If you are looking for an authentic South American culinary experience, Ipanema is one of the few restaurants in Doha that would fulfill your expectations.
Ipanema it's tucked away on the second floor of the Marriott Marquis City Centre Doha, on the same level as Cucina and Champions.
The restaurant has become very popular among meat eaters in the country as it offers 15 different types of cuts of meat, chicken, lamb and duck.
For those of you who do not fancy meat, there is the option of having grilled shrimp, salads and other appetizing side dishes, - I especially recommend the fried bananas, black beans, and rice.
When one visit this restaurant one should be ready to eat in big portions. The concept is very simple. A server comes and gives each diner a small rounded cardboard, one side red, and the other green. One flips the disc to green to bring on the meat, and red to stop.
'Pasadores" - as they are called - walk around the restaurant carrying big skewers that resemble swords full of grilled meats.
The Pasadores also bring to the table French fries, fried bananas, and a bread basket. The small round cheese bread is spectacular. They are so fresh and cheese that is an absolute indulgence.
Before starting the meat feast, I head over to the soup and salad buffet to see what's on offer (not that the fries and bananas are not scrumptious enough), but everything in this restaurant is so yummy that one needs to try as many dishes as possible.
For starters, the lentil soup is good. The soup is creamy with just a hint of salt and pepper. It is a great start to a meal. But we are not here for the soup, so I grab some black beans and white rice from the buffet to accompany the cuts of meat that I am about to devour.
I flip my coin to green and so it begins. Fortunately, the staff in Ipanema is super attentive, you don't have to wait long for the food to come to your table. It is fast. The Pasadores tell us we will be trying 15 different cuts. Although my companion and I are up for the challenge, I personally do not think we will try all of them. I must warn you that this dinner experience is heavy on the red meat, with several different kinds of steak and beef, followed by lamb in several forms, chicken, and shrimp.
The quality of the meat it is outstanding. Different skewers of steak keep coming our way with options of rare, medium and well-done.
The restaurant equips diners with little pincers to help you grab your meat as the passadores cut it off. One of the best aspects of dining in Ipanema is the interaction with the waiters.
The grilled shrimp is delightful, while the grilled pineapple is just delish. It comes to me as a surprise to see how many people are so fascinated by this warm, toasty dish. It is a nice way to make a break from all the delicious meat.
To make the experience even more delightful a Brazil band plays their hypnotizing tunes all-night-long.
The prices are good, the meat is of the highest quality and the service is terrific. To top it all of the ambiance takes you to a romantic carnival night in Rio de Janeiro. If you haven't visited Ipanema yet, make it a priority next time you plan to dine out.
Different type of cuts offered at the restaurant
1. Chicken Wings
2. Chicken Drumsticks
3. Chicken Breast wrapped in Beef Bacon
4. Leg of lamb
5. Lamb Chops
6. Grilled Shrimp
7. Rump Steak
8. Flank Steak
9. Marinated Beef Cubes
10. Top Sirloin
11. Rib Eye
12. Top Side Wagyu
13. Smoked Beef
14. Beef Short Ribs
15. Beef Sausage
16. Duck Breast (seasonal)
Location: Level 2, Marriott Marquis City Centre Doha
Average meal price: QR 244, just food
Dinner: Daily from 6:30 p.m. till 11:30 p.m.
Brunch: Fridays from 12:30 noon till-3:30 p.m.
Contact information: 4419-5000