Astana’s restaurant scene is like the city itself: Cutting edge and growing fast. You’ll find Indian, American, Japanese and European cuisines alongside more traditional Russian and Kazakh fare. And the restaurants themselves range from ultra-upscale hotel outlets to the fancifully-decorated Ali Baba with traditionally-clad waitresses, fountains and private cabin seating.
Chefs have been imported from around the globe to work in Astana’s finest restaurants and have brought their own unique influences. Their menus change with the seasons and with their personal preferences.
A host of international cuisines can be found at places such as Portofino, considered one of Astana’s best Italian restaurants, or the Korean House, which is popular among not only the region’s large Korean population, but many others. East West restaurant is known for its Indian cuisine and unique Soviet-era decor. And traditional Russian and Kazakh fare can also be found at the popular Epoch and Grilliage restaurants.
Those new to Kazakhstan and looking to try dishes from the Central Asian region should seek out restaurants serving the traditional shashlyk. This is a shish kabob style dish with grilled vegetables and meat. Ali Baba, located in the old city center and a short taxi ride outside the new city center, is one of the best spots to try the shashlyk. Ukrainian cuisine is also popular in Kazakhstan and for a unique Ukrainian dining experience, you can head to Melnitsa (“The Windmill”).
Whether your preference is experimental fusion or Kazakh comfort food, you’ll find it in Astana’s varied and expanding restaurant scene.
If you crave some traditional Italian food – whether staple favorites common in Europe and America, to authentic specialty dishes – this menu is sure to satisfy. The chef prides himself in diversity, and loves to mix things up with surprise offerings or accommodating special requests. The attentive staff is really the ones responsible for the great atmosphere here. Al Fresco is perfect for a power lunch, a business dinner, a date or for a child’s birthday. Service is fast, so if you want you can eat and be out in 30 minutes, but you very well may choose to linger through the afternoon or evening over wine and/ or coffee.
If you have a taste for the Dark Ages and the Arctic North, this is the place for you. The Arbalet is decorated in a Viking theme with traditional tall, heavy chairs, stone walls, swords and axes on the walls. It is extremely accessible and convenient, staying open 24 hours a day. Arbalet is not cheap, but the ambiance is wonderfully romantic and the food is consistently good.
The all-day dining venue of the Astana Marriott Hotel offering breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The world acclaimed Marriott breakfast buffet is available daily from 6:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. offering daily home-made bakery products. A la carte menu with a French influence, created by Benoit Letellier, Executive Chef of the Astana Marriott, is available for lunch and dinner. A wide grill selection including prime cuts, fish and seafood of the highest quality as well as Central Asia specialties are also on offer. The menu is regularly revisited to reflect seasonal products availability.
The dishes are complemented by more than 120 wines and champagnes from all over the world and a wide selection of fine spirits.
Most European-style restaurants in Astana are relatively expensive. This one is not. Recommended for backpackers, Asia on $50 a day students, and many others.
This is a popular chain restaurant, with a surprisingly impressive range in cuisine served at reasonable prices. The décor and atmosphere are only routine, but you can consistently count on good food and good service, with an amazing amount of variety in the menu. A buffet is offered during the day.
The Yessil River is one of Astana’s greatest assets and few places in the city take advantage of the waterway as much as Astana Nury Restaurant.
Nury is located directly on the right bank of the river just a few metres from the water and provides unobstructed views of the river and Astana’s modern skyline. Nury offers a large and diverse menu ranging from Azeri specials to Kazakh favourites to dishes originating elsewhere in the Caucasus, particularly Azerbaijan, and cuisines from around Europe. And the food is prepared with strict observance of national and centuries-old eastern traditions.
The idea behind the restaurant was to create a place that served high quality cuisine but that was casual and focused on family dining. With a cozy interior, stunning river views and an international menu, Astana Nury offers all of the ingredients for a beautiful evening on the water.
