Perhaps our most memorable meal in Oman, we both enjoyed the expansive Friday brunch at the five-star Chedi Hotel. All the western hotels have a buffet brunch on Friday, and since the Grand Hyatt’s was closed for a private function we decided to try the nearby Chedi instead.
The food spread was expansive and once you have a table, you can park yourself in a comfy chair for hours (typically 1pm-4pm) — relaxing, talking and eating as much as you like. Considering the cost is about $70/person without alcohol, I appreciated the time to browse and snack. Since we opted for the non-alcohol option, we had the choice of a variety of delicious juices and, of course, sparkling water. My favorite items were the raw oysters, salmon sushi and the multitude of desserts!
Once we decided that we could not eat another bite, we walked to their private beach and strolled along the waterfront for a half hour before heading back to our hotel. The pool area was quiet, with lots of little places to relax so you didn’t feel like you were surrounded by people. Basically, perfect.
Shakespeare and Co in Waves was open early for breakfast on the morning we drove to Nizwa, and we stopped again before our flight out of Oman because it was right by the airport. Eric got the American breakfast (I took his coffee drink) the first time and pancakes on the second visit, while I ordered the Lebanese Zatar Lebbneh (twice) which had a nice spice to it. Everything was tasty and they are one of the only places we found that opened at 7am, very rare in Muscat – even for breakfast! The only downside, perhaps because of the location to the water, we noticed a ton of flies when we sat outside.
We decided on Indian for our first proper dinner in Oman and, of course, it was a bit of an adventure finding the address and then a parking area. Begum’s served us a great meal for a surprisingly good price. We ate upstairs which is where most of the foreigners seemed to be seated. Service was prompt and portion sizes were spot on. Eric had the Chicken Tikka Biryani, while I had a Paneer Curry – mine had just the right level of spice. We also split a 1.5 L bottle of water, all for under $20.
Knowing we were going to need snacks for our trip to Wadi Shab the following day, we hit up the Carrefour at night – a massive store with crazy amounts of dairy. As usual, wrong turns and u-turns were part of the experience of getting anywhere in Muscat and the 30 minutes I gave us to make it to dinner almost wasn’t enough time!
We found a good parking spot again and our dinner at Ubhar improved from there. I selected the Omani sampler appetizer (which turned out to be plenty of food for me) which had a mix of a meat and veggie filled pastries, kebob, hummus and salad. Very tasty. Eric had the beautifully presented Qabuli mahshi (qah buli ma she) – beef, cashews, golden raisins and rice in puff pastry. It was quite savory, with flavors of lemon and cinnamon, probably the best tasting item of this trip. At the end of the meal, our waiter brought over a sample of Omani coffee for us – rich tasting and spiked with cardamom.
Our last dinner in Oman, was, unfortunately, disappointing. We choose Grand Lounge as it was Turkish and we were craving some of our favorite flavors from that trip. We arrived to a nearly empty restaurant (bad sign) but were shown to a table surrounded by some fish tanks in a smaller, raised seating area. The language barrier seemed to be a problem here but we finally got the message that they didn’t have the two main dishes we came here for — Manti or Lahmacun. Instead, we ordered the hummus (with a massive bread covered in sesame seeds) and the Urfa Kebab. It was reasonably smoky but I would have preferred a stronger flavor. To top things off, their credit card machine was broken and I was down to my last few rials (we were leaving the next day) so we had to be extra mindful of prices.