Muscat has a brilliant dining scene, featuring everything from hipster hangouts serving loaded fries to heritage restaurants serving Omani dishes that reflect the history of the country.
Sample contemporary flavours or go for something a bit more traditional – whatever you're in the mood for, you'll find it here.
We've rounded up the top places to eat in Muscat. Knives and forks at the ready...
Al Angham Restaurant
A fine-dining restaurant serving Omani cuisine in Muscat’s Royal Opera House is one of the city’s more theatrical places to eat. Ornate dining rooms feature traditional art and motifs, yet food is presented in an haute manner. Look out for twists on favourites such as shiwa, harees/jareesh and desserts, such as Omani halwa. It is an upmarket restaurant, with a price range to match, but for showing visitors a taste of modern Muscat it should be close to the top of any to do list.
Open Sat-Thu, noon-4pm, 7-11pm. Al Angham, Royal Opera House, www.alanghamoman.com (+968 2207 7777).
Al Boom and Dolphin Bar
There isn’t a great deal in the way of nightlife on the Muscat Corniche, which goes some way to explaining why this spot can sometimes get busy. While it won't score too highly on any swank-factor or bag awards for style and decor it does have noteworthy views out on to the Omani coast. The location doubles up as a seafood restaurant, so on the outdoor terrace overlooking the fish market, get a table and enjoy the atmosphere and view before enjoying hospitality until late.
Call for timings. Al Boom, Marina Hotel, Al Bahri Road.
Al Khiran Kitchen
Buffet-style dining at the Ritz-Carlton property has themed nights throughout the week and international flavours. Cool and spacious inside, with live cooking stations and a varied menu, it is outside on the terrace that it really comes into its own. Overlooking the infinity pool and palm tree gardens it is a superb alfresco spot, especially if you’re lucky enough to get a gentle breeze. À la carte options include an Omani mixed grill, pizzas and a handful of curry dishes.
Open daily 7am-1am, Sat 1-4pm. Al Khiran Kitchen, Al Bustan Palace, Al Bustan Street, www.ritzcarlton.com (+968 2476 4000).
Al Makan Café
A local chain that has had outlets across the region offers basic food and uncomplicated atmosphere. Sandwiches and saj on the go are the speciality. Chicken and meat shawarmas are a touch more inviting than you might find from your average street food vendor. You could also choose barbecue steak or a zingy shrimp dynamite sandwich, as well. Partner these with local favourites such as houmous, moutabel or falafel platters and it is a welcome alternative to the standard burger and fries for your fast food fix.
Open daily 10am-2am. Al Makan Café, Seeb, www.facebook.com/almakancafe (+968 9973 8158).
Al Mandoos Restaurant
Shuwa is the national dish of Oman and can be sampled at this casual eatery. Have it authentic style with mutton (a fish option is also available) and you will experience a richly flavoured rice dish often served for special occasions in a local homestead. The meat should be tender and may well flake away easily from the bone. You can also try camel meat and dry fish or shark dishes. Chicken comes as biryani, roasted with Omani spices or as harees (a thick wheat paste dish).
Open daily 11am-11pm. Al Mandoos, Almouj Street, www.instagram/almandoos_oman (+968 9600 4549).
Cute faux tents and Arabian Gulf décor give what could be a routine all-day dining restaurant a certain charm. The food offering includes Mediterranean, Persian, Indian and Turkish, but it is the traditional Omani selection that stands out. Pablo, a traditional Omani fish soup, dijaj mashwi, a chicken broth, and marak saluna, a rich tomato and coriander vegetable dish served with rice. A huge selection of hot and cold mezze is available as are favourite traditional Arabic desserts.
Open daily 6.30am-11am, noon-3pm, 6.30pm-11am. Al Tanoor, Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort, Al Jissah Street, Muscat 100, www.shangri-la.com (+968 2477 6565).
The meaty flavours of South America make it clear that steak is a speciality here. An impressive range includes wagyu, sirloin, ribeye and even a 1kg tomahawk option. They’re served either à la carte in the bold and stylish restaurant, or with extra artistry on rodizio-style gaucho nights, when meat is carved at your table. It’s not just flame-grilled barbecue, here, as there is artistry and delicacy in the kitchen. Items such as a Brazilian mango mousse cake, with citrus salsa, and tangy ceviche make sure of that.
