Dive Into Doha’s Five Finest Fish Restaurants
With all but 60 km of its coastline surrounded by the ocean and an interior of dry, dusty desert, the people of Qatar have long been harvesters of the sea. Fishing off the coast of Qatar was once one of the major economies of the country and one that sustained its people for centuries. Since the discovery of oil over 70 years ago, Qatar's modernisation and the growth of international trade have lessened the nation's reliance on the sea for trade and sustenance. However, the stark changes the country has seen have definitely not diminished their desire to have the sea's bounty freshly served on a plate!
Superlative Seafood Restaurants in Doha
Qatar has a raft of seafood restaurants, from 5-star hotel offerings to independent eateries no bigger than your garage. But they all have one thing in common, fresh fish! So, we have picked our favourite five seafood eateries across Doha, catering for a host of tastes, styles and budgets, for you to try.
L’Wzaar Seafood Market
If you need convincing to take a trip to Katara's L'wzaar Seafood Market, look no further than the eatery's Instagram page. You can't help but be enticed to visit L'wzaar once you've scrolled through their highlights - the photos are mouth-wateringly tempting. Salivate over snapshots of Oven Baked Scallops served in beautiful clam shells, colourful Bento Boxes with an array of fish and seafood delights in each compartment, sizzling seafood served in Thai Hot Pans, and Tempura Prawns decoratively served with their tails pointing skywards. You might even stumble across a picture of one of the restaurant's VIP guests, #Miss Naomi Campbell.
The restaurant itself sits on the seafront on Katara's promenade, giving you a magnificent view of the ocean while you eat. However, if you prefer a view of the interior, decorated in blue, brown and bronze hues, you can find tables next to aquariums, seats facing the open kitchen, or tables and booths facing the fish market-style counter.
When ordering food, you can choose your fish at the counter and have it cooked as you like, or pick one of the many options from the menu. The fish counter offers fresh, locally caught seafood, such as Barracuda, Hammour, Kingfish, Safi, Sherri and Snapper, or the twice-weekly imports from Europe, including Clams, Cockles, Crabs, Mussels, Oysters, Salmon, Scallops, Seabass, and Tuna. The menu offers a host of fish dishes; our favourites include the FireCracker Prawns cooked with fiery chilli paste, the Crab Broth flavoured with lobster, the Fish and Chips, made with locally caught Hammour fillets, with thick cut chips and cream of tartar sauce, and the Baked Crab. The restaurant has a kid's menu with favourites such as fish burgers, fish fingers and mac'n'cheese with prawns.
Prices at L'wzaar are in the mid-range. So, if you fancy a top-notch meal in a beautiful coastal location and in a distinctive style restaurant without breaking the bank, give L'wzaar a whirl.
Location: Building 27, Katara Cultural Village, Katara
Location Map: L'wzaar Sea Food Restaurant
Directions: Head north out of Doha on the Lusail Expressway to Katara. Once at Katara, park and walk through the village to the seafront promenade where L’wzaar is located.
If travelling by Metro, take the Red Line north to Katara Metro Station.
Opening Hours: Saturday to Thursday, Lunch: 12 pm - 4 pm / Dinner: 7 pm - 11:30 pm; Friday, Lunch: 1 pm - 4 pm / Dinner: 7 pm - 11:30 pm
Contact: +974 4408 0710 / 4408 0711
Other: You can turn up to L’wzaar without a booking, but since it is a popular eatery, it is wise to phone ahead or use the restaurant website booking form to make a reservation.
Burger & Lobster
Image: Burger & Lobster
With a twist on a simple idea, Burger & Lobster, located on The Pearl's marina front, elevates the concept of Surf'n'Turf to a new lofty level. The London-based restaurant, with nine eateries in England's capital, two in Bangkok, Malaysia and Singapore, and one each in Dubai and Kuwait, and most recently, Doha, prides itself on serving craft prime-cut burgers and wild-fresh Atlantic lobsters, done really well.
With just two star edibles to focus on, Burger & Lobster add a myriad of other first-rate ingredients and cooking techniques to create some outstanding dishes. Our first-choice small plates include the comfort food-style Lobster Mac'n'Cheese and the botanic-flavoured Saffron Grilled Prawns. And our top-pick main dishes include the Chermoula Grilled Lobster (fresh grilled lobster marinated in a Chermoula paste and served with saffron rice) and the Mayfair Burger (grilled Black Angus Beef served on a brioche bun). However, if you really want the taste of both the land and the sea, try the Surf'n'Turf Roll (a burger patty and lobster meat combined in a brioche roll and served with a lemon and garlic butter sauce) or one of the Combo plates (grilled or poached lobster and a burger of your choice on one giant plate!).
