The Best Restaurants To Try In Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

State Academic Theatre of Drama and statue of Yumjaagiin Tsedenbal in Ulaanbaatar
State Academic Theatre of Drama and statue of Yumjaagiin Tsedenbal in Ulaanbaatar | © Arterra Picture Library / Alamy Stock Photo
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Mongolian cuisine is known for its heavy, meat and dairy-based dishes. Traditional recipes like Mongolian-style barbecued meats and meat filled dumplings are still widely popular with tourists, but Mongolia’s culinary tradition is multifaceted. Restaurants in Ulaanbaatar cater to all palates and diets, with a wide range of western and Asian food on offer. Here’s our pick of the best to try.

1. Hazara

Restaurant, Indian

Hazara is tucked away behind the Wrestling Palace off the busy Peace Avenue. It is one of Ulaanbaatar’s longest-standing restaurants and serves authentic North Indian cuisine, which is perfect for those craving a spicy kick to their meal. Try the popular chicken murgh malai, succulent and creamy chicken marinated in yoghurt and spices, or signature dish raan e hazara, a leg of lamb marinated overnight with bay leaves, cardamom and other Indian spices. The restaurant décor is warm and simple, the ground and mezzanine floor provide plenty of space for diners, while wooden and brass tables and seating separated by bright wall hangings give meals at Hazara an intimate feel.

2. Khara Khorum

Restaurant, Vegetarian, European

Kempinski Hotel Khan Palace, Ulaanbaatar
© Khara Khorum
Named after the 13th century capital city of the Mongol Empire, Khara Khorum offers guests a fine dining experience in modern, stylish surroundings. One of five restaurants in the Kempinski Hotel Khan Palace, Khara Khorum offers a balanced menu featuring a number of traditional Mongolian dishes like tsuivan, a stew of noodles, vegetables and meat, and the steamed dumpling dish buuz. In fact, Khara Khorum is renowned for serving some of the best khuushuur,a pan-fried dumpling traditionally filled with minced lamb, in the capital. Vegetarian versions of Mongolian dishes are available, as are a number of European staples.

3. Luna Blanca

Restaurant, Vegan

© Luna Blanca
When it opened in 2008, Luna Blanca was only the second vegan restaurant in all of Mongolia, but today it is one of around 25 Mongolian restaurants catering specifically to the vegan diet. Luna Blanca is the labor of love of co-owners Altanzaya and Ariunaa, who see it as a social enterprise to encourage healthier diets in Mongolia, meaning that all profits from the restaurant go back into promoting healthy food. The cozy, café-style venue serves up a number of nutritious, tasty and reasonably priced dishes such as the rainbow miso soup, miso broth with fresh tofu, seaweed, mushroom, radish and carrots; and the Luna Blanca Mongol combo plate, featuring vegetarian versions of traditional bansh, buuzand khuushuur dumplings. A range of refreshing teas and healthy juices are also available.

4. Azzurro

Restaurant, Mongolian

© Azzurro
Azzurro is a luxury Mediterranean restaurant situated at the very top of the Monnis Tower, a prime location offering stunning panoramic views of Ulaanbaatar. Azzurro, meaning ‘blue’ in Italian, features a stylish yet comfortable lounge area and is elegantly decorated in white marble with wooden walls and blue-tinted windows to reflect the restaurant’s name. Italian-born executive chef Alberto Boccelli has created a menu of delicious dishes combining the traditional Mediterranean flavours of Italy, Spain and southern France. Treat your taste buds to the tantalising agnello in crosta estiva, a lemon and parsley-crusted rack of lamb with a potato and mushroom cake and mustard jus, or the mouth watering polpo in insalata, a salad of octopus and prawns with a lemon dressing.

5. Namaste

Restaurant, Indian

A family-run restaurant serving Northern Indian cuisine, Namaste serves an entirely Halal menu. A team of Indian chefs prepare classic North Indian dishes such as the kalami tawa beef, succulent chunks of beef cooked in a tandoor oven and roasted on a griddle pan; and the hariyali chicken, a Punjabi interpretation of chicken tikka made with mint and coriander. The elegantly decorated restaurant, featuring heavy, dark, wooden seating and rich, red walls has attracted a loyal clientèle since its opening.

6. Turning Point Café

Bar, Cafe, Restaurant, European

Turning Point Jazz Café, Ulaanbaatar
A popular meeting place for Ulaanbaatar’s hip, young crowd and the capital’s expat community, the Turning Point Café is a cosmopolitan yet cozy restaurant, bar and contemporary jazz venue. The modern premises are decorated in a sophisticated and understated fashion, with white washed brick walls, an island bar, wooden flooring and a bespoke jazz-themed mural painting by Portuguese artist Paulo Buchinho adorning one wall. The food is largely European in flavor with a range of fresh salads, tasty panini and warming soups on offer. The Turning Point Café also serves delicious desserts, with its green apple and cinnamon crêpe, and an array of impressive cocktails. Outside the café is a picturesque fountain, so grab a window seat and take in the view while listening to one of the café’s regular jazz gigs.

7. Grand Khan Irish Pub

Pub, Irish, American, Street Food, Pub Grub

They say wherever you go in the world, you’re bound to come across an Irish pub, and Ulaanbaatar is no different. The Grand Khan Irish Pub is the perfect destination for diners looking for a relaxed, casual environment in which to enjoy some wholesome pub grub. Traditional homely dishes reminiscent of the Emerald Isle, such as Irish stew and Irish-style lamb shanks, are available alongside a range of sandwiches, soups and pizzas. Those with a more adventurous palate can try Asian dishes including tagturitan soup, a spicy chicken and potato-based Korean stew, or crispy pork belly with noodles. Irish and Mongolian beers are available and the pub features outdoor covered seating, where guests can enjoy a drink and snack while taking in the hustle and bustle of the surrounding streets.

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