The Best Ukrainian Restaurants in Kyiv
The restaurant scene in Kyiv is huge and there is a massive range of restaurants to choose from. During a trip to Ukraine, however, you really need to try Ukrainian food in Kyiv and there’s a good range of Ukrainian restaurants in Kyiv to help you. From pretty restaurants in a park like O’Panas restaurant, Kyiv, to regional places like Mustifir, there’s a wide variety to try.
Cheap and Cheerful Ukrainian food in Kyiv
Ask any of our students where a tourist should eat when they visit Kyiv and their suggestion is unanimous: Puzata Hata. The name means ‘fat house’ and it is basically Ukrainian style fast food. Puzata Hata is a buffet-style restaurant, which makes it perfect for tourists who can’t speak any Ukrainian or Russian. You just go the counter, look at the food on offer and point to what you want. In a canteen style, you join the counter at one end, choosing salads and starters, then move along to the hot food options. Next comes deserts, and then bread rolls and drinks are next to the pay desk. When you order the hot food, it’s weighed, and you pay per weight.
One of the reasons our students like Puzata hata is that it’s cheap. You can get a full meal for a couple of dollars.
The buffet style of Puzata Hata means that in one meal you can try lots of different Ukrainian food in Kyiv. Get a couple of Ukrainian salads – maybe an Olivier salad and a greek salad. Then some okroshka (cold soup) or borscht. Follow that with vereniki, Ukrainian dumplings.
Varenychna Katyusha is a chain restaurant with branches all over Kyiv. It serves a whole range of Ukrainian food, but its speciality is verenyky – a typical Ukrainian dumpling. They come with a lot of different fillings, both sweet and savoury, but the ones to try are cabbage, potato and cherry.
Varenychna Katyusha is designed as a Soviet house, complete with tvs showing old Soviet cartoons. It tends to be a lunchtime spot, but has a range of local tinctures to try as well.
A portion of verenyky or a bowl of soup costs about 80 UAH
Varenychna Katyusha: all over the city. There’s a kiosk next to Maidan, and a restaurant near Arsenalna
Not sure what varenyky are, or what to order in a Ukrainian restaurant in Kyiv? Then check out our post on Ukrainian dishes.
Fun Ukrainian themed restaurants in Kyiv
We often take guests to Taras Bulba restaurant, partly because it’s near our flat, and also because it’s very, very cheesy. You get the idea as you approach, there is a big hay cart outside and the terrace is made to look like a Ukrainian village. The staff are in traditional vishivankas, embroidered Ukrainian shirts, and when you sit down they’ll dress you in headdresses and farmers’ hats. You then are given a welcome dish of salo and bread. At some point during the evening (at least at weekends), music starts to play and the staff go to the front of the restaurant to do traditional dancing. They drag ‘willing’ customers with them, and teach you the steps.
If you have kids, Taras Bulba has a playroom for children. It also has the menu translated into a LOT of different languages, so if you go, try to get your own.
Taras Bulba is a character from a story by Nikolai Gogol. It’s not a cheerful one. Taras Bulba was a Cossack whose son fell in love with a Polish girl, at a time when they were at war. Taras Bulba ended up killing his son. Told you it wasn’t cheerful.
Borscht for two people costs 150 UAH, a bowl of verenyky is around 100 UAH, a pint of beer is about 60 UAH and a glass of local wine about 100 UAH.
Korchma Taras Bulba Restaurant: Pushkinskaya 2-4
Pervak is designed to appear as a late 19th century Ukrainian village. It’s over several floors, and in eight different rooms, each with a different design. One is a library, another designed as old Lviv. The upstairs room has children swinging from the ceiling. Search for the bar downstairs, where the seats are horses’ bums, complete with tails.
Like Taras Bulba, your meal begins with a complimentary plate of salo on bread, this time with a shot of a traditional tincture, often horseradish. Try it. At least once while you are in Ukraine. The menu has a range of dishes to share.
Pervak is a little bit more expensive than some of the other Ukrainian restaurants in Kyiv we’ve already mentioned. Borscht is about 115 UAH and verenyky about 80. Pervak also make their own breads.
Pervak: Rohndynska 2
Visiting Kyiv and want ideas of things to see? Don’t miss our post on Unusual things to do in Kyiv. It’s a bumper posts of loads of ideas.
O’Panas’ location in Taras Schevchenko park makes it is a lovely place for lunch, or dinner in the summer. It has a great terrace in the park when it’s warm. Inside, it’s modeled on a rural wooden house, and has been built around a tree, growing through the restaurant. One of its specialties is pancakes, which you can buy to take away outside as well.
The name of O Panas restaurant also comes from a Cossack story – Panas was a Cossack man who was a ‘friend’ of Russian ruler Catherine the Great, who is said to have exclaimed ‘O, Panas’ to him. Better than the dead son story I think.
