Kuwait boasts a selection of international and fast food restaurants in the capital and larger towns. However, staying only with the familiar means missing out on their indigenous gastronomy and a rich mix of regional dishes. The purchase or consumption of alcohol is forbidden here, although you may get lucky if you’re invited to a Kuwaiti home for dinner. For unaccompanied female visitors, the nightlife scene is even more restricted, and ladies are advised to be indoors by 10:00 p.m.

Bars and Pubbing in Kuwait

Nightlife in Kuwait is a unique experience due to the Muslim anti-alcohol laws. Bars, cafés and music venues exist, but they only serve soft drinks, relying on the music and provocative waitresses to liven things up. Many entertainment options are geared towards the high number of foreign workers, and a popular midnight destination in the capital is Jhara Road, the nightly scene of manic car races.

A feature of bars and cafes is shisha, flavored tobacco smoked through a hookah pipe. It’s a relaxing social experience, with Shisha Bar (Ahmed al Jaber, Kuwait City) one of the best. The Chocolate Bar (Bida Street, Kuwait City) is a chocoholics’ delight and the English Tea Lounge (Sheraton Towers, Kuwait City) is another place to let loose.

The Marina Crescent (Salmiya Road, Kuwait City) is a pleasant hub for non-alcoholic bars, set attractively on two floors above a marina packed with mega yachts. Trivia nights are offered in several of Kuwait City’s five-star hotels, and movie theaters in the shopping malls show flicks in English. Groups of more than five on the streets late at night run the risk of being picked up by police for questioning.

Dining and Cuisine in Kuwait

Everything from street-corner shwarma stands to five-star fine dining can be found in Kuwait, with American staples like TGI Friday (Salmiya Road, Kuwait City), the Hard Rock Café (Marina Crescent, Kuwait City) and Fuddruckers (Salmiya Road, Kuwait City) all present.

For local cuisine, Al Marsa (Ritz Hotel, Kuwait City), is the place to head. For Chinese food, Greens (Gulf Road, Kuwait City) is a good bet. The Fish Market (Salmiya Road, Kuwait City) lets you choose your species and its cooking method and is a seafood-lovers’ delight. The charming Shati Alwatia (Behbehani Villas, Qibla, Kuwait City) serves traditional Kuwaiti dishes and the food courts in the malls are another source of regional specialties.

For a special occasion, Al Boom (Radisson Hotel, Kuwait City) is housed in a traditional wooden dhow and serves fine fusion cuisine based on international and traditional Arab recipes. For authentic Italian food, Viaggio Restaurant (Crowne Plaza Hotel, Kuwait City) is the best in town, with Ricardo’s (Sheraton Hotel, Kuwait City) close behind and a stop at Gelato Italiano (Ahmed al Jaber St, Kuwait City) for desert.