When in Kazan, you don’t need to spend a fortune to get a satisfying, delicious meal – whether Tatar food or hearty Russian staples, you can find a cuisine to suit your budget. In town and looking for a quick, cheap bite? Then make sure to check out these affordable restaurants, cafes and canteens.
Restaurant, Russian, Vegetarian, Fast Food
Perhaps often overlooked in favour for other budget dining options, this spot is a Soviet canteen restaurant favoured by locals. Russian is the only language spoken, but the helpful staff will help you overcome any language barriers when choosing your food, although it is a place where you can easily point and choose. Meals are around 250 roubles (around USD$4.35), depending on what you opt for, but that includes, salad, meat, a vegetable side, dessert and drink. A total bargain.
One of the best options if you are on a budget or on the go, the Baketle supermarket chain has a deli section full of freshly baked pies and desserts that are just as good as home-made ones. Alongside their baked goods they have a selection of meals and salads that you can take away for later too. There are loads of locations scattered throughout the city, so you are bound to stumble across one on your travels – perfect if you want to picnic in the warmer weather.
Another bare-bones self-service canteen that offers cheap Russian and Tatar meals. Food, although prepared fresh, is ready to be served, which helps to get around language barriers as you can just point to what you want. In particular, there is a good range of desserts and sweets, so if you want to try chak-chak, try it here. There is a play area for children and so it is a good option if dining with kids.
Another reliable budget option, Dom Chaya is a Soviet-style self-service canteen right in the heart of the city, that serves up Tatar staples. The soups and pastries are particularly good here, and it is also a good place to try gubadiya, which is prepared as a sweet here. While the decor is a no-frills type of affair, the simple dinning room is usually packed with locals tucking into affordable and tasty fare. If you want table service, head up stairs to the second floor.
You can’t beat the central market for value when it comes to food, and a great place to soak up local atmosphere. The range is extensive across the stalls and if you want to try Tatar cuisine, Kazan Central Market should go on your list. Get stuck into a duck belish – a hearty pie made from duck, potatoes and grains, stuffed into to a crusty shell. Or try a pilaf, served with vegetables and fruit. Finish it all off with a slice of gubadiya layered pie with tvorg, egg, raisins and dried fruit, covered in melted butter. Though sometimes it’s made with a layer of meat to make it savoury, both the sweet and savoury versions are available here.
Bilyar is another reliable chain that has a decor as considered as the menu. The interior recreates a rustic cabin, decorated with traditional homewares and textiles; the earthy tones complementing the hearty meals on offer here. The traditional Tatar food is prepared to authentic recipes, and the selection is ample. Get stuck into manti, Tatar dumplings, chak-chak, crispy fried echpekmoks, or try the Tatar take on solyanka soup. Mains are around 50 – 200 rubles (USD$0.85 – $3.40) and there are other branches of the restaurant, so check the website for details.
Another canteen-style cafe, this one is considerably cuter than a lot of the Soviet-style canteens. Bright and cheery, the decor is colourful and the service is friendly. It serves up Tatar and Russian meals, and is a good spot to come late at night, as the canteen offers up to 70% off some of their menu at the end of the day.