Regional Ukrainian restaurants in Kyiv
Musafir looks far more like a restaurant in the Middle East than in Kyiv. The décor is slightly Arabic looking, with whitewashed walls, wooden tables and chairs and multicoloured tiles and carpets.
This is still considered a Ukrainian restaurant, however. Tartars moved to Crimea from the region that is now Turkey, bringing with them their cuisine. Order the cheboreky, a filled flat piece of dough which is then fried, or the non fried yantiki. There are meat, and vegetarian versions of these. Manti are a central Asian dumpling that you’ll also see in Georgian restaurants, and which look like a Chinese soup dumpling. You can get pide, like a Middle Eastern pizza as well as a range of kebabs.
Musafir doesn’t serve any spirits, so no pre-dinner gin and tonics or tinctures here. They do have local beer for less than 40 UAH a pint and wine for 50 UAH a glass.
Despite its popularity, Musafir is quite a cheap restaurant. A portion of three chebureky or yanti costs about 110 UAH.
Musafir has two branches in Kyiv, one in an alleyway at the bottom of Bogdan Khemynestky Street, and another at Saksahanskoho 57A
It is generally in the top 5 restaurants on TripAdvisor, so you need to book.
If you have had your fill of dumplings and chicken Kyiv, you might want to look at our blog post for some nice Asian food in Kyiv.
Modern Ukrainian restaurants in Kyiv
We’ve done the slightly cheesy places, now let’s go a bit more modern. Ukrainian chefs have taken local food and given it various twists, so you can try Ukrainian food done with molecular gastronomy and made fully-local.
You have to know where this is to find it, as it’s a restaurant with a Speakeasy style. It specializes in modern Ukrainian cuisine, and boasts a completely Ukrainian menu. All ingredients are sourced from within the country. Even the beers, wines and spirits are local.
Last Barricade is hidden away under Maidan Square. The name refers to the remains of one of the original gates of Kyiv, that makes up part of the restaurant. This, and the location, also lends itself to the theme of struggle. One of the internal doorways is made up of hands, each representing a year that Ukraine struggled for independence from Russia and the Soviet Union. Around the restaurant are displays on different revolutions, with helmets, clothes and objects used during the Orange Revolution and Maidan in 2014.
Ok, you do need to know how to find this ‘secret’ restaurant. In Maidan, you’ll see Globus shopping centre at one side. Cross to the other side and look towards the dome, fountains and then the entrance to the other side of Globus. There’s a sign above it saying ‘OB’. IN the lift, press the button for OB and you’ll come out in a small shop. Here you need to say the password
Fight and you will win.
But in Ukrainian…! Look it up.
It comes from a poem by famous Ukrainian independence activist and poet Taras Shevchenko.
This Ukrainian restaurant in Kyiv takes a traditional Ukrainian dish of chicken kiev – a cutlet of chicken filled with butter and herbs, and makes it more modern. This restaurant serves it on truffle mash, and there is even a vegetarian option. This is another Ukrainian restaurant in Kyiv with a 1980s retro Soviet style, but more of an upper class dining room than Katusha. There is a huge chandelier and stained glass windows.
A pretty well-known secret is that there’s a secret bar in Chicken Kiev restaurant, called Check-In Kyiv. The door is disguised as one of the closets , and serves cocktails themed on Kyiv history – Gorodetskiy, Kyiv Spring and Khreschatky.
Chicken Kiev restaurant: Khreshatyk 15/4. This address is a bit misleading. It’s not on Kreschatyk at all, but behind it. Come up an alleyway behind the metro station, and the restaurant is there.
Don’t miss on our Travel Tips for Ukraine.
Owned by the same group as Last Barricade and Chicken Kiev, Kanapa restaurant in on the steep hill joining Podil with the rest of the city, Andriivski descent. The restaurant is housed in an old 19th century stone hall, with regularly art exhibitions on the walls.
Kanapa calls itself ‘New Ukrainian Cuisine’ and takes traditional dishes and adds some molecular gastronomy to it.
Dishes include verenyky filled with pike and a caviar sauce, chicken kiev made with pheasant and cabbage rolls with goat meat. You can also eat salo with chocolate. Yes, pork fat, with chocolate.
As you can imagine, it’s more expensive than other Ukrainian restaurants in Kyiv, and varenyky is about 160 UAH with 130 UAH for borsht. You should try the nettle beer and the cherry beer.
The tasting menu of local cuisine will introduce you several of their local dishes at around 700 UAH, or 1000 with paired alcoholic drinks.
Kanapa: Andriivski Descent 19
This should have given you some ideas of Ukrainian restaurants in Kyiv to try whether you are here on holiday or to live. We have lots of posts of things to see and do around Ukraine, so have a look around our blog.