When it comes to experiencing the culinary and cocktail delights of Ukraine, discerning travelers and locals alike turn to the prestigious guide, “50 Best Discovery.” This curated selection of the best Ukrainian restaurants uncovers the hidden gems and revered establishments that define the country’s gastronomic and mixological landscape.
Best Ukrainian Restaurants and Bars:
This intimate drinking spot celebrates counterculture and the avante-garde, much like the beatniks it’s named after. There’s no signage here, with the bar’s locked door only marked by a nearby lantern. Guests are individually welcomed into this diminutive space – there’s only room for 40 guests – which nevertheless has an open feel, with exposed brickwork, modern decor and artwork on the walls, most notably a large piece by artist Alina Kleitman. This is a playful bar that takes its drinks seriously. Cocktail names make references to the beatnik era, but are decidedly contemporary and unpretentious, frequently rooted in the classics. Beatnik was first established in the city of Kharkiv, but after problems with the building, the core team relocated to Kyiv in 2019.
A veteran of the Kyiv bar scene, this space hidden in the basement of one of the city’s oldest cinemas was reinvented in 2013 as a speakeasy. “Parovoz” means “locomotive”, which is reflected in the decor of this train carriage-like space, with retro decor including a beautiful tin ceiling, and an old-school back bar. The atmosphere is fun and relaxed, with the well turned out bar team producing an array of classic cocktails, including some lesser-known options such as the Missionary’s Downfall, all elegantly presented. There’s a concise list of Modern and Signature drinks, and don’t miss the Parovoz Bloody Mary from the All Time Favorites section. A restaurant as well as a cocktail bar, there’s a variety of food to accompany these classics. The Parovoz team also offers a mixology course for bartenders that includes an internship at the bar.
This plucky restaurant on Mezhyhirska Street is living proof that resilience is the secret ingredient for success in the restaurant industry – particularly given the fact that the war broke out just four months after it opened. Its eponymous founder Mirali Dilbazi has been touted as one of the rising stars of Ukraine’s food scene for his fiercely seasonal, fine-dining menus that played liberally with texture and colour. Cooking with the seasons with a particular eye for fermentation, each dish is a celebration of the modern Ukrainian pantry. Currently serving brunch as well as a la carte, expect rotating specials until its classic tasting menu relaunches in the coming future.
It may be difficult for the uninitiated to pronounce but Volodymyr Yaroslavskyy is a household name in Ukraine. Not only is he a judge on the country’s version of MasterChef, but he is also leading a new wave of restaurateurs and sommeliers keen to create a fine-dining movement in a country whose citizens rarely got the chance to visit restaurants at all during their 69 years under the USSR. His open-kitchen and low-waste, seasonal approach was breaking new ground in Ukrainian dining before the war, although he is now focusing more on simpler dishes that are big on flavor. Think pizza topped with forest mushrooms, shrimps topped with salmon roe, and comforting pasta with capers and truffle. During the first few months of the war, he won recognition for leading a team of chefs to prepare several hundred meals a day for soldiers and those in need at sister site, Lucky Restaurant Vinoteque. It is one of the Best Ukrainian Restaurants.
Inspired by the speakeasies of Prohibition-era America in the 1920s, Loggerhead is a hidden gem in Kyiv, and well worth seeking out. In true speakeasy style, it’s not easy to find, hidden down an alleyway. Pull the lever and you’ll have the chance to give the bar’s name as the password, and be admitted. Once inside you’ll find a rustic space with exposed brick arches and an intimate feel. Guests crowd around the three-sided bar or retire to comfortable booths to enjoy the excellent cocktails on offer. Peruse the menu for an explanation of the bar’s name, before selecting from the extensive list, featuring twists on classics and a number of original drinks too. There are sharing drinks, non-alc options and bottled cocktails too, as well as a choice of cocktail food. The space is quite compact, but there’s room for live jazz on the weekends