TGI Fridays, Medina Centrale

I love steak, really love it. I am a bit picky though – it has to be fillet, it has to be well seasoned, it has to be medium rare and it has to be served without a sauce. I can list the best three steaks I’ve had in my life 1. Keens in New York 2. Asador Steakhouse in Berlin 3. Jazz Club at the Oryx Rotana in Doha. I know I’ve had a good steak because I have to pause before my final bite and I get a bit tearful. So, Friday lunchtime I was craving broccoli and a steak. I wanted to sit outside and I wanted to use an Entertainer voucher so a quick flick through the book and we opted for TGI Fridays on The Pearl. Perhaps not the first place that comes to mind when you think of a great steak but bare with me…!


I’ve had tenderloin steak a few times at TGI Fridays and Chilis in Doha and they’ve been pretty good. TGI Fridays on The Pearl has a lovely outside seating area and now it’s pedestrianized it’s quiet place to sit and enjoy the warmer weather. 

Our server brought us menus quickly and we opted to share an appetizer and have a main course each. For our appetizer we had a half portion of Cajun chicken and shrimp fettuccini. It was deliciously creamy with succulent chicken and prawn. However, it was so good we’d eaten it before I took a photograph! For our our main course we both ordered steak, medium rare with mushroom, onion and garlic sauce. Mine with sides of cheesy mash and broccoli and Greg chose cheesy mash and onion rings.


 We were asked to cut into the steak to check it had been cooked to our preference; they both had. I wish I’d asked for my sauce on the side as it was already on my steak breaking my ‘ no sauce rule’ but luckily it was not overpowering and so it didn’t spoil my enjoyment. The mash was lovely and rich, the broccoli still had crunch to it and the steak was a good size and tasted fantastic, it was really tender and tasty. Unfortunately at this point we started to get bombarded by dozens of flies – so much so we couldn’t eat our meal so we quickly picked up our food and moved inside. The staff seemed a bit worried we were upset but we weren’t, we just didn’t want our food to get cold!


We really enjoyed our food, I agree there more refined restaurants in Doha serving steak to an excellent standard but for informal dining in a chain restaurant you can’t go wrong here. Our bill came to 150QR for 3 main courses, 2 soft drinks with refills and a tip. We got one meal free as we used an Entertainer voucher. On a side note there is also an Entertainer voucher for the Jazz Club at the Oryx Rotana, you should definitely have the tenderloin ( pictured below) there as its scrumptious!

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TGI Fridays Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

5 Al Fresco dining ideas 

Sawa, Marsa Malaz

Such a beautiful hotel and this restaurant on the lower ground floor had an outside terrace overlooking the Pearl and the beach. It is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and also offers an express lunch on weekdays and brunch on a weekend. The menu is a mix of various cuisines to satisfy most people and the food is superb. 

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Opal, St Regis

Opal has a shaded terrace that overlooks the hotel grounds and the Pearl. It’s the perfect place to take advantage of the cooler weather over some refreshing drinks and good food. They open daily for lunch and dinner and on a Thursday evening they offer a promotion on wine, beer and cocktails and you can select 3 small snacks for 80QR. With the DJ playing chill out tracks it’s the ideal way to start your weekend.

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Elements, Four Seasons

This newish restaurant is one of my favourites. The food is excellent, the service is good and the terrace is lovely. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily and also offering a business lunch on week days and weekend brunch. The Saturday buffet for 170QR including water is good value for money. 

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French Olive, Barwa Tower

Located on C Ring Road a fantastic Mediterranean menu inspired by French and Italian dishes. They have lots of tables inside too where you can drool over the patisserie items or you can sit outside on the patio area. The food is reasonably priced and is family friendly. It’s open from 7am – 11pm.