Open daily 7-11pm. Asado, Sheraton Oman, Ruwi, www.asadomuscat.com (+968 2237 7777).
You can get excellent kebabs across the city and this popular spot is among the most highly regarded. Perhaps due to the leafy setting, where pretty trees on the exterior practically spread in to the restaurant itself, giving it a pleasant street café feeling. Much more likely is that people are coming back again and again for the kebabs, meat skewers, mixed grills and Turkish breads. The pizzas are not specialties, but you should also look out for a selection of fatayer with various fillings.
Open Mon-Thu 10.30am-1.30am, Fri-Sun noon-2am. Baba Salem, Al Qurum, www.facebook.com/babaasalemm (+968 9455 5570).
Bait Al Bahar
Seafood has been a part of Omani cuisine for generations and this upmarket fish restaurant has daily catch from the Gulf of Oman as well as imported produce. A seafood market-style counter presents the catch of the day, where you can select your fish and have it grilled, baked, steamed or fried with a variety of sides and sauces. Elsewhere there are lobsters, mussels, oysters, platters and a few other fishy favourites. The beachfront setting is stunning, too.
Open daily 6pm-11.30am. Bait Al Bahar, Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort, Al Jissah Street, Muscat 100, www.shangri-la.com (+968 2477 6565).
Bait Al Luban Omani Restaurant
Housed in a converted guesthouse and with stunning views out across the sea, there really is no surprise that this charming restaurants regularly ranks among the finest in the city. The massive menu has many of the nation's traditional favourites and is an excellent place to learn more about Omani cooking. Spiced rice dishes, grilled meats and vegetable stews are, obviously, prominent on the menu. What it does not say is that this is one of the more Instagramable spots in Muscat.
Open daily noon-11pm. Bait Al Luban,Al Mina street, Muttrah Corniche, www.baitalluban.com (+968 2471 1842).
Beach Pavilion Bar and Grill
The small menu selection, as the name suggests, is mainly grills. Choose from lamb, chicken, steak or eggplant and pair it with sauces such as peppercorn, chimichurri or béarnaise and sides including lobster maqboos rice or parmesan fries. The seafood options are also numerous, but it is the stunning setting that most stands out. The spectacular outdoor terrace runs right down on to the beach and sunset sessions with sea views are among the most romantic in Muscat.
Open daily 7pm-11pm. Friday brunch 1.30pm-5pm. Beach Pavillion, Al Bustan Palace, Al Bustan Street, www.ritzcarlton.com (+968 2476 4000).
Family cooking using recipes handed down from a grandmother. It is that simple. Well, there may be some of the heritage of the imperial kitchens of the Mughal Empire and the influence of clashing cultures in the mix as well. Simple and homely would well describe the wooden decor and art on the walls as well as the food. Curries and kebabs, both vegetarian and with meat, jostle for attention on the menu. Oh, and the biryani is a regional specialty too.
Open Sat-Thu noon-3pm, 7pm-11pm, Fri 1pm-3pm, 7.30pm-11.30pm. Begum's, Al Khuwair Street, behind Muscat Bakery, www.begumsbiryani.com (+968 9307 2000).
The name means fruits of the sea and even in a restaurant scene as open to seafood as Muscat's this still stands out as a top place to fill your face. The kitchen team source fresh catch every day from Muscat's fish market to prepare. The interiors are accented by aquatic art and the pastel-toned dining room is spacious and airy. The highlight is the private Captain's Table area where up to 12 diners can sample a bespoke menu and fancier service.
Open daily 7pm-10.30pm. Bahriyat Restaurant, Grand Millennium Hotel, Dohat Al Adab Street, Al Khuwair, www.millenniumhotels.com (+968 2234 2222).
Popular with tourists and Omanis alike, due to its authenticity. There are no tables here, you eat sitting down on a carpeted floor in separate rooms for each party. It takes a bit of getting used to at first, but is homely to the extent that there are even televisions showing local channels in each area. It is a chain with a few branches across the country and serves Arabic dishes such as grilled meats, curried fish and rice dishes. An intriguing experience unlike any other.
Open daily 10am-11pm. Bin Ateeq, Markaz Muttrah al Tijari Street (+968 2447 8225).
The gourmet date specialist may be best known for its boutique gift boxes and stores. Stop in at an adjoining café, however, and you will find a sophisticated dining experience to match. The Mediterranean theme is slightly overrun by one of international chic. Look out for breakfast dishes such as eggs Benedict, a large collection of healthy salads and pasta and risotto mains. If you’re not hungry enough for a full dining experience then stop for one of the superb desserts. Date pudding? Chocolate delight cake? Yes please.
