Eating like the locals is one of the top things you need to do during your stay in Muscat, Oman. Middle Eastern cuisine is super delicious with its multitude of fragrant spices. There are lots of Lebanese and Turkish places but also traditional Omani restaurants. Of course, Muscat has loads of amazing restaurants and international cuisine (mostly in luxury hotels) but I won’t allow you to miss out on the spots that serve up mouth watering Middle Eastern dishes. So here is a list of the best restaurants and cafes in Muscat that are loved by locals and expats alike.
Who doesn’t love this place? My number one favourite Turkish restaurant in Muscat, even the world! Best to come with a group of people so you can order lots of dishes and share because everything on the menu is simply delicious.
What to order: Whole fish fillet from the grill (sourced locally), grilled prawns, mixed mezze (hummus, baba ganoush, tomato chutney, olive salad and labne), Fatoush salad, fresh mango juice. A massive piece of Turkish bread is served complimentary.
Sigh, I’d go back right now just for a dinner at Turkish House.
Where: Al Khuwair… It’s really a bit hard to find and I got lost almost every time I drove there myself so go by taxi, unless you’re better with directions than I am…
You’re in for a very authentic Omani experience. There’s mostly locals here and the place is always full. You will be led into a private dining room where you will sit on the floor. Try eating the traditional way – with your hands. It may be difficult at first but it’s fun.
What to order: Shuwa, the national dish of Oman. It’s normally served on special occassions such as weddings and Eid, and its preparation is laborious with big chunks of lamb or beef smothered in spices and oil, wrapped in bananas leaves, then put into a woven palm frond bag and placed in an underground pit. In there it will be smoked and cooked for around 24 hours.
Where: Al Khuwair service road behind the McDonald’s
This 24-hour joint serves up crispy bits of shaved chicken and garlic mayo in a pita wrap, normally they add french fries into the wrap but I prefer it without. Though there are plenty of shawarma shops around this one is the best. Going here at night adds a special touch to the experience when everything outside is still bustling with life.
What to order: Several small chicken shawarma
Where: Al Khuwair, next to Rawasco
For all you veggies out there: This joint on Qurum Beach serves up some seriously good falafel and for cheap, too!
What to order: Falafel sandwich with an additional serving of tahini roasted cauliflower.
Where: Al Qurum Beach, next to Costa Coffee in Al Shatti mall
Top lunch spot for when you’re shopping at Muttrah Souq, a little shop called Fishers Grilled. Simply order fresh fish on display and 45 minutes later you’ll enjoy a fresh fish platter.
What to order: Which ever fish takes your fancy
Where: Muttrah Fish Market
Omani Street Food Mishkak
My friends took me once and we ordered a mix of grilled meat skewers. It’s cheap and oh-so-delicious.
What to order: A variety of grilled meat
Where: Al Seeb, along the beach (ask the locals for directions)
Such a hidden gem. You won’t normally find this place; it’s tiny and hidden away. I lived in this area for a while so I stumbled upon it. They serve only freshly baked Pakistani nan, either plain or with a variety of fillings such as cheese or lamb. It’s dirt cheap, too.
What to order: Cheese nan!
Where: Al Khuwair, opposite Safeer International Hotel in a small backalleyway
If you’ve always wanted to try camel (I’d never thought about, really…), then you should head to Ubhar Bistro. I have not been personally but it was recommended to me and apparently they specialise in camel dishes. My first (and only) camel-eating experience was in ODC where I tried the camel burger. It was alright but don’t need it every day.
What to order: Camel biryani
Where: Al Kharjiyah Street close to the Royal Opera
If you fancy a different type of cuisine, not to worry, you’ll have plenty of options from Sushi and burgers to Italian and Indian. Many good restaurants can be found in the big hotels, prices are reflected accordingly. You’ll find cheaper restaurants in malls/shopping streets or residential areas.