Dolma, sometimes also written as “tolma,” is another national dish of Armenia that should be on your list of things to try when visiting the country. The dish, however, is also popular in other countries as well, including the Caucasus nations, Balkans, Turkey, Russia, Central Asia, and the Middle East. Here’s a little information about dolma and the best places to try it in Yerevan.
What is dolma?
Dolma is made of minced meat (pork, beef, or a mixture of both) or vegetables wrapped in fresh young grape leaves. In the ancient Urartian language, the word “doli” meant “a grape leaf.” The meal is also made with steamed cabbage leaves as well.
Today, there are various types of dolma in Armenia, and the country even has a special festival dedicated to this national dish. Some of the varieties are unique to the country and haven’t yet spread to other countries.
What makes dolma so special is the filling and its special ingredients, such as mutton fat, onion, rice, salt, pepper, and greens like parsley, oregano, mint, and coriander to name a few.
The meat is not pre-cooked before it is wrapped in the leaves, so during the preparation process, the juice of the meat stays inside each grape leaf package giving the meal a deep flavor. Dolma always comes with a special sauce made from a local yogurt called matzoon and garlic.
Where can you find dolma?
As the name of the venue suggests, Dolmama specializes in dolmas. Since it opened in 1998, it has offered authentic recipes to its visitors. The dolma is a bit different from the rest of the restaurants serving the same meal: instead of ground meat, the filling is made from a piece of sirloin with chili and rosemary.
This fast food chain is a great place for those who are very hungry and impatient, as it is open 24/7. Moreover, it’s also very budget-friendly compared to other restaurants. Additionally, if you are having a lazy evening and don’t feel like going anywhere for dinner, Karas offers a delivery service too! You can order dolma in either grape or cabbage leaves.
Old Erivan with its authentic traditional design offers a wide variety of traditional meals both from Armenia and neighboring countries. If you are looking for beef dolmas, you need to come here. The variety of wrapping is the usual cabbage or grape leaves, but they are delicious.
For a fancy night out, head to Anoush restaurant located inside the Republica Hotel. Along with local and international cuisine, Anoush serves only one variety of dolma with different meats inside, including beef, pork, and chicken infused with onion, species, and butter.
Lastly, Hin Zangezur is another restaurant that offers one of the best dolma plates in town. Here, you can try three different varieties similar to Tavern Yerevan: Msho Dolma, dolma with grape leaves, and Goris Dolma with cabbage leaves.
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