Inspired by the success of Street Food Doha, the lovely Doha Marriott is at it again for the second year with Streets of Arabia. Dishes from all corners of the region, such as Sudan, Morocco and Qatar, are the stars of the streets. I started with the Moroccan harira soup and was tempted to go for seconds but there was much to discover throughout the restaurant gallery turned street food galore.
Headed to Sudan for stew, Egypt for hawashy, Lebanon for grills, Qatar for majbous, Turkey for kavurma and India for dahi vada. I was not disappointed in the least bit! Desserts were good, the qatayef were a hit for me. I just wish they had them in serving sizes rather than “serve yourself” type setup, people get a little too excited around desserts. #JustSaying
Service, as always, was professional and friendly. I just wish some of the serving staff were more knowledgable of some of the dishes they were serving. The setup is simple, nothing over the top, but nothing plain either. It’s a very chill and casual space for iftar, my kind of chill to be honest. It’s so chill, even the famous Ramadan camels, Bashoosh and Sahara were just chilling in the warm breeze outside the hotel with their new baby girl, Samara. Yep, it’s a girl! Woohoo!
Top 10 Healthy Eats in Doha By: Ms. Hala Abdoun for BQ Plus via Zomato Originally Published: February 2017 Publication Source: BQ-Magazine.com
A new year, a new beginning, a new you! Self-improvement is the top resolution many of us make when we flip a page to the new year. This includes staying positive, being active and eating right.
If you love the food scene in Doha but want to start a healthy eating habit, that kale leaf won’t cut it. The latest collection on Zomato, Healthy Eating, has the top go to spots with delicious, healthy eats. Here’s the top ten rated healthy eats from the collection.
Where: Al Muthanna Complex, Al Hilal Rating: 3.5 / 5 Lowdown: If you have friends who aren’t really attempting to eat healthy this year, this spot will have you all breaking bread in peace. With a healthy section in the menu listing calories, protein, fiber and carb count, you can chow down at Crepeaway guilt free.
9. Al Jazeera Cafe
Where: Building 4, Katara Cultural Village Rating: 3.6 / 5 Lowdown: Conceptualized by the Al Jazeera network, you can start your day on the right track. Enjoy your meal with the latest news, interactive setting and beautiful ambiance. Try one of the fruit smoothies, herbal infused teas or grab a bite knowing you’re doing good by your body and global farms.
8. Dine Smart Restaurant
Where: Lulu Hypermarket, Barwa City Rating: 3.6 / 5 Lowdown: We all love to eat while we shop! And Dine Smart wants you to eat smart while you shop. Whether you’re craving Italian, Chinese, a sandwich or a simple salad, you can eat knowing you didn’t ruin your New Year’s resolution to keep it healthy and within budget.
7. Salad Boutique
Where: Aspire Park, Al Waab Rating: 3.7 / 5 Lowdown: They aren’t just famous for those large bowls of salads anymore. This will be good news for your anti-salad eating friends of yours craving risotto, pasta or even a burger. You can dine within the bright ambience, lounging in the oversized chairs indoors or dine under the stars in this cool winter weather.
6. Which Wich
Where: Medina Centrale, The Pearl-Qatar Rating: 3.8 / 5 Lowdown: Where the self-proclaimed “superior sandwiches” are made in the heart of The Pearl-Qatar. Grab a sandwich paper bag and like Aladdin, make wishes for the sandwich genies to grant on the spot. Feeling adventurous? Drop the bread and wish for a lettucewich.
5. Chef’s Garden
Where: Marwan Club, Education City Rating: 3.9 / 5 Lowdown: The horses in close distance, the greenery all around, the healthy dishes on the table. Where else can you get all three but the Chef’s Garden? Next to the Equestrian Club, you can’t go wrong with the food or view as many of the foodies have raved about in their reviews.
4. Evergreen Organics
Where: Qanat Quartier, Pearl Qatar Rating: 4.0 / 5 Lowdown: Co-founded by renowned Qatari foodie, Ghanim AlSulaiti, this vegan haven is all about eating and surrounding yourself with wholesome goodness. The very popular fresh pressed juices are now bottled up, so you can take a few on the go until your next visit.
3. Jones The Grocer
Where: The Gate, Dafna Rating: 4.1 / 5 Lowdown: With a new healthy menu added to the original, it’s no wonder JTG has climbed up the ranks. Already a popular breakfast spot, this JTG branch is still a top favorite with a die-hard Doha foodie following.
2. Zaatar we Zeit
Where: Opposite Souq Waqif Art Center, Souq Waqif Rating: 4.2 / 5 Lowdown: With many locations around Doha, the Souq branch tops the list for this popular Lebanese chain. This breakfast hot spot makes you feel all the good feels as you feast on a budget before shopping in the historic bazaar.
1. Meesh Me-Time Cafe
Where: Crowne Plaza Business Park, Najma Rating: 4.5 / 5 Lowdown: The highest rated healthy eat in the collection is a spot with “me time” in its name. It’s that kind of attitude that’s captured the hearts of Doha’s inhabitants. Can’t go wrong with a cafe serving up all kinds of healthy goodness, from its fresh brewed coffee to its latest quick bites menu.
What are you waiting for? Download the Zomato app today and bookmark these restaurants to keep that healthy New Year’s resolution going strong!
All images courtesy of BQ Plus Magazine unless otherwise noted.
International Comfort Food By: Ms. Hala Abdoun for BQ Plus via Zomato Originally Published for the January 2017 Issue Publication Source: BQ-Magazine.com
Winter is here! A relatively warm winter but, this is the season we crave something to make us feel all warm and fuzzy. It’s why they call it comfort food!
Let’s discover some of the world’s favorite comfort foods and where to get a taste of it.
Spaghetti Carbonara – Italy
Can’t start this list without the world’s favorite dish, pasta! And the one Italians call to for comfort is spaghetti carbonara. Originating from Rome in the 20th century, this dish has comforted the masses as it has evolved in different parts of Italy and in different forms of pasta.
Sticking with the classics, the spaghetti dish is made with eggs, cheese, bacon and seasoned with black pepper to taste. You can’t go wrong with a classic!
Slurp on some spaghetti carbonara at Lo Spaghetto in Al Saad.
Pho – Vietnam
Not only is pho the star of Vietnamese food, but it’s one of the most popular soup dishes in the world. Pho dates back to the 20th century and was introduced to the world through migration and tourism.
Pho consists of rice noodles, either chicken or beef, cooked in broth with a few herbs and seasonings. It’s all the basics in one pot!
Try a bowl of pho at The Rice Room in The Gulf Mall.
Poutine – Canada
Ask any Canadian and they’ll tell you that poutine is what warms their soul. Originating in Quebec in the 1950s, the word “poutine” is French for “mess”. Who knew messy can be so good? Canada did!
This messy street food quickly took over the nation with just three ingredients. Fried potatoes topped with cheese curds and gravy. That’s it!
Get messy with platter of poutine at Lord of the Wings at The Pearl-Qatar.
Pav Bhaji – India
Some say dosas, others say choles, we say, “can we have them all?” Indian cuisine is so beautifully diverse, we can’t pick just one. However, pav bhaji was the dish that stood out from almost every corner of India.
Potato based vegetable stew, all mashed together with fragrant spices and served with light, fluffy buns.
Get yourself some finger licking pav bhaji at Saravanaa Bhavan in Al Ghanim.
Koshary – Egypt
Talk about making something out of nothing! In the 19th century, whatever was leftover in the pantry at the end of the month, got all mixed together to make room for the new. And from there, koshary was born.
Today, it’s the ultimate comfort food in Egypt, sold from street carts to five-star restaurants. It started with rice, lentils and pasta topped with spicy sauce, vinegar and crispy onions. It has since evolved to include chick peas, garlic and oil.
Grab a bowl of koshary at Layali Al Qahira in Souq Waqif.
Macaroni and Cheese – USA
Whoever came up with this baked dish, thank you! Of course, this isn’t a historically American dish but it has become one over the last couple of centuries with the flood of immigrants altering their own favorite comfort foods.
With small pasta and a whole lot of cheddar cheese topped off with some bread crumbs and baked in the oven for about 15 minutes. The end result is crispiness on the outside and gooey goodness on the inside. This is why America is great!
Try a fishy take on the classic at Red Lobster in Fereej bin Mahmoud.
Kare Kare – Philippines
The thick stew of kare kare is another rendition of putting everything in one pot. Originating from Pampanga and spreading across the islands, kare kare is a stew like no other.
It starts with a base of stewed oxtail and can have anything from calf feet to leftover meat, and seafood to all kinds of vegetables. Thickened with rice and topped with peanut sauce, this stew brings the essence of comfort in a bowl.
Try a bowl of kare kare at Max’s Restaurant in Al Saad.
Harees – Qatar
Coming back to Qatar, many don’t realize harees has history. This simple wheat dish dates back to the 10th century as documented in ‘The Cooking Book’ by Ibn Sayyar Al Warraq. Many even say there’s evidence of Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) eating harees.
