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Vladivostok Restaurants and Cafes



by Kevin McCaughey
  People from other regions of Russia comment on Vladivostok’s sea food. But Vladivostok people don’t. It’s not a seafood paradise, aside from the squid (‘kalmar’) that crops up in salads and pizzas and

Crab for sale in Vladivostok
Crab for Sale
Chinese stir fries.
In the many Chinese eateries, you’ll find below average food at high prices (6-10 dollars for a dish). The same goes for pizza—that trusty fall-back meal of travelers. And ditto for quaint little cheap cafes. For Russian food, do as the locals recommend: get invited to somebody’s home. Suffice to say, Vlad is not the culinary hot spot of Russia. But the list of restaurants/cafés below will give you a good range to choose from.


Nostalgia.
Most dishes are under 10 bucks: Russian style eats and seafood. Here you can get decent scallops and squid. The room is small, and high-ceiled, velvety and a bit musty. Everything here is average or better. No Russian beer! Good sweets and cakes in the front room, the café part of Nostalgia. Popular with Russians and foreigners alike. You can also buy souvenirs here.
Address: Pervaya Morskaya 6/25. Telephone: (4232) 41-05-13, 51-06-08

 

Chicken and Beer Place.
You say you nothing but chicken and beer? And some garlic sauce on your chicken? Okay, you can get borsh, pelmeni, and 100 grams here too. A small wooden-table place for plebian eats. I don’t believe it has a name. Not expensive.
Address: Svetlanskaya, not far from the corner with Aleutskaya. Go down the steps where the train crosses under Svetlanskaya.


Stolovaya No. 1.

This is the pyramid-shaped building across from the train station and next to
Stolovaya Vladivostok
Stolovaya No 1
the Lenin statue. You can point and pick your dishes here. Clean, busy, bright, and fairly cheap. Open from 8:00-24:00.
Address: Svetlanskaya, not far from the corner with Aleutskaya. Go down the steps where the train crosses under Svetlanskaya.

 


Vedic Cuisine.
Best place in town to say a prayer and get a cheap delicious meal. Russians in saris. All vegetarian. Great Dahl soup. Fresh juice from berries. In addition to Krishna cuisine, they make the best Russian pirozhki in the city--and for 30 cents apiece. Stick your nose in as you walk by. In theory they’re open from 11:00-19:00 (with lectures on the Baghavad Gita at 17:00), but they make their food fresh daily, so sometimes they don’t have much by afternoon. Don’t ask for beer; the ladies will laugh. Closed Sundays.
Address: Okeansky Prospect, 10-12. It’s down from the corner of Semyonovskaya and Okeansky, behind the gazebo-shaped kiosk. Telephone: (4232) 26-89-43


Korea House. The place is small, bright, cozy, safe-feeling, the service respectful without actually reaching the undignified level of friendly. Entrées are ample and come with lots of little side dishes. Figure $15-20 for a full meal and drink. One of Vlad’s most dependable restaurants. I’ve never needed a reservation.
Address: Semyonovskaya 7. Off the street, in the back of a courtyard. Telephone: (4232) 26-94-64
 

Mauro Gianvanni. There’s a second Gianvanni on Fokino, the pedestrian street (see Pizza restaurants). Here they cater to

Mauro Pizza Cook in Vladivostok
Pizza cook in Mauro Giovanni
the almost-business crowd for Italianesque lunches. On my visit tables were occupied exclusively by pretty woman punching SMS. One read Cosmopolitan too. It took well over an hour to receive my order. The pricey food turned out to be great, in taste and presentation, so, while Gianvanni is more than just a place to be elegantly seen. Lunch combos for around 200 rubles ($7).
Address: Okeansky 9. Telephone: (4232) 20-57-62


Hanoi. The only Vietnamese place in town. And it’s the excuse you needed to take the ferry (to Churkin) or a bus around the length of Golden Horn Bay.
Address: Kalinina 241. Telephone: (4232) 45-16-87


Café Syu Fun Hei. The food is a scratch above the typically wet and expensive Vladi-Chinese food. Service a scratch above apathetic. Convenient Location. You’re still better off going Korean. Or, if you want real Chinese, go to the Chinese Market at Lugovaya, and eat what the Chinese merchants eat.
Address: Svetlanskaya 12. Telephone: (4232) 264-563


Krestovy Pereval.
Reportedly good Georgian meat dishes at mid-level prices.
Address: Lutskova 10a . From the Hyundai Hotel, walk uphill. Now you’re on Sukhanova, a park on your left. The restaurant is on the corner where the road forks right. Telephone:(4232) 265-640.


Vlad Motor Inn. North-American food? Whatever, it’s quality and quantity. Burgers and steaks are popular. Sunday brunches ($13.00) are an event, popular with foreigners and well-to-do Vladivostokians.
Address: #35, 8th Street, Sanatoraya. Contacts: (4232) 38-88-88. Website: www.vlad-inn.ru

Coffee Time. Inexpensive range of dishes. There’s an upstairs and a downstairs. Upstairs the service is faster, but to get to the toilet is a hassle. Downstairs is darker and more intimate.
Address: Svetlanskaya, 44. Up a bit from Magic Burger. Telephone: 26-89-46



Café Express.
They serve Russian soups, salads, and meat dishes. No drinks. Service is competent and quick, and prices are high.
Address: Okeansky Prospect 10-12. Telephone: 22-55-77


Hocus Pocus. This moored ship is a casino, not a café, but they’ve got a little bar tucked in the corner where you can get a French-press pot of coffee and a delicious Italian sandwich for cheap.
Address: Svetlanskaya 23. Sea Front Quay No. 36. (You can’t miss the ‘Hocus Pocus’ sign in Latin letters). Telephone: 49-58-58


Coffee Club Oakhaca. A hidden café—because it’s not really a café, but a kind of café school. Tasty décor inside.
Cafe oakhaka Vladivostok
Cafe Oakhaka
Delicious coffees, though pricey. A cappuccino is 90 rubles ($3). Travelers are sure to feel welcome because almost all the young servers speak perfect English. Open daily except Mondays from 16:00-23:00.
Address: Semyonovskaya 21. Look for piece of paper stuck on a window. That’s the only sign.


