We went three times to this restaurant, and every time in our bill there were items we didn't order but had to pay for. The bill is in Russian, so international travelers have no way to figure out what they pay for. They have heard me and my company speak English, and didn't realize I know Russian. First time, I had to argue with the waiter because he didn't even feel that the bill was wrong. Next times, I just said: please remove this item from the bill and didn't enter in further discussions. I hate it when people are ready to lose their reputation for a few pennies, and I definitely do not want to reward them with a decent tip afterwards. So, there. They would have gotten a better tip if they didn't try to trick me.
Btw, the food is not that great there. It is not worth paying money for the ambience and location and have a bad memory about their uninteresting and overpriced dishes that I can make better in my kitchen. Even Andy's pizza across the road has a better food and service.
Favorite Dish: none.
It’s lovely French pastry shop in the center of Chisinau where you can try hundreds of delicious pastries, well maybe not hundreds but really they have a great choice. The atmosphere is typical French and the desserts come from different French regions. A perfect addition to the late dessert is a cup cognac.
Autobus cafe - located on Al Doroita just behind the cathedral and next to the well known Robin pub, this place has local food and is great, with a funky campervan as a bar inside, with seating outside. We had 2 main meals and an OJ for 75 Lei (£4).
Vijelios is a local cafe which is a buffet style but cheap and good. We had 3 drinks, a pastry and a soup for 33 Lei (less than £2).
Sandwich Express is a small, very friendly streetside cafe in the Botanica region of Chisinau. It offers large European-style sandwiches with fresh juices, lemonades and coffees. The place is very budget-oriented, with a typical quick lunch running 40 to 60 Moldovan Lei (3-5 USD or 2-4 EUR), but the quality is anything budget-like - the ingredients have been invariably fresh and very tasty. There are only five tables, but since most customers go take-away, there are usually places. As frequently is the case in Chisinau, the cafe offers free wifi - perfect for a quick surf or e-mail check. The best in our experience was the grilled chicken sandwich with chili sauce and fresh lemonade! They have their own website at www.sandwichexpress.md; they also do delivery, even though we did not get to try it.
Favorite Dish: Grillled chicken Double sandwich with Giga lemonade and French Press - 57 lei (5 USD).
I had two dinners at Robin Pub in central Chisinau. The first evening I was there I sat on the patio, beside a raucous group of English-speaking ex-pats who were tossing money and curse words around like there was no tomorrow. Right away I got the sense that this was a place English-speakers came to congregate, and my second evening there made that even more clear.
The staff at Robin Pub must be used to the influx of English-speaking guests, as their servers were all fluent in English, knowledgeable about the menu and trained in customer service. The first time I ate at Robin Pub I had a salad with cherries and pears, along with a dish of vegetable pancakes. It was all great. The next night I tried the fried cheese salad, which wasn't as delicious as what I'd eaten the previous night. I was pleased to find that the menu had several vegetarian choices in addition to lots of meatier fare.
The MallDova shopping center has a number of sit-down restaurants, and as I was leaving to head back to the city center I noticed Seasons Brasserie at the exterior main entrance of the mall. Since I had nothing better to do I thought I'd stop by for a late afternoon glass of wine, while I sat and did some reading. Seasons Brasserie has the appearance of a very upscale restaurant, and is clearly trying to position itself as such. Although I was just having some wine, I noticed that they had an extensive menu of food, and that service was fast and friendly. Oddly, I kind of liked the mall-front patio location, as there was great people-watching and a great fresh breeze in the shade. I'm not an expert on the Chisinau dining scene, but I suspect that if you had someone to impress Seasons would be a good choice for your meal out together.
Craving some KFC? Miss the airport-y goodness of Sbarro pizza? Having a Mac attack? The food court at MallDova shopping center can fulfill all of your fast food desires. Chisinau has some great restaurants serving beautiful, fresh dishes at amazing prices, and there's really no reason you should eat in a mall food court... but if you can't be swayed this is the place to do it! (Plus I never get sick of seeing fast food signs in other alphabets!)
