Odessa’s incredible range of restaurants reflects a southern appreciation for good eating and good conversation. Creative new dining opportunities keep popping up, and there is no better place for outdoor sidewalk cafes and street food. Authentic «Odessit» cuisine offers an eclectic blend of French and Italian traditions applied to locally caught seafood and staple Jewish favourites. Nowadays, the sky’s the limit food-wise, and for some reason this port city features more Chinese restaurants than anywhere else in the country. Vegetarians also fare well here — try Hebron, Govinda or Shal Imar. All listed establishments take credit cards unless otherwise noted.
Ukrainian and Russian
Khutorok. Park Shevchenko; tel. 048 735 38 73.
Amore commercial approach to Ukrainian cuisine, right in the middle of Odessa’s liveliest park above the sea. Grilled meats and a good bar. Mains from $10. Open 12.00-midnight.
Kumanets. 7, Gavannaya St. tel. 0482 376 946.
Ukrainian themed dining taken to the extreme. Swashbuckling, country-style restaurant with hearty servings of sausage, dumplings, and lots of fresh vegetables. Mains from $6. Open 11.OO-midnight.
Ukrayinska Lasunka. 17, Deribasovskaya St. Tel. 0482 258 412, www.lakomka.com.ua.
This very Ukrainian restaurant is decked out in Disney-esque props, suddenly surrounding you with a friendly farm. Besides doing convincingly authentic Ukrainian cuisine, the chef prepares customary Odessa favourites using fresh Black Sea products. Meals begin with complimentary samogon (home-brewed vodka), and proud waiters swish back and forth in national dress. After a meal, consider taking a tour of the city, since Ukrainskaya Lakomka doubles as a tour agency. Mains from $10. Open 10.00-midnight.
Kolyba. 32b Fontanskaya Doroga. Tel. 0482 348 905; email:firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kolyba recreates the mood of the Carpathians with complete earnestness. A talented chef cooks up fresh fish, oversized shish kebabs and a variety of salads. The large sauna can be rented out by the hour (US$15), and if you eat too much, the restaurant/hotel has 9 rooms with beds, some with lofts. Mains from $5. Open 10.00-midnight.
Balalayka. Lanjeronovskaya St/corner Ekaterininskaya St. Tel. 048 784 02 03
Balalaika, (a Russian stringed musical instrument) is another recent addition to the Restaurant Scene in Odessa and yet another restaurant offering Russian Cuisine. This is part of a much larger complex including The Love Cafe,and Euro Night Club adjacent. The daily Buffet is very popular offering a choice of Salads, Soups, Pancakes with different fillings and choice of Teas, all for just $10. That apart there is a large selection of Soups,Vareniki, Pelmeni etc. Worth trying is Panfried Kambala, a large Black Sea Flat Fish at around $14 for 200 gr. Crimean Wines start at around $16 a bottle with French and Italian options priced from about $70 upwards. There is live music nightly from 19.00-22.00 with 2 bands alternating at weekends.
Aliye Parusa. Corner of Deribasovskaya and Yekaterininskaya. Tel. 0482 253 438.
Harking back to Odessa’s early days of tall ships and trade, with epicurean food and lots of drink. Mains from $7. Open 11.OO-midnight.
EIissar. 18, Deribaskovskaya St. Tel. 0482 496 498.
Candlelit and quiet, this sophisticated Lebanese restaurant makes a nice refuge from the hustle of Odessa’s main street. The food is authentically Middle Eastern. Mains from $10. Open 11.00-midnight.
Galleria. 25, Preobrazhenskaya St. Tel. 048 729 48 58.
Contemporary upscale dining in the heart of the city: palm trees, good lighting, live music and a robust gourmet menu. $20 mains. Open 09.00-midnighit.
Greenwich. 21, Bunina St. Tel. 0482 347 401, www.greenwich.com.ua.
If after your meal you’re feeling enigmatic and snooty, it might have something to do with the fact that you are sitting in an expensive Russian restaurant trying to be a posh English restaurant posing as an artsy French restaurant. Delicate seafood with complicated sauces dominate the «art menu». Expect to pay around US$40 per head (a bowl of soup alone costs $12).
Houdini. 22, Deribasovskaya St. Tel. 048 726 15 69.
A tribute to the great magician and escape artist, featuring European cuisine. Open 10.00-midnight.
Steakhouse. 20, Deribaskovskaya St. Tel. 0482 348 782
For those who love red meat and wine — giant steaks done just right, lots of wine and hearty sides in a rather distinguished atmosphere. Mains from $5. Open 11.00-23.00.
Valdai. 3, Potemkintsev Sq. Tel. 0482 226 737.
Lavish Baroque banquet hall inside of an old palace ballroom; famous for big b/fasts and sumptuous feasts. The stuffed fish comes highly recommended. Mains from $7. Open 08.00-midnight.
Lovchiy. 30, Ekaterininskaya St.
If you are fed up with pizza, pasta and fancy some wild rabbit or pheasant or deer then this is the place to come. With it`s old wooden floors,exposed timbers throughout and animal skins adorning the walls this place has the feel of a hunters lodge. Both the menu and wine lists are extensive and varied.If you just want a steak you can watch it being cooked on the open barbecue. Mains from $16.
Red Lobster. 1 Nahimova Lane.Tel:7150222
The Red Lobster is one of the towns finest restaurants. Classy design,great food,resident pianist and a very popular open air courtyard, combine to make this a real favourite among the more affluent Odessites. There is an extensive seafood menu with the added option of selecting your prefered lobster from the fish tank.The cuisine is contemporary European. Mains at about $20.