Open daily 8am-midnight. Cafe Bateel, Al Mouj, www.bateel.com (+968 2455 8839).
Mellow would be the best way to describe this laid-back beach café behind the Grand Hyatt. That might have something to do with the beach views, simple approach and puffs of shisha smoke travelling on the breeze. It is not a culinary high-flyer, nor does it pretend to be. Burgers, juices and flatbreads, plus a selection of juices, is more or less the extent of it, with a short menu offered. A few bites are available, but it’s all about the sandy setting and views.
Open daily 8am-midnight. Candle Cafe, Qurum Beach, near Grand Hyatt Muscat (+968 9600 2233).
Romantic beachside dining with contemporary Italian food and bags of style. This is the sort of restaurant to propose in. Regardless of the answer you can always enjoy the pasta and risotto dishes and make conversation over antipasti platters. Italian options such as a linguine lobster and a Bolognese pasta are offered, but you can go off course with a stuffed pepper dish or Milanese beef ossobuco. A word, again, on those views – candlelight brings out the sparkle after dark.
Open daily 6pm-11.30pm. Capri Court, Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort, Al Jissah Street, Muscat 100, www.shangri-la.com (+968 2477 6565).
Caramel Restaurant & Lounge
A stylish restaurant with chic décor and the nightlife to match. Style is most certainly on the menu and that means delicate sushi, imaginative sharing plates (lobster and mango tacos or shawarma bites anyone?) and indulgent desserts, such as an upside down date pudding or crème brûlée. Sleek interiors are accentuated by the gold furniture. While the food may impress some, it is fashion-forward nightlife promotions that give Caramel its buzz. DJ sessions and ladies’ and gents’ nights are cool promotions.
Open Sat-Thu noon-3pm, 6pm-2am; Friday noon-2am. Caramel, Opera Galleria, Royal Opera House, www.facebook.com/caramelmuscat (+968 2206 6668).
Charm Thai Lounge & Restaurant
Even the elaborate story of this Thai restaurant is breath-taking. Something to do with a 600-year-old royal warrior called Suphankanlaya, pirates and riding on an elephant wearing golden armour. You don't need to know any of it, just that the decor aims to tell the story and is mesmerising. As the food can be for fans of aromatically spiced curries, stir fries and noodle dishes. Colourful, spicy and grand describes the setting and the food.
Open daily 6pm-2am. Charm Thai Lounge, Crowne Plaza Muscat OCEC, next to Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre, www.ihg.com (+968 9065 4364).
Bold, modern and delivering the highest of quality, this fine dining Chinese restaurant offers a refined culinary experience with exemplary Ritz-Carlton service. Beijing duck is served with a rich plum sauce and delicate pancakes, pan-fried lamb chops are flavoured with a cumin dip and a lamb shank of spiced with a Szechuan pepper. Look out for the interesting dim sum options. Cantonese shrimp, crispy duck spring roll, beef and foie gras dumplings anyone? Look out for the set menus to experience the chef’s finest.
Open daily 7pm-11pm. China Mood, Al Bustan Palace, Al Bustan Street, www.ritzcarlton.com (+968 2476 4000).
The water's edge location of the Crowne Plaza lends itself to romance. It is the sophistication of the minimalist decor and the authentic Italian cooking that confirms this as a destination spot. There is substance to go with the style and a menu put together to highlight the breadth of Italian cooking. In other words there is more than just pizza, although these are stone-baked and made with fine ingredients. Squid ink pasta, lobster risotto and a few veal dishes should demonstrate the variety.
Open daily noon-3pm, 7-11pm. Come Prima, Crowne Plaza Muscat, Qurum Heights, www.ihg.com (+968 2466 0660).
Hipster life has come to Muscat. That means this cool hangout has live acoustic music, trendy foods and a cool urban style about it. Being hipster and proud it has dishes such as poke bowls, sweet potato fries, gourmet mac and cheese, multiple burgers and nourishing salads. It offers something of a trendy, Los Angeles street food vibe and stands out among the numerous fast food joints and takeouts in the city. Corrugated metal panelling, distressed wood, a motorcycle and extremely well-presented dishes only add to the charm.
