Bringing together the richly spiced dishes of Arabian cuisine with influences from Oman’s history, seafaring past and cosmopolitan present, Muscat is one of the most captivating culinary cities in the Arabian Gulf. Dishes like qabuli (rice slow cooked with camel or chicken) give a rich taste, while seafood dishes like mashuai (kingfish with lemon rice) show off the rich bounty of Muscat’s gorgeous coastline.

Savour classic Omani delicacies

Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel Beach Pavilion Bar & Grill - Dining Room.jpeg

At Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel's Pavilion restaurant, the relaxing waves and gentle sea breeze are the perfect complement to a memorable culinary experience (Photo: Marriott International)

The exquisite flavours of Omani cuisine are given headline status throughout the day at Al Khiran Kitchen, one of the high-end dining options in Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel, one of the jewels of Muscat’s hospitality scene. There’s no better way to start the day than with a traditional Arabian breakfast: ful medames, a spiced fava bean stew, is on the menu here, as is shakshouka and cheese manakish (flatbread). International options include eggs benedict and Belgian waffles. If you're in the mood for al fresco dining, look no further than The Pavilion at Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel, which serves the freshest seafood and other seasonal local produce.

At lunch and dinner, traditional Omani dishes include shuwa – slow-cooked spicy lamb, served with saffron rice. This is a rare opportunity to try a special dish that's usually reserved for festive occasions. Simple dishes which highlight fresh local produce include the likes of grilled kingfish with a lemon butter emulsion. There are also hot mezze platters with regional specialities including fried kibbeh, crispy spinach fatayer and cheese sambousek (a kind of samosa).

Another fantastic place to try traditional Omani cuisine is Bait al Luban, an atmospheric restaurant decked out in dark wood and overlooking Muscat’s famous corniche. Be sure to try the harees dijaj (chicken slow cooked with barley), and don’t forget to leave room for a sticky date cheesecake pudding, tshiz kik, the ultimate Omani dessert! 

Explore the timeless flavours and spices of Omani cuisine

 W Muscat’s Ba Ban, Oman

At W Muscat’s Ba Ban, the Indian Ocean's bounty meets the beautifully complex flavours of China (Photo: Marriott International)

Oman’s past as a great seafaring nation means it has long been a hub for cultural exchange, and that is represented in its diverse dining scene. The flavours of China, for example, meet the fresh produce of Oman’s country and coast to spectacular effect at W Muscat’s Ba Ban. Some dishes explore the complex flavours of China’s regional cuisines, such as Omani hamour with pickled Szechuan chilli; others highlight more local flavours, like profiteroles with Omani frankincense. Then there are those options which are just pure indulgence: Omani lobster spring rolls with XO black truffle sauce, for example.

This is food worthy of a banquet, and the dim sum sharing platters are a luxurious feast for couples or small groups: wagyu beef, lobster with squid ink, crystal sesame mushrooms and Peking duck are among the offerings. Just be sure to leave room for dessert, as the sweet options here are beautifully considered and infused with aromatics. Take the Earl Grey tea ice cream, for instance, the raspberry and rose sorbet, or the tatin Chinoise with jasmine ice cream.

China Mood, within Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel, is another of the region's top Asian restaurants, with a menu full of authentic Chinese flavours. Try the Hunan-style baby squid and Szechuan poached chicken, for instance, which evidence the exquisite balance of ingredients that have made this kitchen's reputation.

Amid the beachfront luxury of W Muscat, meanwhile, you’ll find Siddharta Lounge by Buddha-Bar, where the menu showcases the freshest Omani ingredients in a style inspired by coastal Mediterranean cuisine – a fusion which results in such mouthwatering offerings as grilled Omani lobster and kingfish with green asparagus and gremolata. There is a strong Asian influence on the food here: try the salmon teriyaki with squid-ink rice; crab rolls with tobiko (flying fish roe); or squid, dorado, and octopus fried in togarashi spices. Succulent meat dishes are on offer, too, including chicken udon with Thai red curry, and lamb chops with Korean basil sauce. 

Dine with gorgeous ocean views

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One of Muscat’s great charms is its glorious coastline, which the terrace at Al Khiran Kitchen, part of Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel, shows off to glorious effect (Photo: Marriott International)

It’s not just delicious seafood which Muscat gains from its oceanfront setting – the views aren’t bad, either. One of Muscat’s great charms is its glorious coastline, with rocky mountains suddenly giving way to a green sea hemmed by bone-white beaches and secret coves. In one such cove is nestled Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz Carlton Hotel, Vistas of the ocean are everywhere here, nowhere more so than at the gorgeous dining venue The Pavilion, which has huge windows overlooking the coastline and outdoor seating areas right beside the beach.  

Similarly spectacular are the views at Al Khiran Kitchen, where the restaurant’s gorgeous marble-walled interior gives way to vistas over the hotel’s infinity pool, which melts away to the horizon and the Gulf of Oman. In the upmarket Shatti Al Qurum neighbourhood, meanwhile, you’ll find Twins, a laid-back Turkish restaurant where you can feast on mixed-grill meat selections and meze platters while sitting on a raised deck, overlooking the golden sand and swaying palms of Qurum Beach with the ocean beyond.

Wherever you choose to dine overlooking the ocean in Muscat, just be sure to take the time to look up from your food and enjoy the view.

Enjoy fresh, wholesome and fragrant cuisine

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W Muscat's Harvest restaurant serves up wholesome, flavour-filled dishes that satisfy body and soul (Photo: Marriott International)

Eating healthily doesn’t need to mean any compromise on flavour, and nowhere does it like Harvest, a wellness-focused restaurant in W Muscat with an emphasis on wholesome dishes made using only the freshest seasonal ingredients.

The most beloved flavours of the Middle East are on show here, from cold mezze platters of baba ganoush and muhammara to heartier kibbeh, falafel and fatayer dishes. The famously healthy Mediterranean diet gets good exposure too, with superb Greek salads and fresh burrata served with heirloom tomatoes. An East Asian influence, meanwhile, comes in the form of prawn tempura and steamed edamame.

While traditional Omani food makes extensive use of red meat, if you opt a vegetarian diet, you’re in luck: Muscat’s plethora of Indian restaurants offer a huge range of meat-free options. Head to Woodlands, in the Madinat Sultan Qaboos neighbourhood, for healthy Chettinad dishes like eggplant curry and okra stewed with lentils.

Dive into some of the Gulf's finest seafood

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Head over to W Muscat's Siddharta Lounge and share a platter of exquisitely prepared sushi showcasing fish fresh from the Indian Ocean (Photo: Marriott International)

Wherever you choose to dine in Muscat, exquisite fresh seafood won’t be far away, with dozens of restaurants harnessing the bounty offered up by Muscat’s coast each day. This is showcased in all its glory by The Pavilion’s Raw Bar – platters of Gulf shrimp, littleneck clams, Indian Ocean oysters on the half shell and more, beautifully accented with dressings of truffle, ginger or soy. Cooked seafood options include blackened hamour with chilli lime and smoked avocado, lobster fettucine and steamed shrimp salad.

At W Muscat's Siddharta Lounge by Buddha-Bar, meanwhile, you can graze on the likes of salmon teriyaki with squid-ink rice; crab rolls with tobiko (flying fish roe); or squid, dorado, and octopus fried in togarashi spices.

For a superb seafood experience in a laid-back environment, try Samakmak, an Egyptian-style restaurant with a relaxed, friendly atmosphere and plates piled high with fresh fish. The hamour and cuttlefish are superb, and the lobster thermidor is unforgettable.

Published: October 20, 2023

Last Updated: October 26, 2023

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