Augustin Restaurant is a new eatery in downtown Astana that will transport you back to old Europe. From its authentic interior to its self-brewed German beer, Augustin is the place to go if you’re in the mood for a taste of Europe.
After the December 2010 edition of Edge, this successful Almaty chain restaurant extended its reach to Astana – and it has not disappointed. So extensive is the fare, that the restaurant’s website lists 17 different menus to cover it all. Think classic Russian dishes with a good dose of French haute influence, recreating the culinary traditions of late-Czarist Imperial St. Petersburg. Then throw in some Western taste, and you have an adult-ready, kid-friendly mesh of what the Czars may have done if they set out to create their own version of an upscale Ruby Tuesdays. Expect a menu of clay-baked lamb and veal, a steak list with more than 20 entrees, seafood, plus bar food and a children’s menu. And just when you think it’s over, they roll the dessert menu out. There’s even a hookah flavor selection that’s 50 percent off on Wednesday nights. You can enjoy phenomenal wine and spirits and live music, too. Takeout and delivery is available. Take a look at the delivery menu on their website, but it’s also worth coming here just to see the fantastic and unusual interior.
Barkhat, the “silk velvet” restaurant, delivers on the sensual promise of its name. Rich, stylish interiors, supremely private VIP rooms, bar options to suit any taste, and the freshest of European and Japanese dishes all give guests here the sense of being wrapped in a delicious sensory cocoon.
As the name suggests, prepare for a genuine culinary journey through Deutschland and Mitteleuropa (Central Europe). The owners have captured the spirit of these regions’ famous beerhouses superbly, presenting an earthy atmosphere and a hearty selection of juicy sausages, steaks and grilled meats. If you are a beer connoisseur, or simply a beer lover, this is your place: You’ll find here one of the better selections of draught beer in Astana, especially of the German persuasion.
For German and Mitteleuropa visItors seeking gemutlechkeit cuisine, or American and Russian engineers thirsty for solid fare and good beer, we recommend the Bochonok. Styled after an old European brewery, this restaurant offers a wide variety of beers and has solid and large menu.
Capital Music and Pub Restaurant
For middle-aged swingers in search of a good time, you can’t do better than the Capital. Located in Astana’s spectacular new Left Bank, not far from the Baiterek Tower, it has live music featuring popular Russian and international songs. There is karaoke in the VIP room. However, the VIP room gets booked early on weekends, so call if you want to sing with your friends.
No local atmosphere here! This is as Western frenetic as they come, which makes it a very popular pizza place for young people. The low prices and good value for portions don’t hurt either. It’s conveniently located close to the Baiterek Tower.
A fascinating mix of 21st century sophistication in the cuisine and 20th century caution in its décor, East West offers both general international and excellent Indian cuisine. The interior still retains a pre-independence style. A must see, if you are interested in Soviet décor.
Located in the city’s restaurant alley, this is a part of a hotel with the same name. It’s not cheap, but here you can try good Russian food, usually to a much higher quality than you would find in many parts of Russia. Throughout its existence this restaurant has maintained a high standard of cuisine.
Anyone who misses the Cold War or still loves old John Le Carre novels has to make a stop here. Epoch has a décor evocative of the Soviet Union – and revels in it. Old Russian-made cars are parked inside and out. This is a great theme restaurant with public and private rooms depicting Soviet-era flags and icons. It even has intelligence apparatus from the old KGB. The food is bold and innovative, including fresh fish, cooked whole, goose and rabbit, all at reasonable prices. Some areas have glass floors with memorabilia underneath. It’s a great place to party with live music and dancing on the weekends. A very good value.
Good, solid value and food quality, neither too cheap nor too expensive with a good range of European and Kazakh dishes.
There aren’t many places you can eat on the deck of an old river boat or inside an old Soviet Airliner. But that’s exactly what the Everest Restaurant offers – unique experiences and country-style dining in the midst of the city.
