Porcini Italian Restaurant – Doha, Qatar: Located inside the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Doha, Qatar, Porcini Italian restaurant is not just your average hotel restaurant serving mediocre dishes at over-inflated prices. As we entered Porcini, I noted at first that the interiors were tasteful and elegant—classic white table cloths, exquisite china, stem ware, silverware, large sturdy chairs fitted with decorative pillows for sitting on comfortably—but that somehow, it still had that “hotel” feel of bland sterility. I thought that this was going to be your run-of-the-mill, “nice interior but cheap and crummy food” Italian hotel restaurant. But oh, how wrong I was.
As soon as we were seated, sharply dressed young waiters quickly attended to our table. Water was poured, drink orders were taken, napkins were placed on our laps and the menus were promptly delivered. Impressive!
The menu was a bit limited with only about eight appetizers, just a handful of pasta dishes, a couple pizzas (the place was just too formal for pizza I think, but there were some guests dining in their casual shorts and polo shirts), and less than a dozen main dishes.
To start, we had an aperitif of Bloody Mary (the one I had the night before at La Maison du Caviar simply didn’t quench my craving for one). I was in the mood for pasta and I found one that sounded good—Pappardelle (a large, very broad fettuccine with mushroom sauce). Luckily, they served starter portions so I could have the best of both worlds: pasta and a meat dish. My dining partner, on the other hand, had the Spaghetti aglio olio with shrimps and chili.
The Pappardelle was amazing, the sauce was rich and the pasta tasted homemade. It was just as good as any pasta I had tried in Italy, simply delicious! The spaghetti aglio olio was good but no match for the Pappardelle.
For the main course, we had the seared beef tenderloin with fennel puree and wild mushrooms, as well as the sliced Black Angus sirloin steak with arugula salad. Both were superb—tender and savory, perfectly seasoned, and served in hefty sized portions.
At that point, we were stuffed and happy, but the wild berries and mascarpone cheese cake with raspberry sorbet dessert simply beckoned our names. Good thing we gave in as the cheese cake was as sensational as the rest of the meal.
Overall, our dinner at Porcini Italian Restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton in Doha was without a doubt Bombastic and the best restaurant we tried in Doha so far.
What I liked: The food, the service
What I didn’t like: The décor was a bit too classical for my taste.