Kaliningrad is a host city for the 2018 World Cup and will see its biggest influx of tourists in years for that event. With so many people around, fast food will be the food of choice for many in order to avoid long queues. The city is well equipped with the usual suspects such as McDonald’s and Subway, but what are the best local fast food spots? This list should satisfy your desire for a quick and hot meal while touring Russia’s European enclave.
Restaurant, Russian, American, North American, European, $$$
One of the leading burger joints in Kaliningrad is Burger Bar. Located just off Victory Square, this is a great option if you want a well-designed and tasty burger in a short space of time. Burger Bar has a unique and special range of well-crafted burgers from experienced chefs. These are gourmet burgers with a range of delicious fillings. Try the chicken burger with peanut and sesame seed sauce or the beef and salami burger. But the real treat here is the special ‘Champion Burger’, which is served on a tray with a mini fryer of french fries, while the burger itself is sandwiched between two extra large black and white rolls and is filled with beef, cheese and vegetables. There are a range of spicy sauces and ice cold drinks to accompany it, as well as bottled beer.
For a great kebab in Kaliningrad, try Kebab King, which is located on Ulitsa Generala Sommera, about half way between the upper pond and the city centre. In here, they have the usual selection of doner kebabs from the vertical grill, plus barbecued kebabs. The barbecue kebabs are on metal sticks, cooked in shashlik style. It is a small and cosy fast food outlet, which is open 24 hours a day. Kebabs are also very cheap here, starting at 120 Rubles (£1.50 or US$2). It can get busy late on Friday and Saturday evenings when the pubs empty.
Southern Fried Chicken is one of the best chicken options in Kaliningrad. The tasty menu contains a range of treats mostly compiled from, you’ve guessed it, chicken! You can choose the simple and most popular options – chicken burgers that range from the crispy Peking chicken fillet sandwich, the sizzler sandwich, the spicy chicken wrap and the cheesy chicken sandwich. Aside from burger options, you can get chicken wings in various styles, including with honey and in breadcrumbs. Chicken thighs, chicken drumsticks and chicken nuggets can all be ordered in various quantities. There are meal deals that include French fries and a soft drink. If you are with a big group, getting one of the bucket deals to share is recommended.
With a clever pun in its name, Pita Bull is a perfect place for some bull (beef) inside pita (bread). This is a typical kebab joint that specialises in quick service, cheap prices and tasty food. From hot dogs to burgers to kebabs, it’s a mix of Greek, Russian and Turkish food all in one. Freshly sourced and sliced vegetables are added on the side, and Pita Bull also has some sweet treats such as muffins and cookies. There are soft drinks available to accompany your kebab. Pita Bull is located on Ulitsa Oktyabr’skaya, right in the heart of central Kaliningrad and is one of the most well-known kebab houses in the city.
If you are looking for a fast food restaurant in Kaliningrad that covers all bases, Mama Mia is the place to be. Although it specialises in pizza and advertises this niche the most, the range of options of quick and easy food goes well beyond a crispy margherita or a pepperoni pizza. For example, the menu includes a tasty burger in a black bun, a garden salad, a range of local soups and Russian pancakes with cottage cheese. The venue is busy throughout the day with a lively mix of businessmen, tourists, locals and families. There is seating both inside and outside, and Mama Mia is one of the few fast food venues in the city that is active regularly on social media, being on VK.com (Russia’s equivalent of Facebook) and Instagram. There are alcoholic cocktails on the drinks menu and live football shown on big occasions.
Another restaurant with a fast-moving environment is Khmel. This is quite an elegant place, so the speed of service might come as a surprise to those that enter. Food is served right into the early hours of the morning in a venue that also dishes out fresh pints of its own beer from the in-house brewery. The menu has all sorts of choices, from burgers to salads to pork loins. Located centrally overlooking Pobedy Square, Khmel is a great restaurant for a casual dinner of traditional Russian dishes or a couple of pints with friends. Make sure to order a serving of Russian beer snacks: black bread garlic croutons or deep-fried tiny fish and admire the views overlooking the central square.
Doner Khit is a 24-hour kebab shop situated on Frunze Street in Kaliningrad. Here you can expect to get a Turkish-style kebab packed full to suit the Russian market. Kebabs range from a rolled kebab with lamb, beef or chicken to the open kebab with spicy sauce and chips (or fries) on the side. This is a fast food takeaway venue with limited seating inside. However, the food is served fast and to perfection, as well as being very good value. This is part of a chain, so there are a few other venues in the city, but the one on Frunze Street remains the most central.