The owners created the pond a few years ago, then erected open-air gazebos along its shores. Most customers eat in the round pavilions in spring, summer and early fall. You can also eat on the deck of an old river-cruise boat that’s docked at the lake. You can also eat inside an old Soviet airliner that sits on a podium at the water’s edge. Everest’s owners removed the airliner’s seats and installed tables.
Everest’s food consists of hearty Kazakh and Russian basics. The shashlyk is excellent – succulent and fresh. The vegetables in the salads are also fresh, particularly the tomatoes and cucumbers. It’s a good bet that they come directly from a nearby farm.
Tremendous fun, and a dream place to bring kids of all ages. Everyone loves the Ali Baba, located just off the great curve of the Ishim Embankment. It’s over-the-top festive nomad in style and décor with the waiting staff in traditional costumes. There is even a lavish play area for young children. Walt Disney couldn’t have done it better. The terrace is popular in summer, with fountains and private cabins. And did we mention? – The food is excellent, sophisticates fly up from Almaty to savor it. Try their chebureks (a pastry with meat inside); warm and fresh they are spectacular. A little pricey, but well worth it. No trip to Astana is complete until you’ve dined here.
Favor’s new branch in Astana deals in superlatives: the restaurant has one of the largest wine selections in the capital, occupies a prime old city location and is one of the relatively few places in Astana to offer live jazz. With sterling service and delicious food from its open kitchen, Favor should be a favorite.
French Brasserie Capri
Located in the Radisson Hotel alongside the Ishim (Esil) River, this is simply one of the best restaurants in Central Asia. Cuisine is limited in scope and there is no ethnic taste to it. But if you fly in straight from Cannes, you’ll feel right at home. The Mediterranean cuisine is outstanding. This is also one of the prime locales for sophisticated swingers on a Friday night. Expensive but worth it – provided you have the money and the taste.
Another five-star location for the social set and the hard partiers, Fusion is a classy, top-level restaurant right above the Fashion night club. One unusual feature is that the restaurant sports three main rooms with a different ethnic menu in each, so select your preference before sitting down. The Japanese room is particularly interesting with small wooden bridges over “rivers” of small white stones, surrounded by a wall of glass. The VIP-Fusion room has extra-comfortable furniture and a large plasma TV screen as well as karaoke. Free Wi-Fi.
A taste of Argentinian steak has been introduced to Astana. Located about 10 minutes by car from the left bank, in the center of the Eurasia district, Gaucho’s interior puts you in the middle of a romantic Argentine “villa” with a fire place and bullfighters. The menu is Argentinian with steaks, salsa, focacca bread and right at the entrance there’s an open grill where you can watch your meal being cooked and smell the taste of it.
As the name indicates, this is a refuge for carnivores, not vegetarians, and it offers a wide range of reasonably priced grills in the local, European and Russian styles. Russian cuisine in grilling meat, when done well, is excellent and unique, not to be missed.
Il Patio and Planet Sushi
This is part of a chain of Italian-Japanese restaurants, which means you get reliability and predictability. Il Patio was the first restaurant with a nice salad bar in Kazakhstan, and offers good pizza, pasta and other Italian favorites, and it has a great dessert menu. At all Il Patio locations, you can order sushi on the pizza side, or pizza on the Planet Sushi side, or mix it up. They play background Italian music in Il Patio and Japanese music in Planet Sushi. Il Patio-Planet Sushi remains one of the most popular choices for takeout and delivery across
India Gate creates a unique atmosphere of being somewhere in India in the middle of Astana. The interior features imported Indian souvenirs, banners and posters. The menu offers tasty Indian cuisine with some Thai and Chinese dishes. It is also conveniently located on the threshold of the left bank on Abai Avenue and Sary Arka Street.
Japan has always been a mystery to the Western part of the world – its culture, its traditions and of course its food! Izumi Tay (rock-fish – Japanese) has showcased the best of Japan since 2005 in Astana and is considered by many to be the best Japanese restaurant in the Kazakhstani capital. Sushi, sashimi, miso soup and other Japanese tasty dishes are served in the best Japanese traditions. The restaurant is located on the left bank at the foot of the KazMunaiGaz building.
