Doha Delicious: Budget eating options

Food is my reason for living.  I live to eat.  As a migrant worker in the television industry my work takes me from tropical islands off the coast of Panama, to less-glamorous-urban-hell-holes like Lagos in Nigeria.   Each of these locations always promises some interesting gastronomical challenges and surprises.

Somewhere in-between  lies the middle eastern nation of Qatar.    Mostly hot, sometimes challenging, the one thing Doha does deliver on is food.  It’s a melting pot of migrant workers and this culturally diverse labour force have brought with them the flavours of the world.

My job takes me to the strangest places, and Qatar has to rank up there with the most fascinating. Filming falcons at the market place. These birds sell for thousands of dollars.
My job takes me to the strangest places, and Qatar has to rank up there with the most fascinating. Filming falcons at the market place. These birds sell for thousands of dollars.
Trip Advisor will list the top 10’s and best steak houses.  For around 250 Riyals (US$ 70) you’ll eat like a king in the 5 star hotels.  The New York Steakhouse’s Wagyu beef will blow your mind, as will the Friday buffet at the W Hotel.   But not everyone has that kinda cash to spend.

Catch an über taxi and get them to take you to my favourite 2 cafeterias in Doha.  For 30 Riyals (US$8) you’ll feast on the freshest, healthiest and most exotic fare in Doha.

Damascus Star: Syrian and Arabic food

Address:  Hiteen Street, Al Muntazah 

Damascus top shot
When food looks this good you know it’s healthy.
The daily meal comes with a lentil soup, a bowl of pickled olives and a side of chilli, onion and lemon.  Tuesday’s meal is lamb meatballs (Kofta) in a tomato gravy served with rice.   All for a bargain 22 Riyals (US$6).   Throw in a side of Hummus for 8 Riyals (US$2) and you’ll never want for again!

Damascus Menu
Damascus Star menu
If you’re not keen on the daily meals, the a la carte options offer great value too.  A mixed grill comes with 4 skewered meats: chicken cubes or shish Taouk, Kofta (lamb mince), beef cubes and chicken kofta (minced).  It is served with 2 pita breads, fries, whole-grilled tomato and some parsley. All for 25 Riyals (US$6,85)

Mix grill
Mixed Grill for 25 Riyals
The less glamorous yet equally appetising side of Doha
The less glamorous yet equally appetising side of Doha
Bandar Aden Restaurant: Yemeni and Qatari Dishes

Address:  Next to Al Bidda Hotel (just off Souq Waqif)

Ex-pat and family-friendly this hole in the wall restaurant is popular with Qatari’s, workers and businessmen alike.  It’s conveniently located off Souq Waqif and is known only to the adventurous and locals. There is a private majelis (lounge area) for larger groups and regular tables for the less desert acquainted.  The service is efficient verging on abrupt, but the portions are HUGE.  If you are pressed to make a decision order the chicken ogda which is shredded chicken breast in a tomato gravy.  It comes with the largest flat-bread you will ever see.   The metal dish it is served in sizzles with the promise that you won’t leave hungry.

Ogda
Chicken Ogda is a Yemeni classic.
Naan

The average lunch meal at Bandar Aden is around 18 Riyal.  With a bottle of water for 1 Riyal and a soda for 2 Riyals you’ll have plenty cash left over.

With the 2022 Fifa World Cup fast approaching, you’ll be hearing much more about Doha.  Don’t let the ‘dry’ rumours put you off.  There are loads of hotels to have a pint of larger or a glass of bubbles in.  Doha is the hip twin of Dubai and it’s where all the cool kids are coming to play.

Desert Jump
Qatar is a tiny desert nation boasting amazing potential in both wildlife and adventure tourism.
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