Traditional Middle Eastern food to enjoy during Ramadan

Traditional Middle Eastern food to enjoy during Ramadan

Qatar Living
By Qatar Living

Traditional Middle Eastern food is a popular favorite amongst both citizens and residents in Qatar during the month of Ramadan. From a wholesome bowl of Harees to a rich dollop of Umm Ali, Middle Eastern foods are varied in taste, texture and appearance; with each dish drawing on its roots.

The month of Ramadan involves quite a bit of planning and food prep which can be quite overwhelming. If you’re looking for places to get your Middle Eastern favorites, here’s a list of traditional Middle Eastern foods to enjoy during Ramadan along with suggestions for restaurants to get them.

Soups and appetizers


A popular dish in both Arab and Asian households, this wholesome bowl of soup comprises of shredded meat, wheat and lentils. Packed with nutrients to boost your energy, harees is best enjoyed during iftar. 

Restaurant suggestions: Mugalt Harees Alwaldah, Kashta Qatar and Hareesna


Stews are an excellent option to break your fast with, and the Moroccan based Harira is a crowd favorite here in Qatar. Comprising of a chickpea stew, durum wheat and toppings, harira is cooked with tender pieces of lamb or meat, a variety of spices and a rich tomato broth making for a delectable dish during iftar.

Restaurant suggestions: Mssamen & Atai


You cannot do without fried foods during iftar and sambousa is a household favorite. A crunchy pastry stuffed with a variety of fillings such as spicy potatoes, minced meat, veggies or cheese, sambousa is an excellent treat to share with family and friends during iftar.

Restaurant suggestions: Gahwetna and Basta Qatar


A deep fried snack made of ground chickpeas, falafel is the perfect go-to snack in between iftar and suhoor. In Qatar falafel is served both as an appetizer or wrap. Want to grab a quick bite before taraweeh prayers? Head to your nearest falafel restaurant for a lip smacking treat.

Restaurant suggestions: Falafel Al-Akawi, Palestine restaurant, Huda Restaurant and Petra


A flaky pastry available in a variety of fillings such as meat, cheese, spinach or potatoes, Börek is a crispy and healthy snack that is enjoyed both during iftar and suhoor. As its fillings include either vegetables or greens, it is a relatively healthy option to have during Ramadan.

Restaurant suggestions: MADO Qatar, Simit Sarayi and Emirgan Sutis Restaurant


A pie made with melt in your mouth soft bread and stuffed with either spinach, meat or cheese, fatayer is a popular go-to snack at any time of the day. Packed with ingredients to give you a quick energy boost, fatayer is enjoyed both during iftar and suhoor.

Restaurant suggestions: Turkey Central, Gulf Pastry and Tannoor


The Arabic alternative to pizza, Manakish is made of pizza like dough and toppings; making for an excellent treat to break your fast with.

Restaurant suggestions: Huda Restaurant and Al Reef Lebanese Bakery



Comfort food at its best, mardrouba is a savory rice porridge that is cooked with milk, butter, and chicken and garnished with fried toppings. Enjoyed during iftar and suhoor, a bowl of madrouba is just the energy boost you need to get you through the long Ramadan days.

Restaurant suggestions: Kashta Qatar, Barahat Elfarej and Desert Rose Cafe


A popular dish in many households during Ramadan in Qatar, Thareed is a bread soup comprising of a mix of vegetables such as carrots, potatoes and beans. The soup can be enjoyed as a vegetarian dish or you could opt for a serving of meat or chicken to pack a punch.

Restaurant suggestions: Dagous, Alharfey Public Kitchen and Barahat Elfarej


A flavorful plate of rice cooked in aromatic spices and served with a mouthwatering piece of lamb or chicken, machboos is an Arabic household staple usually had during suhoor.

Restaurant suggestions: Belkhams, Bandar Aden and Basta Qatar


A traditional rice dish cooked in a special blend of spices and served with a tender chunk of lamb or chicken, Mandi is light, filling and typically enjoyed during suhoor.

Restaurant suggestions: Afghan Brothers Al Mandi Restaurant, Al Fanar Restaurant and Al Katem Restaurant


Maqluba involves a bit of theatrics as it’s flipped upside down just before serving to reveal scrumptious layers of vegetables and meat. Packed with wholesome nutrients, the dish can be enjoyed at any time of day.

Restaurant suggestions: Baladna Restaurant and Yasmina Palace


Balah El Sham

The Arabic alternative to churros, balah el sham is a crunchy and creamy choux pastry that is an excellent finger food to be had post iftar. Looking for something sweet to snack on with a cup of gahwa or coffee? Grab a couple of balah el sham for a much needed energy boost just before taraweeh prayers.

Restaurant suggestions: Jabri Sweets & Restaurants


If you have a sweet tooth, you will enjoy these fried dumplings that is crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. Coated with a sugary syrup and sometimes topped with a sprinkling of sesame seeds or pistachios, luqaimat is best enjoyed with a cup of coffee post iftar.  

Restaurant suggestions: Jabri Sweets & Restaurants, Karaki Qatar and Karak Mqanes


A lighter desert in comparison to other Arabic sweets, Muhallabia is a milk pudding commonly made with rice, sugar and either semolina or rice flour that can be enjoyed at any time during Ramadan.

Restaurant suggestions: Arabesque, Baladna Restaurant and Al Hallab Street

Umm Ali

The Arabic alternative to bread pudding, made with layers of crispy puff pastry, baked in sweet milk and served with an assortment of nut toppings and raising, Umm Ali is a popular dish during Ramadan. Best enjoyed post iftar or Suhoor, it’s an absolute treat for those with a sweet tooth.

Restaurant suggestions: Atrium Lounge (Sheraton Grand Doha Resort and Convention Hotel), Eau de Rose and Kashta Qatar


Stuffed with cheese and served with either syrup or honey, qatayef is a crescent shaped desert that is an excellent treat post iftar. Fried and garnished with a sprinkling of nuts, qatayef is sometimes baked as a healthier alternative.

Restaurant suggestions: Nafeesh Sweets and Al Nashma


A sweet, syrup soaked semolina cake, basbousa is a rich and heavenly treat if you’re looking for a quick sugar rush post iftar.

Restaurant suggestions: Al Hallab Qatar, Al Nashama, Al Aker, Jabri Sweets & Restaurants


This melt in your mouth delicacy is made by layers of sugar soaked pastry with a generous portion of shredded mozzarella and butter in between. Topped with a handful of chopped pistachios, this dish is served with a side of sugary rose syrup to be drizzled before eating. Restaurants in Qatar have their own versions of this delectable treat ranging from a rich and luscious chocolate kunafa to a healthy vegan one.

Restaurant suggestions: Kunefe House, Al Aker, Jabri Sweets & Restaurants

Grab your favorites and enjoy an outdoor iftar at these places in Qatar.


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