Oman has a large international population, succulent seafood and a booming (and air-conditioned) restaurant scene in which to escape the heat. We explore 10 of the best restaurants in Muscat, the capital of Oman.
While hamburgers may not be the most typically Omani dish, the innovative nature of each one on the menu being ‘miniature’ is enough to make this burger joint a cut above. The idea of a sushi conveyor belt is used for this American specialty, and Slider Station’s hungry clientele can choose from a fantastic array of ‘sliders’. This Kuwaiti franchise also offers highly addictive gooey chocolate desserts.
Everything about Ubharis designed to enchant and plunge the diner into Oman’s mysterious and regal past. It shares its name with the ancient city supposedly now buried under the southern quarters of the city. Both the décor and the food are a medley of modern and historical Omani cuisine and design, though visitors are spared the traditional floor-level seating. Desserts are a highlight, especially the halva-based offerings: another of the impossibly sweet incarnations of the popular Middle Eastern treat. Daring diners can try the camel biryani, although the menu also offers an ample choice of more traditional meats.
The Beach is the closest one can get to a true al fresco beach picnic in Oman, while still having the luxury of being served high-quality dishes with breathtaking panoramas of the Gulf of Oman. The dishes complement the view, with a seafood menu inspired by international cuisine: Mussels with kaffir lime and coconut, lobster tail carpaccio and whole grilled fish. The restaurant is open from September to May for dinner only, perfect for sampling an Arabic sunset and the day’s catch.
Bin Ateeq is a fine compromise between authentic cuisine, Omani hospitality and accessible dishes for visitors from all over the world. The most notable authentic feature is the floor-level seating, with exquisitely colored and patterned Majlis cushions, from which guests can try mutton magbous, halva and harees (cracked wheat with meat).
What can be more ideal than a cold drink and hearty food sourced from the finest producers, and cooked with great attention to detail. Duke’s Bar, in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, goes as far as a pub-restaurant in Oman can go in providing for this simple yet important need, especially for Muscat’s British population. Monthly menu shuffles keep the pub food interesting, with a good selection of lamb chops, kebabs, tagines and curries. Duke’s Bar is certainly one of the best pubs in Muscat, and boasts a pub food menu which would rival many UK establishments.
What started as a highly popular Jordanian café ten years ago, has now become a stronghold of café culture and predictably good snacks and meals in the Arabic world. Oman’s branch, situated in Muscat, serves a large variety of salads, breakfasts, sandwiches, fukhara and even some flavored hookah smoking pipes. A growing business, Tché Tché continues to open up new branches all the time, and the quality and variety improve in each of their locations.
When the cravings for meat and spice become too much, Begum’s offers creamy, nutty and warming Mughlai cuisine, from biriyanis and to kormas. The crowds that fill Begum’s on a regular basis are loyal and enthusiastic, and prove that Indian cuisine is a popular choice in Muscat.
A night of high-class Omani culture should definitely take in a performance at Muscat’s Royal Opera House and a top-end meal at Al Angham. The restaurant offers attentive service and Omani dishes such as harees,lamb stews and Omani lobster. Unlike many of the upscale establishments, Al Angham doesn’t have an alcohol license, a fact which is compensated for by the fruit cocktails and fresh juices on offer. Finish off the meal with frankincense ice cream and, if possible, a visit to the private dining room to see the restaurant’s stunning, custom-made chandelier.
The strongest Turkish presence in Muscat can be felt at Grand Lounge, where Turkish flatbreads, pides, kebabs and yoghurt toppings are served up in an impressively large restaurant capable of catering for innumerable crowds on any night of the week. The obligatory Turkish coffee in ornate silver cups is a welcome finish to a meal in the stifling heat of the Omani desert city.
Formerly a vegetarian restaurant Fusion now offers meat dishes, including on-the-table meat grills for those who not only want to eat meat but also cook their own. The choice of mostly Asian tandooris, grills and sticky and sweet desserts on the a la carte menu makes for a delicious meal, but no competition for the pleasure of having a miniature barbecue among friends at your dining table.