Café Vasilki (Cornflowers): Vasilki - Belarusian cuisine
These modest wildflowers are surely well-connected!
Consider such strategic locations as:
• 16 Independence avenue 16, the busy downtown area
• 89 Independence avenue – right opposite Botanical Gardens with scores of holiday-makers
• 37 Yakub Kolas street – the first café opened in 2010, a bit off-centre, but still very popular area
• 6 Bobruiskaya street – the modern Galileo shopping mall, another busy place between the railway station and two bus stations.
The last one I visited a month ago and left feelingvery happy indeed!
True, it was no rush hour, closer to 5 p.m., and I was so tired that I could more appreciate their sofas than their food. And the sofa was very nice, too! The interior is very attractive – see photos, not the least the view from the panoramic window with the Red Tour Bus on the other side of the street.
I’ve read quite a few negative reviews in local Internet – again, maybe the service is different in a different time of the day. Or maybe they all got some schooling before the ice-hockey championship. In any case, my waitress was pleasant, fast and in general very accommodating.
By the way, you can get there on a wheel-chair, no stairs.
Unfortunately, they haven't got an English site; you will have to google-translate the page
Favorite Dish: Now to the food proper: I ordered ‘grandmother’s’ mushroom soup (not crème, although they have it on the menu, too), a good slice of apple-pie for dessert (it comes with an ice-cream ball) and a pot of green tea. No main course, because really I cannot consume that much in one lump.
Credit cards are processed very smoothly. They have a note on the bill that ‘tips are welcome though by no means necessary’, so I left something in Russian roubles, hope it’s OK.
All that came to 111 400 BYR, which is 11 USD or 8 euro.
And Starbucks in Moscow try to get about the same money for a single coffee!
However, with the average salary less than 600 USD/month I am not surprised people want pigeon's milk for their hard-earned money.
I guess I will have to write a separate tip on Belarusian cuisine. In a few words it’s mostly about potatoes and all sorts of meat. Their dairy products are famously good. As for desserts, they look globalized, but taste natural.
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Café Rostok: Café Rostok – local fast-food
If you think it is operated by someone from the German city of that name, you are very, very mistaken.
Its maiden name is Rostiks, after ‘Rostik Group’, the Russian restaurant company incorporating IL Патио, Planeta Sushi, Pechki-Lavochki and now collaborating heavily with TGI Fridays, Costa Coffee and KFC. As far as I can get it, the Minsk Rostiks was sold off and rebranded into Rostok not to lose customers.
Local internet has conflicting reviews.
Positive ones come from students – did you know that the Minsk University is mostly located around the railway station?
On the other hand, people who earn their own money are rather skeptical and demand service that international fast-food chains are generally not famous for, let alone this single-standing modest eatery.
They say they deliver and accept credit cards – see phone; there is no site.
Whether they speak foreign languages – no idea, never tried.
Favorite Dish: What I liked mostly was the location. The official address is 7 Leningradskaya street, but the café actually opens into Bobrujskaya street, opposite the railway station.
The personnel sounded quite friendly, like ‘welcome and feel at home’.
The prices look very inviting, too – see photos:
pancake & jam / ham / chicken - less than $2.5
ice-cream - $ 1.3
donut - $ 1.2
espresso - $ 1.2
tea - $ 1.3
Locals say the food is being made on the spot, not frozen and microwaved.
The premises looked simple but decent – anyway, as long as they were completely vacant.
What I did not like at all was the toilet closed ‘for technical reasons’, which means ‘just don’t want to open, and don’t ask me why’. Again, local internet says that it is for the better, the toilet cleanliness here leaves very much to be desired.
In short, I turned round and headed to ‘Vasilki’!
- School Holidays
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McDonald’s: McDonald’s - for a tourist on the run
First thing in an unknown place – look for the nearest McDonald’s, and it already is a known place.
Not that I advertise fast-food, but a hamburger is always better than no food at all, that’s why I have the list ready before I even set my foot on Minsk soil. Hopefully they work 24/7 and take credit cards – I’ll tell you when I am back, I am getting information so far.
Oh yes, and I appreciate their toilet facilities, too.
But: they have no English-language site - shame indeed
I am back, and never even managed to come close to the counter! The only crowded place I've seen in Minsk - I guess it's because they are relatively cheap, besides, there are not many fast food places in the city.
Let's wait, don't go there.
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Minsk Hotel: Diner on main square
I have a dinner on outdoor patio of Minsk hotel with a view on beautiful Independence square. We sould choose between several location inside the Hotel, but whether was nice and I could resist to enjoy in peaceful surrounding of big square. The patio was very simple. The benches was a very simple but comfortable.
Still, nice a dinner on fantastic place.
Favorite Dish: I have a simple little portion of some kind of meat soup and seasoned salad. I dint liked only bread, small part and black and bitter.
