This tip is not about a restaurant, but about a food staple among the nomadic Bedu (sometimes called Bedouin) of the Arabian Peninsula. Historically, the camel has been the most important animal to the Bedu. Its meat and milk were food staples, it was used for transportation and as a beast of burden in general, and its hide was used for leather.
Camel's milk is healthy. It has half the fat of cow's milk, and has less sugar, making it good for diabetics. It is high in vitamin C, and is supposedly good for vascular problems. And in many Arabic countries, women drink it to get a clear and smooth complexion.
I had the opportunity to try camel's milk when I was in Oman. I bought a small container of camel's milk at a convenience store in Buraimi, figuring that I might never have the chance to try camel's milk again.
Later, during our lunch break, I took a sip of the milk, and the members of my birdwatching group could tell by the look on my face that I did not like it. I thought it tasted like salty and rancid cow's milk. I took a few more sips, hoping that I would get used to it, but it was awful. Almost everyone in my group then tried a sip, but none of us liked it.
The Sheraton Beach Resort near Shatti Al Qurm in Muscat has an amazing seafood buffet for about $25 US but worth every cent. It is in the most beautiful area in Muscat and the food is excellent. After you finish your meal you can stroll down the beach and it is gorgeous in the evening.
Favorite Dish: Everything including the shrimp and lobster.
Doesnt Matter: Tasty Kbabs etc
Oman has some amazing hole in the wall type restaurants and most travellers would rather choose something from a guide book and that is their choice but I have eaten at dozens and dozens of wee shops in Oman and 90% of them have been great and clean and quite tasty so if you stop in a small town dont be put off by the exterior of the restaurant because there may be some tasty dishes that you are missing out on!
Favorite Dish: Whole chickens for 1 rials as well as anything Indian
Kargeen: A Jungle in the Desert
The Kargeen is a little difficult to categorize. It's hard to say whether it's a restaurant, a coffee house, or a bistro; the food ranges from French onion soup and Salade Niçoise to homous and mezze. They serve pizza, but they also serve Chicken Tikka... What it gets down to is that they're most likely to have something on the menu that you'll like...
The Kargeen we go to -- and there are three of them -- is just possibly the most attractive "watering-hole" in the Capital Area. Built in the courtyard of the Madinat Qaboos Shopping Centre, the oldest (I think) of its kind in the city, you sit under large tents on benches and on cushions covered with Bedu woolen weavings among potted palms, frangipani trees, ironwood trees, and bougainvillea. In some ways, it reminds me more of a funky restaurant on Bali or Java than it does an Arab-run restaurant (The owner is a Bahraini woman, who is, I'm told, married to an Omani.).
Favorite Dish: Perhaps the best thing available on the menu is an amazing Chocolate Fudge Cake smothered in a spectacularly delicious chocolate sauce.
In terms of savory dishes, I find the Onion Soup to be excellent, the Salade Niçoise is first-rate, and the kofta kabob is as good as I've ever had anywhere in the Middle East. It's worth ordering for no other reason than to experience how it's served: inside a pita that has somehow been baked around the kebab on a stainless steel platter (See accompanying photo)Related to:
- Luxury Travel
Kargeen Cafe (at Madinat As Sultan Qaboos Complex)
The Kargeen Cafe at Madinat As Sultan Qaboos Complex (in Muscat) is one of Oman's finest restaurant with a very good ambience of the old world charm. This is essentially a coffee shop with delicious food such as samboosa, Kargeen salad, New Orleans steak etc. Many locals eat at this place, especially at night and smoking sheeshas can also be seen in this place. I had a good dinner with Mr Virgil Williams (VT member DesertRat) and his wife Myra at this place during my visit in Jan 2005.
You must try the Halwa !
The Halwa is a very famous dessert in Oman which the locals love to eat, and many overseas visitors buy back to their home. Essentially, it is a paste which is made from sugar, water and some spices with cashew nuts on the top. The taste is very good (though it does not look appetising) and it can be stored for very long time. Best of all, it can be brought onto the plane all the way back to your own country. The cost of one plate of Halwa ranges from 4-20 Omani rials.
The pink coloured drink at Mutrah Souq
When you are entering the famous Mutrah Souq in Muscat at the entrance of the Cornicle, there is a stall selling various drinks (see photo) and one of them is a pink coloured drink (cannot remember the name). This looks like a drink we have in Singapore called "Bandung" which is a mixture of rose syrup and milk, but the taste is slightly different but nice. You should try it when you are visiting the souq, especially on a hot day.
Chicken, mutton or fish branyani
One of the cheap and filling local food to take in Oman is the chicken, fish or mutton branyani at the local Indian restaurants which are found in various towns of Oman. It comes with a large plate of brayani rice (with spices), curry and either chicken, fish or mutton. The average price per plate is about 1-3 omani rials.