Boulevard. 1, Ekaterinskaya Sq. Tel. 048 777 03 39.
Harking back to Odessa’s romantic past, this sunny, belle epoque tribute is located at the top of the Potemkin stairs. The fish soup is famous, if not authentic, and the luncheons aristocratic. Mains from $5. Open 11.OO-midnight.
Druzya y Pivo (Friends and Beer). 9, Deribasovksaya St. Tel. 048 760 19 98.
This cool, underground wine cellar is Odessa’s most beloved cafe among travellers and local bohemians, serving beer and really delicious food. Decked out with original Odessa antiques and forgotten books of the Soviet era, the menu is thoughtful — do indulge in the chocolate mousse. The very laidback atmosphere, artsy film nights and striking waitresses add to the cafe’s allure. There’s also a 20% discount if you eat before 18.00. Cash only, mains from $6. Open 11.OO-midnight.
Hebron. 30, Rishelyevskaya St. Tel. 048 715 03 74.
Dedicated to old Jerusalem and the memory of Odessa’s Jewish emigration, this underground cafe serves the very best Jewish food in the city. Located beneath the synagogue, this totally kosher kitchen offers staples like falafel, latkes, knish and kugel, washed down with big goblets of kosher wine. Mains from $5. Open 11.00-23.00, closed Saturday.
Till Ulenschpiegel. 12 Deribasovskaya St. Tel. 0482 42 90 46.
A great corner cafe that embodies the spirit of Odessa. Warm and friendly locals gather round the big copper fireplace for drinks (Russian and Dutch beer) or to enjoy light, intimate meals by the windows. Everything on the menu is made fresh in the kitchen, including home-baked bread and hand-stuffed sausage. Other specialities include fishcakes, omelettes and salads, and nothing is priced over US$10. Open 08.00-23.00.
Mario’s. 15, Sadovaya St. Tel. 048 726 67 95.
Cheery, modern pizza joint with a fresh salad bar, young and friendly staff, and big cosy booths. Giant brick-oven pizzas from $6. Cash only. Open 11.00-21.00.
Zara Pizzara. 5, Rishelyevskaya St. Tel. 048 728 88 88.
Hipster pizza place favoured among the young and mobile business set Delicious wood-stove pizza and a very yummy dessert cart. From $10.
Pulcinella Pizzeria. 17, Lanzheronovskaya St. Tel. 048 777 30 10.
Colourful pizza place right in the city centre. Good pizza and pasta from USD 5. Although to call it a Pizzeria would be unfair as it has an extensive and varied menu offering both Italian and Ukranian cuisine. At weekends there is live music on the 3rd floor courtesy of the resident pianist, often accompanied by a violinist. Mains from $10. Open 10.00-23.00.
Casanova. 4 Deribasovskaya St. Tel 335 455
Classic italian restaurant with lovely atmosphere. Pasta, including home made, features prominently on the menu. Black Tagliatelli with Seafood from $20. Spaghetti Carbonara for $10. Sea Bass for around $25. Fresh Tuna for $25. Duck Fillet for $18. Grilled Lamb for around $20. Italian and French wines are available from $60 upwards. The interior is attractively designed in light pastel colours. Live music. Open 11.00-midnight.
Phoenix. 28/30 Osypova St.Tel. 0482 242 984.
Classic Chinese restaurant, with big, dark and smoky halls decked out in red Chinese silk. Popular for lush Chinese banquets. Mains from$6. Open 11.OO-midnight.
China Wall Cafe. Corner of Bunina and Pushkinskaya.
Quite literally a hole in the wall, but with a real Chinese chef from Beijing and delicious food. Cash only, mains from $4. Open 11.00-22.00.
Govinda. 45 Bolshaya Arnautskaya St. Tel. 048 777 30 33.
Odessa’s only all-vegetarian restaurant, true to Hindu tradition. A good range of Indian food, vegan salads and colourful desserts. Cash only, mains from $4. Open 11.00-22.00, closed Sun.
Kyoto. 56, Troitskaya St. Tel. 048 716 55 99.
Upscale, minimalist sushi bar that caters to businessmen. Good, fresh sushi for around $4/piece. Cash only. Open 11.00-23.00
Shal Imar. 50, Grecheskaya St. Tel. 048 777 47 47.
Real Uzbekistani cuisine in a relaxed central Asian setting with friendly service. Renowned for its lagman (noodles) and the yummy salmon in white rose sauce. Cash only. Mains from $7. Open 10.00-midnight.
Yokohama. 26, Deribaskovskaya St. Tel. 0482 356 600.
Another sushi place probably the most established in the city. The Japanese theme is taken to the extreme, with great sushi, sashimi and noodle dishes. Mains from $5. Open 11.00-23.00.
Every upscale Odessa hotel features a restaurant or cafe, and all of them are open to everyone. Otrada’s Casa d’ltalia (11,Uyutnaya St.) features an imaginative Italian chef and a fresh take on Odessa’s culinary strong points. The main restaurant at Mozart (13, Lanzheronsvskaya St) specialises in elegant and eclectic dishes, yet despite all the splendour, prices are comparable to back home (US$20-30 per meal). Londonsky (11, Primorsky Boulevard) has long been considered a distinguished setting for a lunch or dinner of classic Russian cuisine, with an advantageous location for a stop during a walking tour of the city. The Black Sea Hotel’s Seven Samurai (55, Rishelievskaya St.) serves Japanese cuisine.