Bir Gumbaz: Nightime nosh
Churches converted into restaurants, whilst not exactly common, are not unknown in the west. I'd never seen a mosque converted in this way however until I ate in the Bir Gumtaz in Khiva's Ichin Kala.
Our first visit was in 2005, when the cool interior was just what we were looking for on a blisteringly hot day. Needless to say, it was a long lunch!
Come 2009 and we returned, this time at night for dinner. No need for cool shade then but the suzani-decorated walls and friendly welcome from the staff was just as pleasant the second time around.
Favorite Dish: A simple dish of yoghurt- and herb-dressed laghman had been a taste of Khorezm cooking on our first visit to the Bir Gumtaz. Dinner was a different matter. We had placed our orders in the morning for our choice of main dishes and arrived back at night to find a feast spead out for us. As usual, salads and fruit in abundance to begin, soup to follow and then the individual main dishes we had ordered. Nothing new, we'd chosen from the usual Uzbek mainstays of plov, manti and laghman (fried this time, with a flavourful lamb, herb and tomato sauce). Our vegetarians were more than happy with their selection - no hint of meat fat or stock as can be the case, local cooks are not always aware that "vegetarian" doesn't mean "just take the meat out before you serve"
Khorezm Art Restaurant: The lightest touch
Begun in a project sponsored by the German Embassy in Tashkent, the Institute for International Cooperation of the German Adult Education Association (DVV), the German
Development Service (DED) and the Centre for Business and Tourism Development
Khiva, the Khorezm Art Restaurant was set up in 2008 to provide vocational training in the food and hospitality industry - and what a success they've made of it. Taking over yet another of the city's abandoned medressahs - the Allakulikhan, near the Tash Kauli Palace, they've turned it into a light, bright, modern restaurant with an attractive outdoor terrace and a small art gallery. Service is excellent and the menu varied.
Favorite Dish: Best of all, the food is some of the very best we ate during all our stay in Uzbekistan. We came for lunch having already booked dinner elsewhere, so opted for just some salads (always a star turn in Uzbekistan) and somsas, and how good were they! Golden crescents of the crispest lightest fried pastry stuffed with pumpkin, cheese or meat - eight on a plate for a single serve. We all said we couldn't possibly eat that number, and not one plate had even a crumb left on it.
Next time I'm in Khiva, I'm booking for a full-blown Uzbek feast.
Milliy Taomlar: Just a small but excellent little restaurant
Lonely Planet suggested Milliy Taomlar, and this was another one where I was happy that it still exists. It is small, easily overlooked as the building does only have the entrance door. But during their opening hours, plastic tables are outside, so you should recognize it. Inside dining is also possible.
They serve local dishes, manty, shashlyk, laghman soup, delicious nan bread and of course tea.
I had manty, shashlyk and a salad (cucumber, tomatoes and onions) for 5000 sum. Delicious !!
No website as well, unfortunately.
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- Food and Dining
Tea time in Farrukh chaikhana
A much cheaper option to sip your tea, and also in a lovely atmosphere is Farrukh chaikhana. Here you can sit in the courtyard, either at normal tables or at the Uzbek typical short-legged tables on a pedestal (help, what is the name for this ?).
Service is quick, tea is good, and cookies are served as well – all in all a nice and quiet atmosphere.
And it is nice to see that some restaurants still exist (some of the ones, Lonely Planet was mentioning in its 2004 edition, are already gone…)
Green tea and a big bottle of water (1,5 litres) was 1250 sum.
Unfortunately, they also don’t have a website.
Favorite Dish: Coordinates on GoogleEarth:
41°22’39,78’’N; 60°21’37,12’’ E
- Food and Dining
- Road Trip
Tea time in Amin Khan madrassah
There are not many restaurants in Khiva’s old city, but the most romantic and exquisite one for me was Amin Khan madrassah. This madrassah, just at Kalta Minor, has been turned into a hotel already in the Soviet times. I was not looking at any of the hotel facilities, but it must be an interesting experience to sleep in these students’ cells.
