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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 :)
When I lived in Minsk, I used to go to this place every day. It`s a small cafe (there is also a second floor with a sofa and comfortable armchairs) but they have some good coffee, good music there and I don`t know... atmosphere probably.. I just always loved coming there.. and so did my friends (foreing and local). There is no big variety of food (hardly any) but nice cocktails (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) and pretty good variety of teas and coffees.
I would recommend this place to everybody.
Favorite Dish: Chech beer 'Krushovitse' (dark one, not lager) and chicken lepeshka.
I`ve been here 3 times within 3 years and all three times my experience with the service, food quality was a great one!
They offer quite good Indian dishes here.
The restaurant itself looks a little neglected (old dirty sofas) but you don`t really care about it when the food smells just delicious, do you? ;-)
First of all we wanted to find a real local place, not any tourist restaurant or a hotel restaurant, nor a restaurant too lit and steril. And we found it! A really really local restaurant, where we were the only foreigners and only tourists.
It also meaned that...the staff didn't speak any languages! So we had to start with the very few Russian words we know.
Then the next surprise: the menu ONLY in Russian!!! We had no idea of what we were ordering, but it was fun. I decided to order my dish only according to the fact that it was underlined and bold in the menu, so I thought it must be some suggestion of the house or something. I took the risk and ordered it. We had a good laugh and many guesses when drinking our beers -and one local vodka for the excitement- and waiting for the portions to come. But at the end - no disappointments!
Later on, as we had tried to speak a little Russian, it was suddenly pointed out the the waiter guy anyhow knew -but just a few words- English. AFTER ordering he came to say "it's chicken" with not so good pronounciation. But we were happy we didn't get anything too exotic...
The place is easy to find (in the so-called old town) and it is open from 11:00-23:00.
I really recommend the place those who want to see something real, not artificial, meet local people - and eat good (but not too fine) local food in an informal, easy-going environment. Just be brave and go even with no knowledge of Russian - it is an experience as such, and I think everything in the list is good enough.
Favorite Dish: I only ate there once as we wanted to try different places.
The portion was big enough, cheap, yet delicious, contained a mixture of hacked chicken, potatoe cubes, onion and a lot of hot vegetables.
If you've been to Latvia you surely know the Lido self-service restaurants. They are not just normal self-service restaurants, which are usually quite ugly places like autogrills; Lido are pretty nice in the interior, all in the country-Latvian style, and the food is also very good and cheap.
The only Lido restaurant outside of Latvia is in Minsk and it's a very big one. It's a self-service and all is like in Latvia, except the music which was the usual Italian old-style which is so popular in Belarus! :)) The interior can be a little kitsch sometimes, but always in the rural-contry style, either Latvian or Belarusian I don't know, but still is a nice place to eat! :)
I`ve been there twice and while my first experience was AWESOME, the second one was not so great - 5 of us waited for 40 minutes to be served and finally just walked out because we were running late for a music show.
The food is really good, the interior is great (some tables are actually metal beds, lamps are big glass jars..).
Just don`t go there with a lot of friends or you`ll probably end up like us. :-)
I`ve been once in this place and while I really enjoyed their beer I can`t say the same about their food. It was over priced, we had to wait for 50 minutes for the FIRST course (which was soup), then my rabbit dish sucked big time. Oh, well.. It`s very touristy and always busy..
I`d recommend to go their only to try the beer and go eat some place else.
This brewery took us with its ambiance immediately as we stepped in. Everything worked smoothly; there was a man coming rapidly towards us, wearing a dark suit, being very polite. He showed us the way to the coatman and after it he led us to a table.
Soon a waitress, speaking English, came with the menus - luckily also in English.
Somewhere behind we could hear a local trio playing Belarus music and also old Russian music. They were touring the restaurant from table to another. According to my opinion they played a bit too loud.
The restaurant was already found by the few tourists.
One tip: you have to have a good map with you to find the place, and beforehand marked the place in it in order to be able to orienteer, especially in the dark. Or then take a taxi. The place is somewhat hidden and a bit difficult to find. Once you enter the correct street, you'll see it as it has lights like Christmas time and the house is quite big.
Favorite Dish: The locally brewed beers.
We were not 100% hungry yet so we ate something little - which was almost too much for me! It was four pieces of long, very tasty sausages with lots of pepper and the meat percentage surely was near 100%, and to accompany them I took salted cucumbers (the Russian style).