One of the oldest “new” restaurants in Astana, Jet Set opened after the city was named the new capital. Reliable European cuisine served in the median price bracket.
Well worth exploring, Kausar offers European and Kazakh food prepared to Halal standards and very reasonably priced. A must for devout Islamic visitors. This restaurant is far from the new city center, so be ready for a drive.
Kishlak is another super-comfortable Uzbek spot with a really interesting interior, with streams running inside and raised platforms and comfortable cushions. The waiting staff is dressed in Uzbek national garb. The lagman is popular, and comes in clay pots. This place is packed with business people for lunch, but is kind of a party spot during weekends.
A part of Restaurant Alley. There are now a lot of South Koreans working at any one time in Kazakhstan, not to mention the fact that there are a lot of people who simply adore Korean food, so this restaurant does a healthy amount of business. It also offers a good introduction to Korean cuisine. The restaurant says its chefs have been trained by great masters from South Korea, and the service is excellent.
One of the most expensive restaurants in Astana, but worth every penny: Exclusive atmosphere, exquisite food. It has a cigar room and two VIP-halls – one seating 12 people, and another small one for 4 – while a live pianist provides atmosphere. The only stipulation for the dress code is “no sportswear”. La Riviere also has a children’s menu, a nice fireplace and you can also order Kalyan.
This is another dining place that looks like a medieval castle from the outside (actually built in a transformed old water tower). But there’s a very cozy atmosphere inside with an open spit-grill where you can watch the meat cooking. This restaurant offers a wide range of shish kebabs. It’s popular among foreigners, yet quite pricey. Line Brew has some of the best steaks and barbecue in Kazakhstan, which are often cooked over open flame. It also has great fondue and has extensive wine list. This is also a place known for its selection of beer. It salads are made artfully. You can see some live music here, but it is not overwhelmingly loud.
The Rixos President Hotel re-launched in September 2011 its primary restaurant as the new L’Olivo Ristorante.
The idea behind L’Olivo was to add a unique dining experience with an Italian and Mediterranean feel to Astana’s restaurant scene. The restaurant’s interior reflects a classic Italian style with light but rustic colours and welcoming deep walnut- and vanilla-coloured furniture in front of the restaurant’s large front window.
The menu offers modern Italian dishes without forgetting the cuisine’s traditional roots. The Milano, Italy-born chef prepares house made pastas daily with specials rooted in Italian basics such as Parma ham. The restaurant’s Minestrone soup and beef Carpaccio on rocket leaves are also highly recommended.
The restaurant strives for authenticity in everything it does from the Italian music playing in the background to its Italian beverages to its monthly specials.
This is a very Russian style restaurant with rustic décor. Gazprom executives may not dine here but you could easily imagine they would.
Melnica “The Windmill”
Located in Restaurant Alley, Melnica offers traditional Ukrainian country home-cooked style food. Decorated like a traditional Ukrainian farm house, in the summer the garden is used to grow vegetables, including tomatoes, corn, pumpkins and herbs. Tables and private dining areas are scattered about the garden among the vegetables. The maître d’ is well known as a character in the Astana restaurant world. When you leave, you get a small bag of sunflower seeds.
If good German sausages and a beer are what you’re looking for then Muller is the place for you. The venue is separated into two main hall providing live jazz and serving a variety of European and German staples. A relaxed atmosphere, Muller is a great place for lazy weekend afternoons over a beer and a snack whilst enjoying some sporting favorites on giant TV screens.
If you’re feeling cold or blue, this is the place to come to replenish your soul with traditionally hearty German food and beer. The restaurant is decorated in a traditional German country atmosphere, but the music is livelier. On Fridays and Saturdays, you can enjoy live Jazz and Blues. On weekdays there is an all-you-can- eat buffet.
This high-end establishment is considered one of the top Italian restaurants in Astana. It also diversifies with great confidence into the vastly different Japanese cuisine as well. Located in Restaurant Alley.
