Curious what to do in Qatar? We’ve got just the tour guide.
A veteran of the hospitality industry, Sadbir Sharma has worked for hotels in Dubai, Lake Tahoe, Miami, and, most recently, Doha, Qatar’s capital. With a guide to great dining and exceptional cordiality, Sadbir takes us on a tour of a city he’s come to consider a second home.
“Doha is a young, vibrant city that opens the door to people from all over the world. The Qataris themselves—they’re such welcoming people.
You definitely have to do the dunes. The 4x4 will come and pick you up, and an hour later, you’re in the desert. They take you to this tent; they welcome you with coffee, with some dates.
They wash your hands in the old style, where somebody has a water jug in their hand. They cook one of the best foods you can experience: ouzi rice with a baby lamb on top.
Qatari food is a basic food with rice and with meat. The one thing with Qatari food is the portions: it’s all family stuff. You put it in the center, and everybody shares. The culture is all about sharing the bread, sharing the dining experience.
There are a lot of flavors in Qatari food, lots of herbs. There’s harees—it could be with chicken, could be with meat—and that’s very popular. And then you have thareed, you have madrouba. My favorite, I would say, is machboos: it’s chicken or lamb, and there’s this very flavored rice underneath. The flavor is from a lot of spices: cardamom, cloves, cumin, coriander, mustard seeds.
The experience when you go to the souk is so surreal. You’ve got so many colors, so many shops where you can buy pashminas. These vendors—they come from Iran, they come from Syria. They’ve been here fifty years. You have the local oud player, and he’ll be somewhere in the souk. He’s playing this music, and it just attracts you. It’s like somebody’s pulling you toward them.
Every time I’m at the airport and I’m driving, I see the skyline, I see the lights, the colors. You’re passing through the museum, you’ve got the souk on one side, you’ve got the corniche on the other side—it just makes you feel warm.”
Museum Of Islamic Art
Mon-Thu, Sat-Sun: 9:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.; Fri: 1:30 p.m.-7:00 p.m
Shakespeare And Co.
Al Wakra Main Street Dar Al Salam Mall, Doha
Mon-Sun: 8:00 a.m.-11:30 p.m.
Mon-Sun: 7:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., 3:30-10:00 p.m.
Doha (cover image). Image by @visitqatar
Sadbir Sharma. Image courtesy of Sadbir Sharma
Doha. Image by @mortezafay