Isaan makes really good food. No doubt about it. Every dish I have had here was well prepared, and they offer a number of dishes you will not find on the menu at more affordable Thai restaurants in Doha. The service is attentive and courteous, and the ambiance is great too. This is a fine place to bring a date or celebrate a special occasion.
That being said, the value for money proposition is low. The portions are really small, almost like they are daring you to call BS on them. What’s next? Soup in a thimble, QR 75?
A couple of reviewers praised the “tapas style” here, but these dishes are not tapas prices. For me, that is a major disadvantage because even though there are a number of dishes I would love to try “tapas style,” I am reluctant to branch out from what I know because the investment is so high. And yes, you do get all the free rice you can eat. But I make good rice, I can get a big bag for next to nothing, and I’m not coming here to fill up on rice.
I’d say to consider going with the set menu (although they didn’t have it available the last time we went, oddly), because you are going to spend QR 150 ordering a la carte anyway and you will get far less variety. Heck, you’d be lucky to get out of here for QR 150. And then you’d still have to go home and make a snack.
I have plans to go back for the brunch. I’ve heard good things about it, and if you don’t want special beverages then QR 290 is a reasonable price to get a chance to try more of what Isaan has to offer without fear of making a bad decision. And at QR 399 for special beverages, Isaan is cost-competitive with the other extravagant hotel brunches around town.
So while I wouldn’t say that Isaan is a rip-off, I wouldn’t say it’s not NOT a rip-off. There is definitely value here in the preparation and variety, but not enough to justify the taster-sized plates for me. I’ve been to most of the Thai restaurants in Doha. Believe me when I say I LOVE Thai food. And while Isaan is really good, they didn’t reinvent Thai food for me to the point where I lost all control of my wallet in my pursuit of bliss.
I keep reading articles online about how a lot of expats have trouble saving money when they move to Doha. Isaan seems like it might be one of the reasons, haha.
Overall, if money is no object for you, then you definitely need to check this place out. But if you care about getting value for your money, then I’d go elsewhere. Or at least be strategic about your visit here. Recommended, with these qualifications.