The seventh annual Qatar International Food Festival starts tomorrow, and is being billed as the biggest and best yet.
For the first time, the event runs for a whole week, from March 22-28 at the Museum of Islamic Art park, with Katara Cultural Village and the Pearl-Qatar serving as new satellite spots.
The MIA park venue is open from 9:30am to 1pm for school field trips, and will be open to the public from 1pm to 10:30pm (except Tuesday, when it opens around 5pm). Katara and the Pearl will be open from 4pm to 10pm on weekdays and 1pm to 10pm on weekends.
There are indeed some cool new offerings, including food trucks at the Pearl-Qatar, a street food fair at Katara and visits from big celebrity chefs like Martha Stewart.
If you plan to attend, here are some things to know:
You can get there by land or sea
Parking at the actual MIA will be limited to non-existent, so free shuttles will be transporting people to the venue from the old Arrivals Terminal carpark.
The shuttles will operate from 1pm to 10:30pm each day of the festival except tomorrow, when they will run from 5pm to 10:30 pm.
You can also get to the food festival venues by water taxi. Boats will take visitors to and from the MIA Park and Katara every half hour starting at 4pm and ending at 9:15pm daily. The cost is QR25/person.
There will also be boats traveling to and from the MIA Park and the Pearl-Qatar. Water taxis will dock at La Croisette and there will be a free shuttle bus to transport visitors from the Qanat Quartier festival venue. These boats also operate from 4pm to 9:15pm and cost QR25/person.
Tickets are limited and on a first come, first serve basis. Boats will stop during the daily fireworks display at 8:30pm for safety reasons.
For those who don’t feel like driving, there will also be limo and Uber services running from the Old Airport parking area facing the Doha Marriott Hotel to the MIA Park. Uber is giving QR50 off for the trip with a promo code. Limos will cost QR35.
There are lots of dining options
As in years past, various kiosks from local restaurants and hotels will serve food around the MIA Park, ranging in price from QR5 to QR35. But there will also be several other dining options at the venue, including:
- Dinner in the sky by Qatar Airways;
- Barbecue on the Bay by the Diplomatic Club;
- Dinner on a Dhow by Souq Waqif Boutique Hotels;
- High Tea by the Bay by Katara Hospitality;
- Chinese pavilion for the 2016 Qatar-China Year of Culture;
- Instagram market, with 12 entrepreneurs selling their wares; and
- Market court, where delicacies and special ingredients will be sold.
More details about the offerings should be added soon to the event’s official website here.
Martha Stewart is coming
Celebrity cooking will be a big feature during this year’s festival, alongside performances and other entertainment.
American homemaker Martha Stewart will open the Qatar Airways Cooking Theater at 5pm tomorrow (Tuesday, March 22), cooking four live on stage at the MIA Park.
Several Michelin star-rated chefs will also prepare food during the festival at kitchens in the MIA Park, Katara and The Pearl, including Japan’s Tagaki Kazuo, Tim Butler of Eat Me Restaurant Bangkok fame and Spanish pastry chef Jesús Escalera.
The Pearl will have food trucks
There are 12 food trucks being set up on the Pearl-Qatar at its Beachside Court in Lido Venezia Beach in Qanat Quartier.
There’s no word yet on which outlets will be there, besides Qatar’s only food truck, Burgeri. The best way to get to them is to follow the signs to the parking garage in QQ.
Meanwhile, Katara Cultural Village is setting up a street food fair on its promenade.
Expect fireworks daily
As in years past, there will be a daily fireworks show at
8:30pm 8pm at the MIA Park, according to organizers (who have amended the timing).
There’s also supposed to be a variety of performances, including dances and singers, as well as characters from children’s channel Baraem TV. See the full entertainment schedule here.
And there are free movie screenings at the Pearl-Qatar.
Do you plan to check out the festival? Thoughts?