Astana’s coffee houses provide a warm, tasty respite from the region’s cold winters and a welcome bit of familiarity for the city’s visitors. And, in addition to classic cappuccinos and espressos, the city’s coffee houses and cafes can usually warm you up with a broad selection of liquors.
One thing many visitors notice immediately is that Astana’s coffee house are way more than cafes. Many include full European, Kazakh or Asian menus, private VIP rooms, dining rooms and other amenities more associated with restaurants. Yet they are able to maintain the cozy, laid-back feel that makes you want to spend the afternoon casually checking email over a cappuccino or chatting with friends.
La Bella is one of Astana’s oldest and most enjoyed coffee shops. It offers plush, high-backed chairs into which you can sink for hours and a full menu of hookahs to enjoy over a long afternoon. In the warm weather, La Bella also offers traditional, private outdoor tents with low tables and pillows for lounging.
Another unique coffee house is Books and Coffee, opened by a long-time American expat. The cafe offers shelves of books in Russian and English which patrons can check out like from a library. And the staff prepares scrumptious chocolate chip cookies and brownies on site.
WiFi is just starting to reach many of the city’s cafes, so if you want to do some work you may want to call ahead. But like coffee houses everywhere, the cafes of Astana are meant for long afternoons of lounging, reading or warming up with friends over a cup of the familiar brown liquid.
A lot of people in Kazakhstan go to shopping malls just to have something to eat because of the wide selection usually present. For a small café in the middle of a shopping mall, Bar Fontan is surprisingly popular whatever time of the day you visit. Often packed with people, it is especially known for its delicious pizzas, but also has a full-Russian-style menu, nice salads, fresh juices, alcoholic drinks and some good cakes. Its coffee is pretty basic – Americano regular and cappuccino.
Located near the Baiterek Tower, Bon Bon is well-known as a relatively inexpensive chain coffee house and is a great place to go after visiting the Baiterek Tower and the singing gardens. Bon Bon also recently updated its to decor. It’s out with the French café look and in with the lounge bar vibe. Mood lighting, shimmering mirrors and plenty of cushions; aesthetes and designistas will love every nook. If you’re really looking to relax, head upstairs to smoke some hookah on the cozy and intimate mezzanine level. French flair hasn’t been completely ousted, however, and remains in a cake stand that displays sweet delights.
Books & Coffee
This is a great little café where you can get good American style coffee, tasty desserts and cocktails. Then you are welcome to kick back and read from their big selection of fiction and classics in three languages, including English. Wi- Fi is available. (See sidebar)
This unique one-year-old café is known for offering a mix of French and Italian desserts. It also features two main halls, one designed in a French motif and the other in an Italian style. The café also offers hookah and lounge music in the evenings. It’s a great place for cocktails and unique desserts.
This café offers a wide selection of European, Kazakh, Eastern, Caucasian and Asian dishes. It also has live music and shows. It comes complete with 25, 15, and 10-seat VIP halls available.
This chain of cafes offers good coffee, tasty desserts and sandwiches.
Café Marzipan was Astana’s first café to open on the left bank of the Yessil River. It is popular for its light lunch menu, which includes different kinds of sandwiches. Relatively large and comfortable, government workers often frequent it at night. It also offers refreshing freshly-squeezed juices. Free Wi-Fi is available.
Some people would consider Cafestar more of a restaurant than a café. But we will go with the name and call it a café, although a rather fancy one. The atmosphere here is high class, with photos of movie stars on the walls. While pricey for a café, the outstanding food is worth the price. A perfect choice for inviting guests to a pleasant evening with good food and wine.
Caramel Café opened in 2008 and has since become known as a friendly, neighborhood coffee shop. Staff lay out board games such as backgammon and chess for customers to share and the clientele ranges from young people escaping the bustle of their homes to international business people catching up on work. The coffee is imported and tasty and the atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming.
Located on the right bank of the river in the old town centre, Caramel is known for the designs the baristas draw on the cappuccino froth. It has a nice, homey atmosphere, and in addition to enjoying one of its delicious desserts, you can play a game of checkers or backgammon. A great place for an evening out with the family.
Chili Peppers Cafe
Chili Peppers on the left bank opened in 2008 and is geared towards a Western clientele. The interior of this modern Euro-Italian cafe is all high-tech glass, metal and ceramic. The cafe employs a professional barista and features a broad range of coffees from American classics to tasty alcohol coffee drinks. Beer and cocktails are also available. Chili Peppers also servers Italian pastas.
This new coffee house just opened in the heart of downtown Astana. It is not too large, and has a real intimate feel to it. Even though it is a relatively new addition, already you can find quite a few locals and guests spending the day talking or working on laptop computers. Free Wi-Fi is provided.
Coral Reef Café
The beauty of the marine world is on display at this uniquely decorated café. The interior was handcrafted by artists from northern Kazakhstan using clay and other materials. Children and adults alike will have tremendous fun eating and admiring the intricate designs on its walls.
Located on the right bank of the river not far from Tiflis, the Corso coffee house bills itself as “A small part of Switzerland in Astana.” Comfortable and diminutive, it’s better for good conversation on a date or lunch, rather than with a big crowd. Corso is at its busiest during lunchtime and at night. It gets a decent crowd drinking cocktails and beer, and it can feel a bit more like a bar rather than café. Its cappuccinos are really good, and so are the cookies and cakes. It also serves a nice breakfast. Free Wi-Fi is available.