Open daily 8.30am-11pm. Copper, Sayh Al Malih Street, www.copper.restaurant (+968 2456 4292).
This cosy street café and hangout has been open more than 20 years, making it ancient in Muscat terms. Breakfasts are well catered for, with everything from start-the-day burritos and pancakes to various egg dishes. Throughout the day there is an enormous selection of salads, sandwiches, burgers and more comprehensive mains. It is all good value and hearty, making it popular with an international expat crowd. Inside is brightly decorated in what seems to be somebody's view of a cartoon-version of a rustic country kitchen.
Open Sat-Wed 8.30am-10.30pm; Thu-Fri, 8.30am-10.30pm. D’Arcy’s Kitchen, Jawaharat A'Shati Complex, www.facebook.com/darcyskitchen (+968 2460 0234).
Fastfood ’n’ Juice Centre
Let's be very clear - this is not the sort of place you would come for a proposal. Or to wow business clients. But if you're entering the souqs, and are on an al fresco shopping mission, the neon lights and brightly coloured juice concoctions cannot be missed. The brightness continues from the simple streetside tables and chairs and lurid lighting all the way through the fast food staples on the menu. It is about street bustle and simplicity and that’s admirable.
Open daily 9am-10pm. Fast Food 'n' Juice Centre, Al Bahri Road, Mutrah (+968 9287 6036).
Budget-friendly Pakistani food in a no-frills setting. That’s it in a nutshell, but for fans of Karachi cuisine there is nothing more required. For just a few riyals there is an impressive selection of grilled meats and kebabs. Chicken tikka, lamb chops are a mixed grill that would make even the hungriest table groan under the collective weight of meats. Curries are just as plentiful, with a strongly spiced collection of chicken, mutton and dal dishes. Wraps, biryani dishes and breads complete the feast.
Open Sat-Thu 11.30am-3.30pm, 6.30pm-midnight; Fri 1pm-3.30pm, 6.30pm-midnight. Hello Karachi, Al Amarat, www.hellokarachioman.com (+968 2497 0202).
Gigantic doesn't even begin to describe the selection available here. There are more than 50 types of soft drink available. And seven shawarmas. More than 20 sandwiches and burgers. 37 pizzas. You get the idea. The variety is impressive, but so is the setting. Try for seats in the garden and sit under shady trees by day, or fairy light-lit by night. The name means "little wooden cottage" and for its more than 20 years Kargeen has exemplified Arabic culture. Hence the huge shisha collection, we presume.
Open Sat-Thu 7pm-1am; Fri noon-1am. Kargeen, Al Bashair Street, www.kargeen.com (+968 2469 9055).
The ready availability of Turkish food in Muscat means you don’t really have to head in to a shopping mall to find it. However, this acclaimed international chain has some serious pedigree. The parent restaurant in Turkey carried a Michelin star and, while it has not got the same oomph here, it is worth a look if you are kebab-chasing mid shopping trip. The airy casual restaurant has pide (Turkish pizza) and various Turkish stews (meatball with walnut, sautéed shrimp with eggplant, dumplings with lamb and dough).
Open Sat-Wed 10am-10pm, Thu-Fri 10am-midnight. Kosebasi, City Centre Muscat, www.kosebasiarabia.com (+968 24 558522).
This is one of the most popular restaurants in Muscat. Serving predominantly Indian food in a Corniche restaurant is a fantastic way to get that reputation started, obviously, but Kurkum goes the extra mile. Presentation is important. Dishes, be they starters such as a prawn puri or potato and green pea samosa or the many curries, are beautifully presented in a manner that would not look out of place in Michelin star joints of Paris. There is a confusing Chinese section, but most fame comes from Indian dishes.
Open Sat-Thu 11.30am-10.30pm; Fri 1pm-10.30pm. Kurkum, Mutrah, Corniche, www.kurkumoman.com (+968 2471 4114).
French restaurants have been the benchmark for culinary excellence for centuries and this ambitious dining spot is no exception. French favourites such as a simple croque monsieur or a sugary crème brûlée are staples and you will find some of the more ambitious dishes in the city, too. Seared sea scallops, pan-fried moullet with a couscous salad or grilled lobster with a chef’s signature linguine are not standard fare. The outside looks basic, but venture inside and you'll find interiors that are artistic, even charmingly homely.
