European & International food
The position of a venue in the list below roughly corresponds with the it’s distance from the city centre, the definition of the city centre being that part of Prospekt Nezavismosti that runs from Ploshad Nezavisimosti (Independence Square) to Ploshad Octyabrskoy (October Square).
Planeta Sushi (Планета Суши)
Prospekt Nezavisimosti 18 (Проспект Независимости 18)
This place has a lot to answer for. Minsk’s original sushi restaurant spawned a monster that has engulfed the city. It’s as popular as ever and probably still the best but if it’s simply sushi that you’re after there are plenty of other options (far too many of them) to be found. This is the only one where the waitresses where kimonos though.
Il Patio (Il Патио)
Prospekt Nezavisimosti 22 (Проспект Независимости 22)
A popular haunt for the ex-pat community when there was one. You really can’t go wrong here. Good pizza and pasta, Minsk’s only salad bar and a casual atmosphere. The staff speak English, the menu’s in English. Recommended.
Prospekt Nezavisimosti 22 (Проспект Независимости 22)
Surely you haven’t travelled all this way to eat here?
Prospekt Nezavisimosti 23 (Проспект Независимости 23)
07:00-11:00 Sun-Thurs, 07:00-24:00 Fri, Sat
There are five of these across the city. The first branch on Prospekt Nezavisimosti attracted the inevitable queue of hundreds of Big Mac starved Belarusians when it first opened in 1997. Incidentally Belarus became the 100th country in the world to have a MacDonalds when it opened here. They say that no two countries with a McDonalds have ever gone to war with each other. Russia and Georgia may well have put a spanner in that one.
Yanka Kupali 17 (Янка Купалы 17)
12:00-24:00 daily (Closed from October 2008, whether it will re-open is uncertain at the moment)
This place was here in Soviet times and it hasn’t changed too much since. Ignored by most locals but it has cult status amongst those who choose to venture in. The food is great and shashlik and salad costs just 16,000br. Also recommend is the Uzbek plov, which is a rice dish with meat and carrots. They have a good selection of beers from the nearby Alivariya brewery and occasionally there’s live belly dancing. At all other times there’s Russian pop music blasting out of the huge TV in the corner, which you probably won’t want to sit too close to. Service is slow but it’s worth the wait. And they bring you plenty of lavash to tuck into while you’re waiting. Recommended.
Internatsionalaya 21 ( Ул Интернациональная 21) & Karl Marksa 10/1 (Карла Маркса 10/1)
Two Lebanese cafes just a few hundred metres from each other. They are two of the safest bets in town. Cheap and informal with English language menus that even have pictures of the fare on offer. Good quality kebab, chips and salad washed down with some local Minsk beer from the Alivaria brewery.
Pizza Tempo (Пицца Темпо)
Karl Marksa 9 (Карла Маркса 9)
Part of a chain, this places offers cheap pizza and drinks and is popular with students from the nearby Belarusian State University.
El Pomidoru (Эль Помидоро)
Kirova 6 (Кирова 6)
If you’ve just arrived in town by train and need some food then head down the road between the two Stalinist towers and on the right you’ll find this place, with a breakfast menu serving omelettes and pancakes. At any time of day the food here is always good quality and reasonably priced. English language menu.
Pl Svobodi 23 (Площадь Свободы 23)
The menu is in English but it simply transliterates the fancy Russian names that they have given the dish but not the ingredients, which means you won’t be any the wiser.
Prospekt Nezavisimosti 34 (Проспект Независимости 34)
Until recently this site occupied a small grocery store where every summer evening there was a constant queue of people buying beer to take to Gorky Park. Times change and Gorky Park is an alcohol-free zone, which might explain why the shop shut. In its place is this medieval-themed restaurant, with an American twist offering Texas chicken and American steaks. The phrase ‘only in Minsk’ comes to mind. Meat dishes range from 30-60,000br. If the menu isn’t to your liking then it’s as good a place as any for a drink if you’re in the area. If it’s champagne you’re after then probably best to go for the Soviet version at 20,000br rather than the Moet at 400,000br!
