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Must Try Doha Restaurants

This article features several of my favourite places to eat within walking distance of a Doha Metro station (definitely) and a tourist attraction (mostly) The cuisine and prices vary but most are budget friendly.

Most restaurants below can be found on google maps.

Katara Cultural Village

Katara is a cultural destination featuring an ampitheatre, concert halls, exhibition galleries, a planetarium, shopping mall, park and beach areas plus a variety of restaurants. http://www.katara.net/en/

A daytime view from Katara beach towards the Pearl
Katara beach

Take the red line to Al Qassar and follow the signs to Katara.

(Please note Al Qassar is the closest metro stop to Al Fanar Food Truck – for the ampitheatre/planetarium and other attractions use the Katara metro stop)

Signs will direct you through an underpass and you will emerge near the beach. Look to your right and you will see the Al Fanar Food Truck.

Al Fanar Restaurant

Select from fresh juices, hot and cold drinks and from chapatis, sandwiches and mutabaq – a type of lightly fried pancake with savoury or sweet fillings. Enjoy your food (preferably at night) on the beach with a beautiful view over Katara and the distant Pearl development.

Katara view night
Katara night view

Al Bidda

Ask the helpful metro staff for the park exit (shown below) and follow the signs to the Fire Station. The park is gorgeous and has a number of features along the way. Its around a 20 minute walk so best done in winter or at night.

Al Bidda Park Metro exit

The original fire station was built in 1982 but moved to more modern premises in 2012.

The building was then handed over to the Qatar Museums Authority and redesigned as an art space cleverly incorporating many of the original features.

999 Cafe
Artistic fire tower with 999 Cafe and art shop in background

Enjoy the current exhibition and visit the artist in residence and garage gallery – featuring (you guessed it) the original fire engine garages. http://firestation.org.qa/

Facilities also include the best art supplies shop in Qatar and the 999 Café. The café serves a variety of light bites, cakes, hot and cold drinks. At night the atmosphere is beautiful with water features, trees and clever lighting. A must visit while in Doha!

999 Cafe and art shop

Doha Al Jadeeda

Exiting the metro using the Al Matar South exit you might wonder where you are!

Turn right however and within a few minutes walk you will find the trendy Meesh Café which is well worth a visit. Attached to the Crowne Plaza hotel and situated on the main road the café is very modern and has a selection of hot and cold light bites – either healthy or not so….It has free wifi too.

Meesh Cafe

If you fancy watching sport then continue past Meesh Cafe to the Holiday Inn and the Stock Burger restaurant. Open from noon it sells a range of burgers/wings/salads and desserts. They also serve alcoholic drinks.

Oqba Al Nafie

This station is not in a touristy area whatsoever but if you feel like an authentic Indian meal it is well worth the adventure. The Biriyani Corner restaurant is a 10 minute walk from the Metro station (use the Al Matar St West exit then turn right, keep walking and cross the big road, then continue past Ansar Gallery until you see the restaurant on the right)

Use the Al Matar St West exit

Upon entering turn left and go upstairs. The layout is simple but do not be put off – the food is excellent and very budget friendly. Choose from curries, vegetarian dishes, rice and a multitude of different breads. Western and other Asian dishes are also available. Wash your food down with tea, coffee, water or a soft drink.

The Biriyani Corner Restaurant

The following restaurants are on the newly opened (Nov 2019) Gold Line and mainly within Souq Waqif – one of Qatars best and well known tourist attractions.

Souq Waqif

Opposite the Cornice is where the original settlement of Doha used to be a century or so ago. Rebuilt after falling into decay it now offers a sensory overload with a variety of spices, saffron, local perfumes as well as fishing equipment, tools, fabric and clothes and huge pots and pans. Within the same area you will also find a pet souq, the falcon souq, camel and horse pens. A modern gold souq has been built and traditional arts and crafts can be found throughout.

Souq Waqif is also well known as a dining destination and showcases a true variety of food.

I have selected four of my favourites here which are all budget friendly and offer a local authentic experience.

