Oman: Traditional Omani Dinner at Bin Ateeq | Lady & her Sweet Escapes

May 19, 2014

Oman: Traditional Omani Dinner at Bin Ateeq

A week before our trip to Muscat, I asked my friends in Oman to check for well-recommended local restaurants. Yah, I was lazy, I mean busy, to do some research. Seriously, Ed and I were caught up with work that we never had the time to prepare an itinerary for our Muscat trip. Lucky us, we have great friends who facilitated our city tours, nature trips and foodie adventures! 

On our first night in Muscat, Ed and I had a wonderful opportunity to dine in an Omani restaurant with a local. Thanks to our good friend H for introducing us to a helpful Omani who served as our tour guide to various tourist attractions in Muscat and happily supported us on our foodie escapade. For a traditional Omani dinner, he took us to Bin Ateeq Restaurant in Al Khuwair.      

Bin Ateeq restaurant in Muscat Oman

Bin Ateeq is a very simple restaurant with an authentic Omani ambiance. A staff took our food orders in the reception area. The menu is vast and tourist-friendly; there's an English translation and description under the Arabic names. After ordering, we went to a private dining room at the 2nd floor. I was pleased to see traditional Omani setting. We removed our shoes and excitedly went in the carpeted room as we were not just bound to eat  authentic local food but to dine the traditional way as well. 

traditionally decorated Bin Ateeq Restaurant in Al Khuwair
traditionally decorated Bin Ateeq Restaurant in Al Khuwair, Muscat
Bin Ateeq restaurant's reception
Bin Ateeq's reception area: where diners browse the menu and place food order
Bin Ateeq restaurant's private dining room
one of the big private rooms at the ground floor 

Before our orders came, our local friend oriented us with Omani dining. He said that we can sit on the floor or on the cushions, eat with our hands or use the utensils provided. We opted the traditional way, so we thoroughly washed our hands, comfortably sat on the floor and patiently waited to be served. After a few minutes, a wait staff came and covered the carpet with plastic. He went out and came back with large tray of Omani cuisine. 

Omani Food at Bin Ateeq restaurant
authentic Omani cuisine at Bin Ateeq

Ed and our Omani friend ordered Qabooli Samakh Kenadh (biryani rice with king fish). H got the the regular Chicken Biryani or the Biryani Dijaj, while I opted to have Qabooli Dijaj (Omani biryani rice with chicken). We couldn't see any difference on the two chicken dishes, so we asked a staff to identify which is which. He looked at the rice grains and pointed at my order. There must be something in the grains, probably the length, but I was too hungry to examine and compare. 

All dishes came in hefty serving, each with a side salad. If only we knew that the portions are huge, H and I could have just shared a dish! Our local friend invited us to try a traditional appetizer made of shark meat. It is tad salty, more like chunks of dried fish in a mild broth. Since I'm not a big fan of dried fish, I only took a few and had my full concentration on my main dish.    

authentic Omani cuisine
Qabooli Dijaj, Biryani Dijaj and Qabooli Samakh Kenadh 
traditional Omani appetizer
traditional Omani appetizer

The Qabooli Dijaj is very tasty. I actually could eat the rice alone as it already infused with spices! However, the half fried chicken on top and the tomato puree sauce made the dish extra special! I love everything on it, from the crispy golden chicken skin and well-marinated juicy meat to the exotic flavors of the biryani rice and the sauce. My dear husband and our local friend enjoyed their fish dish. They barely said a word and kept there mouths full like they are in an eating competition or something. I bet it's really good and Ed confirmed that it truly is right after he is done with his plate. 

Omani dinner at Bin Ateeq restaurant with a local
Omani dinner at Bin Ateeq restaurant
eating like a local with a local

Our dinner at Bin Ateeq restaurant is one of the highlights of our Muscat getaway. The restaurant is definitely not a tourist trap as most offerings on the menu are affordable and one serving is good for two ladies with not-so-huge appetites to share. Dining the traditional way with a local is a great foodie experience. It made us realize that Omani people and their cuisine are just as wonderful as the country's breathtaking scenery.   
Bin Ateeq Restaurant
Al Khuwair, Muscat

Prices of what we had (as of April 2014):
Qabooli Dijaj: 2.200 OMR
Biryani Dijaj: 2.200 OMR
Qabooli Samakh Kenadh: 2.500 OMR
(1 Omani Rial is around 9.5 UAE Dirham)

How to get to Muscat from Dubai by public bus? Here are the details: Dubai-Muscat Bus Ride
More things to do in Oman:

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