Tuesday’s Treats #105

Tsarske Selo

Location: Kiev, Ukraine

This restaurant is so authentic to Ukraine, and if you are visiting Kiev, you need to place it on your “must see (and eat).” The atmosphere is set in rural country inn or home, and as you sit at your table looking throughout the restaurant, you can almost imagine being in someone’s countryside home. It is very cozy and comfortable. The waiters and waitresses are all in traditional Ukrainian attire, and most evenings, there are a variety of singing groups who will come to your table and serenade a song or two.

The food is delicious, and if you can’t read the Ukrainian on the menu, no worries. Just flip it over for English; however, not being too familiar with authentic Ukrainian dishes, I opted to be safe and got the chicken Kiev. It was absolutely delicious! The lattes are tasty, and one in our party got the cherry dumplings and said they were scrumptious. The bread they serve before hand is tasty, but if you’re American, you may be surprised they don’t serve traditional dairy butter with it. They serve a beet horseradish, a very spicy mustard and a “butter” made from pig fat. This is, actually, a staple of Ukraine that came into play during their long years of famine. It is a little too greasy and not too tasteful for my liking, more akin to pure lard, but for the Ukrainian natives who were hosting us, it was an appreciated topping. They also serve before the meal small, square pieces of toasted bread with a pickle and a little square of pig fat (kind of like a substitute for bacon). The bread was tasty with a hint of garlic, but I skipped again on the fat square. It all definitely adds to the authenticity of the restaurant, and I wouldn’t change a thing!

In the evening hours, a groups of Ukrainian singers will come to serenade, and apparently, there are different groups. My husband was here in September, and there was a group of all men who sang traditional Ukrainian songs, and one man whistles like a bird. I watched the video, and it was amazing! The night we were there, it was a duet. The woman played the accordion and sang, and the man had a deep, burly voice and distinguished mustache. They sang strong and beautiful, singing of a handsome fella loving a beautiful woman.

It was simply a delightful evening, and I hope every time we are in Kiev, we might get to visit this restaurant. You leave feeling just a little more Ukrainian than when you walked in.

For more information, please check out their website and their Trip Advisor rating.

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Tuesday’s Treats #104

Ostannya Barykada (or “The Last Barricade”)

Location: Kiev, Ukraine

From the secret code needed to gain entrance into the hidden door to the walls covered in Ukrainian memorabilia, the restaurant surrounds you with the pride and patriotism of Ukraine. You cannot help leaving feeling like you’re taking a bit of Ukraine home with you.

The menu is in both Ukrainian and English; so, don’t worry if you don’t speak the language. Be sure to start with the warm bread that is a bread bowl with melted Brie inside. Oh. My. Goodness. Yum! It is rye bread of which I’m actually not a big fan; yet, when paired with the cheese and jam, it is absolutely delicious! The chicken Kiev and fried potatoes and mushrooms are absolutely incredible, as is the steak and cherry dumplings. We weren’t brave enough to try the mashed potatoes with catfish, but one in our party did get regular mashed potatoes, and they were quite tasty.

The whole experience is definitely worth the effort to find this hidden gem in the middle of Kiev. I found an article on the restaurant, and I will share it here, as it doesn’t seem they have an actual website.