I’m a bit (okay, VERY) late to the Qatar Link Up party, but whatever.
The restaurant scene in Doha is growing at such a rapid rate that I really can’t keep up. There are so many new restaurants popping up every other week, and they just keep getting better and better. I haven’t even begun to fully explore the many restaurants that have already been long established here, and there are 10 more suddenly appearing each and every week. To choose a favourite restaurant here isn’t easy at all. Choose one? Choose 5? Choose 10? Nope, I can’t do it…. But fine, I’ll end the drama.
So I tried to look at this problem in a more logical way. Surprisingly (okay, maybe not…. Should start being more logical in general I guess?) it worked!
- A restaurant that never fails to make me smile after a good meal, and has never disappointed me with the food. By this I mean, I have been served delicious goodness 110% of the time.
- A restaurant that has ambiance, mood, and just makes your overall dining experience so much better. (I’m sorry, Mr. Taco. This means you’re out of the running! But maybe when you open in QQ?)
- A restaurant with impeccable service that never makes me frown.
- A restaurant which I keep going back to, over and over again, despite the hundreds of other new restaurants in town.
- A restaurant which has sentimental value for me.
When I put it that way…. The decision was easy for me.
Cucina at the Marriott Marquis Doha Hotel.
Cucina has had a place in my heart for a long time. My parents used to go there on their dates back in Dubai, and my mother has been in love with their Tiramisu ever since.
When I moved to Qatar, we started going there as a family every now and then. My family is very picky and the fact that we’ve all agreed to go there more than once speaks volumes about the food.
In other ways, Cucina has also become a special place for me because of who I’ve met there, and the people I continue to go there with. I’ve started going there more often lately since I switched jobs, even for casual lunch or dinner, and the ambiance makes it feel like every meal there is special.
The restaurant itself is gorgeous. Brick walls, the contrast of wood and steel, and the beautiful, low lighting. Watch the chefs cook up a storm as you sit and enjoy a candlelit dinner. Soft Italian music plays in the background and I always find myself tapping away to songs that seem familiar. I’ve never been to Italy, but I hope it’s as cosy as this. The real deal is probably way better, but until I get the chance to actually go I’ll stick with Cucina.
The service is always friendly, and I’ve never ever had a problem while dining there. My food is always on time, the staff always have a smile, and they don’t laugh at me when I can pronounce some of the items on the menu. I’ve been to Cucina so many times that some of them even know me by now! Also, when I can’t finish their big portions, they always ask if I want to have my food packed to go. 🙂
The menu itself is short and to the point and focuses on the classic Italian favourites and then more, and it changes every now and then which is both good and bad. Good because you get to try new things, yay! Bad because they removed my favourite pasta dish last year, something like cannelloni stuffed with cheese and white sauce and spinach then baked until it was ooey gooey deliciousness. This made me very sad. 😦
They have an express lunch menu (which I probably should try at some point), but I always focus on the pasta and pizza. The appetizers are always fresh and delicious, and my favourite would have to be the Insalata Caprese. I used to also love Insalata Rucola but ever since I got food poisoning from eating WAYYYYY too much rocket (a story for another day…) I can’t even stand the sight of it. But it was delicious when I could stand eating it!
A constant pizza favourite is the margherita. A lot of people think it’s so easy to make a margherita pizza, but honestly I’ve been to a place or two where they got it wrong. The margherita at Cucina is fresh, simple, and instantly devoured when it arrives at my table.
Favourite pasta dishes from my recent trip and the latest change in the menu (BRING BACK MY OOEY GOOEY CHEESE… please.) are the Tortiglioni Al Ragu, yummy braised ground beef and tomato ragout with tortiglioni pasta, and the Casarecce Con Agnello E Pecorino, soft and tender lamb ragout with Sardinian pecorino and casarecce pasta. It was at this point that the waitress kindly refrained from laughing at my pronunciation and just said it out loud for me as I pointed at the menu. I had them at two separate occasions and both were perfectly cooked. Though the lamb from the casarecce was more tender, I just preferred the Tortiglioni more!
I’ve also tried the Gnocchi di Patate Con Panna E Pesto, which was basically potato gnocchi with pesto. When I say tried, I mean I stole a bit from J’s plate. The pesto was yummy, but I’m just not a fan of gnocchi so one bite was enough. 🙂
Like I said, I’ve never been disappointed yet with Cucina when it comes to taste, service, and ambiance, and that’s more than enough to make it my favourite restaurant in Doha.
Also, yes, I do realise I take horrible photos thank you bye.