Food and Drink in Qatar

Find out about traditional Qatari cuisine and the typical Qatari meals, dishes and ingredients to be found throughout the country...

Food in Qatar reflects Muslim food preferences, and it is rich in African, Indian and Iranian influences, as well as offering modern international favourites.

Traditionally, Qatari people ate lightly in the morning and evening and had their main meal in the middle of the day. This habit is changing with many families having their main meal in the evening. For many people, the Friday midday meal following prayers is the week's main family gathering. During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims fast between dawn and dusk. Elaborate, festive meals are served after nightfall. Eating and drinking in public during daylight hours in Ramadan is prohibited for all, whether fasting or not.

Qatari people are very proud to be hospitable which reflects their Bedouin heritage, and food and drink play an important role in this. People may take offence if visitors turn down food and drinks that are offered. Eating is considered to be an important social and family ritual, and it is customary for people to taste and share a large number of dishes during a meal.

Eating Out

The ever increasing influence of global food choices in recent years has led to many restaurants and fast food franchises opening in Qatar. They are mainly used by foreigners, as eating in public places is not popular with Qataris, especially women. However, they do use the delivery and drive through services offered by many restaurants. American fast food restaurants are very popular with young people with the many international chains being well represented.

There are numerous world class restaurants in Qatar, many of which are located in hotels. There are many Italian, French, Swiss, Greek, British, Indian, Chinese, American and Spanish restaurants to choose from. As well as the wide range of hotel options there are small eating places, though these are not allowed to serve alcohol.

Many places sell snacks with the traditional showarma being very popular. It is lightly spiced grilled lamb or chicken served rolled in a pocket of Arabic bread with salad, pickles, lime juice and tahini. Falafel and sandwiches are other common snack choices.

Milkshakes and cocktail juices are very popular and are readily available in the many juice bars to be found in the country.