The eastern city of Babruysk in Belarus doesn’t attract as many visitors as it should, despite some truly charming things to see and do. As a large city of 215,000, there are also plenty of food options. Babruysk is a great city to work your way through traditional Belarusian cuisine and these restaurants are the cream of the crop.
With its tongue twister of a name, do as the locals say and call it ‘Feniks’. This large restaurant in Babruysk serves up hearty soups, pork and beef cutlet dishes, and a selection of Belarusian desserts. Locals tend to meet here in big groups for family events at weekends. It is quieter during the week and a good time for tourists to visit. Try the locally made fruit juice, or if you are going in the evening make sure you try a drop of the local vodka with your main meal. It’s all very local and the menu isn’t provided in English.
Yubileinyi Restoran is a centrally located restaurant with plenty of Belarusian and Russian food to sample. It’s a good place to sample the national dish, draniki, which are filling potato pancakes. If you’re feeling peckish, eat the draniki with some vegetables and eggs, washed down with a tea or a homemade juice. Also on the menu are dishes such as bigos (hunter’s stew), goulash (thick soup) and kopytka (potato dumplings).
The rather cumbersome title of Chyrvonaja Vezha Restoran GP Vodokanal translates into English as Red Tower Restaurant, and is located just a five minute walk from Lenin Square. Expect a good range of typical Belarusian and Russian food, including the popular Kapytki with mushroom sauce. The venue attracts many business people due to its proximity to the more upmarket hotels, but don’t be fooled by that – cheap prices are of the essence here and locals often hold business meetings during the day and order vodka by the bottle at night.
For a decent meal by the beautiful Berezina River, head to one of Babruysk’s finest hotels, the Hotel Tourist. The hotel has been one of the most important business venues in the city for years. You can stroll by the river on the veranda out the back of the restaurant, and come back inside to enjoy some of the finest Russian and Belarussian dishes with an international edge, including a European style breakfast. There are a good range of soups, salads and desserts, but the real treats are the lunch and breakfast buffets which serve up well prepared vegetables and a varying selection of meat and fish dishes. Expect to bump into some businessmen looking to delve into the Belarusian market.
Restoran Gloriya is a late night venue which is split into two parts and contains one of Babruysk’s equivalents to a sports bar or pub, despite its posh sounding name. Here you can sit in booths and eat tasty Belarusian pub grub from 5pm until midnight. Live sports are shown in the front bar. However, this is also a large restaurant which caters for large functions and events – you can really get a taste for the local cuisine with an extensive menu full of traditional soups, meat and vegetable dishes, and, of course, the potato inspired draniki.
Stolovaja Slavjanka is a no frills Slavic diner with all your basic food needs. Saunter in like a local, pick up a tray and cutlery, check the menu (it’s not in English so bring a translator or a dictionary) and order your food. Once it arrives, collect it, and take a seat as the locals do. Go for a three course meal: good soup, fresh bread, a range of salads and homemade juice to start with, a hearty main of beef with mixed vegetables or a potato casserole, and a delicious Belarus coffee, tea or dessert to finish. It’s all part of the local experience in Babruysk. Do remember however that this canteen is only open Monday to Friday and caters for breakfast and lunch only.
Draught beer on tap, homemade juice and excellent Belarusian cuisine is what makes Pit Stop great. This chain of restaurants is located throughout Belarus, mostly in the large cities such as Minsk and Grodno. They pride themselves on literally being a Pit Stop – quick, easy, tasty and cheap food all in one. Due to their popularity, it is clear they live up to this niche. Don’t be put off by the busy crowds and long queues during peak times: the queues move quite fast as locals and visitors aim to get some good grub as fast as they can. On the menu is a mix of Russian, Belarussian and European food. Try the pork cutlets, the winter soups and the draught beer.