- Food and Dining
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Despite the relative good reviews in books and on the internet, I must admit that I was a bit disappointed with Il Patio. It is an Eastern European chain restaurant which is specialised in Italian cuisine, especially pizza.
The restaurant in Minsk has a large roofed patio on the pavement of Independence Avenue (Nezavisimosti prospekt), where we took a seat to enjoy the big city atmosphere. Unfortunately, it was a bit noisy here and staff was simply overworked and stressed with the amount of customers. So service was slow.
I opted for a pizza "Sole Mio" (32000 BYR) and a woodbrries juice (5000 BYR). The pizza was not too bad, but couldn't keep up with the high expectations.
It probably would have been better if we had taken a seat inside, which looked much more inviting than the outdoor seating.
The It Patio restaurant is situated in one of the best locations Independence Avenue (Nezavisimosti prospekt). The restaurant can be found more or less opposite to the large Mc Donalds restaurant.
Address: Il Patio, Nezavisimosti pr. 22, Minsk
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On our day trip to Zaslavl we got in a contact with a young Belarusian couple with whom we spent the day. On our return from Zaslavl we went together for an afternoon snack to Cafe Fers.
The interior of the cafe offers a cosy atmosphere and in summer time a nice outdoor terrace is available in a quiet inner courtyard.
I ordered pancakes with fruits (bliny), which were yummy, although they were pre-packaged. With only 13040 BYR the price was adequate for the food. My small belarusian beer Rechitskoe pivo cost 8630 BYR.
Cafe Fers is located in the small sidestreet Musikalny pereulok, which can be found about 500 metres south of the Metro stop Nemiga.
Address: Cafe Fers, Musikalny per. 1/2, Minsk
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Restaurant Bistro Lido
Lido is a self service restaurant chain, which was founded in Latvia. The Minsk branch opened in December 2004. It is specialised in all sorts of Eastern European, especially Russian meals.
The interior is laid out for about 180 people. It is held in a wooden country style and nicely decorated. The place reminded me a bit on the Russian Mu Mu restaurant chain.
You just grab a tray and then point to whatever you like from the different counters with main and side dishes. The comprehensive range of food goes from soups, pancakes, salads and desserts to pizza, pasta and meat dishes.
I chose a pork shashlik (23810 BYR), rice (3210 BYR), a fresh salad (3130 BYR) and a woodberry juice (5130 BYR). The food was simple but tasty and filling. Apart from that, the Restaurant Bistro Lido is a good place for people watching as it is well frequented by all kinds of local people.
The Restaurant Bistro Lido can be found at the north eastern end of the Jakub Kolas Square, which is located on Independence Avenue (Nezavisimosti prospekt), just east of the Victory Square. The nearest metro stop is Ploschad Yakuba Kolasa.
Address: Restaurant Bistro Lido, Nezavisimosti pr. 49-1, Minsk
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After checking in at Hotel Sputnik, we decided to have an early dinner. So we took a walk from our hotel along the street ul. Moskovskaya towards Minsk's city centre.
By chance we came across the small Bar Drive, which looked quite appealing to us as it was full with local people. We were lucky enough to take a seat at one of the last free tables.
The bar is simply furnished but still cosy enough to enjoy a nice evening. The menu is in Belarussian only, so at least knowledge of cyrillic letters and basic Russian is highly recommended.
It offers a selection of local and European meals from meat and fish dishes to pizza and pancakes. Side dishes have to be ordered seperately. The place seems to be also popular for lunch.
I opted for a pork cutlet (23270 BYR) with rice (5960 BYR) and a Beaver beer (8890 BYR). The waitress was friendly and helpful, although she didn't speak much English. The food was simple, but tasty and filling. Even more important was the fact that we had a really good first evening in Belarus. It was actually one of our cheapest dinners during our time in Belarus.
The Bar Drive is located near the northern end of the street ul. Moskovskaya, which can be reached when walking to the soutern end of the Independence Avenue (Nezavisimosti Prospekt).
Address: Bar Drive, ul. Moskovskaya 12, Minsk
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Restaurant Verhniy Gorod
On our second evening in Minsk we chose Restaurant Verhniy Gorod (Upper Town) for our dinner. Due to its location it offers panoramic views of the city centre around the Svisloch River.
The restaurant has an outdoor patio and several rooms. We took a seat inside at one of the big windows with a view towards the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit and the Sports Palace.
The restaurant is specialised in traditional Belarusian cuisine, but a selection of international dishes can be found on the menu as well.
I ordered potato pancakes on a grilled beef steak. Potatoe pancakes are commonly known as draniki in Belarus. I washed it down with a local Alivaria Zolotoe beer. My dish was more than excellent and probably one of the best during our 10 days in Belarus.
With 47310 BYR for the meal and 10250 BYR for the beer, the price was definitely above average, but still relatively cheap for western standards. It is interesting to know that 5 gram sugar for a tea cost 260 BYR.