Open daily 9am-10pm. La Brasserie, Muttrah Port, Fish Market, www.facebook.com/LaBrasserieFrenchRes (+968 9137 1999).
Formerly known as Blue Marlin, this eatery has gone through changes in recent years. Thankfully, the aspect that most appeals to tourists and residents alike remains the same. That means the outdoor seating looking over the Marina and private yachts is still a lovely way to take your evening meal. Or daytime snack, for that matter. As well as the name change there has been a modernising of the décor and international food ranges from Greek-style salads to fish and chips, while there are sandwich options and desserts, too.
Open daily 8am-10pm. Marlins, Marina Bandar al-Rowdha, www.facebook.com/marlinsmbar (+968 2474 0038).
With a reputation as one of the finest restaurants in Muscat, the North Indian specialist stands out. Of the multiple dining rooms, the most striking is the terrace, with its expansive city views, but an airy and museum-like interior, complete with many artefacts adorning walls, is attractive. It is food where the reputation was forged. Mughlai and Punjabi specialities are a forte, although some southern states are represented. A Hyderabadi biryani is a good option and vegetarians are well looked after.
Open Sat-Thu noon-3.30pm, 7pm-midnight; Fri 1pm-4pm, 7pm-midnight. Mumtaz Mahal, off Sultan Al Qaboos Street, www.mumtazmahal.net (+968 2460 5979).
The menu is French, but there is a distinctly Manhattan chic feel to this stylish brasserie. Whether it is the private dining room or the large open kitchen there is a general feeling of sophistication that runs through to the food. Foie gras, an oyster bar, soufflé, lobster, premium steaks - this is dining at the higher end of the spectrum, although it remains casual. French specialties such as a Provençal bouillabaisse or a tenderloin tartare with quail eggs and truffles should encourage examination.
Open daily noon-3pm, 7-11pm. Omny Brasserie, Hormuz Grand, Al Matar Street, www.radissoncollection.com (+968 2435 0506).
Awadh cuisine is characterised by kebabs and biryani. The dum biryani has fragrant rice with herbs and vegetables, while Lucknawi biryani seasons the lamb with saffron and a trotter broth. Kebabs are plentiful with duck being a relatively rare alternative and a pungent scent of herbs, spices and marinades on the food. Whether opting for a curry with cottage cheese and pumpkin gravy, stuffed potatoes with tomato sauce or lamb shank morsels with caramelised onion, ginger and turmeric the flavours are diverse and traditional.
Open daily noon-3pm, 7pm-11pm. Qureshi Bab-Al-Hind, Hormuz Grand, Al Matar Street, www.radissoncollection.com (+968 2435 0500).
Royal House Restaurant
If people had the charm and good looks of this cute restaurant you would fall in love quickly. Shrubs surround the comfy, low-level seating giving it a garden feel. Inside the compact dining room is decorated like a courtyard with quirky wall-hangings and ceramics. The food is best described as eclectic. Omani dishes sit side-by-side with international fodder. You're as likely to end up with a bowl of mussels or a barbecued lamb chop. A whole grilled duck or a seafood pasta.
Open Sat-Thu 10am-11.30pm, Fri 1.30pm-11.30pm. Royal House, Al Bahri Road, Muttrah, Corniche, www.facebook.com/RoyalHouseRestaurantLLC (+968 9314 1672).
Safari Grill House
The rooftop grill is only open in cooler months so check to see if it is open. If it is, then visitors are able to experience a compelling outdoor dining experience and succulent barbecue. The specialty is buffet. Choose from the variety of packages and food comes with unlimited drinks. You can opt for seafood, surf and turf, wagyu, veal or a mixed grill and there is a small selection of sides, as well. The atmosphere can be lively and suits parties.
Open daily 7pm-11.30pm. The Grill House, Grand Hyatt Muscat, Shatti Al Qurum, www.hyattrestaurants.com (+968 2464 1234).
The Iranian dining experience upmarket Shatti Al Qurum deserves. The aroma of baking bread mingles with the spices in the grill. It being an Iranian restaurant charcoal grills are high on the agenda. Order the Persopolis to get a good variety of kebabs, including a tempting minced lamb option. A smoky Iranian mutabal, sautéed spinach and an eggplant purée are among the more popular appetizers, but there are many more to try. Iranian seafood is sometimes overlooked so try the grilled prawns or hammour skewers for a change.