Harees is not soup, it can fall between a stew and porridge. After simmering pre-soaked wheat in water, it can be made savory by adding meat before it’s strained and beaten to a thick consistency then seasoned to taste. Make it sweet by excluding the meat and season with cinnamon and sugar.
Discover the flavors of harees at Muglat Harees Al Waldah on Salwa Road.
All images courtesy of BQ Plus Magazine unless otherwise noted.
Dine like the French, in Qatar By: Ms. Hala Abdoun for BQ Plus via Zomato Originally Published: November 2016 Publication Source: BQ-Magazine.com Republished on the Zomato Community Blog
Affamé? Pardonne moi. Oh, we meant to ask, “Are you hungry?” Better still, are you craving something French but not sure where to begin? Save that airline ticket for now because there are many options to choose from, be it luxurious to casual, in Doha itself.
Let’s take a gastronomic adventure around Doha and dine like the French at these top five spots.
Where: K 108 Hotel Rating: 4.1/5 Lowdown: Being the only boutique hotel in Doha that donates all their proceeds to charity, Yum Yum restaurant serves up some of the most buzzed about fusion French dishes in town. Go for dinner or escape the office for lunch in a hidden gem overlooking the city.
Where: Gulf Mall Rating: 4.1/5 Lowdown: All things French and a little bit more when it comes to the offerings at Brioche Dorée. With a full menu on hand, you can indulge in a three course meal and coffee in a casual atmosphere. According to the foodies, it’s all about the breakfast and desserts.
Where: Barwa Towers, Suhaim Bin Hammad Street, Al Sadd Rating: 4.1/5 Lowdown: Serving both French and Italian cuisine, you harmoniously savor the best of both worlds. It’s well known for not just it’s authentic cuisine but it’s courteous staff. The buzz around town claims French Olive is serving up a business lunch like no other.
Where: Villaggio Mall Rating: 4.1/5 Lowdown: With many locations around Doha, the branch in Villaggio tops the list for this French chain. Head to Paul for coffee and fresh baked pastries or eat your heart out from the simple yet fulfilling menu. Foodies not only rave about the food but the “feel good experience” they have.
Where: Tornado Tower, Dafna Rating: 3.9/5 Lowdown: One of the first French restaurants to offer business lunch to the masses working in Dafna. Serving a delectable menu while overlooking Doha’s scenic Corniche is no wonder La Varenne continues to be a favorite amongst the foodies.
Where: Suhaim Bin Hammad Street, Al Sadd Rating: 3.8/5 Lowdown: Foodies rave about French cuisine being served in a casual atmosphere, perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Feast amongst the city lights outdoors on a cool winter’s night or within Lenôtre’s sophisticated design on a hot summer’s day.
IDAM by Alain Ducasse
Where: Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) Rating: 3.7/5 Lowdown: Art comes in many forms and IDAM celebrates art in the form of French Qatari fusion cuisine, modern classic Islamic decor and a view unlike any other. One of the few luxury restaurants with changing seasonal menus based on what’s locally available. Foodies admit it’s one of the few restaurants in town that really challenges one’s palate.
Where: Ezdan Mall Rating: 3.7/5 Lowdown: Without a doubt, a cafe in a mall is the super pick-me-up for anyone going through retail therapy. When one breaks in between sales, Lina’s serves up therapeutic quick bites and desserts with a French twist to makes one’s day just a little bit better.
Where: The Gate Mall Rating: 3.6/5 Lowdown: Don’t want to fly to Angelina in Paris for the best hot chocolate in the world? The same creamy, rich hot chocolate is served in the Doha branch! Served along side any of your favorite desserts or meal, these decadents gives a whole new meaning to “pinkies up!”
Where: Villaggio Mall Rating: 3.6/5 Lowdown: All that’s missing at this cafe, is a French violinist whilst you dine. Ladurée serves up what seems to be Doha’s favorite macarons, with flavors such as rose, pistachio, raspberry and chocolate. It’s true what the say, “dessert goes straight to the heart.”
All images courtesy of Zomato Community Blog unless otherwise noted
All About that Girl Power By: Ms. Hala Abdoun for BQ Plus via Zomato Originally Published: March 2017 Publication Source: BQ-Magazine.com Republished on the Zomato Community Blog under the title, Celebrating Women’s Day in Doha
All About That Girl Power! Hala Abdoun for Zomato Qatar
March is the month we celebrate Girl Power! We take the time to appreciate the fantastic women in our lives, starting with our mothers of course. We remember her hugs, her kisses and her cooking, which was really hugs and kisses in a bowl, right?