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Spikes Lounge, Doha Golf Course

Open to the public with a large terrace overlooking the course and West Bay, an oasis of green. The menu is made up of ‘pub grub’ such as pie, fish and chips, burgers and pastas. The portion sizes are big so make sure you’re hungry when you go. Spikes also offers an early evening happy hour on drink and a buffet on a Friday. 

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Jones the Grocer, The Pearl

When a foodie suggested I take my family who are visiting to Jones the Grocer for breakfast I was a bit unsure. We’ve been to the outlet at Gate Mall several times but poor service and a pretty hefty bills took their toll and we haven’t been for over a year. However, the reviews of the (newish) outlet at The Pearl seemed positive so we gave it a try. After a lovely stroll around the Pearl in the morning sunshine we arrived about 9.30am and all the tables outside were free. What a view – West Bay in the distance, million riyal yachts sailing by, paddle boarders, joggers – just lovely.


As soon as we sat down a waiter came out, welcomed us and we perused the menu. Fresh juices and coffee arrived quickly and we ordered breakfast. The food arrived within ten minutes, fresh, hot and really tasty. Three orders of Eggs Benedict one with salmon, one with ham, one with bacon and all with runny yolk eggs as requested, toasted muffin, salad and a good dollop of rich hollandaise sauce (although this could have done with a splash more vinegar and lemon to make it shaper).

   
I ordered french toast with berries and mascarpone and it was perfect. The toast was crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle, the mascarpone was thick and rich and the berries were sweet without being tart. There was a good balance of each component part.

 It was quite a quick visit as we had plans for the rest of the day but we all really enjoyed it. The food was really good, the service was quick and friendly and the view was stunning. The bill came to 300QR which is fair but I probably wouldnt spend that much on breakfast every weekend! Jones the Grocer is back on my list of places to eat – maybe I’ll try Gate Mall again…..!

Jones The Grocer Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Nonna Zanon, West Bay

The first time we tried to find Nonna Zanon we drove around West Bay in circles – if you go look out for Regency Residence Tower and you’ll find the restaurant on the ground floor. I was delighted to see an outside terrace and even though there’s not much of a view it was still nice to have an al fresco lunch.

A table outside was quickly set for us and we were given a menu and a daily specials board, the menu isn’t huge but I quite like that – there were definitely several dishes I’d like to have tried

Greg chose arancini for his starter and I opted for parmigiana melanzane along with focaccia to share. Before our starters arrived we were presented with an amuse bouche, a little deep fried, cheesy mushroom ball sat on a rock. It was delicious and a nice little touch. I also liked the fact that the water we ordered was served in a pitcher rather than out of a bottle.

The starters were a generous size. Greg liked his arancini they were light, crisp and not too greasy. My parmigiana melanzane was really tasty. The aubergine was finely sliced and there was a good balance of cheese and tomato, the rocket on top added a peppery crunch.

Now, this is where things start to go a little down hill. I had ordered the four cheese risotto from the daily specials and Greg chose salmon penne. A suitable time after our starters the main courses arrived and I was surprised to see my risotto was very yellow. A couple of mouthfuls in I realised it was really salty too and not at all cheesy. We called over the waitress to check it was the four cheese risotto and she confirmed it was. I commented that maybe it was the saffron and parmesan risotto off the main menu and the order had been mixed up but she was assured me it wasn’t. I asked Greg to taste some to check it wasn’t just my taste buds but he said it was very salty and didn’t really taste of much else.  I left over half of the dish as it really wasn’t pleasant. Greg really enjoyed the salmon penne which he ended up sharing with me, it was perfectly cooked and the sauce was lovely and creamy.

When the waitress came to clear the table I again asked her to confirm which risotto it was and she said the four cheese, this was also reflected in the bill ( the specials were more).

The bill for 2 starters, 2 mains, a large water and tip was 225QR which I think was reasonable but I’m still not convinced I was served the right dish! I’m not sure if we’d go back – Greg really enjoyed his meal and 4/5 dishes we were served were delicious but my main course wasn’t up to scratch. Maybe I do need to go back but avoid the risotto?!

