Although we didn’t realise it at the time of our visit to Kharkiv, when we came here twice, I have since discovered that this is one of a small Ukrainian chain. Websites list the Kharkiv branch as being in Kvitku-Osnovianenka Street, but it must have moved (or a second branch been opened) as it is definitely on Sumskaya.
Our first visit was on the evening of our first day in the city. We had seen a few Italian restaurants but were looking for something more local and this place, with its sports bar atmosphere and local menu, seemed to fit the bill. We got a friendly welcome in this large basement bar and were shown to a good table in a booth. The menu was all in Russian but some of the items had photos so we chose from these. I had some pancakes with mushrooms in a creamy sauce, and Chris and Pete shared a sausage plate (they hadn’t meant to share but the waitress misunderstood our order and only brought one – however it was a good portion so they didn’t bother to reorder the second). We each had some fries, and drank local beers. Our bill for the food, four large (very large!) and two small beers was 388 UAH – about £10 ($15) each.
Having liked the food we came back for lunch a couple of days later, with two other friends. We discovered that at lunch time the food was served on a self-service basis, which has the advantage of making choosing easier when you don’t speak the language. Most of the customers seemed to be students and one girl was very helpful in explaining the system to us, and I think enjoyed practicing her (very good) English.
Chris and I both had a sort of Schnitzel – mine with a cheese and mushroom topping, Chris’s with other vegetables. To go with it we chose a very good potato hotpot. When you ask for your food the plate will be put in a microwave oven to heat. My dish didn’t get very warm so I took it back to the server and she heated it some more, which was much better. Our two main courses cost only 51 UAH – just £4.10 or $6.25. I can see why students come here! Of course the several beers we drank pushed up the price but it was still a bargain.
Other choices sampled by our friends included meatballs and a sort of chicken Kiev. There were several soups and salads too, and I think I saw some cakes and fruit though none of us bothered with dessert.
Next tip: continuing our explorations in Ploshchad' Konstytutsii
While we usually look for the local cuisine wherever we go, we’re never averse to tracking down good Italian food too, and when we found that Patrick’s wasn’t serving beer on match day we decided to try the nearby Paprika restaurant for lunch. It proved to be an excellent choice – a lovely space with interesting wall decoration (a cute cat painted in one corner, a Labrador dog in another, and so on), friendly staff and good food in a relaxed atmosphere. We came here for lunch on match day (having given up on Patrick’s because of the “no beer for the English” rule – no such embargo here!) and also returned on our last night in Kharkiv. Both meals are described below.
By the way, the menu is available only in Russian. Fortunately, with a combination of our friend Pete’s knowledge of the language, his Russian dictionary and a good awareness of what we might expect to see on an Italian menu, we were able to identify enough dishes from which to make our choice.
Favorite Dish: There were several tempting soups on offer. Several of us opted for mushroom which was excellent – a good mix of wild mushrooms in a well-flavoured broth. One friend had tomato soup with seafood which looked wonderful and was pronounced to be just that. There was plenty of bread, including traditional eastern European dark bread and garlic bread.
Most chose pizza for their main course but I opted for cheese risotto. This was brought far too soon and left cooling on the next table while I ate my soup. When the bowls were cleared and the pizzas served my risotto was found to be, unsurprisingly, a little cool and more than a little dried out. But when I pointed this out it was quickly replaced, and was clearly a fresh portion and very good! The pizzas were all also consumed with enjoyment. And while I didn’t note the exact price of the dishes, the meals were really reasonable at around £10 for two courses and two beers.
On our last evening we had been drinking with fellow fans in the bar at the football stadium but decided to head somewhere more central for a bite to eat. When we failed to get into our first two choices (one was closed for a private wedding and another had no free tables) we ended up back here. The waitress explained that the kitchen would close at 22.00 and as it was by now 21.50 we must choose and order very quickly. So we did, but the waitress returned with the message that really we were already too late. I should add that this was a Friday evening and although later than we would normally eat, not the middle of the night! But they offered to serve us two large “Assorti” pizzas and some baskets of bread. Although we had really wanted more the pizzas were very good, and as the bar had not closed, we could wash them down with a few beers – and in my case, a final vodka! Again I didn’t note the price but it was only a few pounds per person.
