Within the capital Doha, there is a wide range of quality dining options, many but not all of which are to be found in the 5-star hotels. The locally caught fish is a treat whether lowered genteelly to your plate with silver service or brought sizzling to the table on kebab sticks at a more local-style café. If the ubiquitous Gulf menu of rice, lamb and mezze (homos, chopped salads and other appetisers) is not to your taste, then there are plenty of Indian, Chinese and Thai options to suit all budgets. The fruit concoctions – such as lemon and mint, or avocado milkshake – are irresistible in summer. Options for dining are limited outside Doha.
Do note that alcohol is widely available in most top-end restaurants and hotel bars in Doha although it is officially reserved for hotel guests or ’club members’. Drinking alcohol in public outside these establishments is prohibited.
Aside from the expected Middle Eastern cuisine, Qatar's close proximity to Europe, Africa and Asia means that much of the dishes here are influenced by other countries and cultures. Thai, Indian, Moroccan, even Tex-Mex and German – all these different types of food have their place in Doha. Qataris also love American chains, so don't be surprised to see McDonald's, Burger King, KFC, Chili's, Pizza Hut and Applebee's. Of course, people don't necessarily travel to the Middle East for American fast food, so be sure to take advantage of the other types of cuisine while visiting.
Since Qatar is surrounded by water on three sides, and Doha itself is a port city, fresh seafood is one of the highlights here. Grilled fish and fish stew are popular dishes, and there's a heavy emphasis on vegetables. Because a majority of the population is Muslim, restaurants do not serve pork, so lamb is the most common meat available.
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