Luna Blanca: Best Vegetarian Restaurant
There are now about 10 different restaurants that are 100% vegetarian in Ulaanbaatar. There are also about 7 other towns and cities throughout the countryside with vegetarian restaurants.
The most popular of these seems to be the "Luna Blanca" which is only one block from the central square (Parliament House). Go to www.tourism-mongolia/lunablanca.html to see the map.
Favorite Dish: The Chef Salad, the Mongol Combo and the organic green tea.
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BD's Barbeque Restaurant: Great Asian stir-fry BBQ!
Asian BBQ Good value restaurant. Guests can select their own meat and also choose vegetables, spices and sauces. Large hotplate where the cooks stirfry the meat and vege selection of each guest, while guests watch. Then if you would like to go back for seconds, that's okay too (at no extra charge. Very tasty meal. Other salads from buffet available for starters, included in set charge (I think it worked out at $US14- per head for dinner).
Good selection of meats, veges, spices and sauces.
Busy when we were there. Party atmosphere, happy, chatty ambience (not the place for a quiet dinner for two).
Desserts also available at additional cost.
Favorite Dish: See above.
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Marco Polo: A Little Bit of Italian in UB
We went to Marco Polo before the droves of people ventured in. It was nice. We got to pick our own table. The waitress's spoke English and here's why... there is a strip club upstairs... which wasn't open at the time but many service men come to the restaurant to eat and then head upstairs so she told us she learned English (besides what is required in school) from them. The food was surprisingly good- not fantastic- but for UB- good. The spaghetti and meatballs was a treat. Wine selection was plentiful. Open 11 a.m. to midnight. As Lonely Planet states, the decor is kind of weird but who really cares.
Favorite Dish: Spaghetti and meatballs. Pizza. Claim to be the best pizza in UB.
Nayra Cafe: Just like home!
If you're a westerner and worried about what you are going to be able to eat in Ulaanbaatar you can just eat at this place and you'll be all good. This place is a combination convenient store, which is on the first floor, and coffee house/cafe which is on the second floor. I'm not much of a coffee drinker, but they had lots and lots of coffees, teas, lattes, all that garbage. But they also serve fruit juices, soft drinks, etc. No alcohol unfortunately, but this is the kind of place you would normally go for breakfast and lunch anyway.
Nayra Cafe is also a wireless spot, so if you have an Ipod Touch like me, or you have a laptop (not the most anticipated accessory for a backpacker although I did see it believe it or not), you can come here and use the internet while you eat or drink.
The menu is pretty extensive and the staff speaks decent English. Lots of sandwiches, appetizers, and desserts. On any given day, you'll see Westerners here more than anything but it is also popular with many Mongolians, mostly the women folk.
Favorite Dish: Peanut butter balls, potato soup and french fries : )
Pizza Broadway: More Pizza
If you're still in a Pizza mood, you can try the American Ger'll (which I didn't have the chance to do) or you can go to Pizza Broadway, which is of much better quality than Planet Pizza. They offer plenty of seating, whether it's upstairs or downstairs. The service is about what you'll get used to in Ulaanbaatar. Not lightning quick, but tolerable. You can drink until your heart's content here as well. It was here that I also experienced the occasional power outages of UB.
Planet Pizza: Pizza! Even in Mongolia
This was one of two pizza places we frequented in Ulaanbaatar, the other one being Pizza Broadway. Planet Pizza is definitely the more "Fast foodish" of both of them, and a little cheaper also. Not the best quality ingredients but if if you like your pizza thick crust style, you'll be happy. After all, pizza's pizza. don't get your hopes up-No Chinggis beer to drink with it : )
Chez Bernard: Overrated, but still acceptable.
You'll see this place recommended on a lot of websites and in travel books. It's an ok place, but in my opinion they don't compare to the Nayra Cafe. The benefit of Chez Bernard is that it is right on Peace Avenue near a lot of shopping, but that's really about it.
If you go, I would go for a snack or dessert and not an actual meal. General service takes forever, and I suppose it is due to the fact that the kitchens in your typical Mongolian eatery are not that large and maybe they only have one stove going. Once the food arrives, it's barely worth waiting for. To make matters worse, it's somewhat overpriced and you'll eventually find you can get comparable food and better service elsewhere.