Next tip: back to exploring in nearby Shevchenko Park
Strolling around the city on a chilly February day soon makes you dream of coffee – or at least, it does me. Others in our party were more interested in beer! Gogol Mogol proved to be the perfect place for both. It’s a cosy place in the semi-basement of a typical 19th century building about halfway up Sumskaya. The menu was all in Russian but you don’t need many words of a language to be able to order coffees and beers! The service was friendly on both occasions we came here, and it’s the sort of place where nobody minds if you linger a while. Oh, and there’s free wifi which worked very efficiently.
Prices are maybe not the cheapest in town (you’re paying for the central location and comfortable setting maybe) but by the standards of Western Europe they’re a bargain. On our first visit we paid 119 UAH for six small beers, two coffees and a bottle of sparkling water – about £9.70 or $14.60. On our second visit I didn’t note the prices, but as we mostly again had either coffee or beer they must have been similar – although Chris’s order for vodka, at around midday, seemed to impress the waitress!
Next tip: another nearby refreshment stop, Zdoroven'ki buly
When we had finished shopping we decided that refreshments would be a good idea and headed back towards the away entrances we had used the previous evening as we remembered seeing a bar of some sort. This was the F Café (I think, from the sign above the door – I haven’t been able to find any mention online).
On entering we found a couple of other Toon fans to whom we’d been talking in the shop, and invited them to join us for a drink. One drink inevitably became several and we ended up spending two (or was it three?!) happy hours in here. For one thing, the TV screens were showing a replay of the previous evening’s victory so we had to see that to the end – just to be sure we really had won! Plus, the beer was some of the best we’d drunk in Kharkiv, and cheap, and the setting appropriate, with the walls of the bar decorated with football memorabilia of all sorts.
The bar serves meals too, although we didn’t eat here. All I can say is that the plates I saw being carried out to a couple at a nearby table looked generously filled and they seemed happy with their meal. I also have no idea whether we would have been served here as away fans on match night as we didn’t try. Segregation seemed lax, so it’s certainly possible, but as they were also serving beers from a stand just outside there was no need to go in.
This is my last tip on Kharkiv. Please click here if you would like to go back to my Intro page to leave a comment. Haway the Lads!
Restaurant "ARMAGEDON" works with 11:00 and up to last client! Cosy, illusive conditions, silent, pleasant music and magnificent European kitchen are favourably emphasized by excellent service!
Favorite Dish: My fovorite dish from this restaurant is Lyulya-Kebab with chiken.
Price: 28 UAH
The place is nice but not the people and the bill.
Too much expensive for a such bad quality.
Go to the Chato restaurant, is really better and for the same price you have the smile and the knidness of people with a better food !!!
Favorite Dish: Nothing !
Very original food! :)
Favorite Dish: My favorite dish from this restaurant is Buritos (Буритос) - a greater wheaten flat cake, forcemeat-grill with vegetables or with other stuffing.
Price: ~ 9-15 UAH
Cosy interior, a variety of dishes, tasty and nutritious breakfasts, and also author's recipes from one of the best the chief-cooks of Kharkiv.
Favorite Dish: My favorite dish from this restaurant is Armenian Dolma.
Price: 30 UAH
Three-tier building with a wine cellar and a summer terrace. Nice, romantic place. Good food and suitable prices.
Favorite Dish: I like this dish from this restaurant: Aristocratic veal meat under wine sauce with broccoli and almonds (Аристократическая телячья вырезка под винным соусом с брокколи и миндалем).
Price: 70 UAH
This restaurant is one of the most expensive in the city but it is worth a visit. Waiters are dressed in old costumes. The decoration is OK, old stone walls, good selection of wines and food.
Favorite Dish: I was surprised to see the "Katalonian Special" which was a selection of different fishes.
In the center of the city a cafe with a funny name "Zhili - Byli" (all old faerie-tales start like that..a sort of "Once apon a time.."). Very nice atmosphere inside, but during summer time they have tables even outside. Almost all kind of food, where you can choose and take by yourself just made dishes. Also a big assortment of deserts=) Normal prices, self-serving.
Favorite Dish: All the disehs are nice and fresh - just prepared, even hot. The deserts are awesome! You have to try all of them!
Fidele is a nice place where you can but both food and drinks. Many forreginers goes here, and the place are a bit "upper class".