July 06, 2023
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Great Grub Close to Khalifa International Stadium

When the FIFA World Cup Qatar ended in December 2022, the supporters disbanded and now await the next tournament in 2026. However, the legacy of the 2022 competition will live on in Qatar, primarily through the eight stadiums that hosted the event. These immense and iconic venues, through their history and careful design forethought for the future, will be leading lights in Qatar for some time. 

The 2022 tournament stadiums will always attract visitors keen to gaze upon historic, hallowed World Cup grounds or glimpse the extraordinary architecture. But the venues will attract more than just avid football fans over the coming years. Seven stadiums, designed to be sustainable for the future, will be transformed into a modern hub for sports, leisure, entertainment and relaxation for locals and visitors, meaning that the venues will continue to give back to the community and the economy. The only stadium not to stay standing will be 974 Stadium; fully demountable, this stadium will be dismantled and the area rebuilt as a waterfront destination for leisure and entertainment.

As guests and visitors continue to be drawn to the stadiums or transformed areas, the need for amenities and facilities will also remain, especially those offering sustenance and refreshments. Fortunately, we have some great recommendations for eateries a stone’s throw from each venue.

Khalifa International Stadium

Established in 1976, the Khalifa International Stadium has hosted major sporting events in Qatar since its inauguration. The arena was the only FIFA World Cup 2022 venue to have been redeveloped rather than newly constructed. The stadium was extensively refurbished for the 2022 tournament, including expanding the venue's capacity to 40,000 seats, remodelling the stadium facade, installing two swimming pools and car parking underground and two 120m tall arches and a canopy above ground to provide protection from the sun and create the stadium's iconic look. The stadium was also fitted with an energy-efficient, intelligent cooling system, a host of hospitality and VIP zones, and retail space. Plus, a new museum (3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum) was constructed adjoining the stadium. Khalifa Stadium may be decades old, but there is so much to see and do on its doorstep that it is one of the country's top stadiums to visit.

Already part of Qatar's premier Sports Centre of Excellence - Aspire, the stadium, now that the 2022 tournament is complete, will be retained as it is - Qatar's most significant international sporting and events arena. The stadium joins many state-of-the-art venues in Aspire where the sporting talents of the next generations are honed. Those venues include Aspire Academy - a training and education centre for the development of world-class athletes, Aspire Dome - the largest indoor multi-sport facility in the world, Hamad Aquatic Centre, Aspetar - a specialised orthopaedic and sports medicine hospital, a host of other specialist sports centres, and a multitude of leisure facilities for the public. 

You won't go hungry while visiting the stadium; surrounded by green spaces, malls and busy streets, the area is full of places to eat. So, if you're looking for fantastic food close to Khalifa International Stadium, we recommend the following three establishments.

Benihana

Image: stockyimages /Shutterstock.com

Located in Villagio Mall, just a 10-minute walk from the stadium, Benihana is the perfect spot to head after a spot of sightseeing for an indulgent meal that will make your taste buds happy! Benihana, one of the world's largest restaurant chains serving Japanese cuisine for over 40 years, features an array of delicious dishes, including Hibachi steaks, sushi rolls and tempura platters.

Start your meal with signature appetisers such as Sashimi, Nigiri or Sushi Rolls from the Sushi Bar, or Edamame or Spring Rolls from the Hot Appetisers menu, then move on to main Hibachi dishes that are sure to delight your palate. If this is your first experience of Hibachi-style cooking, Benihana is an excellent spot to experience it. Hibachi is a distinct cooking style where the chef uses an iron griddle to cook food in front of diners. This cooking method preserves the food's natural flavours and adds an exciting flair to your dining experience. Try the Hibachi chicken, tuna or sirloin steak -they're each a flavour sensation. Don't forget to save room for dessert — the brownies with Vanilla Ice cream or the Banana Tempura with Vanilla Ice cream are not to be missed!

The restaurant has normal-style dining tables and multi-person tables arrayed around the cooking grills. You can also book private grill tables at an added cost. 

If you have more time to spare, try shopping and exploring the Villaggio Mall. The mall's interiors, including a canal and gondolas, are Venice-inspired and a favourite among Qatar's residents. Besides shopping, the mall has many other fun activities, from go-karting to ice skating. A visit to Benihana, and Villaggio, is the perfect way to round off a visit to one of Qatar's most iconic landscapes!

