Looking for something a little different, I decided to try out the Armenian Tavern. Surprisingly it was quite easy to find considering it is a basement restaurant. It is directly across the road from the town hall.
The restaurant decor is a little dated but it kind of adds to the charm. The waiters were attentive without getting in the way.
I had the humous which was the most delicious humous I have ever had, I also had Panirov Borek which is a type of Armenian samosa with cheese and spinach for starters and lamb shish kebab for main which came with a friend egg, rice and salad. Everything tasted great and I would definitely return again.
For two people, a starter and a main each and 3 rounds of drinks each came to around £50.00 which is about average, perhaps even just less than average for a meal in Manchester.
We visited this restaurant after reading a very positive review for it in the Guardian newspaper.
The tavern is situated right in the centre of town in a cellar in Albert Square. The walls are painted red and the artwork is fasinating. The restaurant has a lovely atmosphere - cosy and busy at the same time.
We ordered the Vegetarian Banquet which started with the vegetarian mezzeh which was brilliant - very tasty. It's all dolloped on one plate though which (as the platter is for sharing between two) led to the food getting quite mixed and messy - the baba ganouge was particular tasty. The main course however was cous cous and vegetables and is was horrid - salty and pickley. I could barely eat a mouthful and most worryingly when the still full plates were collected by a man in a chefs outfit there was no concern that we hadn't enjoyed or even eaten the main. Meal ended with coffee and armenian delight - which was a tiny square sweet - the same as Turkish delight - I wonder who really invented this?
I wouldn't go back to this restaurant again as the veggie option is limited and I wouldn't risk the other options being of a similar vein to the cous cous and vegetables.
Favorite Dish The mezzeh was brilliant = consisting of humous, baba ganouge, other dips including a brilliant spicy spinach.
Yes, ok, like me you're probably wondering what Armenian food is like. A cross between Greek & Turkish really - and REALLY TASTY! Lots of kebabs. The restaurant is in the basement, so you can't check it out before committing yourself! it was quite quiet the night we visited, but that wasn't a problem.
Attentive service without being "in your face", low-key hospitality, no pressure to order or to pay. Etremely generous portions. Also, appears to be a non-smoking establishment - a big plus!
Favorite Dish We had the Armenian stew - a very hearty meal, and huge portions!
Armenian restaurants don't usually spring to mind when you think of restaurants in the UK that are specifically tied to one country. There are obvious Italian, Indian, and French, and Chinese restaurants, and then there's Greek, Turkish, Mexican. Out of these, Armenian cuisine is closest to Turkish and Greek, right down to the availability of baklava as a sweet. Not quite knowing what to expect, we made our reservation and wandered on down to the Armenian Taverna. It's quite an intimate place, down in a basement. The service is good, attentive without being in-your-face, and friendly. One of the prime features of the menu is the Khoravadik - or what we'd usually call a kebab. It's a term that covers a myriad of different kebabs, from shish to chicken to Gaizig Trout, all charcoal grilled on a skewer. There are also a number of other dishes available which are much as you might to expect to find where cuisine from this region is served - ghoulash for example. We chose a platter of starters to get a good selection, since, as ever, we wanted to try almost everything on the menu and couldn't choose.
The food was...good, but unspectacular. I was slightly underwhelmed, having read some excellent reviews of the place. For instance, I found the meat on my mixed kebab a little chewy and overdone and the sauce a little bland. I don't want to criticize too much - I'd still recommend it as worth trying, and I was far from dissatisfied. The portions were of decent size and value. I'd be happy to go there again, if I were with somebody who wanted to go, but I wouldn't make a point of doing so when there are so many other good restaurants to try.
"Typically Armenian" - like I'd know what that is! But it seemed authentic enough. The food is the main event here though and it was simply superb. We had the Vegetarian buffet, but Sandy, Dave and Laura all kindly ordered big meaty dishes just so we could see how they looked too. They looked "generous", as was our meal.
Favorite Dish "Vegetarian Buffet".
Just don't ask what's in it - I remember Felafels, Feta, Hummous, some Aubergine puree thing, pastries a bit like Samosas... and this was just the starter.
Main course was Couscous with a variety of "typical" vegetables (and I don't remember what they were, carrot, swede... but they were cooked in a really tasty sauce).
Oh, and there ws "Lavish breads"! ;-)
Dessert was "Armenian Delight" - like Turkish Delight but tougher (i preferred it) and Armenian Coffe (like turkish coffee...)