The Best Places to Try Ukraine's Galician Cuisine

Korchma Taras Bulba
Korchma Taras Bulba | © Validtat / WikiCommons
Photo of Maria Sibirtseva
23 April 2018

Traditional Ukrainian cuisine has varying particularities in every region. The brightest example of such a case is the historical area of Galicia (Western Ukraine) and its culinary traditions. Bordering Romania, Hungary and Slovakia, Galician dishes taste more like the food of neighbouring countries, which definitely makes it one of the more intriguing cuisines in the country. Here are the best places in Kiev and Lviv to satisfy your culinary curiosity.

Kiev

Kiflyk

Restaurant, European, $$$
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Kifli | Kifli

Kiflyk is a small oasis of western cuisine in Kiev. Even the most fastidious foodies will be surprised by the delicacies. Each dish has a separate story or reflects an event. For example, kiflyk (a handmade puff pastry cookie) topped with powdered sugar is usually served complimentarily. In addition, here you can try the best variation of the traditional Ukrainian dish banush (corn grits with pork fat and cheese).

Kanapa

Restaurant, European, $$$
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Located on Andrew’s Descent, one of Kiev’s most famous streets, Kanapa perfectly reflects the area’s historical and creative significance. On the menu, you will find modern interpretations of Ukrainian and Galician food. There is the beloved banush (corn grits) with bryndza (sheep milk cheese) and cracklings, syrniki (cottage cheese pancakes) with berry jam, as well as mushroom soup, which is deeply loved by the Transcarpathian residents.

Lviv

Kumpel

Bar, Pub, European, $$$
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© Kumpel

This spot will become your best partner in exploring Galician delicacies, as kumpel is war-period slang for a companion or good friend. Thus, it is not only a bar and restaurant with a friendly atmosphere, but also a place that popularizes and restores Galician cuisine and regional traditions. If you happen to travel to Lviv, head to Kumpel for the most incredible flyaky (tripe soup) ever.

Trapezna Idey

Restaurant, European, $$$
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To discover the authentic atmosphere of Western Ukraine and enjoy Galician cuisine, you should stop by Trapezna Idey. The restaurant is located in the building of Lviv’s legendary attraction, the Bernardine Church and Monastery. It is a perfect place for lunch or dinner because of its cosy, traditional tavern interior. Interestingly, the menu is written in one of the Ukrainian dialects – to decode the quirky words, you will have to use a dictionary or read the English version below.

Kryivka

Pub, Restaurant, European, $$$
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Kryivka interior | Kryivka interior

Kryivka is the most extraordinary venue in Western Ukraine. Being located in a basement, it is modelled after a shelter of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army fighters. However, it is also a perfect spot for local dishes, particularly machanka (cottage cheese with greens) and buryachky (beetroot and horseradish salad). Along with food, you can try traditional homemade drinks such as horilka (water and purified alcohol) and alcoholic infusions of berries, honey and spices.

Meal service:

All Day, Lunch, Dinner, Late Night, Breakfast

Atmosphere:

Quirky, Traditional

Lviv Galician Cheese Cake and Strudel Bakery

Bakery, Cafe, European, $$$
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Apple strudel | Apple strudel

Lviv Galician Cheese Cake and Strudel Bakery, or Lvivski Plyatski, is the first place in Ukraine that specializes in two Galician specialities: syrniki (cottage cheese pancakes) and strudel. The choice is immense: there are savoury plyatski (the Galician word for homemade cakes) with vegetables, meat and smetana (sour cream) or cherry, apple, or poppy ones. Even so, the highlight here is that you can create a dish depending on your taste preferences. It’s no wonder that this bakery has become so popular all over the country, especially in big cities like Kiev, Kharkov, Dnipro and Odessa.

Trout, Bread and Wine

Restaurant, European, Soul Food, $$$
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Everyone knows that Lviv is a city of diverse food options. There are restaurants with European, Japanese, Chinese and American cuisine, as well as many places with Galician food. Trout, Bread and Wine (Pstruh, Khlib Ta Vyno in Ukrainian) boasts the best baked Carpathian trout. The variations of modest river fish are endless; you can even ask for a dish that is not included in the menu. In addition, you can join in local traditions and play a sumra – a kind of Carpathian trumpet.

Lviv Coffee Mining Manufacture

Cafe, Coffee Shop, European, $$$
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Lviv Coffee Mining Manufacture is a touristic destination in Lviv. According to legend, it is the mine where the local coffee is extracted. So, in the coffee shop, you can try classic variations of the drink, as well as signature beverages with caramelized crust or alcohol. In terms of Galician food, Lviv Coffee Mining Manufacture should be visited for its cherry strudel with vanilla sauce you won’t regret the choice.

Meal service:

All Day, Brunch, Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch

Atmosphere:

Cosy, Traditional