Presto. A classy European café with European prices. You’ll think you’re in Vienna, if you can find the entrance.
Address: Svetlanskaya 15.


Studio Café. It was the place for coffee before Presto and Oaxaca opened. Business lunches are decent value.
Address: Semyonovskaya 18b. Telephone (4232) 41-32-46


Café Montmartre. A small, smoky, expensive café and wine place. Fat-wallet bohemians are welcome. Coffee drinks with booze go for about 150 rubles ($5.5).
Address: Svetlanskaya 9/6. Telephone 41-27-89. Go through an archway to find this place.


Café Iguana. A beer/coffee place with a western theme. Smoking allowed. Young clientele. 24-hour internet available in the back room.
Address: Svetlanskaya 23. From Svetlanskaya, go through the “Flower Passage,” where flowers are sold, and look left when you emerge. Telephone 48-13-67. www.iguana.vl.ru


Pizza

If you crave pizza, get on a train to Khabarovsk. That’s a pizza town. But some of these places will satisfy you in a pinch.

Mauro Gianvanni. This is a full restaurant, but they have a legitimate pizza oven. And the prices—$7-10—are only a fraction higher than the city’s pizzerias. Tasty salads and Italian dishes too
Address: Fokino 1b. Close to the stadium and the waterfront. Telephone (4232) 22-07-82

Pizzaland. There’s nothing wrong with this pizza, if you think of it not as pizza, but as casserole. They have salmon pizza for fish lovers. Hang on to your napkins; the waiting staff is adroit at snatching them up. Salads, spaghetti, and Russian beer available at moderate prices.
Address: Fontannaya 35. Telephone (4232) 22-07-23

Pizza M & Bekkeri M. Next to the Gorky drama theater, these are brother establishments, although with different pizzas, and located at different ends of the same building. Bekkeri M (formerly Zemchushina) is more a pizzeria, the pizza Italianesque with thin floury crusts. Pizza M is more of a restaurant, the pizza more Far Eastern—oily, and with the likes of squid for toppings. Neither is cheap and neither serves Russian beer. Very unpatriotic. A billiard hall, Chaplin, is next to Bekkeri M. The simpler branch of Pizza M at the Hotel Primorye is closed for "remont." Don’t expect it to open soon.
Address: Svetlanskaya 51A. Telephone: Pizza M: (4232) 26-44-36. Bekkeri M: (4232) 26-53-97. www.pizzam.ru


Fast Food

Vladivostok might be unique among biggish Russian cities: it has no McDonald’s, no Burger King, no Taco Bell or KFC. But there’s at least one derivative for each. Feast on these…

Magic Burger. The kind of place that people disdain in conversation, yet apparently patronize because it’s always packed. This reviewer has not actually tried any of the food, though he once made it as far as the counter.
Address: Svetlanskaya 44.

Magic Bell. Numbered Mexican dishes are visible above the counter: tacos, chimichangas, etc. None are available. But that doesn’t stop this visitor from asking for them every time, just to annoy the gloomy girls who microwave the Russian food that stagnates in metal troughs. On the bright side, it’s a hangout, cheap enough for the student crowd—the kind of place where if you speak English loud enough you’re going to make friends.
Address: Svetlanskaya, next to Dom Offiserov Flota, on the second floor. Telephone: (4232) 22-95-96.

Simpson Food. Pictures of the TV Simpsons color up the place (but legally?). It’s like Magic Bell, only one step up. Slightly themier, slightly better food, slightly friendly servers, slightly less painful music, and slightly better dressed cliental. Four dollars will get you fed and tipsy.
Address: Okeansky Prospekt 117, near the Pervaya Rechka bus stop. Telephone: (4232) 45-02-14.

Café 3T. Like Subway. A foot-long (and they are measured so, not metrically) sandwich goes for 100 rubles. Open all night.
Address: Aleutskaya Prospekt 43. Telephone: (4232) 400-819

Café Ali Baba. A point-and-pick Mediterranean fast-food place. Good baba ganoush (paste from eggplant). Be careful, prices can really add up. Annoying live singers in the evening. Perhaps the café’s name attracts thieves—a friend had her mobile phone stolen here. Open till midnight.
Address: Pogranichnaya 6, across from the stadium: Telephone: (4232)
26-48-87



Shashlyk Tents & Shellfish Markets.

At the waterfront, folks from the former “-stan” countries of the USSR cook up shaslyk (shishkebab) and shaurma (a bit like a pork burrito,
Shashlyk Tent in Vladivostok
Shashlyk tent
just substitute mayonnaise for beans) for 80 and 50 rubles respectively. Here locals indulge in primal meat-eating, festing, and mating dances. In the summer, you’ll find said locals hosting visiting sailors from the USA, France, Indonesia, or Japan. All of this may be why respectable denizens of Vladivostok warn—in vain, in my case—to stay away.
Down here, the fortress and aquarium side of Naberezhnaya, you’ll find sea food for sale. The crayfish is popular (about 150 rubles a kilo) with beer drinkers. A kilo of crab will cost three times that.
Address: Along Naberezhnaya.
 

 

 

 

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