Celebrating Women is the latest collection on Zomato showcasing the top eateries that are either owned and/or cheffed by women. With over 3,500 restaurants in Doha alone, these nine eateries truly shine with the unique and awesome power of the women in charge!
9. La Creme Where: Royal Plaza Shopping Mall, Al Sadd Rating: 3.4 / 5 Sweet Power: Considered a hidden gem by many foodies, this sweet spot is all about fulfilling your sweet tooth. Owned by the classically trained Chef Nicole, she has spent years perfecting each bakeable recipe, from the popular goodie jars to customized tiered cakes.
8. Nineties Cafe Where: Souq Al Wakra, Al Wakrah Rating: 3.4 / 5 Nostalgia Power: Anyone else nostalgic for the good days of the 1990’s? We sure wish we could turn back the hands of time. Lucky for us, we’ve got Maryam running the cafe that gives us all the feels from back in the day. This place serves up a simple menu of waffle bubbles to go with your favorite drink of the day.
7. Shay Al Shoomos Where: Al Jasra Street, Souq Waqif Rating: 3.4 / 5 Mama Power: Remember when mama worked her magic over a small kitchen stove to produce a feast? Qatari Chef Shams does exactly that! She’s cooking up her famous rogag with all kinds of fixings, brewing up pots of shay and treating her customers like they were all her own children. Thanks mama!
6. Italia Mia Where: Behind Souq Waqif Art Center, Souq Waqif Rating: 3.6 / 5 Pasta Power: Want to eat like a true Italian without leaving Doha? Try out what the dedicated following this hidden gem has amassed are raving about. In the heart of Souq Waqif are dishes upon dishes of homemade pastas and everything in between to make you feel like you’re in Italy. Mamma mia!
5. Korean Garden Where: C Ring Road, Fereej Bin Mahmoud Rating: 3.7 / 5 Fusion Power: Many think Asian fusion dishes are a new trend in Doha but that’s far from the truth. Owner Yun Hee Lee is the Asian fusion trendsetter, serving up Korean and Japanese fusion dishes in one of the oldest Asian restaurants in Doha. So much the trendsetter, BQ Plus deemed it one of the Best Asian Restaurants back in the September 2016 issue. You Go Girl!
4. Thai Cuisine Where: Al Jazira Street, Fereej Bin Mahmoud Rating: 3.7 / 5 Delivery Power: Any place that makes sure you are eating at the comfort of your home will almost always have a place in our hearts. Owner and Chef Korn Kanok Penglong has made sure you get your favorite Thai dishes ready to pick up or delivered to your comfortable couch (or bed, we don’t judge) in time for your TV binging.
3. Mamig Where: Katara Cultural Village, Katara Rating: 3.8 / 5 Star Power: Chef Zarmig is a celebrity here in the Qatar food scene and rightfully so! She’s the power behind the only high end Armenian Lebanese restaurant around. She’s tapped into everything we truly love perfectly: good food, smooth sheeshas and live music overseeing the Doha skyline from the heart of Katara.
2. Three Peppers Restaurant Where: Old Airport Road, Old Airport Area Rating: 4.1 / 5 Pepper Power: Just like a small pepper packs a big punch, this small place packs three big punches! Chef Mary’s take on authentic Chinese eats is probably the reason behind why the Old Airport area is always so jam packed. This hidden gem fills up faster than you can say “Szechuan chicken please!”
1. Nistantasi Bakose Where: Melia Doha, Dafna Rating: 4.3 / 5 Gold Power: And topping the list is the one restaurant garnishing the ever popular Turkish kebab with gold. That’s right, GOLD! Fonda and her husband Ahmet have brought the finest dishes from their main Istanbul restaurant to Doha to become an overnight sensation. She oversees all the ingredients coming into Qatar straight from Turkey and keeps the chefs on their toes to serve up what foodies have deemed the best Turkish restaurant in town.
We’ve run out of space but we can’t end this powerful list without some honorable mentions. The Pearl is now complete with the opening of it’s first Thai restaurant, White Oryx. Raved for baking up the best cookies in town is the perfectly named, Sweet Moments The Boutique. And in the third floor of Marriott Marquis is Aziza, serving up levantine favorites.
Don’t miss out! Download the Zomato app, bookmark these restaurants and celebrate these women today and every day!
All images courtesy of Zomato Community Blog unless otherwise noted