Shams Al Qassabi Is The Qatari Woman Behind One Of Souq Waqif’s Oldest & Most Iconic Eateries


Shams Al Qassabi is the culinary mind behind one of Qatar’s oldest eateries, and the first Qatari female trailblazer of her time.

Shay Al Shomous, located in Souq Waqif has become an iconic food spot since opening in the 80s

Shams became famous for her food so much that she won over the Al Thani royal family, and therefore helped break prejudice in the country.

Shams is proud of the flavors and the restaurant she opened in Qatar, but the 70s were hard for her, because women couldn’t work outside serving others in public back then.

After facing difficulties finding a store to sell her spices all throughout the 70s, that only changed in the 1980s when Sheikh Moza bint Nasser began lowering barriers for women in Qatar and offered Shams her first space inside Souq Waqif, a small cafe with very few tables.

Today in addition to the restaurant inside Al Bidda Hotel in Souq Waqif, Shams has a line of spices that exports to the whole world.

Attendees of her eatery are illustrious: besides sheikhs, many stars and celebrities have tasted her culinary delights, such as Gisele Bündchen and David Beckham.

Shams is a source of inspiration to many Qatari women, who can see it’s possible to open their own businesses and break down cultural barriers.


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