A private house: Home cooking
A few years ago, eating in a private house was the best way to ensure getting an appetising meal in Uzbekistan as restaurants were oftenof a very dubious quality. That has changed in the main cities and you will find really nice restaurants quite easily, Small towns like Shahrisabz are a different matter and your choices are much more limited. We could have stayed and eaten in the hotel with the one other tour group staying there - 8 or us and 12 of them in a room built to seat 150 - not very appealing. Lunch in the chaikhana near the hotel had been OK but pretty basic, we'd had a good meal at another restaurant somewhere in town on our first visit but I couldn't remember the name - so we asked our guide and she suggested we eat in someone's house. The phone call was made, our order was taken, and we were set.
At the appointed time, our guide was waiting for us at the hotel, we climbed aboard our bus and off we set into the night. Don't ask me where we went Somewhere in the outskirts of the town we pulled up outside a big double gate, our guide knocked and we were admitted into the passage that led to the house's central courtyard. The lady of the house welcomed us, showed us where to leave our shoes and escorted us inside. This was our third such experience so by now we knew what to expect - tables (in this case western-style, with chairs, no sitting on the floor tonight) laden with food in a big room hung with suzane and the family's china pieces displayed on a wall panelled with elaborate niches. Pleasantries were exchanged and then it was time to eat ....
Favorite Dish: Our meal followed the traditional Uzbek pattern of various salads (all good, the aubergine and tomato particularly delicious), soup (lentil this time for the vegetarian with us, full of complex spices - yum!). No plov but whether we had langman (noodles, meat and vegetables) or manti (Uzbek ravioli) I can't honestly remember - I do know it was delicious, our vegetarian was catered for and we ate so well we could barely touch the fruit that always comes at the end of the meal.
When our hostess realised she's forgotten to put any melon on the table nothing would do but we take one back to the hotel with us.
Dilmurod: Shakhrisabz restaurant
No surprises on the menu here at Dilmurod's house restaurant, the usual Uzbek fare of plov, salads, shashlyk and non, but the service was pleasant, the beer cold, the room cool and the toilets very clean - and that's about as much as you would or could expect from a simple restaurant in a small town. It suited us fine.