Voglia Matta (Воглия Матта)
Nemiga 1 (Немига 1)
Last time I was at this Italian place there were two real Italians tucking into their lunch so they must be doing some right. The outdoor decking is popular in summer but doesn’t benefit from being so close to one of Minsk’s busiest roads. Pizza here ranges from 15-25,000br, Pasta dishes from 13-20,000br.
Romanovskaya Sloboda 1 (Романовская Слобода 1)
Dark, modern, cosy restaurant with limited space so best to book a table. This new place on Nemiga, just across the road from MacDonalds has set a bench mark for others to follow. Their Italian menu includes a good selection of sea-food and grilled vegetables, a wide range of wines and cocktails and draught Urquell and Kozel, including a dark. English language menu.
Kommunisticheskaya 7 (Коммунистическая 7)
Pelmeni (Slavonic ravioli served with a choice of garnish) was always this restaurant’s speciality and they still have a separate pelmeni menu. However they have branched out to such an extent that they now serve six types of curry, making this a rare outlet for Indian cuisine in the city. It’s a friendly place, popular with senior figures in the media, in a quiet area behind the ballet & opera theatre. Prices are higher than average but it’s usually worth it. Also a good choice for breakfast. English language menu. Recommended.
Bagdanovicha 6 (Богдановича 6)
Thai and Japanese food in modern surroundings near the Ballet & Opera theatre. The first part of the menu is in English but they appear to have given up half way through.
Prospekt Pobediteley 17 (Проспект Победителей 17)
As the name suggests there’s plenty of pizza and pasta on offer here but they also have Belarusian dishes such as solyanka soup and potato pancakes with bacon and onions. The bottled beer here is very expensive at 11-14,000 for only 0.33l but they do advertise Belarusian beer for 5,800 for 0.5l. Best check that it’s on first though if that’s your tipple. English language menu.
Prospekt Pobediteley 23 (Проспект Победителей 23)
12:00-24:00, Thurs-Sat 12:00-03:00
Don’t be put off buy the Wild West theme, this is one of the best eating experiences in Minsk. The restaurant itself is divided into a series of cosy eating areas. The menu has plenty of meat dishes and the bar has six draught beers. Good value for money and they have live blues music late at night too. You get a taster via their web-site: http://www.saloon.by/music.html . The address can be a bit misleading as it’s not on the Prospekt itself, rather just around the corner from the Hotel Yubileyniya on the main road. English language menu. Recommended.
Gikalo 7 (Гикало 7)
Fantastic Asian food. Although the emphasis is on Tibetan dishes they also do Nepalese and Indian cuisine here too. Reasonable prices, friendly atmosphere, English speaking staff and the best place to go if you’ve a craving for a curry. Most dishes are the mild side of medium but if you want your food hot then just ask. One of the few places in town where you’re likely to find another foreigner at the table next to you. English language menu. Recommended.
El Pomidoru (Эль Помидоро)
Krasnaya 23 (Красная 23)
There’s another branch near the railway station. Good quality, reasonably priced European food including lasagne. If you speak Russian then you’ll enjoy the bad jokes printed on the menus. English language menu.
Gikalo 3 (Гикало 3)
If you are out to impress then the huge prices at this Italian restaurant should do the trick. Specialises in fresh sea-food. English language menu.
Tolbuxina (Толбухина 3)
Closed for refurbishment from 9 June 2008. Minsk’s attempt at Mexican food never really worked. I’ll let you know if it’s improved when it re-opens.
Surganova 58 (Сурганова 58)
James Bond pictures decorate this sophisticated bar and restaurant that has a real attitude to it. It’s a place for the rich and the beautiful to be seen in, which is reflected in the prices. It’s not all show though, the food is great and head chef is German apparently. There’s 30% off all food if you eat here between 12:00-17:00.
Pizza Foot (Пицца Фут)
Pushkinskaya & Vostok metro stations (Метро Пушкинская и Восток)
Football themed pizza café’s that are always busy when there’s a live game on TV as they have plenty of screens to watch the games on. Good food at low prices. All pizzas are named after European football teams.
Belarusian & Slavonic Food European & International Food Bars & Pubs Coffee & Cakes