The restaurant perfectly matches its food offering - smart, stylish and elegant with comfortable leather dining booths, intricately tiled floors, expansive aquariums full of live lobster and views of yachts across the marina.
The prices at Burger & Lobster are on the high side, but it is worth saving your pennies to try some exceptional food!
Location: 6 La Croisette, The Pearl
Location Map: Burger & Lobster Qatar
Directions: Head out of Doha north on the Lusail Expressway to The Pearl via Pearl Boulevard. Take the first exit into Porto Arabia and park at either Tower 5 or 6 for access to Burger & Lobster.
If travelling by Metro, take the Red Line north to Legtaifiya Metro Station. The Metro Express Buses operate between the Legtaifya station and The Pearl.
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday, 12pm - 12 am
Contact: +974 4409 5220
Other: The eatery's open bar area is great for combining a premium meal with some sports action. Its outdoor seating area is perfect for al fresco dining on any of Qatar's balmy winter days.
Danat Al Bahar BBQ Fish
Danat Al Bahar BBQ Fish is a simple fish grill serving outstandingly good grub in atmospheric surroundings that make even first-timers to the eatery feel at home. Located in Doha's Souq Waqif, the city's traditional Arabian bazaar, the restaurant is housed in an old-style stone building built on two levels surrounding a large courtyard where several native species of tree grow, providing shade to guests seated below. The open-air courtyard accommodates a host of long wooden tables and benches painted bright blue with Persian lanterns hung overhead. Indoor tables on the restaurant's first floor also provide views of the souq and of the impressive Fanar Mosque in the near distance. Aesthetically pleasing and communal, it is a very genial place to grab a bite.
The restaurant's dining concept is simple, choose your fresh, locally caught fish or shellfish (by the kg) from the market-style counter and have the chef grill it on the spot, and serve it up hot and fresh with a choice of salad, bread or mandi rice (Yemeni-style spiced rice), and sauce or chutney. Freshly caught seafood includes red snapper, white snapper, sea bream, seabass, sheri, jesh (bluefin trevally), kingfish, hammour, crab, lobster, prawns and squid, to name a few. Our favourites are the squid fry (tiny squid fried in breadcrumbs), grilled prawns, and BBQ sea bass.
While the fish varies in price per kilo according to the market value, the menu is very reasonable, making the eatery super popular and often busy. However, it is worth a try for simple, fresh, delicious seafood and a chance to revel in a local haunt.
Location: Al Ahmed Street, Souq Waqif
Location Map: Danat Al Bahar BBQ Fish
Directions: Located in central Doha, Danat Al Bahar can be reached via Al Corniche Street or Ras Abu Aboud Street and parking in one of Souq Waqif’s many parking facilities.
If travelling by Metro, take the Red Line to Souq Waqif Metro Station.
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday, 12 pm - 12 am
Contact: +974 5095 5517 / 4480 0075
Other: Danat Al Bahar also has an eatery at Souq Wakrah, another traditional Arabian market perched on the coast in what was once the old fishing port of Al Wakrah. The Al Wakrah branch is similarly located in an old-style Qatari building with an enclosed courtyard shaded by trees. The restaurant’s signature blue-painted wooden tables and benches in the courtyard host dozens of guests under strings of fairy lights, creating a relaxed and genial atmosphere equal to the Souq Waqif affiliate. To contact Danat Al Bahar’s Wakrah diner, call +974 7770 7085.
Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Qatar
Bubba Gump Shrimp Company is an American chain restaurant in operation since 1996. Based on the popular 1994 movie starring Tom Hanks, Forrest Gump, the restaurant celebrates all things shrimp after the film's main character's love of these tiny crustaceans. From small beginnings, the restaurant grew across America and expanded over the globe, including opening a franchise in Qatar at the Doha Festival City (DFC) Mall.