Nonna Zanon Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

French Olive, Barwa Tower

We hadn’t intended to go to French Olive on Friday morning ( Nonna Zanons was closed) but I’m glad we ended up there, I was very impressed with the food and service. There is ample parking at Barwa Tower and French Olive has indoor seating or an outside terrace – admittedly the view is of C Ring road but it’s still nice to sit outside. It was fairly quiet when we arrived and the menus were brought to us quickly. Carol our server was polite, friendly and efficient throughout the meal.

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The menu is a mix of salads, tarts, sandwiches, pizzas, pastas, meat and fish dishes – there really is something for everyone. Shortly after we ordered we were brought a variety of breads with olives, a tomato dip and olive oil with balsamic, the bread was very nice. For starters we decided to share calamari, firstly because this was only meant to be a light lunch but secondly I found the starters quite expensive. When the calamari came it was really nicely presented and was crispy, fresh and well seasoned not rubbery or chewy.

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For our main course I had chicken pasta in a creamy pink garlic sauce, it was delicious. Big chunks of tender chicken, a good portion of fresh pasta bound in a rich creamy mascarpone sauce – yummy. Gregs pizza was also freshly made – a perfect thin, crispy base with a good ratio of meat / veg to cheese.

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By now we were so full we boxed up half of the pizza and pasta and I went for a nosey inside. There was a vast array of beautifully decorated cakes on display, someone with a sweetooth would be in sugar heaven. I contemplated buying some chocolate truffles but felt it was better left for our next visit as we will definitely go back.

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Its sometimes rare in Doha to have good service and good food but French Olive seem to have mastered it! Our bill was 350QR for 2 fresh juices, large water, a starter, 2 mains and a tip which I thought was reasonable for a very filling lunch.

The French Olive Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Hakkasan, St Regis

Hakkasan is one of my favourite restaurants in Doha. The food is incredible, I like the design and atmosphere of the restaurant and the service is always very attentive. We have had several outstanding meals there notably the Chinese New Year menu after which we felt inspired to book a holiday to China! However, in May a large group of us went for Friday brunch and I felt underwhelmed by the experience and after leaving some constructive feedback Paul the Deputy General Manager got in touch and invited me and a guest back for the proper Hakkasan experience. Eventually Emma and I found ourselves available at the same time so on Friday off we headed.

The temperature has dropped recently and although there was a storm in the air we chose to sit outside. The terrace is a lovely area with lanterns, a small stream and trellising which breaks up the space, the tables are spaced well enough apart it doesn’t feel cramped. We started by ordering cocktails ( the choice is vast and the staff are always willing to advise based on your preferences) then Paul came over and we had a chat about the menu, the Golden Week promotion which was on and how brunch has changed slightly to overcome initial issues similar to the ones we faced several months ago.

Emma and I both ordered the Hakka dim sum and we were advised to try the ‘Golden Week’ dim sum – it was superb, especially the scallop and lobster. We were told that on a Friday morning 800 dim sum are made by hand which is no mean fate when you consider the delicacy and consistency of each one. The dim sum were quite filling so for our main course we ordered off the ‘ small bites’ section of the menu choosing prawn toast and salt and pepper squid. The prawn toast was very good, really crispy and packed with prawn. The salt and pepper squid was also good, not too spicy with a thick crisp batter. As both of these dishes were fried it was more than enough to share or I think it may have become a bit too heavy. Golden Week macrons were brought to us as dessert, they were so beautiful it seemed a shame to eat them but we managed, they were incredibly light and sweet and melted in your mouth.

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It was a lovely evening, the food and service was superb throughout. As Emma and I were guests we paid only for a selection of what we ordered and some was complimentary. My faith in Hakkasan has been restored and I would be happy to return for a brunch knowing the issues we had in May have been addressed. If you do go during the cooler months I would recommend a table outside as it really is pretty.