Shujaa Restaurant is extremely simple, the menu is tasty meat skewers, arabic bread, salads and a variety of middle eastern dips. Soft and hot drinks are also available.

Shujaa Restaurant

The seating is traditional Arabic style and under the cover of a rattan roof. Sit and watch people pass through the souq and enjoy the authentic atmosphere. This place opens for breakfast and dinner and can get very busy so be prepared to wait for a table.

Shujaa seating area

Al Marouf Bakery is right next to Shujaa and offers tasty bread takeaway snacks. A very budget friendly place, simply select your preference from the menu in the window and wait as your food is cooked to order. There is limited seating but eating your food as you walk through the souq is a great experience.

Al Marouf Bakery

Ali Al Naama Coffee is a small place towards the end of the main drag. A menu in the window tells you whats available which includes a variety of chapatis and hot and cold drinks.

Ali Al Naama Coffee

The price is super low and seating is available opposite. Take your time and watch the world go by as a mixture of locals, tourists and traders wander along.

Al Enna Restaurant is in the Falcon Souq and serves traditional Qatari food as well as a mixture of other Arabic cuisines. They offer indoor (air conditioned and traditionally decorated) and outdoor seating where shisha is available if you wish to try. Food is good value here and service is excellent. Another must visit!

Al Enna restaurant – all photographs in this article by Phil Wright

If you find any hidden budget restaurants on your visit to Qatar, then please leave us a comment below…..

Brilliant news, the Qatar Metro has launched and is running. But what does this mean for visitors? Well the first thing I must point out is that for the moment only the Red Line is operating, and it’s in ‘Preview Mode’ with reduced days/hours and stations. The service is currently operating Saturday to Thursday, 6am until 11pm, Fridays operate from 2pm until 11pm. And there are 5 stations that although not open yet, will be in the near future.

A Summer 2019 Metro Map with most of the Red Line Stations operating
Summer 2019 Metro Map with most of the Red Line Stations operating

How to Use the Metro Red Line for Visitors

You can buy a reusable or single use tickets at any of the stations. There are plenty of really helpful staff around to ensure you don’t have any problem doing this.

Metro Rail Pricing
Metro Rail Pricing

Please see the Metro website for more information: https://www.qr.com.qa/static-content?code=AboutTravelCards

Southern stations are not so interesting for visitors

You can split the Red Line into North and South with Msheireb Station in the middle. Msheireb is the central and main station servicing all lines (when they open). To the south of Msheireb are: Doha Jadeda, Umm Ghuwailina, Matar Qadeem, Oqba Ibn Naif, Free Zone and Ras Bu Fontas. Terminating at Al Wakra. All of these stations seem to be orientated towards commuters as their locations and shuttle bus services focus on residential and work locations rather than places of interest.

However I do recommend riding between Oqba Ibn Naif and Wakrah because you switch from underground to over ground rail, and it’s well worth the views. Watch the video below:-

Msheireb and to the North

It’s the stations to the North of Msheireb that really have interest value for visitors to Qatar. And I must also stress that Msheireb station itself should be on your list of places to visit. So, I’m going to start here.

Msheireb Station

Within easy walking distance of Msheireb Station are Msheireb Downtown Doha and the Msheireb Museums . And as long as you don’t get lost, you may also like to walk around the old Doha areas adjacent before they get redeveloped as well. This will give you a feel for Doha in later decades.

Msheireb Station with Msheireb Development in background

And if you use the free shuttle bus (which runs every 12 minutes), you can take a short ride to the MUST SEE ‘Souq Waqif

Al Bidda Station

Al Bidda Park is really quiet something. It’s a large expanse of green grass, trees and leisure facilities overlooking Doha bay (Corniche). It’s free to enter and is just a beautiful place to chill, relax, BBQ (there are free BBQ stations), walk, run exercise…. Whatever you like to do in a park. And Al Bidda station has an entrance\exit that brings you up directly into it. You may consider visiting in the evening when it’s cooler especially during the summer.

