Eating out

Restaurants and places to eat...

Ukrainian eating out industry has really made a go significantly last years. There is plenty of restaurants, cafes, pubs, fast foods... of all cuisines and for all wallets. Frankly, sometimes its service quality is far from perfection (at any category, including the top-rank establishments). Nevertheless in opposite to previous 5-10 years the changes are obvious.

You are definitely not to have communication problems at the places of middle+ category in big cities or touristic destinations, targeted to host both foreigners and sophisticated Ukrainians. Their staff speaks basic English at least and has relevant qualification.

Price range for cookery delicious differs significantly around Ukraine. Kiev is definitely the most expensive city in all terms, including eating out. That does not cause unique quality. You may come across the places offering incredible cuisine for price 2 times lower outside the capital. Odessa, Lviv, Trans-Carpathian and Crimea regions (in some degree) are famous for their original cookery culture. Each of them has its own peculiarity: Odessa is acknowledged as the proven gourmet paradise. Lviv is a symbol of coffee and chocolate cookery art. The Carpathians cookers traditionally are focused on ecological, rather nourishing meal, taking in Hungarian, Romanian and Slovakian cooking ideas. Testing Crimean ethnical cuisine means to visit Tatar family establishments that are really distinctive ones. As regards Crimea, it is pointless to waste money on visiting casual and non-authentic places there: commonly, they are overestimated and lack service quality, especially at peak time in summer.

There is a rough cost-categories navigator on the eating out places in Kiev:

* Top category: an overage receipt – from UAH 1000 excl. alcohol. (e.g. restaurants of “Mirovaya karta” (“The World Card”) and “Kozyrnaya karta” restaurant chains).

* Upper – middle and middle categories: from UAH 500 (well designed places not only of the central location).

* Low category: from UAH 200 (mostly ordinary cafes and restaurants outside Kiev).

* Canteens and fast food chains: UAH 40-70. The most famous fast food chains are “Domashnaya Kukhnya” ("Home Cooking"), “Trali-Vali”, “Shvydko”, “Puzata Khata”, “Dva Gusya” ("Two Geese"), “Drova”, Mister Snack (sandwich bar), Chelentano pizza, McDonalds, McFoxy, Domino’s Pizza, KFC (very few points). They offer meal of appropriate quality for reasonable price.

Recently there had been a surge of food trucks, pop-up food stalls and coffee trucks in Ukraine. No mass outdoor event goes without them and it's worth to check them out. Food trucks offer a wide range of foods — from classic kebab and burgers to salmon, mussels and steak.

The new – pay just for time – cafes were open in Kiev and Odessa. Its key idea matches those who use eating out places rather for working and communicating. Paying for hours or minutes, spent there, you get unlimited access to free Wi-Fi, tea, coffee, somewhere – snacks, and may either bring meal from home or order it.

The restaurants commonly operate from 10-12 a.m. till midnight, as well as pubs. Cafes and fast food operating time varies from 7-9 a.m. till 8-11 p.m.

Smoking is forbidden in all public places (incl. eating out points) in Ukraine.

Either you go to a casual cafe or to a top-rank restaurant, don’t neglect having a few hundred hryvnya in cash – some establishments may not accept the credit cards (especially late at night).

Almost all top-rank and premium rank places have free Wi-Fi. Such cafe chains as “Double Coffee”, “Coffee House”, “Shokoladnitza” and the above mentioned pay-for-time cafes are widely recognized by those locals and travellers, who need to work on their PC and portative gadgets. Just buy a launch or a few cups of coffee – and you may stay here for hours using free Wi-Fi access.

Tipping etiquette in Ukraine is very similar to that elsewhere in Europe or the US. Commonly it is 5-10% of the bill – up to your decision. You may also just round-up the sum, as many locals do. Some places include “cost of service” on the bill, so it’s worth to check it before paying. In this case if you’re not satisfied with their service, you have to call for an administrator. Frankly, you can hardly come across that in Kiev or in any reputable place, though keep it in mind...

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