DFC's Bubba Gump, following the essence of the original diner, is a shrimp lovers' paradise. The restaurant offers fresh shrimp cooked and prepared in a plethora of ways to suit every taste possible - fried shrimp, sauteed shrimp, steamed shrimp, tempura shrimp, broiled shrimp, shrimp skewers, shrimp sandwiches, shrimp pasta, shrimp mac'n'cheese, shrimp scampi, cajun shrimp, popcorn shrimp, Asian-style shrimp, coconut shrimp (you get the point!). Our favourite is the Seafood Bucket - local crab, fresh shrimp, calamari and mussels cooked with corn and potatoes in a coconut Thai curry sauce and served in a huge shrimp bucket (not for the faint-hearted and definitely a sharing meal). And, while the shrimp is delicious, you can also order a host of other options, including a variety of alternative seafood and meat dishes and popular meals like burgers, tacos, sandwiches, salads and grills.
The eatery itself is styled as a Southern American restaurant/bar - fun, casual and homely. In line with the restaurant's Forrest Gump concept, the diner's walls are lined with memorabilia from the films, as well as movie stills, reproduction costumes, storyboards and scripts. There is even a souvenir shop selling Forrest Gump t-shirts, hats, mugs, glassware, bags, toys and shrimp buckets.
The menu is priced in the mid to high range, but for the experience and food choice, it is worth spending a few extra pennies.
Location: First Floor, Doha Festival City Mall, Al Shamal Road, Umm Salal Muhammed
Location Map: BUBBA GUMP SHRIMP CO. QATAR
Directions: Head out of Doha on the Doha Expressway/Al Shamal Road. Take the exit signposted for DFC and IKEA and park in the mall’s underground parking facility.
Opening Hours: Saturday to Thursday, 12 pm - 11 pm; Friday, 1 pm - 11 pm
Contact: +974 4412 7481
Other: Bubba Gump is located in Doha Festival City Mall, one of Qatar's largest entertainment, dining and shopping destinations. With over 400 retail outlets and a host of entertainment options, such as the Angry Birds theme park, the digital gaming hub Viruocity, the indoor snow park Snow Dunes, kids' play centres and an outdoor leisure trail, once you've eaten, there are plenty of other activities to explore.
Crab Pot Seafood Restaurant
Crab Pot Seafood Restaurant is a tiny restaurant serving big flavours. Located in Muaither, opposite Aspire Park, the eatery predominantly offers takeout service due to its petite size. However, if you can eat in, the experience is almost as good as the food!
Serving dishes of crab, shrimp, mussels and lobster, on their own or as a combination, with rice, corn, peppers and a sauce in a shrimp bucket, you pour out your meal onto a dressed table and tuck in with or without utensils. Eating as a group directly from the table is as fun and as social a meal as you can get.
Buckets and pots are served large for 2-3 people or small for individuals. Each pot comprises your choice of seafood, two types of rice (white and yellow), vegetables, a choice of sauce (from the nine available) and a side salad. You can pick how hot and spicy your meal will be - from not at all to very spicy. If you're not feeling the yellow and white rice option, you can also choose from pasta, paella or noodles, or try the Byriani rice. Other non-pot meals include shrimp and lobster rolls, seafood salads, tacos and soups, and boxes of fried shrimp and calamari. Our top recommendations are the Ocean Pot with a mixture of crab, mussels and shrimp with a coconut or Thai sauce or the Lobster Pot with lemon and butter sauce.
The restaurant's food is mid-range in price, but for the amount of food served and the option of sharing dishes, the cost is very reasonable.
Location: Furousiya Street, Muaither, Ar Rayyan
Location Map: Crab Pot Seafood Resturant
Directions: Head west out of Doha towards Al Waab and the Villaggio Mall. Crab Pot is located on Furousiya Street on the far side of Aspire Park. Parking is available outside of the eatery.
The nearest Metro Station to Crab Pot is Al Aziziyah Metro Station. To reach Al Aziziyah, jump on the Gold Line west. Once at the station, you can walk across Aspire Park to the restaurant.
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday, 11:30 am - 11:30 pm
Contact: +974 4436 5632
Other: Crab Pot has two other branches across Doha, offering the same menu and the same unique service style - Crab Pot - Fereej Al Ali on Rawdat Al Khail Street (+974 7477 2115) and Crab Pot - Al Duhail South on Wadi Al Duhoul Street (+974 4436 1389).
Online takeout can be ordered via Carriage, Snoou, Tabalat, etc.
Main image: Shutterstock/Hashem Issaam Alshanableh
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