Al Bidda Metro Station has three points of entry/exit. One on either side of Al Rayan Road, and one in Al Bidda Park. This is the Entrance within Al Bidda Park, which brings you right up into the park itself.

Al Corniche

The two main things accessible from Al Corniche Station are the General Post Office, and The Corniche. As a visitor I think you are most likely only going to visit the Corniche, but if you are into architecture or need to post a letter, then the GPO (General Post Office) is worthy of a quick walk.

Very close, and an easy walk to the GPO (General Post Office)

The Corniche is quite simply stunning. And is most definitely a Qatar MUST SEE. When you emerge from the station you will see two decorative above land tunnels. Take the one to the left and you will arrive at the GPO. Take the one directly in front of you and you will arrive on The Corniche.

When you exit Al Corniche Metro Station you will see two above land tunels. One takes you to the GPO, the other to the Corniche

When you cross the road (please be very careful doing this) on the Corniche you will find my favourite restaurant ‘The Al Morjan’. I strongly recommend sitting on the Al Morjan terrace and enjoying a delicious meal while taking in the breath-taking views of West Bay and the tranquillity of the sea.

Emerging from the Corniche Metro Station tunel onto the Corniche

West Bay Station

Located within West Bay, this station is very useful for getting to Ezdan Hotel. And could be used for for visiting Qatar Sports Club which is within walking distance (about 10 mins walk). Other than that it’s commuters who would get most use out of this station. As it’s perfect for several large office towers and complexes. But not much to see as a visitor unless you like walking a lot.

West Bay Metro Station. Good for Ezdan Hotel and offices.

DECC

DECC stands for Doha Exhibition and Conference Centre. And the station is right outside the entrance to the DECC. The station is in very easy walking distance to one of Qatar’s major malls ‘City Centre Mall’ as well the Gate Mall and numerous hotels and office buildings (for which there is a free shuttle bus). If you are not visiting an exhibition or conference, then a visit to ‘City Centre Mall’ is well worth stopping at this station for some retail therapy anyway. The mall also has a very large supermarket if you are in need of supplies.

Doha Exhibition and Conference Centre. Also good for City Centre Mall

Al Qassar Station

Al Qassar station is within walking distance (hot walking distance) of the InterContinental and St. Regis hotels. It’s also right next to the Qatar International Exhibition Centre.

But for the moment its greatest value to visitors is for accessing Katara Cultural Village. Which is another one of Qatar’s MUST SEE locations. https://www.visitqatar.qa/discover/tourist-hotspots/katara-cultural-village.html

Sometime soon the Katara Metro Station will be open. But until it does Al Qassar serves the purpose very well. But be sure to use the underpass that will deliver you safely from Al Qassar station directly into Katara without having to cross a major road.

The two types of Standard Class disposable tickets are; ‘Single Use’ which costs QR 2 (GBP 43p, USD 54 cents) and will take you from any station to any station (but not back again). And ‘Day Pass’ that will allow you to ride all day long (within a calendar day) getting on and off wherever you like as many times as you like for QR 6 (GBP £1.29, USD $1.64). Both can be bought from machines located within the stations using cash (QAR only I’m afraid) or card. Help is available, you will not have a problem.

A Rechargeable Standard Class Travel Card costs QR 10 and you can add as much credit to that as you like. It will then deduct QR 2 for each journey you make. However, the maximum it will debit per day is QR 6. After QR 6 you ride for free within the same day.

Travelling in style with ‘goldclub’

If you want to ride in the Gold Class carriage, your going to need a ‘goldclub’ card. And that will cost you QR 10 (GBP £2.15, USD $2.74) per journey. However if you are using a rechargeable ‘goldclub’ card which costs QR 100 (GBP £21.58, USD $27.47) to buy (before you add credit), or a ‘Gold Day Pass’ which costs QR 30 (GBP £6.47, USD $8.24) you can ride all day and pay only a maximum of QR 30.

Gold Class cards are also available within the stations, and in fact there are special Gold Class offices, so you even get special treatment buying your cards.

Please see the Metro website for more information: https://www.qr.com.qa/static-content?code=AboutTravelCards