I was here for afternoon tea and coffee and most pleased by the service as well as the snacks, which were served with the tea. Green tea tasted excellent, milk coffee as well (but Nescafé) and the cookies have been most delicious.
Well, this all has its price, it was definitely not the cheapest option. Tea, coffee and cookies were 2600 sum.
Unfortunately, I did not find any website of Amin Khan hotel and restaurant.
Favorite Dish: Update, December 2007:
During her Uzbekistan travel, Sarah (@toonsarah) stayed in this hotel. Read her description about the madrassah if you are looking for a good hotel.
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- Food and Dining
Matinya Madrassah (Restaurant Khiva): Good coffee at breakfast
For some reason not explained to us breakfast was served not in our hotel but in this nearby restaurant. No complaints about that though – the breakfast was fine, accompanied by pretty good coffee, and served in a striking interior which seemed to combine traditional styles of décor with Soviet-style exhortations celebrating the contribution of Khorezm province to the world of science!
We ate bread, cheese, sausage, pancakes and jam, with drinking yoghurt, tea and the aforementioned coffee, plus some rather amusingly decorated biscuits with an image of the cartoon character Shrek embossed on each :)
The price I’ve indicated is a guess, as this was included in our stay at the hotel, but it coan’t have cost any more given other process in Khiva.
Chaikhana Zarafshan: Cool and welcoming
In a small madrassah near the Museum of Applied Arts is this welcoming chaikhana. We had lunch here, choosing it because it had been recommended by our guide as having good food and air-conditioning – in the July heat even the shade in Khiva had become too much to bear by midday and we needed to cool down somewhere. We weren’t disappointed – we found an attractive large room, friendly service, tasty food and very reasonable prices. We drank a cold beer each in addition to the green tea, shared a couple of salads, some non (bread) and a single shashlik. For this we paid 11,000 som in total: just over £4 or $8.
Mizorboshi B&B: Friendly home cooking
There aren’t a lot of restaurants in Khiva, but if you book in advance you can arrange to have dinner at one of the several homes in the old city which provide bed & breakfast. We did just that at the Mizorboshi B&B and were very happy with our meal. We ate in the courtyard of this old house, still a little hot even at 7.00 pm but generally a pleasant place to sit, and were well served by the son and daughter of the family. We started with non (bread) and a good variety of salads – as well as the ubiquitous tomato and cucumber, and eggplant, there were slices of fried courgette and a juicy beetroot dish. These were followed by a plate of mixed stuffed vegetables – cabbage, courgette and green pepper, each filled with the standard mutton and onion mix (though the one vegetarian in our group was catered for with a suitable alternative). As one of our number had a birthday that day, the family provided a cake, complete with candles, for our dessert :) Green tea was included in the total cost of $6 per person, and we could buy water, soft drinks, beer and vodka – beers for instance cost $2 per bottle.
I’ve mentioned elsewhere how friendly the Uzbek people were to us, and here’s a good example. The teenage son who’d served us at dinner came running after us when we left. We thought maybe we hadn’t paid enough for our meal, but no – he had overheard us talking about football and was keen to spend some time chatting to us about his favourite European teams and practising his English (which was already very good). The conversation finished with an exchange of email addresses so we could continue the football chat after our return home!
Arkanchi B & B: Go full board!
It is impossible to find a reasonable eating place in the old city of Khiva.
Therefore ii is the best idea to stay at places offering full board like Arkanchi B & B. The meals are good and filling and together with the accomodation a reasonable value for money.
- Museum Visits
- Castles and Palaces
- Historical Travel
Well, Khiva is a very small city where everything is tourist focused so there' spractically no local cheap restaurants for backpackers.
We had a few a few beers at Farruhs (can't miss it) and paid 2000 sum for one bottle.
The next day we went to the only one chaikhana we found (just outside the covered market) and piad 500 sum.
Eat in your homestay hotel and it will be the cheapest option.
In this chaikhana, we were the attraction for the females
Chaikhana Zarafshon – the best of all
(please be patient, description will follow soon :-)
Favorite Dish: (please be patient, description will follow soon :-)
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