Taste of Kazan: sample the distinctive and delicious local cuisine

Beyond the game
Taste of Kazan: sample the distinctive and delicious local cuisine

Just as Kazan is the cradle of Russia's Tatar history, so it is the best place to sample the treats of Tatar cuisine. And once you've had your fill of beautiful baking or grilled horse meat you can head to some of the city's delightful coffee shops and buzzing bars

14 June 2018
Image: Lena Tsibizova

There are a wide variety of eateries and watering holes in Kazan: from international cooking options to energy-filled bars and stylish coffee shops. But you should make sure to sample the tasty and filling delicacies of Tatar cooking: from delectable pastries and noodle soup to horsemeat. Soak up the best of Kazan’s bars and restaurants with this list.

Zhavoronok

Zhavoronok is a new coffee house and the latest project from the owners of Gudini, but with a full menu including breakfasts, bagels and croissants. The coffee list at Zhavoronok focuses on beans from Russian roasters, brewed with Chemex, Aeropress and Hario. The Scandinavian interior looks out onto a lively student street and is an ideal spot if you aren’t running late for your seminar or worried about exams.

Address: 7 Professora Nuzhina Street

Salt Bar

Opened by a group of local independent musicians and promoters, Salt Bar (known as just ‘Sol’ in Russian) has become a fixture of the Kazan nightlife scene and a mainstay of Profsoyuznaya, the city’s most happening street. An events programme with DJ sets and concerts nearly every day, a well-stocked bar and a tasteful interior have secured Salt Bar’s status as a Kazan hipster mecca. Try the house cocktail, based on Bugulma, a balsam that has gained currency with young people and is dubbed the ‘Tatar Jagermeister’.

Address: 22 Profsoyuznaya Street

Volna Bar

Volna is a ryumochnaya, or traditional vodka bar, and its menu is in keeping with the tradition: nastoiki (homemade spirits) infused with horseradish, ginger, berries and banana; sandwiches with herring and sprat fillings (the latter served plain or with a tomato marinade); pelmeni; and the house special, dried Astrakhan fish. But Volna doesn’t attempt to recreate the spirit of a Soviet ryumochnaya, instead opting for rock music and bartenders in heavy metal t-shirts.

Adress: 3/19 Profsoyuznaya Street

Dom Chaya

Unchanged since the days of perestroika, Dom Chaya is a canteen serving Tatar cuisine, one of the city’s major culinary delights. Traditional baked goods are the order of the day, including oleshi (buns stuffed with beef or duck, served with chicken broth), ochpochmaki (potato and beef-stuffed buns) and gubadiya (a sweet pie filled with rice and fried cheese curd). Other regional staples include tokmach (noodle soup), Tatar-style beef and braised horsemeat. The kitsch interior is decorated with colourful fake plants and golden chandeliers.

Address: 64 Baumanka Street

Istina

A popular bar in central Kazan with a long wine list, including locally made varieties. Menu highlights are the bruschetta with salmon and goats’ cheese, ciabatta, tuna tartare, mini burgers, and baked cheese. Istina is a reliable choice for a relaxed evening.

Address: 14 Ostrovsky Street

Vegan Day

A vegan fast food restaurant and cafe where all kinds of alternative coffees are brewed, founded by a team of Kazan straight edge punk musicians. As well as classic vegan options like burgers and falafel, Vegan Day serves a version of Russia’s famous Olivier Salad with soy sausage, and soy-based hot dogs.

Address: 18 Ulitsa Mardzhani

Lakomka

If you’re on the lookout for Soviet nostalgia, head to Lakomka, a pleasant café serving a wide selection of savoury and sweet baked goods. It’s not only a great place for indulging your sweet tooth, but a great place for people watching.

Address: 50/8 Karl Marx Street

Café Syria

Located next door to the city synagogue, Café Syria is a lesson in gastronomic authenticity. Serving up several types of falafel and humous, as well as various other signature Syrian dishes, this eatery also offers ibrik-brewed coffee – a real Russian rarity.

Address: 22 Profsoyuznaya Street