Reasonably-priced and a magnet for visiting Chinese businessmen and engineers, the Princess Turandot chain is famous for offering large portions of very good Chinese food. Princess Turandot first opened in Almaty at the Auezov Theater in 1998, and because of its high valuefor- money, it is also one of the most popular take-out restaurants. Everything is prepared by skilled chefs from China. Located on the Right Bank of the Yessil River.
Regine’s in Astana is a treat for more than just the palate. With sweeping views and opulent interiors, this branch of the international chain certainly has an impact on the eye. However, the talented chef and the unique French menu, with some Kazakh dishes, will always bring guests back to their plates.
Located across the street from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in the same building as Jimmy’z, Regine’s caters to an older clientele. Its atmosphere is formal and conducive to business lunches and dinners. It’s the perfect place to impress your guests and negotiate a contract. This is a good place to dress up a bit for the occasion.
If you love to cook but hate to clean, you’ll love Most Restaurant. Most customers have access to tableside grills where they can prepare their own meat, fish and vegetables. Everything is provided, but customers are able to ensure that their steaks, for example, are cooked to the temperature they prefer. The entrees are then served with a fine whiskey or wine chosen from Most’s extensive drink menu. The mix of self service, unique interior and tasty drinks have helped Most build a loyal local following.
Most is constructed on two levels and offers a VIP hall, karaoke, Wifi and a big screen television showing sports from around the world. Managers say they are striving for a comfortable, casual style and plan to expand in spring 2012 with outdoor seating
Samovar is another place with two locations that are very popular with locals. The layout gives you a bit of privacy, as it’s divided into small sections with curtains covering the booths. It serves up home-cooked style traditional Russian food. It has quite a selection of soups, meats and blini, while Compote is always available. It’s often packed for lunch.
This is good restaurant with good portions of delicious food, and they also feature special entertainment programs. The centre of the restaurant is beautifully decorated like an opera stage, and offers excellent acoustics for entertainers who sing both traditional Kazakh and popular international ballads. A host introduces the entertainment, which includes comedy and music. It serves breakfast, as well as a business lunch for 1,700 tenge, and offers a separate children’s menu. With good service, it’s a strong choice for holding special banquets. It seats 350 people, and has a VIPhall for 30.
If you’ve eaten in one of these in any airport in the United States, you know what you’re going to get. Far from haute cuisine, but honest Italian staples, competently-cooked and reasonably priced. Sbarro is a quick place to get an inexpensive meal, and is situated in the Mega Centre shopping mall.
Thank God It’s Friday (Friday’s)
If you are from the United States, feeling homesick or cultureshocked, then this is the place to come. Predictable chain restaurant fare and not that cheap, but you’ll always get what you expect. Places like this are good for bumping into foreign friends, and it’s also very popular with local Kazakhs. The menu is very close to the American version.
Georgia is known as the “Italy of the Caucus,” although Georgian cuisine is little known outside the former Soviet Union. But is has always been famous for its hearty opulence. Tiflis is a good place to discover it.
This traditional brewery/restaurant/pub serves up northern European cuisine in a romantic setting that the 19th century poets would have loved. Located in Restaurant Alley, you can’t miss it: It looks like a Scandinavian traditional house from the outside. Very expensive, but nonetheless, a popular lunch and weekend spot. Also a good choice for doing business.
Anyone dreaming of char-broiled,Latin American style grill will not be disappointed by this authentic replication of Latino fare – simply muy bueno!
Located in the Sine Tempore shopping mall, Venice is one of the oldest restaurants in “new” Astana. Fantastic pizza, as one might surmise from the name.
This lively establishment is a testament to Astana’s rising taste for diverse Asian cuisine. While the overall menu includes traditional Kazakh and European fare, it clearly caters to Chinese and other mainland Asian palates. You can also rack up some billiards before or after your meal, and on select nights, your ears will be treated to themed live music. All told, the place most certainly has the stuff for a full night out.