The healthy social scene of this Volga-side port town caters for everyone and so there are options galore when the need for coffee hits. Try a hookah with Samara’s artsy crowd, or settle in for an afternoon at some of the city’s most favourite tried and tested cafes with our pick of the best.
Pub, Diner, European, Vegetarian, American, $$$
Cafe Benjamin | Courtesy of Cafe Benjamin
Housed in an old dentist’s office that Lenin supposedly sought treatment at while he lived in this Volga port town after graduation. Legend has it Lenin’s last visit coincided with the birth date of Benjamin Franklin, the cafe’s namesake, cementing the cafe’s concept. With a hint of 1950s, 1960s American kitsch, the cosy cafe’s interior is bright and cheerful, without being cluttered. The menu boasts American diner inspired meals – think burgers, fried chicken and sweet pies, and the drinks list has milkshakes and coffees, as well as alcohol.
As part of a reliable chain, Traveler’s coffee is a safe bet and has come to be a stalwart of Samara’s cafe scene. While coffee and cakes are what they do best, the cafe does also offer light meals, along with a range of teas and coffees. Its central location makes it an ideal spot to take a break from sightseeing and relax those feet, and with internet available to its customers and soft comfy chairs, its easy to settle in for the afternoon.
A cute little cafe/bakery chain that offers up Georgian food and is a favourite with the locals. Eat stuffed breads, shashlik (skewered meat from the grill), and khinkali (dumplings) in a modern but relaxed environment, or try a light pastry or dessert with a cup of sweet tea or coffee. There are several other locations, another cafe-bakery on Ulitsa Dimitrova, and two bakeries on Ulitsa Buyanova and Ulitsa XXII Congress 227a, each with different opening hours, so check their website for details.
A modern, slick cafe, in a modern, slick building complex, just across the road from Samara beach. The communal bench tables, blonde wood and pendant light fittings may appear to be more stylish than comfortable, but the friendly staff of this relaxed cafe are more than welcoming. There are sweets and light snacks to go with the selection of coffees, teas and drinks, making this cafe a great place for either morning or afternoon tea while gazing out across the sandy banks of the Volga.
Alternative crowds and artsy types are catered for at this friendly cafe that keeps its doors open until the early hours. Hookahs are big here, and there is a choice of flavours to choose from. Light meals, snacks and sweets are available, as is a good selection of booze, and the cafe regularly offers deals on both drinks and hookahs. There is wifi and board games to play, including Mafia, the whodunit-murder-mystery, so grab a group of friends and settle in for the afternoon.
A cheerful and casual cafe that takes pride in offering up food that tastes like home. The lunch menu changes daily, so variety is guaranteed and there are lots of vegetarian, even vegan options. A light breakfast is served until noon, and customers can choose from a selection of small plates of breads, cheeses, and fruit and vegetables. During the weekdays breakfast lunch and dinners are all served between specific times, so time your visit accordingly. There is also an events programme, so check their website for details.
A British concept cafe from the reliable hospitality group Milimon, who run Cafe Benjamin.The chef in charge of the kitchen here, Sergey Kornev, also heads the kitchens at Shannons and Frau Muller gastropubs. The menu is inspired by iconic British chefs Gordon Ramsey and Jamie Oliver, and offers quintessential English fare such as fish and chips, bangers and mash. This is also the place to go when you feel like a whiskey or a gin and tonic or a strong tea. They even do a decent cup of coffee.
Another great choice for something in between meals as well as a place to start your day. The name is a little misguiding, because not only does the cafe serve up strong brews and sweet treats, it also offers light breakfasts, tea infusions and a range of non-alcoholic drinks as well. Inviting you to stay an linger is a collection of communal magazines and books, so feel free to stay a while. Pets are welcome, so bring your dog or pat someone else’s.