Restaurant Review: La Piazza at Al Bidda Boutique Hotel
INFO: 7am-11am breakfast, 11am to 11pm lunch and dinner daily, unlicensed. Go to the main Souq parking next to the Mosque, keep the Mosque on your left and walk to where there is a direct road and a left-hand road, take the direct road and travel about 100m, Al Bidda is on the left, 4433 6666, email@example.com
On a narrow unassuming side street, away from the hustle and bustle of the Souq’s central strip, sits the Al Bidda Boutique Hotel. Inside is one of Doha’s newest Italian restaurants, La Piazza, taking up a plum position in an opulent setting under the hotel’s grand dome skylight.
After the hotel staff ushered us into the restaurant, we were settled into a cozy little table setting, where we nibbled on warm bread with oil and vinegar as we checked out the menu. We decided to stick with Italian classics – pizza and pasta – especially after our friendly waiter let us know that the pizza was a must-try.
We started with an antipasti platter and a Caprese salad. The platter consisted of bell peppers, aubergine, courgette, mozzarella cheese, bresaola and bruschetta, a great sample dish to start with. Both the antipasti and the salad, a simple mix of tomatoes, mozzarella and basil, were beautifully fresh and well presented.
For mains, I chose the Spaghetti Bolognese, while my friend opted for the highly recommended Quattro Formaggio (Four Cheese) pizza. The Bolognese sauce was bursting with rich tomato flavour – I didn’t even have to ask for Parmesan cheese! My friends’ pizza was a medium-sized, hand-made, thin-crusted number which also packed a punch in terms of strong but not overpowering cheesy taste. It was the perfect size for sharing.
Before dessert, we took a moment to let our mains digest and simply enjoyed the ambience of the restaurant. With the space created by high ceilings and the skylight, seated as we were in an inner courtyard with a decorative pool in the middle and soft up-tempo music playing in the background, it was hard to believe we were actually in the Souq Waqif.
For dessert, I ordered the lemon tart, a perfect combination of zesty and sweet in a melt-in-your-mouth pastry shell. My friend had the panna cotta, a satisfying version of this classic Italian creamy sweet.
As we left, I thought that the restaurant would be a top choice for a dinner with friends from out of town looking to sample the city’s contemporary dining scene. The only trouble is the difficulty in finding it the first time.
ON THE MENU
ASSORTED GREENS WITH BALSAMIC DRESSING, QR45
MARGARITA PIZZA, QR45
ANGUS TENDERLOIN, QR125
ESPRESSO FROZEN PARFAIT, QR35