Open daily noon-4pm; 7pm-11pm. Shabestan, Shatti Al Qurum, www.instagram.com/shabestan_oman (+968 2469 6000).
An upscale restaurant that brings flavours from Morocco and Lebanon with a touch of Omani originality also. Arched doorways and a North African-feel to the design as well as ornate art, lamps and coffee pots give it a strong design aesthetic and it is certainly one of the more attractive places to pile up on mezze. Tangy pickles, succulent rice dishes and fruity favourites such as a lamb tagine are nourishing and tasty. Live music is also provided in this tourist favourite.
Open daily 7pm-11pm. Shahrazad, Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort, Al Jissah Street, Muscat 100, www.shangri-la.com (+968 2477 6565).
Premium Persian food in an upmarket setting with elegant furnishings. Inside is smart, efficient and decorated with knowing nods to Iranian style, but out on the terrace there are sweeping views of the sea and back to the city. Food is plentiful and an excellent introduction to Iranian cuisine. Enormous chargrilled platters of meat are served with scented rice, while slow-cooked stews (seasoned with seven herbs) can be mopped up with freshly baked bread. Be hungry for a visit and save space for Persian lentil soup.
Open daily noon-3pm, 7pm-11pm. Shiraz, Crowne Plaza Muscat, Qurum Heights, www.ihg.com (+968 2466 0660).
Casual dining that aims to capture the energy, flavours and experience of Bangkok street food. The word "soi" means street in Thai explaining the relaxed approach. Mains include sizzling stir fries and curries. This could be a Panaeng seafood curry, with eggplant, lime and chilli or signature dishes such as the roasted duck with kale and tamarind sauce. It is all served in a compact dining room with arty wall hangings or in the outdoor terrace making for a fresh and enjoyable dining experience.
Open daily 12.30pm-4pm, 6.30pm-11pm. Soi Soi, Muscat Kempinski, 335 Street 6, www.kempinski.com (+968 2498 5000).
Steak, to many diners, is something that must be taken seriously. If you subscribe to this theory, then you could be among the legion of fans who declare it the best spot in town. New York strip, T-bone, ribeye, filet mignon, wagyu - a giant 1.3kg tomahawk - however you have it cooked, and whatever cut you prefer, this is a place to come to sample steaks. Limited starters, sides and sauces keep the emphasis on the meat in a masculine and stylish environment.
Open daily 11am-11pm. Steak Company, Bareeq A'Shatti complex, Shatti Al Qurum, www.facebook.com/TheSteakCompany (+968 9411 6600).
Spanish cuisine has enjoyed critical acclaim in recent years and this fine-dining gem is rightly among Muscat’s more upmarket joints. It might have the prices to match, but whether going for sharing tapas plates or signature dishes such as a paella it offers a variety of flavours. It claims a nautical design, but the real action is out on the wide open terrace. Look out for set menus designed by imaginative chefs as well as à la carte meats and seafood.
Open daily 6.30am-11am, 7pm-11pm. Sultanah, Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort, Al Jissah Street, Muscat 100, www.shangri-la.com (+968 2477 6565).
Every capital city needs a high-end Japanese restaurant and that is precisely what this InterContinental eatery is. Picturesque sushi, succulent Kobe beef, and entertaining teppanyaki tables – all essentials are included. What most impresses is how cool it is. Food is immaculately presented and the chic ambience judges the tone of urban sophistication perfectly. Take a private dining room to feel really special and let chefs recommend delicate Japanese flavours for both food and drink. Set menus for lunch and dinner are curated or go à la carte.
Open daily noon-11pm. Takara, InterContinental Muscat, Shatti Al Qurum, www.facebook.com/takaramuscat (+968 2206 0003).
You don’t get to be Muscat’s number one-ranked restaurant on TripAdvisor without pleasing a few people. In the case of this Rotana restaurant it seems to have been achieved by giving the people what they want. No matter the combo. That means Thai, Japanese, Indian and Italian mingle on the menu. Live cooking stations and a lively ambience add to the appeal in the signature restaurant popular with groups looking for entertainment with food. Daily promotions include mixed drink deals, which also adds to the enduring appeal.
Daily 6pm-late. Teatro. Sundus Rotana, Al Maardih Street, Seeb, www.rotana.com (+968 24511874).