The Restaurant Verhniy Gorod can be found at the Freedom Square (Ploschad Svobody) on the side, which is facing the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit.
Address: Verhniy Gorod, Ploschad Svobody 4, Minsk
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Cafe Restaurant Skif
One day we had a late lunch in the Cafe Restaurant Skif. The place is decorated in a medieval style, even the waiters are dressed in medieval clothes.
The restaurant is quite large with different sections. It also has a seperate roofed patio on the pavement. English language menus are available on request and list all sorts of local and international dishes. The restaurant describes their cuisine as fusion, which is a combination of elements of various culinary traditions.
At lunch they seem to have lunch specials, which is what I opted for. It consisted of a beefsteak with a fried egg (23460 BYR) and rice (5240 BYR). The meal was simple, but tasty and just the right portion for lunch. Our waitress was attentive and helpful.
The Cafe Restaurant Skif can be found opposite to the entrance of Gorky Park. The nearest metro stop is Victory Square (Ploschad Pobedy).
Address: Cafe Restaurant Skif, Nezavisimosti pr. 34, Minsk
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On one of our last evenings in Minsk we chose Restaurant Freski for dinner. It seems to be specialised in Italian cuisine, but local and international dishes are available as well.
The restaurant consists of two spacious parts; one for smokers, the other one for non-smokers. The interior is painted in warm brownish colours and the walls are decorated with frescoes.
I opted for a pork dish with french fries and mushrooms (33060 BYR) as well as a local beer (7500 BYR). The atmosphere in the restaurant was quite relaxed, which might be a reason why service was a bit slow. The food was good though.
The Restaurant Freski is located on the street ul. Internationalnaya, which runs parallel to Independence Avenue (Nezavisimosti prospekt). The restaurant can be found just behind October Square (Ploschad Oktyabrskaya).
Address: Restaurant Freski, ul. Internationalnaya 19, Minsk
- Budget Travel
Simple and nice food
Food that I tried in Minsk was simple, like homemade - cutlet with potatoes, sausages. It was quite interesting, that at cafe they gave prepared tea already with sugar inside. It was strange, that 0,33 liter of beer cost more than in Vilnius. Maybe it was just not right place for it.
When I wanted to go to the toilet in cafe, there was three problems - no toilet paper inside, no lock to close the doors, lamp inside was dead :) I hope it is exception in Minsk :)
Voglia Matta: Don't miss the real fun!!
The restaurant is really great! I have never expected to meet a good italian restaurant and a great disco in one place. It is for sure the best pizza in Minsk. I've visited many restaurants in Minsk but it was the first place where the pizza was really like italian. The bodyguard lets to enter inside only good people. So i haven't met inside any drunk or dirty person.The restaurant was full, but the atmosphere was really very funny. In the end of the night me and my husband and my friend we knew almost everyone inside. We were like a big family. All drinking, eating, dancing and in general having much fun.And telling the truth for the next 3 days till our departure we were vising only this place. my advice to all those who want to have un is to come here. And especially italians. There was everything in italian and the stuff can understand us very well.
Favorite Dish: Tagliata con rosmarino
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Ratusha and 05: Talk about unwelcoming
The goon on the door on this place on a Saturday night is about as cheerful as a rotweiler sucking *** off a nettle. Is he on some sort of commission or something based on how unwelcoming he looks? Are they trying to discourage custom to try to reduce revenue as some sort of tax break or something?
As for the bar staff, I have never seen a place in my life where all the staff so unhappy. They just all look so fed up and make it clear that they don't want to be there. And why does it always take so long waiting for change to come back?
Favorite Dish: Not recommended
News cafe: More frustration eating out in Belarus
This place is 1 street behind the main drag.
I ordered spaghetti pomodoro and specified to the waitress in English and Russian (the waitress did everything to suggest she did nothing less than understand me perfectly) that I would like it without cheese. After what seemed like a very long time to produce such a simple dish my food was eventually presented to me. I pointed at the yellow stuff on top and asked, "What's this?" The waitress replied, "Parmesan". The mind boggles. I politely reminded the waitress of my request and she took my dish away. She returned 2 minutes later with the same dish and the same food but this time with the parmesan scraped off. Eventually after a little discussion the waitress got her round that I would like a plate of food that was a virgin against violation by cheese. After a repeat of another inordinately long period of time (I was wondering if red cross food parcels were going to show up addressed to me it seemed like such a long wait) eventually I was presented with my food as requested.
I rocked back again during my visit thinking, 'OK, 1 more try'. Different waiting stuff so I did my damnedest to get through that I wanted a cheese free dish. OK. Then I waited. And waited.
And waited. I started to get concerned when after 45 minutes the waited brought English language newspapers for me and my friend. How can it take over an hour to produce a plate of pasta with tomate sauce?
Still better than Voglia Matta, that place is the worst.
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