Having lived in Shanghai for over a year, I thought I had experienced a truly versatile and adept cuisine culture. While Shanghai has a bit more to offer in the way of bulk variety, Tashkent is a city seething with diverse foods at affordable prices that far exceed international expectations. If you are ever so lucky as to find yourself in Tashkent, here are some of the wonderful restaurants we were introduced to by an expat who had spent considerable time living in the city and knew all the best places to dine.
: This tasty pizzeria is nestled away from the street and houses an outdoor courtyard as well as a tented area. The kitchen consists of a large pizza oven and a counter where three young men help each other compile your pizza. Pizzas are about 11,000 CYM. They also do pasta very well, and don’t leave without trying the bread sticks.
Omar Kayane: This Lebanese/Mexican restaurant sports local decor, chicanas, hookahs and a diverse menu of specialties. Named after a famous poet, the place has all the spice and flare of a hopeless romantic. Formerly a Mexican restaurant, the new owners kept several favorites on their menu. Try the Potato skins. From the Lebanese section, the kebabs are highly praised, and the fatush, hummus and spinach wraps were amazing.
Caravan: Though a bit expensive, the decorations make this place a must-see. They have life shows some nights and late in the evening the interior dining area becomes a lively beer hall.
Chelsea Arms: This may be the single most overpriced pub on the planet. They deceptively charge in Euros, making each half liter of brew about ten-twelve dollars. Bring Prozac or an inhaler for when your bill arrives. If you have free cash to throw away, however, the interior is worth visiting for its authentic British feel, and it’s a marvel that someone managed to transport the items in the bar to the middle of Uzbekistan.
El Dolphin (from the guide book)This place was highly recommended by the Lonely Planet, and perhaps because of this the prices were quite high for what was delivered. However, the food was very good, we had the hummus, falafel, chicken , and a margarita pizza for about 40 USD. The décor is startlingly bad, but if you can force yourself to have a bit of faith you may be surprised.
At this hard-to-find grill we had the best meal I’ve ever had in a restaurant abroad. The grilled vegetables are fantastic, as is the filet-minion, T-bone, bone steak, ravioli, bread sticks and soup. As you can tell from the items we’ve sampled, we went more than once. The prices are surprisingly spot-on, and it’s a great place to sojourn. Try everything.
The Czech pub: This place had a diverse menu of Czech foods as well as an on-site brewery that produced sharp and interesting ales, pilsners and heffeweissens. Order the pickled cucumbers, the soups, bread basket and a few beers. Moderately priced with great décor, friendly staff and a endless menu options.