Seafood lovers have in the past had to suffer in the nationâ€™s capital. Despite the fact that Ukraine borders two seas and can boast hundreds upon hundreds of kilometers of rivers, the people of the Steppe remain true to their traditional fare of meat and potatoes augmented with beets and mayonnaise.
Within the last two years, however, expeditious entrepreneurs have opened up seafood restaurants in the city to satisfy the growing appetite here for seafood, be it fresh or frozen. While nothing beats perfectly fresh seafood -cod, orange roughy and sockeye salmon; Alaskan king crab; kiwi mussels â€“ having even good frozen seafood beats having none at all, and while weâ€™re not exactly convinced by some restaurants claiming to have fresh seafood nearly every day, we are titillated by the fact that theyâ€™re trying to offer as much.
In the center
Aptly named Ikra (Ukrainian for roe) sits cozily in a residential neighborhood near the old botanical gardens, and to entice diners to their space they offer a weekly seafood festival featuring the catch of the week. Dorado, sea bass, flounder, turbot and red snapper are just some of the many fish varieties they like to have in stock, not to mention mussels and other shellfish, including oysters for their oyster bar.
The interior at Ikra has a very minimalist look, done by Italian designer Gianfranco Bertolotti, with the kitchen open to the restaurant from the dining area. Daily discounts appear from noon until 5 p.m., with 20 percent slashed from menu prices, and until Jan. 29 a local variety of flounder called kambala will be on special. Choose any one of three kambala dishes on the menu and enjoy it for just Hr 98.
11 Pankivska, Universytet metro, 244-1990.
The mythical underwater kingdom of Avalon provides the inspiration for the slightly shocking, but nonetheless pleasant seafood restaurant Avalon, situated near the National Opera Theater. With seafood motifs appearing everywhere, and swimmers playing mermaids in huge floor to ceiling aquariums, Avalon is nothing if not intriguing.
Avalon has earned a good reputation for serving a wide assortment of fish, both fresh and frozen, to be prepared by head chef Volodymyr Latushko in countless ways. In addition to fish, though, Latushko can also serve up shrimp, scallops, crab, squid, octopus and lots of other seafood delicacies.
3 Leontovycha, 234-7494.
Porto Maltese is a Mediterranean-themed seafood restaurant with daily listings of fresh seafood specials. The open kitchen design brings out the sights, sounds and aromas of the cooking process.
In addition to the catches of the day, enjoy Portoâ€™s impressive and well-priced wine list with labels from Spain and Italy, many for just Hr 50 ($10) per bottle.
Olympic mall, 206-8387.
Well-appointed, luxurious Egoist French restaurant counts itself among the cityâ€™s most imperial and regal restaurants with service and food to match. While we find their Ukrainian food satisfying, the seafood is what we come for, and the menu is constantly being updated. Live music plays nightly from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. The wine and cigar lists are impressive.
44 Moskovska, 280-2222.
Down in Podil
The attitude to new two-storey Italian -themed seafood eatery Casa Bella comes from its many sumptuous details. Itâ€™s decadent, but thatâ€™s the point.
Casa Bella stands apart by trying to lure funky, young and chic clientele. How? Great fish and seafood, and deejays who play lounge music nightly beginning at 6 p.m. to create an instant vibe.
27 Sahaydachnoho, 425-2309.
by Paul Miazga, Kyiv Post Staff Writer