A major commercial and cultural hub in Kazakhstan, Almaty charms its guests with green alleyways, lovely local parks and an interesting mixture of Tsarist buildings and Soviet architecture. The city’s eclectic dining scene offers the best of traditional and regional cuisine in sophisticated settings, from cozy Russian
-style cafes to luxury dining establishments. We profile ten of our favorite local restaurants in Almaty.
The restaurant Gosti is an absolute delight for anyone interested in the history of Russian culture. Decorated in the bohemian style of a Russian noble mansion of the early 20th century, the restaurant specializes in high-quality modern Russian cuisine. Whilst drinking black tea, brewed in a samovar, a traditional metal teapot, the guests can look around and admire a wide array of decorative items and curiosities, from rusty coal irons to second-hand ice skates. With its unique, otherworldly atmosphere, Gosti is a must-visit spot on Almaty’s culinary trail.
Gosti, 78 Kunayeva Street, Almaty, Kazakhstan, +7 727 293 8414
Restaurant, Asian, $$$
Kishlak is a cozy and relaxed restaurant specializing in traditional Central Asian cuisine. The interior of each of the three dining rooms is beautifully decorated with distinct Central Asian motifs. It represents three traditional household settings, a farmer’s house, a merchant’s home and the living room of a rich bai. While seated at the low tea house-style tables, guests can get acquainted with the rich, multi-layered flavors of Central Asian food and choose from the wide range of traditional Uzbek, Uygur and Kazakh dishes on offer. Choose from dishes such as delicious manti, dumplings with spiced lamb meat and squashed pumpkin and thick and hearty shorpa, a lamb and vegetable broth.
Kishlak, 540 Seifulina Street, Almaty, Kazakhstan, + 7 727 261 56 01
The ultra-modern and sophisticated El Mirador is a recent newcomer to Almaty’s dining scene. Located in the busy city center, the bar and restaurant showcase modern international cuisine with an occasional Central Asian twist, such as fresh salad with horse meat fried in ginger. Horse meat, although an acquired taste, is lean and delicious, and no carnivorous visitor to Kazakhstan should leave without trying this local delicacy. Spread across two floors and with a lovely terrace open in summer, El Mirador offers a wide selection of seafood (a rarity in Almaty considering the distance to the closest open waters), pasta and vegetarian dishes, as well as variety of grilled meats, including Argentinean specialties.
El Mirador, 168/2 Dostyk Avenue, Almaty, Kazakhstan, +7 727 264 14 45
Restaurant, Turkish, Asian, European, Vegetarian, $$$
The glistening blue domes of the renowned Uzbek restaurant Alasha, located on the outskirts of Almaty, can be easily spotted from afar. The restaurant complex, built in the Turkistan or Timurid architectural style, specific to the breathtaking city of Samarkand, has quickly become one of the favorite restaurants in Almaty. The menu offers the best of traditional Uzbek cuisine, including its signature dish, the wedding plov or palov, a mouth-watering main course made with rice, lamb, carrots, raisins, garlic and chickpeas. The plov is cooked over an open fire in huge iron cauldrons, and usually served with a fresh tomato salad, pickled onions and herbs called achik-chuchuk. Every night, the meals are accompanied by live Uzbek music and traditional dance, giving a glimpse into the richness of Uzbek culture.
Alasha, Ospanov Street 20, Almaty, Kazakhstan, +7 727 254 07 00
No guide to Almaty’s dining scene would be complete without Chukotka, a cool and low-key restaurant/bar/coffeehouse frequented by the city’s hip crowd. Offering a lively schedule of music events, especially on Friday and Saturday nights, this is the place where Almaty’s up and coming bands perform live. The first floor of Chukotka features a modern dining area, serving a mixture of Central Asian, Russian and European dishes, and a bar with a dancing area, which comes alive every weekend. The second floor, named dacha, which translates to ‘summer house’, serves both as a coffeehouse during the week and a bar on the weekend. Located inside the beautiful Panfilovtsev park, Chukotka has become a staple of Almaty’s social life.