Del Papa Cafe
Del Papa’s interior greets you with the warmth of a neighbourhood Italian joint with checked red-and-white table clothes and bistro-style seating. This cafe caters to families, children and couples. Among its coffees are mochas, lattes, cappuccinos, espressos and other classics. The staff also pays attention to presenting the coffee in a way that honours its traditions. Del Papa also offers Italian, French and California wines.
This café offers European and Eastern cuisine, including shashlyk (shish kebabs). This is a well-known place for hosting conferences and exhibitions.
Éclair is a new franchise, with branches in Almaty and Astana. It is the city’s first real French bakery. You can choose from a wide variety of cakes and desserts. They also have good, simple sandwiches. This is also a good place for takeouts, including coffee to go. Some of the things you probably want to try are their muffins, pies, cookies, croissants, rolls, cheesecakes, and tarts.
This is a nice café with large-screen plasma TVs and beer on tap. Sometimes they hold entertaining shows to accompany the tasty European and American food on the menu. There is no dress code, and you will see people in jeans, etc., capturing the down-toearth nature of the residents of the middle-American state Indiana the place is named after. Offering a business lunch for 1,000 tenge, it’s also a good place for take-outs as well. Check for their special promotions and get a regulars discount cards.
This inexpensive, friendly café has live music (mostly traditional) to entertain its patrons. The main hall is spacious, seating up to 70 people, and VIP rooms are available. Offering European-style cuisine, you can get a decent business lunch here during weekdays for a low 500 tenge. It also has secure parking.
Located in Old Town Astana, La Belle is usually crowded with young people. It has two main rooms with plasma TVs, and patrons can watch soccer and other sports. In the summer, they open their terrace area, which is complete with tents and comfortable pillows where customers can sit back, smoke flavored tobacco from a hookah and sip some drinks.
This coffee house chain (Shymkent, Almaty, and Astana) is not only well known for its baked goods and tasty pastries – including cakes, pies and tarts – but also for pizza, burgers and sandwiches. The Greek souvlaki, both chicken and beef, is just about as good as many places in NYC; a very nice spinach quiche can be had too. Madlen is extremely comfortable and designed to be a great place to bring a small group of friends and just hang out. It is designed with nooks and nice couches so if you want, you can have some semi-privacy. Close to the Baiterek Tower, Madlen is often packed with young people and professionals working away on laptops. Make sure you try the freshly squeezed lemonade.
This coffee house is well-known in the city for using only 100% organically grown Arabica beans, while the cakes and cookies are reputed to be the best in Astana. Patrons can also order sushi and request VIP rooms. It is right next to MEGA Centre, across the street from the Duman Hotel.
A diverse menu and accommodating feel makes this a great place to grab a meal any time of day. You can pick and choose from a variety of European, Eastern and Russian cuisine.
While Oasis offers a nice fixed menu with very good European cuisine, the management also tries to keep its offerings fresh. They often run specials, so whenever you decide to visit, it’s possible you can try something you’ve never had before, or get a nice discount on one of your favorite items.
This American-style pizza joint is one of the most popular pizza spots in Astana. It has a steady stream of loyal and stylish clientele, partially due to its huge pizzas and its famous pasta. Lots of people come here during late hours for a bite. It has an interesting design with a dark red interior, and comfortable sofas mixed with hard metal tables you might see at many pizza parlors in big U.S. cities. They also have good breakfasts, and their croissants are a big hit.
Enjoy Pryanik’s deliberately cozy décor that skillfully evokes memories of childhood and hobbies. This is a café where Astana’s business elite come to unwind, but they also talk business. At heart, this is a multicultural, cosmopolitan gathering place where business gets done. Observe and enjoy.
The “Rafe Coffee & Food” Coffee house
This is a very friendly, intimate cafe where you can really relax and forget about work and worry.Italian designers created the interior, and all materials were imported from Italy. You can choose between Turkish cuisine and some delicately and artfully prepared Italian food. The pizza is one of the best in the country and the calzone is the most authentic we have found. Their coffee is also authentic and rich. Free Wi-Fi is provided.
Red & White
Red & White is open 24 hours a day and offers a mixture of European and Eastern cuisine. You can shoot a few games of pool, or catch live bands in the evening. The main room seats 90 and a VIP hall for up to 12 people is available. It’s also a popular spot when Astana defrosts, with a comfortable outdoor summer area.
This moderately-priced café seats up to 45 people in its two main rooms, one smoking, one non-smoking. You usually find people dressed relatively casual here. It has a VIP room with 20 seats, and a separate nonsmoking room. The traditional fare includes European cuisine and shish kebabs, with both shashlyk and other kebabs, and features a 1,000 tenge business lunch. They also offer draft beers and pies to order. Not only is Redford good for take-outs, they also deliver. Free Wi-Fi is available.
Rivas brings the beach to the river. Inspired by the Hamptons, the café is natural, simple and relaxed—no dress code, no reservations. Just peace of mind. The menu, in Russian and English, offers European cuisine, including mini burgers new to Astana. Bartenders serve up original cocktails to a cosmopolitan crowd.
Shambala has an Indian/Tibetan design, and was recently expanded to three floors with a dance floor, live music, and 30-seat VIP hall. Moderately priced, the cuisine is a mix of Kazakh, European and Tibetan. It serves a good business lunch for 900 tenge, and stays open 24-hours a day.