Like I said, it's good to go into if you're in the area and you just happen to stumble upon it. But unlike a lot of reviews you see, I think this place is grossly overrated.
Modern Nomads: If you're going for authenticity....
All the hallmarkings of a corporate style restaurant franchise but it does provide some authenticity as this was where we were taken for dinner by our local Mongolian friends. The menu is huge, so you shouldn't have any issues finding something to hit the spot, even if you're a vegetarian. Whether you want some local stuff like mutton or buuz, or you want something like a steak or ribs or even a salad for your main course, it's all here. Probably one of the nicest places you can eat at in UB
Restaurant CCCP: Back in the USSR
The Beatles song 'Back in the USSR' will spring to mind when you enter this Soviet time warp. They have a pretty diverse menu including Russian favourites such as pelmeni (dumpling soup) and borscht and VODKA, plus other stuff from the former Soviet Union such as Georgian stewed meat, Uzbek manti (lamb dumplings) and Kyrgyz pancakes. It has a great atmosphere, with pictures of the old Soviet republic capitals, statues of Lenin and covers of old Soviet magazines. They've got beer there as well, of course.
Planet Pizza: Not brilliant
This place is down the road leading from right in front of the State Department Store (Tserendori Street). It's rather cheap and fairly cheerful with bright coloured tables and decor but the pizzas are not very good at all but at least they're cheap. The two waitress girls who where there when I was were pretty lazy and stood around a lot and didn't even get my drink until I had to ask for it again after ordering it in the first place. There's better pizza places than this around town.
Pizza Broadway: Nice atmosphere and very good food
I came here twice as I found it to be very good. They actually have two places within a few minutes of each other. The first is on Peace Ave opposite the Russian Embassy while the second is on the road running up the side of the State Department Store known as West Selbe Street. The food is really good. They do grilled meats as well as other dishes but they obviously do pizzas.
Chez Bernard: Wonderful cafe
This wonderful cafe, run by a Belgian guy, is just down Peace Ave from the State Department Store and is full of lovely western food and snacks. The menu includes some great breakfasts which, even thought I didn't have one, look great from their photos. The menu also includes other western dishes such as salads, soups, sandwiches, burgers etc. They also serve traditional Mongolian food such as Buuz, Khuushuur and Goulash. There's also a selection of cakes and pastries in the fridge by the entrance. There's a definite backpacking/ex-pat vibe going on in here and the guy who runs this place has a definite winner on his hands.
BBQ Chicken: UB's answer to KFC!
This place is Ulaanbaatar's version of a KFC (both KFC and McDonald's are not to be found in the city). The menu comprises virtually all chicken that is battered or in breadcrumb. Inside is waiter service and the seating is kind of like an American diner. Not bad place for a change of scene or food.
Bd's Mongolian Barbeque: Cooking show
This is the first American chain restaurant to open a franchise in Mongolia - ironically, it's not American cuisine but Mongolian barbeque. What you do is fill your plate or plates with raw food such as meats, vegetables and sauces etc and then take them to be cooked by a few guys standing around a huge circular hot plate. They will then take your plate/s and cook the food in front of you as well as everyone else standing there waiting for theirs to be cooked. It's all pure entertainment and the food is cooked OK but then the ingredients can be a bit dodgy as they're chosen by you!
Gobi restaurant: Taste of the desert but not the sand!
This restaurant lies in the southern suburbs of Ulaanbaatar on the south side of the railway line. We came here for lunch after arriving back from the Gobi Desert on our 10-day long Mongolian tour so it only seemed fair to take in more Gobi cuisine. I had a "Gobi Grill" which featured a camel steak, vegetables and barbeque sauce. Starters consist of about 6 salads, Unagaldai horse meat snack and soups. Main dishes included a "Nomad" - beef rib, potato, carrot and turnip cooked in a clay pot; beef tenderloin steak, "Taste of steppe" - beef on a hot plate with steamed dumplings; fried pork, buuz and Khuushuur. The camel was excellent, tasty and very lean.
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