Sunday, March 31, 2013

Restaurants in Karaganda

Since we have no kitchen, we've eaten out quite a bit. So here's my review of some restaurants in Karaganda, all within walking distance of our hotel, the Grand Luxe Gracia Hotel, which is located next to the City Mall and across from the circus. The main street in downtown Karaganda is Bukhar-Zhyrau Avenue.

In the City Mall (on Bukhar-Zhyrau Avenue), we like to eat at Charlotka, which is located on the 2nd floor and has an outdoor cafe feel, since the tables are just in an open area in the mall. The food is rather good and moderately expensive (1200 Tenge  ($8) for pasta; 1400 to 2300 Tenge for a meat dish). They open at 10 am and serve omelettes and blini (like French crepes) for breakfast. They also have delicious desserts and good coffee. Food takes a while to be prepared and delivered.

On the top floor of City Mall is Assorti, an Italian and pizza restaurant that I've been to in Astana. Many people like it; I've never been too pleased. I think the quality of food is not as good as it should be, based on price. There's also Mac & Dac, a fast food restaurant similar to McDonald's.

Across from the TsUM department store (also on Bukhar-Zhyrau Avenue) is another of our favorite Karaganda restaurants, Ankara. It a blue-circular building. Inside there are some birds in bird cages by some of the tables, which of course makes this the girls' favorite restaurant. We always sit next to the birds.

I highly recommend this restaurant as it's very cheap but good quality.  On Tuesday  I paid 1150 Tenge (less than $8) and got a hamburger, tea, 3 pieces of baklava, and a mini cheese pizza. The margarita pizza says it comes only with cheese and tomatoes, but sometimes they put olives on it. To order, you wait in line and order, then you receive a small stand with a number on it, which you place at your table and your food is delivered to you. It can get quite crowded at times.

Also down the main street is the Johnny Walker pub, a moderately expensive restaurant with good steaks. I ate at it a year ago.

If you are walking down the Bukhar-Zhyrau Avenue,, and you've passed Ankara and Johnny Walker on your right, then turn on Beybitshilik Boulevard, and on your right you will find a German beer pub. We went in there today but did not eat, but I was very impressed and want to come back. You have to go down several flights of steps to get there, and it very much feels like you are going to the dungeon of a German castle. The walls are made of stone, and it really has the look and feel of a German castle. There are some private rooms as well as a long room full of tables. There are some decorations—an old typewriter, and old telephone. The menu is in English and Russian, but I didn't look at prices. I think they make their own beer.

There is one other place that makes their own beer, Traktir. I've never been there, but my friend says she once went with Englishmen, and they really liked the beer.

So, we haven't eaten at a wide variety of places, but we like where we've eaten. For dessert or coffee, go to Charlotka. For beer, go to Traktir or the German pub. For steak, go to Johnny Walkers. For a nice meal, go to Johnny Walkers or Charlotka. For a cheap yet fulfilling meal, go to Ankara. For a kid-friendly restaurant, go to Ankara, Charlotka, or Mac & Dac.
Ankara, the inexpensive and yummy Turkish restaurant

Johnny Walker pub

German pub

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