If you take a stroll along the Venetian-style roads of Qanat Quartier, following the intricate network of canals past its pretty pastel houses, you will soon notice that things are starting to pick up. This previously sleepy corner of The Pearl has a new hustle and bustle about its characterful squares and plazas; friends sit at little iron tables sipping coffee and chatting; families can be seen milling about, taking photos on stylish bridges. Finally, this small segment of Qatar is starting to display some of the Riviera lifestyle and Italian charm that it was built to represent. But what has brought about this sudden change?
Well, the restaurants have started to open of course!
There is nothing like the rumour of a decent new eatery opening to tempt Doha dwellers out of their villas and into their four by fours for a little visit. And if its ‘Little Venice’ you’re visiting, you won’t be disappointed. Here are my top restaurant picks in the area, and why I think they’re worth the trip.
1. Best for Breakfast: The Breakfast Club
With an extensive menu of all of my favourite breakfast items, including some unique and surprising alternatives from around the world, this restaurant caters for a wide variety of tastes and will be sure to kick-start your day. Hailing from Kuwait, The Breakfast Club now has restaurants in Bahrain as well as Qanat Quartier, and I’ve heard rumours that it’s about to open a second branch elsewhere in Qatar. It’s the first breakfast place to open on the Pearl to really rival Eggspectation (but in my opinion it’s not quite there yet).
Don’t miss: the Shakshuka
2. Best for a Sweet Treat: Waffles and Coffee
If you’re looking for a waffle that will blow you away you might be disappointed, but if it’s a quick sugar hit you’re after, accompanied by a swift injection of caffeine then this place defintiely hits the spot. Waffles and Coffee is a pretty little cafe located on the Rialto Bridge, and its terrace showcases gorgeous views over the pastel houses and canals below.
Don’t miss: the fully-loaded Signature Waffle
3. Best Healthy Option: Evergreen Organics
Organics opened in 2016 to widespread acclaim and a deluge of ‘big
name’ visitors. And rightly so – it is the country’s first 100% vegan
cafe and it’s pretty damn chic after all! Focussing on seasonal,
organic, raw ingredients, the items on the menu are not only good for
the waistline but good for the conscience too (and it’s no secret that
they even taste pretty good too. Just avoid the raw brownie. Cakes like
these just aren’t the same unless they’re oozing chocolate and sugar in
Dont miss: the fresh coconuts, Acai bowls and raw Zucchini Putanesca
4. Best Atmosphere and Views: Esmer Chef
My experience at Esmer Chef was mixed, but the location and ambience is unrivaled in Qanat Quartier. With an outdoor terrace which takes diners right to the edge of the canal, and views over the Rialto bridge and some of the prettiest of the pastel houses, I could have wiled many hours away chatting with friends while enjoying the al fresco dining and picturesque scenery. Some items on the split Italian/Turkish menu could do with a little refining, but it’s worth a visit for the ambience alone.
Don’t miss: the Spaghetti Bolognaise
I’m now on the look-out for a decent lunch spot, and somewhere that does an excellent coffee in the area. Any recommendations?
I was a guest at two of the above restaurants but as always all views are my own.