The Beach Restaurant
Only open in cooler months, for obvious reason, this is sand beneath your toes dining at its finest. Because of the gorgeous environment don't think the food is a secondary consideration, though. Fine Iranian and Caspian caviar, a variety of freshly shucked oysters and imaginative seafood dishes. Line-caught fish of the day, Omani shellfish, lobster bisque, scallops with pickled shimeji mushrooms – this is fine-ding and make no mistake. Trust us about the setting – it is incredible.
Open daily (from mid-September to mid-May). 7pm-10.30pm. The Beach Restaurant, The Chedi, North Ghubra 32, Street 46, www.ghmhotels.com (+968 2452 4343).
An upscale Indian restaurant with high-end food in an attractive setting. As with, as far as we can work out, everything to do with the Royal Opera House this is a sophisticate affair. Don’t be surprised to see smartly dressed patrons grabbing a pre-show bite. Outdoor seating looks down on the Opera House courtyard and inside is adorned with shawls, silk cushions and vibrant colours. Marinated grills, beautifully presented aromatic biryani and spicy curry dishes bursting with flavour are all worth tasting and devouring.
Open daily noon-3.30pm; 6.30pm-midnight. The Indus, Opera Galleria, Royal Opera House, www.facebook.com/TheIndusOman (+968 2202 2888).
Because The Chedi is a hotel that puts a premium on style its all-day dining restaurant and brunch specialist has the quality and panache of a signature spot. High ceilings, arched doorways and chandeliers are a nod to the sophistication and the international food is varied and elegantly presented. Mezze, curries, sushi, mixed grills, premium steaks, salads, soups, carpaccio, stir-fries are all here. Live piano music, multiple dining rooms and an outdoor terrace banish any thought this is a standard lobby level restaurant.
Open daily 7am-11pm. The Restaurant, The Chedi, North Ghubra 32, Street 46, www.ghmhotels.com (+968 2452 4343).
Buckle in for a wild ride at the Tiki-themed chain. Just like partying here, a meal can be eclectic, crazy and fun. A decent amount of the food is fried, spiced or cheesed and even more is picked up on a continent-hopping tour of Asia. Stir-fries, noodles, steaks, salads and dramatic flamed beef made by your table are all colourful and bold. As you would expect from a place where loud shirts are almost a dress code, there is an emphasis on adventure over subtlety.
Open Sun-Fri 5.30pm-1.30am; Sat, noon-3pm, 5.30pm-1.30am. Trader Vic's, InterContinental Muscat, www.tradervicsmuscat.com (+968 2468 0080).
Designed to look like a Roman temple there is a kitsch charm to the Hyatt's signature restaurant. The food, however, is taken very seriously. An open kitchen with a wood-burning oven turns out plate after plate of creative Italian food. There are the usual pizzas and pasta dishes you would expect from high-end restaurant in a five-star hotel. Regional varieties and set-pieces should be explored as well. Meat and fish, in particular, are noteworthy. The outdoor terrace is one of Muscat’s more romantic spots.
Open Sun-Thu, Noon-3.30pm, 7-11pm; Fri-Sat, 7-11pm. Tuscany, Grand Hyatt, Shatti Al Qurum, www.hyattrestaurants.com (+968 2464 1234).
A culinarily adventurous restaurant unlike any other. You're as likely to find yourself tucking in to cheese and mint samosas with shawarma meat filled filo parcels as you are shark curry or camel meat. It defies solitary categorisation, but Omani dishes do stand out. Look out for an especially intriguing fusion dessert collection. Interiors are smart and decorated with cute lamps, vases and ornaments. It is named after a lost city from Omani culture and aims to deliver a level of service that upholds the tradition.
Open daily. 12.30-3.30pm; 6.30-11pm. Ubhar, Bareeq Al Shatti, Al Qurum, www.ubharoman.com (+968 2469 9826).
Zen Asian Bistro
There aren’t many sushi specialists in town, so if you seek Japanese food this shopping mall restaurant may beckon. Sushi is hand-rolled and there is a bewildering variety of options ranging from the spicy crab and mango varieties, to the crunchy and a few original formats and flavours, too. Non-sushi options include wok specials from across Asia (Burmese, Thai and Chinese chicken dishes). We’re also intrigued by the rice burgers, which replace the bun of a standard burger with, you guessed it, rice.
Open Sun-Wed, 10am-11pm; Thu-Sat, 10am-midnight. Zen Asian Bistro, Avenues Mall, Bousher, www.zenbistro.asia (+968 2206 0200).