Buffet at Crowne Plaza Hotel, Muscat
The buffet at the cafe located at the basement of the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Muscat (Qurum area) is a very good experience with delicious food and a very good ambience. It cost about 8 Omani rial per person, and there are many variety of food ranging from western, local and nice desserts as well. After the buffet, you can walk outside and have a beautiful view of the Qurum area, sea and surrounding mountains since the hotel is on top of a small hill.
The Restaurant at The Chedi, Muscat: A Restaurant with a Difference!
The Restaurant was recently voted the best place to eat in Oman, and also voted as having the best ambience. We can see why!
The menu is extensive because it is divided in to four groups - Arabic, Western, Asian and Indian. You can pick and choose from a huge selection of starters and mains, and everything we tried was beautiful to look at and to eat!
You can choose to sit outside in the softly lit courtyard area, or you can sit inside and watch the meals being prepared in the four 'show kitchens' - the tables are arranged around these, so for the chefs it must seem like they are working in a goldfish bowl!
If you're staying in the hotel remember to book your table for the evening when you leave breakfast! The Restaurant has become the place for local people to come to celebrate birthdays or just to eat and it gets very busy, especially outside.
Favorite Dish: Where to begin!!
Pistachio Crusted Crab was wonderful, the Fish Tagine was flavoured with morrocan spices and was mouth-watering.
The King Prawns in Chedi Sauce was a favourite.
Puddings were just as good - the Strawberry Crepes were recommended to us to share (we would have loved a sweet each but we just couldn't!) - Amazing, whilst the Lemon Tower was tangy and melted in your mouth! Heaven!Related to:
- Luxury Travel
The Mediterranean Grill: The buffets really ARE great.
This is the rather sumptuous-looking Intercontinental answer to the hotel coffee shop. Marble, wood, Maroccan tiles, and thick damask table linens are everywhere. Clearly, no expense was spared when this restaurant was put together. The atmosphere is quietly, though casually, elegant.
Favorite Dish: For my money, the seafood offerings are probably the best, especially the giant prawns (shrimp). The buffets groan with superb terrines and oh-so-complicated meat and fish mouses in aspic, mini-lambchops, bits of this and that en croute, stunningly carved vegetables and melons, the whole gamut of "fancy" food is on offer here.
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Fisherman's Lodge: Qurm Fish Restaurant
Located in Qurm near the Crown Plaza hotel. It was the concierge who indicated us the adress.
Food is plentiful: take starters if you're hungry only. They are a whole meal in itself!
We had 2 starters : stuffed calamari, seafood platters
Then Octopus platter and a fresh filet that you pick into the fish shop itself. Lemon mint juices to go along and a mint tea.All in 18 OMR. Expensive for Oman, but so cheap for Paris (would be the double here)
Good quality and freshnees, friendly waiters as always in Oman and a nice patron from Egypt.
Woodlands: Great South Indian Cuisine
Those familiar with the name 'Woodlands' might associate it to a chain of south India vegetarian places. Well this place has all the veggie options plus some great meaty ones also! According to the Oman Today "Woodlands is one of the best in the city, and the only restaurant specialising in Chettinad cuisine". You'll also find the staff VERY friendly and quite willing to give you advice on your trip. Just don't mention the cricket world cup to them as I think they might be a little upset now!!
Favorite Dish: Anything from the South Indian speciliaty section of the menu, add the coconut rice and a litre of house red!!
There are a lot of nice fish...
There are a lot of nice fish restaurants, where the people are proud to show you your fish before grilling it. Especially in Sur, you can find some great addresses.And not expensive...
Favorite Dish: But my favourite dish, i ate at home...An indian friend used to cook for us...it was a real miracle; we had to eat on banana leaves!! (no dishes!!LOL)
It was hot and spicey..but damn good!
Different names.: How about Pakistani/Afghan food?
Well, we are lovers of a combination of Arab and Pakistani food (the latter incorrectly clustered with Indian food) and will find out the best places even if we are a total strangers in the land. In order to distinguish Pakistani restaurants from Indians, look for names like Pak-Arab, Pak-Oman, Sindh-Punjab, Frontier, Afghan, Karachi Darbaar, Karachi Deli and so on. Also, Pakistani restaurant have middle-eastern flavor to them
The restaurants may be small, but the food is great.
Favorite Dish: We almost always go for Arabic Hammoos and Mushawis (bbqs), Sindhi Chicken Biryani (spicy rice) from Pakistan's province of Sindh, Chicken Karahi, nihaari, Frontier Grills, Chapali Kababs, that is, meat, meat and more meat - grilled, tandoori, bbqed, does not matter.
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