Traditional Qatari food is a surprisingly rare food experience in Qatar. This is what you can find at this small and newly opened home-style cooking restaurant in Souq Waqif. A group of five Qatari women run the restaurant. It won’t be a secret for long. As they have started out recently and are located in a quiet back alley of Souq Waqif, this place is the definition of a tasty and offbeat Qatar.
Authentic Qatari dishes at Aljasra Traditional Food, Souq Waqif
Many people wonder where they can try traditional Qatari food “off the beaten path”. Especially when they don’t have any local friends or have never been invited to a meal at a private Majlis. Aljasra Restaurant sets a new benchmark in the offbeat Qatar food category. Four Qatari ladies mage this place who apply true home-cooking to prepare some of the most popular Qatari dishes. The surprise is, that the ladies even serve the food themselves. A rare sight these days, and a good example of Qatari hospitality. If you want to know more about any particular dish, all the ladies are very happy to explain everything. They speak very good English and have interesting stories to tell.
Special note: Because everything is cooked from fresh ingredients only a few dishes will be available. Thus, if you want to eat a particular dish, it is is best to check with them one day before your planned visit. Especially when you plan to visit with a group.
From home-cooking to an offbeat Qatar restaurant
The Qatari ladies, used to cook for family and friends before, but worked in different fields. Due to popular demand, they realized the traditional Qatari food at home is attractive to a lot of people. Then they got inspired to open their own restaurant. Aljasra Restaurant was born.
The place has decoration traditional Qatari handicraft items. Patterns and textiles give it a very cozy feeling. The menu comes in the form of the traditional flag-shaped hand fan. It is is made from woven palm leaves and is called Mahafa. You can quite literally use it to cool yourself down, if you decide to sit outside during summer.
At the ground-floor you can choose between the small outdoor-terrace or a smaller indoor sitting area. The interior has a rustic interior, yet with ultra modern Plasma TV. You will find this at virtually any private Majlis. The TV screened a camel-race when we ate here. You can even ask to change to a particular channel.
Alternatively you can make yourself comfortable on the larger terrace on the roof-top. From here you have a better view on the surrounding Souq. The ladies want to include an outdoor BBQ here in the future.
Qatari Cuisine – Surprisingly offbeat even in Qatar!
Traditional Qatari Food is made up largely of traditional Arab and Levantine dishes. Yet, Qatari dishes are often seasoned slightly different from their original counterparts. Qatari Cuisine is also influenced by Indian and Iranian cuisine. Many ingredients originate from these two countries.
When visiting Qatar you might how offbeat traditional Qatari food is in Qatar. Either try to find some women who sell home-cooked food in different locations around Souq Waqif. Or know someone who cooks it at home. The former option leaves you with a big language barrier. Some of the ladies selling their food on the street speak only very little English. Thus you often do not know what the dishes are. The latter option is hard to pursue and time-consuming.
Even though most dishes are not very difficult to cook, they may take a long time to prepare. Thus Eating out in Aljasra Restaurant is one of your best chances to try traditional Qatari food. Although traditional Qatari Food has influences from Indian Cuisine, it is less spicy than indian cuisine.
Recipe to cook your own Qatari Harees if you have the time and want to recreate it at home.
What makes Aljasra Traditional Qatari Food offbeat?
- This place is run by an all qatari lady team
- It offers quietness and some privacy despite being in the middle of the Souq
- The Dishes taste truly home-cooked
- The design is authentic and cozy
- Great value for money