gourmet House serves Camel Meat as a burger making it a great alternative to the usual meat served with rice. This is also a fan favourite of Doha and it's tourists.

Details

Location: Kempinski Residences and Suites, West Bay
Distance:
6km, 11min
Average taxi fare: QR 10/USD 2.5
Time:
7am-10pm, Sat-Fri
Tel:
+974 4405 3326
Restaurant cost:
QR 100/USD 27 for two people approx
Recommendation:
Camel Burger, Red Passion Iced Tea

3. Local Supermarket (Al Meera Legtaifiya)

Checking out the grocery store for all the weird flavours and snacks that the country loves is a must-visit in my opinion. While this Al Meera is inside a mall, it is packed with all the yummy Qatari goodness you need in life. Camel milk, Qatar Pafki, Bon Bon Ice cream, and Mamoul biscuits are some of the best Qatari snacks. They also have a section entirely dedicated to food items produced in Qatar.

Details

Location: Al Meera, Legtaifiya
Distance: 14 km, 20 min
Average taxi fare:
QR 20/USD 5.4
Time:
7 am-12 am, Sat-Thu, 7-11 am, 12 pm-12 am, Fri
Tel:
+974 4011 9111
Food cost:
QR 20/USD 5.4

3. Gharafa Automatic Bakery

This bakery is famous for its Khubus, a type of Arabic bread used daily in meals. They produce 40,000 flatbreads daily. It is one of the oldest bakeries in Qatar, which opened in 1978. Seeing this place empty is a rarity. Aside from the bread, they serve a good Kunafa. They also sell a variety of biscuits, breads, and sweets.

Details

Location: Al Gharafa
Distance:
2 km, 5 min
Average taxi fare: QR 9/USD 2.5
Time:
24 hrs
Tel:
+974 4486 9449
Restaurant cost:
QR 20/USD 5.5
Recommendation:
Kunafa, Luqaimat, Biscuits

Head out of the bakery and walk next door to the following restaurant.

4. Diwaniyat al Bukhari

Right next to Gharafa Automatic Bakery is Diwaniyat al Bukhari that serves one of the best Lentil soups in town. Its lentils are cooked in bone broth giving it an amazing flavour. They have floor seating upstairs for a different touch. They serve a variety of Machboos, from Chicken, Lamb to even Camel meat.

Details

Location: Al Itihad St, Al Gharafa
Distance:
2 min walk
Average taxi fare: QR 0/USD 0
Time:
12 pm-12 am, Sat-Fri
Tel:
+974 4488 8807
Restaurant cost:
QR 100/USD 27 for two people, approx
Recommendation:
Chicken Bukhari, Lamb Machboos

5. Night Market

Image credit: Peninsula

All the hip burger, coffee and Taco joints of the country are found here. Night market as the name suggests is a place filled with food joints operating out of shipping containers which are decorated with Graffiti. Any cool or fun new eatery in the city can be found here. There is a Chimney cake filled with Ice Cream, Charcoal ice cream, crazy Burgers and specialty coffee.

Details

Location: Al Duhail
Distance:
8 km, 11 min
Average taxi fare: QR 12/USD 3.3
Time:
4 pm- 1 am

More recommendations at the Night Market

Icy Bun

Timing: 4 pm-12 am
Instagram: Icy Bun
Cost: QR 50/USD 14 for two people approx
Recommendation: Donut stuffed with ice cream, corn flakes, and caramel

Exit 55

Timing: 12 pm-3 am
Instagram: Exit 55
Cost: QR 100/USD 27 for two people approx
Recommendation: Old School Burger, Dynamite Shrimp

Diner Cone

Timing: 4 pm-12 am
Recommendation: Mac n Cheese in a waffle cone
Cost: QR 80/USD 22 for two people approx

Chic Softserve

Timing: 4 pm-12 am
Instagram: Chic softserve
Recommendation: Charcoal ice cream
Cost: QR 50/USD 14 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.