Chukotka, 40 Gogol Street, Almaty, Kazakhstan, +7 727 273 39 74
Located in the heart of old Almaty, the Cafeteria is an artsy and charming coffeehouse and deli, perfect for a lazy brunch or a midday coffee break. The coffeehouse has kept the original façade of the building, and the thoughtfully renovated molding and parquet flooring, as well as hand-woven carpets and old-fashioned chairs, instantly bring a cozy and laid-back feel to the venue. In the summer season, the Cafeteria opens its gorgeous terrace, which overlooks the lush greenery of a local park. This is a great hangout spot for the young and the creative as Cafeteria often organizes various social events, from speed-dating to personal coaching sessions. The European menu features a good selection of quick bites, fresh pastries and delicious desserts, but it’s the atmosphere that really makes this venue stand out.
32 Baisetova street, Almaty, Kazakhstan, +7 727 272 09 26
Restaurant, Asian, $$$
One of the few truly authentic Kazakh restaurants in Almaty, the Gakku is not easy to find, but well worth the effort. The restaurant is divided into two separate, equally delightful and elegant dining areas, one of which is stylized as a Kazakh yurt, a traditional nomadic tent. The restaurant is renowned for its wide selection of high-quality traditional Kazakh dishes, including horse meat steak, or kuyrdak, an ancient Kazakh main course made of mutton and potatoes. However, the real must-try for those braving Kazakh cuisine is the beshbarmak, a signature local dish consisting of boiled horse meat and accompanied by boiled pasta sheets and a meat broth, thickened with kumiss, which is fermented mare’s milk.
Gakku, 7 Keremet, Almaty, Kazakhstan, + 7 727 315 09 67
The Traktir Medved, which translates to ‘Bear Tavern’, is a charming restaurant decorated in the rustic style of a Russian farmhouse, with traditional Russian ornaments and bright wooden paneling on the walls and ceilings. The restaurant offers high-quality traditional Russian and Ukrainian food, starting with a hefty main course of dressed herring, made of layers of salted herring, boiled beetroot, eggs and mayonnaise, and ending with the sweet dessert of bliny, a thin pancake usually filled with cottage cheese, jam or honey. Other must-try options at this traditional venue include borshch, a traditional Ukrainian beetroot soup, and pelmeni, Russian dumplings filled with minced meat, fish or mushrooms.
Traktir Medved, 140 Kanbai Batira Street, Almaty, Kazakhstan, +7 727 267 51 30
Restaurant, Coffee, Tea , Fast Food
Named after the famous Russian writer Anton P. Chekhov, the restaurant radiates effortless elegance and friendly hospitality. Three spacious, yet intimate dining areas and a lovely outdoor terrace ensure a calm and soothing atmosphere. The eclectic interior somehow manages to successfully mix light blue walls and large, eye-catching murals with bold floral print curtains and traditional Central Asian carpets, even adding a fashionably dressed mannequin. The contemporary style of the restaurant provides the perfect background to relax and enjoy authentic Eastern European and Russian cuisine, from juicy beef stroganoff to spicy pumpkin soup.
Chekhov, 37 Khadzhi Mukhan Street (Dostyk), Almaty, Kazakhstan, +7 727 311 22 25
One of the most original dining spots in Almaty, Wagon is all dressed up like a wooden train carriage, including a model of an old-fashioned steam engine locomotive, a train carriage at the entrance and the sound of wheels turning played in-between songs. The delightful décor is matched by the venue’s contemporary fusion of Central Asian, European and Russian cuisines. The affable chef, known as Uncle Zhena, is widely praised for his creative and authentic menu, featuring delicious Italian desserts and hearty Russian main courses. Located in the suburbs of Almaty, the restaurant is very popular among locals due its impeccable service, delicious food and cozy interior.
Wagon, 241 Bogenbai Batyr street, Almaty, Kazakhstan, +7 727 333 44 47