Selecting a good restaurant in Yerevan can be a tricky
experience – just like anywhere else in the world. We rely on recommendations
from friends, family, even strangers if they are locals-in-the-know in a foreign land.
|Congress Hotel dining room|
1. Doug, Aram Aslanian and I had the good fortune of
having our breakfast included in the cost of our hotel room at the Congress Hotel. Each morning breakfast
was served buffet-style in a bright, cheerful setting. Much to our delight,
there was an omelet station, assorted fresh fruit, juices (including apricot
nectar- our favorite!), Armenian cheeses, yogurt and honey, breakfast meats,
lavash, an array of pastries, plus too many other items to mention. This fueled
us well for much of the day.
some restaurants were geared to locals and others clearly for Western tourists.
We’d heard about a place called Dolmama.
Some swore by it; others said it was over-rated. Frankly, we loved it. The food
was a feast for the eyes and the palette, but it was the piped-in music that
spoke to us. Who would have thought that while dining in Yerevan one would be
listening to the tunes of Barry White, Smokey Robinson, and the Temptations?
we left the restaurant, we noticed the Armenian flag on the outside of building
flying right next to the American flag. I guess Dolmama knows who their
|Lamb Stew – Dolmama|
|Basturma-Soujouk Board – Dolmama|
we dine at Dolmama again? For sure!
3. Another excellent dining experience was at the
restaurant, Anteb, chosen by our
friend Arman Avedian. This place boasts Western Armenian cuisine, meaning they
serve Armenian food we Americans can best relate to. One specialty of the house
is a type of lavash that comes out light and puffy – such fun to eat! Their
kufteh, lahmajoun – and everything else we ordered greatly satisfied us! A group
of diners at another table ordered lule kebab that was almost the entire length
of their table – what a sight! They devoured it.
|Anteb’s Kufteh and Salad|
|Anteb’s puffy Lavash|
|Extra-long lule kebab at Anteb!|
we dine at Anteb again? Absolutely!
|Lamb BBQ sandwich – Our Village|
4. A restaurant recommended by our tour guide was a place
called Our Village which served food
which represented different Armenian regions. The décor was rustic and the menu
sounded enticing. I ordered the Aveluk soup, which was a hearty, tasty
combination of lentils, potatoes, and earthy herbs.(Aveluk
soup recipe will be a separate post.) Doug and Aram ordered “barbequed”
lamb and beef sandwiches which were served on sheets of lavash. They looked
amazing. ‘Barbeque’ in Armenia apparently doesn’t mean the same as it does in
the US. There was no hint of tomato- or – vinegar based sauce. In fact, there
was no sauce at all. The meat was grilled, we think. Eating the sandwiches
proved to be a jaw-breaking experience. Doug gave up; Aram persevered. On a
positive note, the potatoes were delicious.
we return? Not for the meat dishes, but everything else was good.
|Real Armenian Kitchen|
5. Right around the corner from our hotel was a
restaurant whose name caught my eye – Real
Armenian Kitchen! Peeking through the window, it looked like someone’s home
dining room. We sauntered in, were seated, then realized no one here spoke any
English. We were able to figure out a few things on the menu, and ended up with
chicken soup and a few other tidbits. The soup arrived steaming hot with
nothing more than the broth, a few potatoes, and a few green aromatics swimming around. It
smelled wonderful, although it wasn’t quite what we expected. The main feature of
the soup was its garnish …. a chicken leg or, rather, a hen leg. We looked
forward to eating the meat but discovered it was tough stringy, rubbery and
completely inedible! We left slightly hungry.
|Chicken soup, one turkey ‘meatball’ and one cheese ‘cigar’ boureg|
we eat at the Real Armenian Kitchen again? Only if we learn more Armenian so we
know what to order!
that may be new to you. Immerse yourself in the culture – completely, and with
reckless abandon. You’ll be glad you did!