Updated to clarify that kiosks and food stalls will still be offered
A new format and venue will greet visitors at the annual Qatar International Food Festival (QIFF) this month.
Now in its eighth year, the event appears to have been scaled down from previous iterations.
The festival will go for 11 days, from March 29 to April 8 at the Hotel Park off of the Corniche.
In addition to kiosks selling dishes for QR5 to QR35, there will also be set menus consisting of food from different cuisines will be served.
These will range in price from QR59 to QR179 per person, the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) said.
The menus are yet to be announced, according to the food festival’s website.
On the website, there is no mention of popular past features such as fireworks.
Other offerings that don’t appear to have made the cut this year include Dinner in the sky by Qatar Airways; Barbecue on the Bay by the Diplomatic Club; Dinner on a Dhow by Souq Waqif Boutique Hotels; High Tea by the Bay by Katara Hospitality; or a Year of Culture pavilion (this year’s partner is Germany).
But there will still be “cultural activities and outdoor entertainment,” the QTA said.
It added that live cooking demonstrations — a regular fixture in the past — will also now take place at select five-star hotels.
Additionally, several restaurants around the country will offer tasting menus that cost QR59, QR99, QR139 and QR179 from March 23 to April 8.
The upcoming festival has been timed with the school holidays of neighboring countries to help boost Qatar’s tourism numbers, the QTA said.
In a statement, Hassan Al Ibrahim, Chief Tourism Development Officer added:
“In addition to bringing Qatar’s five-star food and beverage options together in one location, QIFF provides a great opportunity for residents and visitors to revel in Qatar’s wonderful spring weather, enticing cultural activities and outdoor entertainment.”
For the past several years, the festival was held mainly at the MIA Park. And last year, it was expanded to include food stalls at Katara Cultural Village and food trucks at the Pearl-Qatar.
But this year, events will remain mostly at the Hotel Park at the end of the Corniche, which is located near the Sheraton Grand Doha Hotel.
The 90,000 sq meter park at the northern end of the Corniche opened to the public last year.
Its water features and children’s playground have helped make it a popular destination for families.
There is also an underground pay-for-parking garage with spaces for 2,500 vehicles.
What do you think of the changes? Thoughts?