One of the best features of a city is the cultural mix of the food it serves up. Tatar and European, Russian and Eastern, Kazan’s food offering is reflective of the cultures it straddles. Choose from delightfully kitsch decor and traditional foods, spiced with authentic flavours, or dine out in style with our picks of the best restaurants Kazan has on offer.
Restaurant, Indian, Vegetarian, $$$
Everybody’s favourite, this vibrant place offers great Indian fare, lovely staff and a wonderful atmosphere. Like many Russian restaurants that serve a particular style of food, Malabar’s interior is fittingly furnished with a kitsch flare. Ornately decorated, and littered with colourful trinkets, bits and pieces and subcontinental iconography, the restaurant is as charming as the food is good. There are plenty of vegetarian options on a menu that is loaded with whole fish, fresh vegetables, legumes and rich sauces. Menus are in Russian and English.
Priyut Kholostyaka may not be the cheapest option, but the impeccable service and large portions make for a lovely treat. Located on one of the city’s most charming streets, Priyut Kholostyaka can be found in a former mansion dating back to the 1800s. Attached to the restaurant is a hookah bar, and both fill up the mansion’s former cellar vaults, giving the place an enjoyable den-like feeling. Expect to feast on modern European cuisine.
For a modern dining experience head to Pashmir, where you can sample authentic eastern flavours in an ultra stylish setting. The expansive restaurant includes a summer terrace, where you can relax, smoke hookah and dine while looking over the Kaban Lakes. Chefs are plucked from Tashkent to create Uzbek and Tartar cuisine that is served up with a European touch.
One outlet of a reliable chain, Bread and Wine is an ultra hip tapas-like bar that has plenty of small plates and, of course, wines to choose from. Bread is baked in house and served up as bruschetta or along with a selection of cheese, or try it with a kvass-based soup (kvass is a fermented rye-bread drink). There is also a pretty good breakfast menu serving up European-style eggs and breakfast staples. Also a store, feel free to grab a bottle of wine to take away.
A Kazan institution, Dom Tatarskoi Kulinarii has been around for donkeys years and the dated interior of its expansive dining room is part of its charm. Translated as ‘The House of Tatar Cooking’, this restaurant has white-gloved waiters serving up classic dishes. This is the place to revel in peak kitschness and try out some of those horse-meat dishes you’ve been curious about. Of course, there are plenty of pastries and other delicacies to enjoy if that is not to your tasting.
All bases are covered here, whether you’re on business, on a date, on a night out with friends or with the family. Three locations cater to different customers, so best to make sure you’re heading to the right Rubai. The three chains are ornately decorated in an Uzbek theme and staff are dressed accordingly. Get stuck into a shashlik(kebab) or a hearty stew, and if you’re lucky enough you might even catch a belly dance. Head to Ulitsa Profsoyuznaya 16 for a late night with friends, or just down the road at number 23/12 is a good place for a date. For a celebration or family occasion, visit Ulitsa Amirkhan 83.
With live music and good European beers on tap, this Czech-inspired venue is more of a pub than a restaurant. Still, it serves up ample sized meals – lots of seafood and food off the grill as well as Czech staples such as goulash, which is served in a crusty bread roll. While the menu is fairly extensive, it only has a few options for vegetarians. None the less, it is a good place to turn a filling dinner into a rowdy night.
Tatarskaya Usadba, or Tatar Manor, is part of a charming hotel and restaurant complex. Inside, the summer terrace is the best spot in the house, with fairy lights, comfortable chairs and views of the Kaban Lakes. The kitchen prepares both Tatar and European meals, so there are plenty of options to choose from.