Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Finding the new Ponderosa Steakhouse in Doha

“Are you sure you know where it is?” AdventureMan asked.

“Well, pretty sure.” I answered, and God bless him, as hungry as he is and as tired as he is after a long day at work, he just sighs and trusts me.

“If this doesn’t work, we can always eat at Villagio,” he says, and I marvel at his equilibrium.

“The man at the other Ponderosa said you go three roundabouts from Ramada junction and it is on your right, and then he said something else but I didn’t understand.” I added.

We went three roundabouts, and then started taking the slip roads, an adventure in itself. We saw a lot of car repair places, some smaller Lebanese restaurants with all guys eating inside, and had to go back and forth, because sometimes the slip road ended, sometimes the shop roads ended. After another roundabout, and a long row of very modern, empty glass office-looking buildings on the right, there it was, clearly visible from the road, and I realize what the man had been telling me was that it was above the Pizza Hut.

This is what it looks like from Salwa:

This is what it looks like from the side road – “Ponderosa “steakhouse” in Arabic

Maybe about once every three months or so, when I really felt a need for some meat, we would brave the horrible road-trek at Cholesterol Corner, otherwise known as the Ramada Junction, to eat at Ponderosa. It isn’t fancy, but it truly is popular, with its buffet and inexpensive steaks. I really like their filet, just a little 6 oz. steak but they do it better than many of the big expensive hotel restaurants.

If this works, we have said to ourselves, it would be a real blessing for us, not to have to hassle with the traffic patterns of entrance and exits, not to mention the congestion.

When we get inside, the blessings just continue to pour forth – we learn that this is their first night open to the public (we didn’t know!) and that they had promotions going – the buffet was 29 QR – which is what the price was six years ago, before it started creeping up – and that every main entree on the menu included the buffet and tonight only was only 40 QR (around $11).

So for $11 each, AdventureMan ordered the fried fish, and I ordered the filet mignon. Taking a risk, I even ordered it MEDIUM RARE.

The Ponderosa Buffet is the Ponderosa Buffet. It has some American salads, some Arabic salads, and a taco bar, and a dessert bar and a soft ice-cream machine. It was all very very clean and well presented.

When my steak came and I bit into it – it was truly amazing – medium rare! AdventureMan said his fish was very lightly battered and very hot and fresh tasting.

I didn’t remember to take photos until about halfway through. I must be the absolute worst restaurant reviewer in the world. That’s where my filet steak used to be, LOL:


Yes. I used some A-1 Sauce. I love it on steak. But I tasted the steak first, and it was a great steak.


There used to be four pieces of this hot, delicious fried fish.

The dessert bar:

I had watermelon, AdventureMan had a lot of the fruits, but I could see most people were going for the chocolate pudding and the soft ice cream. 🙂

The Ponderosa is upstairs, over the Pizza Hut. You enter from the side road. Paved parking is limited – maybe 12 spots – but there is that hard rocky surface, lots and lots of it. This is supposed to be the biggest Ponderosa in Doha, and it may be – it is full of booths, all very private, several different areas.

We won’t go that often – we have other favorites – but we are really really glad this Ponderosa has gone in, and we don’t have to go down to C-ring anymore in that maze of mad motorists. We also think that with all the housing going farther and farther out of Doha, they chose a very smart location to attract those moving away from the center. And – I am impressed – my steak really was medium rare!

August 10, 2009 - Posted by | Adventure, Community, Cooking, Customer Service, Doha, Eating Out, ExPat Life, Living Conditions


  1. In Arabic it says: Bandroza Isteek Hoos 🙂

    Will try it next time…

    Comment by Bu Yousef | August 10, 2009 | Reply

  2. LLOOLL! It’s a fur piece out of the city, Bu Yousef!

    My husband just laughed when he saw the photo of where-my-filet-used-to-be. He agreed; I am the worst restaurant reviewer in the world when it comes to photos.

    Comment by intlxpatr | August 11, 2009 | Reply

  3. I like Panderosa ,good steaks for reasonable prices

    Comment by daggero | August 11, 2009 | Reply

  4. That’s what we like, too, Daggero, the equivalent of the Michelin red “R”

    Comment by intlxpatr | August 11, 2009 | Reply

  5. do you have any branch here in doha aside from ponderosa salwa? plz send me message. thank you….


    Comment by jorge lopez | November 17, 2011 | Reply

  6. Jorge, it’s been a while since I was there, like almost two years, so I don’t know that it is still there, but it is also on Salwa, but WAAAAAAYYY out on Salwa. It’s on a slip road, and I remember there were a lot of big square (I think auto places) looking sort of empty just before we got there. As you head OUT of Doha on Salwa, it is on the right side, and it is up above the Pizza Hut. There is a photo above that shows what the sign looks like. It is on a corner, and the road it’s on is a small road but busy.

    Comment by intlxpatr | November 17, 2011 | Reply

  7. The Google map directions for this are wrong. I just spent 90 minutes trying to take my daughter there for a birthday party.

    Comment by Mark Crane | September 18, 2014 | Reply

  8. Mark, Google Map directions in Doha can be laughable, and wildly inaccurate; like putting the Ponderosa on the wrong side of Salwa, which could add an hour to getting there when you have to go to the next intersection to turn around, etc. It’s why I put the photos in also, to help people be able to see it from Salwa, because it’s not exactly in-your-face visible. The second time we went, we got there from that small side street it is really on. (That’s been like four years, now . . . ) BTW, see you also like the Lumix. I’ve been addicted, had several since they came out.

    Comment by intlxpatr | September 18, 2014 | Reply

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