Location: Villaggio Mall, Al Waab Street, Doha

Hours: Saturday - Thursday, 11 am – 10:30 pm

Friday, 1 pm – 10:30 pm

Contact: +974 4001 1177

Website: https://www.benihanainternational.com/locations/doha-qatar/

Instagram: @benihana.qtr

Flat White Specialty Coffee

Image: kopunka/Shutterstock.com

Flat White Specialty Coffee

Just an 8-minute walk from the Khalifa International Stadium, Flat White Specialty Coffee is a popular homegrown coffee spot and part of a successful chain. Pioneered by two Qatari entrepreneurs aiming to improve Qatar's coffee offering, the coffee shop chain has been internationally recognised as one of the top cafes in the world. Needless to say, a coffee enthusiast would be spoilt for choice with their extensive selection of coffee blends and coffee brewing methods (including their famous Flat White). 

Flat White also has an extensive menu for a cafe with some delectable brunch options. Our favourites from the menu are De Vine Doha - a delicious butternut and bean rosemary ragu on toast, and the Ranchero Mariachi - a poached eggs dish with red salsa, avocados, labneh, and sourdough bread. They also serve a great variety of sandwiches and cakes, as well as gluten-free and vegan options for those with special dietary requirements. 

The cafe near Khalifa Stadium has indoor and outdoor seating and sports a relaxed decor with plenty of green plants and comfy leather chairs. Aside from the coffee, brunch and cosy surroundings, the shop's location, the Iconic 2022 building, is part of its charm. The Iconic 2022 building is an architectural masterpiece. Designed by Qatari Architect Ibrahim al Jaidah, ICONIC is the first building in the world in the numerical shape of a specific year, 2022 - very instagrammable and definitely worth checking out - a great photo backdrop to commemorate your visit to the 2022 FIFA World Cup Host country.

Location: Al Buwairda Street, Doha

Hours: Saturday - Thursday, 7 am - 11 pm

Friday, 7 am - 11:30 am, 12:30 pm - 11 pm

Contact: +974 5083 5065

Website: https://www.flatwhite.qa

Instagram: @flatwhite.qa

Naua

Image: Naua Doha

Naua

Naua, located in the 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic & Sports Museum, is a newly opened restaurant just a 5-minute walk from the Khalifa Stadium. A unique, casual, fine-dining concept crafted by Michelin-starred chef Tom Aikens, the menu at Naua is designed with health and well-being at its core. In fact, Naua is the only restaurant in Doha based on the concept of healthy meets gourmet dining. 

Awarded two Michelin Stars by 26, Tom Aikens is a celebrated British chef. He appeared on television on multiple occasions, including on The Great British Menu as one of the contestants and also as one of the veteran chef judges. He currently heads Michelin-starred London restaurant Muse, three hotel eateries in Abu Dhabi, one in Jakarta and one in Tokyo, and Naua.

Naua is on the 3-2-1 museum's 8th floor and provides incredible views of Khalifa Sports City and beyond. During the day, lots of natural light streams through the floor-to-ceiling windows and with interiors of wooden accents and plants hanging from the ceiling, the dining experience feels wrapped in nature. 

Highlighting that healthy food can be exciting and delicious, the menu at Naua focuses on a farm-to-table concept. Fresh and seasonal ingredients create healthy yet flavorful dishes- each a work of art. Some of our favourites on the menu are the Cauliflower and Raisin Tabbouleh, the Black and Green, and Lamb Loin. Make sure you don't skip out on the guilt-free desserts as, just like everything else on the menu they are delicious and beautifully plated. Naua is an excellent spot for a quick, healthy, yet satisfying lunch before or after spending time at the stadium. 

Location: Aspire Park Road, Doha

Hours: Saturday - Thursday, 12:30 pm - 3 pm

Friday, Closed

Contact: +974 4452 5190

Website: https://321qosm.org.qa/en/

Instagram: @naua.doha

If you are taking the time to visit each of the 2022 World Cup stadiums (which we heartily recommend), keep hunger at bay while you sightsee by checking out the following recommendations for some top eateries in the vicinity of each venue:

Main image: Noushad Thekkayil /Shutterstock.com

Published: November 14, 2022
Last updated: July 06, 2023
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