In "The Geography of Bliss", Eric Weimer explores why Moldovans are the most unhappy people in the world. Through his research he learns that there is one thing Moldovans love about their lives: their access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Dining at Cactus Cafe in downtown Chisinau, it's easy to see why Moldovans feel this way.
Located in a converted house just off Chisinau's main street, Cactus Cafe has an enclosed front patio with windows onto the street, as well as an indoor dining area. I sat on the patio and was promptly greeted by a server who was totally fluent in English. I was also given a menu with English descriptions, and opted for a full-on lunch: soup, salad and a fresh juice. The creamy, cold vegetable soup was a great refresher on a hot summer afternoon, but it was the salad that was a stand-out. Garnished with delicious fresh herbs, fresh vegetables and cheese were perfectly layered and drizzled with a balsamic reduction. This is the kind of salad that you'd pay twenty dollars for in a posh North American restaurant- here it sells for the equivalent of about two dollars! Wow! The fresh-squeezed pineapple-orange juice was great as well.
Cactus Cafe is a great restaurant in Chisinau, and their varied menu will surely have something for everyone! It's open for breakfast, lunch and dinner so you can visit anytime!
I had the pleasure to visit this restaurant in July 2010, it's a great place (see the attached pictures) with live music serving traditional Moldovan dishes and a place that every foreigner should visit in Chisinau if he/she wants to get acquainted with the typical Moldovan cuisine and great wines! The personnel is also dressed in traditional costumes, all of them are well-mannered and eager to please the restaurant guests. The prices are above average for Chisinau, but the restaurant is worth the money you are going to spend there! Don't miss the chance to try Purcari and Cricova wines, you'll love them! You can pay in Popoasul Dacilor in cash or by credit card, there is a small parking for 10 cars right next to the restaurant for its guests.
Favorite Dish: Placinte cu Brinza (modern version of baked pies with curd) and polenta/mamaliga (a mash from corn flour), Purcari and Crocova wines
The restaurant is in a very nice neighborhood and is very cozy. The food was very good. I had the chicken soup and quasadillas and my business partner had soup and chimichaga. All the food including the salsa and chips that they gave us as we sat down was very good. It was close to Mexican with a slight local twist but still very good. How many of the mexican places in the US are 100% authentic. Our waitress was very friendly and helpful.
Favorite Dish: spicy chicken soup.
Andy's is a chain throughout Moldova. I think there are 6 of 7 locations in Chisinau, some in Bender and Tiraspol. All are very good for a quick meal and a budget price. Nothing special about their decor, only clean customer areas with fast, efficient service.
This restuarant is conveniently located and has a good menu. The service is always prompt and above local standards. The food is well-prepared. During warmer months the patio is the best place, but inside is always comfortable, too.
This place specializes in traditional Ukrainian cuisine. There are a dozen better places in town. The service is way below normal Chisinau standards. The food is only marginal. It is not uncommon to wait more than an hour for your dinner, which is usually served one item at a time (in random order, so expect to have your entree before your salad).
The average tourist probably won't visit this place and they will miss out on a quiet evening in a good place. Raisa, the manager, sits in the corner and directs her wait staff - which is considerably more efficient than most in town. The beer is always cold, although if I'm there when you come, they have probably run out of Stare Melnick. Any of the menu offerings are good. On the patio you have a nice view of a park.
Favorite Dish: Try the fish and a bowl of mushroom soup.
As you enter, the host will offer you a taste of some local wine. Take it and enjoy. Inside you will find a delightful decor and comfortable booths. However, during peak meal times it does become a bit crowded. The food is very good and their service is more than adequate. They have a small group of musicians who play traditional music. The music is very good, but do try to get a booth away from where they stand, otherwise you will not be able to talk to your dinner companions.
Favorite Dish: Anything you get will be delicious