Practical information : Eating out Oman
In Oman, breakfast is usually taken around 9-10am, followed by lunch around 1pm and dinner around 7-8pm. As coffee shops are open continuously from early morning to late evening, it is easy to eat at any time of the day or evening. Restaurants, on the other hand, follow more traditional schedules, generally later on weekends. On those days, the crowds increase, especially for the famous Friday brunch served until 2:00-3:00 pm.
Budget & Tips
You can eat cheaply, at any time of the day, in the coffee shops, scattered all over the country including in the most remote areas - in this case they are located at petrol stations. Hygiene rules in Oman are very strict, so restaurants and coffee shops are subject to frequent checks. If any breach of the rules is detected, the establishment is forced to close. There are therefore no contraindications to eating in small establishments that do not pay a premium for kebabs, wraps, salads, French fries, kebabs, Arabic dishes, etc. and delicious freshly squeezed fruit juices.
Elsewhere, prices vary according to the standing of the establishment: around 8 euros for a typical Omani restaurant and from 50 euros for a fine dinner in a gastronomic or fashionable restaurant.
What costs extra
To date, although this practice is changing, taxes are generally not included in the posted prices. This indication appears at the bottom of the maps and specifies the percentage to be added to the final bill, often 9% government taxes and 8% service taxes.
Tipping is not systematic and everyone is free to choose. When you place an order at a coffee shop from your car (a very common practice in the coffee shop), it is a good idea to leave a few baizas for the waiter who goes there and back to bring the menu and then the takeaway food.
The local way
There is no Omani culinary tradition as such. The Sultanate's cuisine has mainly benefited from the influence of neighbouring countries such as Iran, Yemen and especially Lebanon. The Indian influence is also evident through some dishes concocted in the tandoori, massala, tikka style... The most typical dishes are the "shuwa" (mutton cooked for several days in a banana leaf), the "shawarma" (a pita bread filled with spit-roasted meat and/or vegetables spiced up with sauce) and of course the many dishes based on fish freshly caught in the waters of the Gulf. More generally, all the local restaurants offer hummus accompanied by Arabic bread, mezze (hot or cold starters served in small portions), kebab (a piece of meat or fish grilled on a spit), kefta (a skewer of grilled and spicy minced lamb), etc.
The national dessert is halwa, a sweet sweet made from rose water, sugar, sesame seeds and spices that is cooked for hours in a large copper pot.
As a snack, Omanis eat dates and cardamom coffee all day long. This is usually what they serve to their guests as a sign of hospitality.
Fresh fruit juices are commonplace, and at very low prices. Lemon Mint Juice is a popular drink for locals... and travelers who are quick to fall for it. Ultra refreshing, the two basic ingredients are lemon and fresh mint, served with lots of crushed ice. A delight!
The notion of family in the broadest sense of the term is very important in Oman, where children are welcome in the vast majority of restaurants.
Smoking is not allowed in the restaurants, except on the terrace.