Al Aker: Keeping alive a tradition of excellence
If you've tried knafeh in Qatar, you probably already know that the name is almost synonymous with Al Aker.
Our team had the privilege of visiting Al Aker Sweets and Sawani Al Aker to sample some of the best Arab cuisine Qatar has to offer.
Al Aker is something of a household name in Qatar and the Gulf, for the very valid reason that it delivers consistently excellent traditional sweets and savory foods.
The establishment is best known for its mouthwatering knafeh, which was, until only a few years ago, not exactly a sought-after dessert in the country.
Al Aker Sweets changed that almost as soon as it opened its doors, making the sweet, cheese-filled dish a must-try for any foodie visiting or living in Qatar. Indeed, when the first branch opened, it was not uncommon to see people queuing to buy the sweet outside the shop and even around the corner.
The founder—Mr. Al Aker—is, in fact, part of a Palestinian family that has been making sweets in Palestine for generations. He brought the name to Qatar, along with all the satisfying flavors of his homeland.
What started with a small sweet shop near Salwa Road around five years ago has since expanded into a chain of successful branches across Qatar and other countries in the Gulf. Sawani Al Aker, the comparatively lesser known but equally delicious part of the business, caters to the savory side of things.
Its shawarma is arguably one of the best in Qatar, not to mention very reasonable priced (QR 15 for a sandwich that could easily feed two people). This also makes Sawani Al Aker’s branch in The Pearl one of the best places to grab a bite, especially if you’re on a budget.
The restaurant’s name comes from sawani, a type of the aluminum mold that can be used to cook meat; a dish that, much like the case of knafeh, had not been introduced to the palate of many in Qatar, until Al Aker came along.
So whether you’re in the mood for a light repast, a heavy comforting meal or just need to pick up a box of celebratory sweets, Al Aker has you covered. Anyone visiting Qatar or introducing visitors to the country and Middle Eastern cuisine should definitely stop by one of Al Aker’s many branches. For those of you in the mood to stay in, they deliver as well.
If nothing else, try the knafeh. Even if you’re mildly lactose intolerant, you won’t regret it for a second!