Anything Korean or Japanese is making me excited, aside from my personal bias – the Filipino cuisine, I would literally rush to them just to get a scoop. So upon hearing that Benihana in Villaggio Mall has already opened on February 24, I would literally want to fast forward the time so I can visit this new Teppanyaki Restaurant after office. Without so much hype, quite a silent entrance actually, yet Benihana is expected to arouse many Japanese food lovers’ curiosity.
THE RESTAURANT SET-UP
As expected of any typical Japanese restaurant, dim-lit room with sparse selection of spotlights, large Japanese inspired frames, almost wood-black-red color palette all around. The dining room is divided into normal dining seats and teppanyaki areas. There are also private teppanyaki rooms that you can reserve for an additional QR500.
Of course, I chose the teppanyaki table, expecting a solid Japanese dining experience: a live cooking show where your food is cooked right in front of you and served straight out of the grill to your plate.
Teppanyaki is a style of Japanese cuisine, and is derived from the words ‘teppan’ (iron plate) and ‘yaki’ (grilled, boiled, or pan-fried). So, it literally means ‘grilling on an iron plate’. The dishes cooked using an iron plate include meat, seafood, and noodles (source: www.kobejones.com)
There were about six sets of these teppanyaki tables inside BENIHANA QATAR (plus 3 private Teppanyaki rooms). While the chef on the other tables are doing their live cooking performances, you can get even more excited with every ohhhs and wows of the guests.
Click this link for the complete MENU:
Navigating their menu for the first time may be overwhelming but you can head straight to the page that says : FROM THE HIBACHI (The hibachi is a traditional Japanese heating device).
If you are going solo, your easy option is to choose either Hibachi Chicken or Teriyaki Chicken (I went with the safe and familiar one – Teriyaki). The set comes with onion soup, Benihana salad, steamed rice, Hibachi vegetables, prawn appetizer, and the main – Teriyaki Chicken. The serving is big – you can actually share it (possibly with your child) – though they would always say it’s good for one.
There are also large servings on the option that could work for sharing especially those in Hibachi Specialties section. You can order additional a la carte items like those in the Sushi Corner section of the menu.
THE LIVE COOKING EXPERIENCE
While having some difficulty firing up the grill, the chef finally were able to start the show, much to our delight.
To enjoy the food, it’s best to eat it as it comes, since it gets cold easily. The soup looks nice but mine got cold already after taking too much photos and videos, but a few scoop could tell that it’s good when served hot (my fault). The salad didn’t impressed me that much. The servers seems to be in a hurry to clean up – don’t get intimidated, just ask them to leave it for a while if you’re not done yet. Over all, the food was good. The buttery taste, the crunchy veggies, and the well-seasoned meat was up to my liking. The restaurant ambiance, big serving of the food, and the entertainment value is definitely a plus.
This is not an invitation and I came rushing after office hoping to finish early and post on the blog as soon as possible. Planning to go back with my family to taste the other items on the menu: the sushi rolls are inviting and the ice cream tempura looks promising. Maybe, I will try other Hibachi Specials next time.
TRY IT FOR THE EXPERIENCE!
BENIHANNA QATAR is a good place to try and experience live cooking in a Japanese ambiance. It’s a very rare experience here in Doha after some of them temporarily closed down during the pandemic.
It is located just beside Cheesecake Factory and can be accessed from inside the mall.
NOTE: All photos are unedited, blog was uploaded immediately after the visit.
A BIT OF HISTORY: “With his seed money in place, Rocky took out a loan and used it to start America’s first Japanese teppanyaki restaurant on West 56th street. Named after his parents’ Tokyo coffee shop, Benihana opened in 1964, featuring an authentic Japanese farmhouse interior and food prepared on steel teppanyaki grills right in front of customers. ” excerpt from www.benihana.com/about/history/
Benihana operates or franchises restaurants in the United States, the United Kingdom, Slovakia, Romania, Lebanon, the Caribbean, Central and South America, and in the Middle East: KSA, Kuwait, and Qatar.
BENIHANNA QATAR in Villaggio Mall: