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How To Book A Table, Order Food And Tip In Minsk Cafes And Bars

Minsk has a diverse and evolving food scene as any other relevantly big European city. If you visiting during the 2nd European games (or any other time) and you are concerned about where to eat and order food in Belarus capital – you are reading the right article.

 

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Публикация от Kristina Matveeva (@yolkka)

Minsk food scene, a short overview

While a couple of years ago it was possible to find world cuisines only in exquisite restaurants, nowadays every food amateur can find almost anything they crave for in Minsk.

Among the most popular cuisines in Minsk are Italian, Pan Asian, Japanese, Georgian, American. Belarusian dishes can be found in specialized restaurants but basic recipes and drinks will be included in menus at most cafes and bars. A traditional choice would include draniki, machanka, pancakes, soups, and homemade lemonades.

Growing in popularity in Minsk is street food. The biggest variety of it is found at food festivals like Vulitsa Ezha, for example. Also, a new gastronomic trend is open food courts with live music and places to mingle and hang out like Pesochniсa at Horizont plant.

 

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Also, the Russian trend of eating shawarma is quickly spreading in Belarus, so don’t be shocked seeing doner and shawarma stands everywhere around Minsk, even at party streets. The best shawarma, according to locals, is on the Komarovka market, but you can find decent street food also in downtown.

While vegetarian and vegan food choices are still scarce in Minsk, the selection of world famous fast food is not. In the past years, Minsk saw the openings of KFC, Burger King, Carls’ Jr, and other fast food places, which, however, haven’t managed to knock McDonald’s off its long-owned popularity Olympus.

How to book a table in Minsk

When you think about booking a table at a cafe, bar or restaurant in Minsk – be aware of the fact that not everywhere the staff is going to speak English. Nevertheless, don’t worry: the workers will always do their best to understand you. In addition, the majority of food places in Minsk have free WI-FI so the staff will always help you with a translation of the menu and all your needs.

Most often locals book tables by going to the place beforehand or just calling. Another way to do that is through websites like Relax.by or Carte.by – but mind that the table is booked when you get an SMS with confirmation and not all places collaborate with these services.

The simplest would probably be is booking via Instagram if the place has a popular and active profile.

How much to tip in Minsk

One more “dimension” of the entire food industry is tips. There is no specific rule of the percentage you must give as tips in Minsk. The usual sum is 10% but you can give as much as you feel like. Note that tips aren’t included in the cheque in Belarus, neither there’s an extra payment for sitting down at a table.

If you didn’t like the service, food and the place itself – you don’t have to tip anything. If you enjoyed your stay at a particular place – you can just tip 10% or follow the rules of the country you’re coming from, increasing/decreasing the amount depending on different components of the service.

Tipping in taxis, at hairdressers, etc is not yet common for Belarus. So in such places, it is entirely up to you.

How to order food in Minsk

Ordering food also gets more and more popular with Minskers The biggest food delivery in Minsk is menu.by, which offers food from numerous restaurants. The average waiting time is around one hour, the cost of delivery is $1-2. Good news is that menu.by is available in English.

If you have a specific place or cuisine in mind, check out the list of specialized food delivery service in Minsk at Carte.by. The biggest variety of food delivery in Minsk is for Belarusian, Japanese and Italian cuisine. There is only one specialized vegetarian food delivery but there are vegetarian food options in most deliveries.

 

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Публикация от Вуліца Кастрычніцкая (@kastrycnickaja_live)

Keep in mind, that you came to Belarus to explore the country, so don’t abuse food delivery much.

Go out and get full cultural experience by having meals at as many places as you can visit while staying in Belarus – eat Belarusian, eat with a view, enjoy the party streets of Minsk. Also, if you don’t know where to go – ask a random person passing by. The best advice is the advice giving by a local! And Belarusians will be very happy to help and navigate everyone to the natives’ favorite places.

Where to eat – best-rated food places in Minsk

Speaking of the advice from the locals – we took the courage to make a short overview of different types of food places in Minsk to help a visitor navigate their meals. The recommended places are chosen based on TripAdvisor reviews and word of mouth. But remember, tastes differ!

Globalization has affected Minsk so now it’s easy to find world famous chains fast food, like McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, Papa Jones, Carl’s Junior and Dominos. Less known globally but loved by the locals are a Russian chain Dodo Pizza and a Belarusian chain Pizza Lisitstsa (Fox Pizza). Don’t try to find Subway, Pizza Hut or Starbucks – so far, the Belarusian capital hasn’t got any of those.

 

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Публикация от Лаўка (24 г) (@laukaminsk)

Minskers also love their local street food places – check them out to feel the city’s vibes. Here are some of them:

  • LAUKA – open 24/7 (except a short break around 4 am), the tine place on a hipster street offers takeaway sandwiches and burgers with various ingredients. Additionally, coffee and tea at LAUKA are highly recommended by regulars.
  • Depo has a wide choice of pancakes with every sort of filling and desserts. Depo is considered the best place if you want to try Eastern European pancakes.
  • If you are into a healthier diet, go to Easy Soup for one of the longest soup menus in the city! The café has one disadvantage, though: it doesn’t have many vegetarian options.
  • And, of course, don’t forget Pesochnitsa that we’ve mentioned above. Lost of local street foods in one place!

Canteens are not very popular around the world, but really famous in Belarus. Usually, these places are located inside or near factories and plants, universities, governmental offices – for workers to go have lunch. So you are likely to see people wearing uniforms, or crowds of students, but basically everyone is allowed to go to a canteen.

 

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Food is always really cheap (you will pay around $3-4 per person for a full lunch). It might not look exquisite, but it is tasty and cooked from local produce. Alcohol is not being served in canteens. In comparison to European fast food services, canteens have self-service and no matter how long is the queue, it is going to be gone really fast.

The only disadvantage (or not) of the canteens is the interior: it is really simple, no decorations at all, and very often distinctively Soviet-style. On the other hand, this is 100% living like a local!

Most popular canteens are the ones connected to Minsk Universities. Some of their addresses are Kastrychnitskaya St, 10B, Kastrychnitskaya St, 4, Khmelnitskogo St, 9, Yakuba Kolasa St, 28 and Oboynaya St, 7. Check more Minsk canteens here and here.

Wherever you are in Minsk – you will always be able to find a cute coffee shop around. Drop in for desserts and the atmosphere:

  • Lakomka is an iconic Soviet pastry and coffee shop that has recently undergone a major renovation. Sit comfortably overlooking Minsk main street, and get some candies and pastry before you leave.
  • 26, or Sverdlova 26, is a coffee shop on the ground floor of a historic building close to the Central railway station. This place often switches sorts of coffee in use, loved by students and has amazing brick walls.
  • Zerno is a chain of coffee shops that’s really popular with Minsk’s citizens and tourists. No matter when you decide to go there – you will always see it packed. The secret is in their coffee, which is definitely one of the best in the Belarusian capital.
  • SurfCoffee has a tropical interior in combination with good coffee, smoothies, lemonades, and many other drinks is something that anyone might need at the end of the day. We’d recommend taking a seat in their small garden outside to enjoy the peace of the old downtown.
  • Zolotoy Grebeshok is a luxurious and slightly decadent place famous for its deserts from the chief. And it is located in one of the most elegant streets of Minsk!

 

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Публикация от T A T I A N A (@tatiana_kravchenok)

Bars, pubs and cafes in Minsk are not much different from the rest of the world. Go to one of the gastronomic streets of Minsk and just follow your food hunter instinct!

Restaurants in Minsk tend to have expensive décor, posh service and, obviously, much more expensive food compared with other food places. The most popular ones require booking in advance. This is what visitors recommend:

  • Vasilki – a chain of restaurants of Belarusian cuisine with reasonable prizes and traditional interior.
  • Grand Café is a restaurant with exclusive dishes and extravagant atmosphere. Worth visiting for history – though it changes names, owners, and interior, the place has housed a restaurant since the 1950s, which is quite rare for Minsk. Suitable for families.
  • Bistro de Luxe is a French cuisine place at the heart of Minsk. Its terrace draws people like a magnet in summer.
  • News Café is another place with history and a beautiful terrace. It will be good for dinner, lunch , nd breakfast, and overlooks the elegant Yanka Kupala theather.
  • Ember offers a beautiful panorama on the old part of the capital. The staff of the restaurant speaks several languages.

What are your favorite food places in the capital?


Text by Kseniya Kalaur.

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