It’s been a busy week and you want a break from the kitchen. You want to treat the whole family to a delicious meal and, most importantly, want a restaurant that serves up healthy and tasty dishes that the kids will love. You certainly don’t want a battleground filled with “I won’t eat it” and “That looks gross.” You want your meal to be a fun, relaxing and enjoyable experience for the whole family.
It can seem that the usual menu offerings for kids are the same everywhere—processed chicken nuggets or calorific burgers served with oily, soggy, deep-fried chips and oversized cups of sugary-sweet soda. These types of meals often come with a double helping of saturated fat, salt, sugar and not enough complex carbohydrates, vegetables, lean protein and fruit. Fortunately, restaurants in Qatar are starting to sit up and take note that parents want delicious, nutritious food for their children.
Children’s menus cater to smaller appetites for good reason. Adult-sized meals can inadvertently encourage children to overeat, which can fast track them to weight gain and associated health problems like diabetes and obesity. So ditch the football-sized burgers and pizzas the size of a wheel and opt for healthy, kid-sized meals from one of these top kids’ menus in Qatar.
Nando’s has been serving up delicious, afro-Portuguese inspired meals to Qatar since it opened its first restaurant in 2001. In a land where grilled and roast chicken restaurants are a dime a dozen, Nando’s consistently makes the grade with its succulent flame-grilled PERi-PERi chicken. The kids’ menu is modest but flavorful. The menu offers three kid-friendly options and a selection of healthy sides (if you skip the fries and potato wedges). With eight convenient locations around Qatar, Nando’s a great family-friendly option for dining out. They even offer delivery for nights when you want to stay home but don’t have time to cook.
Top kids’ menu pick: Chicken breast burger with a grilled corn, fruit and a juice.
Locations: Gulf Mall, Hyatt Plaza, City Center Mall, Bin Omran, Financial Square, Salwa Road, Pearl–Qatar, Mall of Qatar
Hours: Vary per location.
The newly opened Mall of Qatar offers an exciting option for lovers of Italian cuisine—Eataly. Their kid’s menu caters to all children under 12 years old and features lots of classic dishes such as minestrone soup, pasta with tomato and fresh basil and grilled corn-fed chicken with mashed potatoes. As an added bonus, there’s a delicatessen brimming with home-made goodies including fresh pasta, sauces and breads—perfect to take away for a healthy meal at home.
Top kids’ menu pick: Mozzarella salad with fresh tomatoes, mixed green salad and extra virgin olive oil
Special diet options: Vegetarian.
Location: Mall of Qatar
Contact: +974 4021-4700, eatalyarabia.com
Hours: Sunday to Wednesday 10:00–23:00, Thursday to Saturday 10:00–midnight
This Scandinavian store famous for its flat packs has recently had a healthy menu makeover. IKEA’s Swedish meatballs are a classic favourite, and new, healthier options feature prominently on the main menu including responsibly sourced salmon, hearty hot meals with veggies and wraps. IKEA prides itself on being free from nasty trans fats. While most of the healthy items feature on the main menu, kids don’t miss out either—there’s organic pasta with tomato sauce, fruit salads and soups. A bonus, there’s an open play area within the dining area so parents can relax while the kids build up an appetite or burn off a meal. Also, colourful cutlery, bowls and high chairs make it easy for little ones to share a healthy meal from the adult menu.
Top kids’ menu pick: Organic pasta with tomato sauce
Special diet options: Vegetarian.
Location: Al Shamal Road, Al Daayen
Contact: +974 4406-2555, ikea.com
Hours (Restaurant): Sunday to Wednesday 09:00–22:00, Thursday 09:00–23:00, Friday 08:00–11:30 and 13:00–23:30, Saturday 08:00–22:30
Asian food is said to be one of the healthiest cuisines on the planet. Low in saturated fats and filled with lots of leafy green vegetables, fresh herbs, lean meats and fruit, it’s healthy and super tasty. Wagamama’s kids’ menu offers mini versions of Asian-inspired classics with kid-friendly veggies including grilled chicken with sticky rice, carrot and cucumber, mini freshly squeezed juice and natural fruit ice lollies.
Top kids’ menu pick: Mini chicken ramen soup with grilled chicken breast, seasonal greens, carrot and sweetcorn, QR26
Special diet options: Vegetarian. Some food allergies, intolerances and sensitivities can be catered for.
Location: Lagoona Mall, Ezdan Mall, Mall of Qatar (opening soon)
Contact: Lagoona Mall +974 4463-3876, Ezdan Mall +974 4471-5190 or +974 4471-5464, wagamama.com.qa
Hours: Lagoona Mall – Saturday to Thursday 11:30–23:00, Friday 13:00–23:00; Ezdan Mall – Saturday to Thursday 11:30–23:00, Friday 12:30–23:00
Cool de Sac
Cool de Sac combines a spacious and bright eating space with a play and entertainment area that features a child-friendly menu “made from fresh ingredients and designed with the health conscious in mind.” There’s also a breakfast menu that offers low-carb options with lots of fruit, appetisers, mains and desserts. Parents won’t go hungry either—seared tuna Nicoise, Thai beef salad and grilled baby chicken with baked potato and broccoli should hit the spot.
Top kids’ menu pick: Mini margherita pizza with tomato sauce and cheese. The dough is mixed with carrot puree for an extra vitamin boost, QR38
Special diet options: Low-carb, vegetarian
Location: Medina Centrale, The Pearl-Qatar; Mall of Qatar (opening soon)
Contact: + 974 3333-4112 or + 974 3333-4118, cooldesac.com.qa
Hours: Saturday to Thursday 10:00–02:00, Friday 13:00–02:00
This Doha gem has one of the best healthy menus for kids in Qatar. A ‘farm to table’ concept, Chef’s Garden uses lots of locally sourced ingredients and specialities like organic meats, organic milk, locally raised chicken and fresh home-grown produce. From breakfast to dinner, the menu has lots to offer the little ones, and your kids will be equally delighted with the names—The Minion, Pinocchio’s Pizza and Baloo’s Burger. With a kid’s play area and stunning outdoor garden, Chef’s Garden is a top spot for the whole family.
Top kids’ menu pick: Organic salmon sliders with yoghurt, dill drizzle and lettuce on a homemade bun, QR25
Special diet options: Gluten-free, low-fat
Location: Al Shaqab Hotel, Education City, Qatar Foundation
Contact: +974 4409-5041
Hours: Sunday to Thursday 07:00–22:00, Friday to Saturday 07:00–11:00 and 12:30–22:00
California Tortilla’s Mexican menu is bursting with “South of the Border” classics such as tacos, tortillas and burritos. The menu is bright, colourful and kid-friendly, and offers lots of fresh toppings like shredded lettuce, tomato, black beans, avocado, grilled zucchini, grilled peppers and red onion. While the kid’s menu is not as vast as other restaurants, its assortment of toppings makes it a perfect opportunity to encourage your child to dig in and have fun creating their own healthy masterpiece.
Top kids’ menu pick: Grilled chicken, rice and cheese mini burrito
Special diet options: Vegetarian.
Location: C-Ring Road near Radisson Blu junction; 01 Mall; Medina Centrale, The Pearl–Qatar
Contact: +974 4434-4144, californiatortilla.qa
Hours: Saturday to Wednesday 11:00–midnight, Thursday 11:00–01:00, Friday 13:00–01:00
For more information on healthy eating for children check out the following: