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Lots of Food and Beauty: A Budget Guide to Yerevan

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A gastronomic experience is perhaps the most important part of a trip to Yerevan. Many travelers who come to Armenia fall in love with the country unconditionally after the first lunch (or dinner). There is only one bad news: there will be a lot of food and it will be very satisfying. So be vigilant, and it is better to take things a size larger with you!

According to the respected culinary connoisseur William Pokhlebkin, Armenian cuisine is one of the oldest in the Caucasus, its history spans more than three millennia. At its core are simple products and combinations. But whether the matter is their incredible freshness, or in the local air itself - the result can surprise even experienced gourmets. Be sure to try local cheeses, a variety of fresh greens, which are served here as an independent dish, dolma, kufta, Sevan trout ishkhan and whitefish, kebab from sterlet, Sevan crayfish (if you arrive in the summer), hash (if you arrive in the winter, in summer it is not eat), and, of course, barbecue, or khorovats, as it is called in Armenia. And Armenian lavash, by the way, is included in the UNESCO intangible heritage list.


Abovyan street

There are many cafes and restaurants in Yerevan, and an unprepared traveler can easily get confused by the abundance of places. In Armenia, in general, there is a special attitude to food as a process: first of all, it is an opportunity to gather the whole family at a large table and have a great time. Armenians like to go to restaurants and do it with pleasure, therefore it is better to reserve tables in advance.

Armenian Restaurants

The oldest and most famous restaurant in Yerevan - Dolmama (Pushkin St., 10). This is a real restaurant-attraction, with impeccable service, very tasty food and actually Moscow prices. Dinner at Dolmama is included in the obligatory program of all important guests of the city, and it is definitely worth coming here at least once to appreciate the Armenian cuisine in a modern interpretation, authentic interior, beautiful presentation of dishes, and a cozy veranda in the warm season.


A restaurant Lavash. Photo by Elena Emelyanova

For classic Armenian food - plentiful, hearty and tasty - as well as for national music, dancing and other colorings, go to one of the chain's restaurants "Tavern Yerevan". Get ready: it will be loud and fun, there will be an incredible amount of food, and prices will surprise you as more than moderate. If it seems too noisy and too colorful, then the same chain has new restaurants with trendy interiors (while the quality of the food does not suffer at all) - Sherep (Amiryan St., 1) and Lavash (Tumanyan St., 21).

Another great option with traditional Armenian cuisine is Vostan (8 Abovyan St.). In the warmer months, here you will find one of the most cozy courtyards in the city.

And another wonderful courtyard next door - a cafe-gallery Dalan, or "Abovyan, 12". To get into it, look for the entrance to the souvenir shop on Abovyan Street, 12, go through it and find yourself in a shady courtyard where you can hide from the summer heat and try traditional Armenian dishes at reasonable prices. A staircase leads to the second floor from the courtyard, where the restaurant’s inner hall and a small gallery are located - there are exhibitions of Armenian artists.

For Western Armenian cuisine with interesting accents, you need to go to a restaurant Anoush In a hotel Republica (Amiryan str., 7/1). This is a calm and very pleasant place, which is ideal, for example, for a romantic date. By the way, on Fridays there are free wine tastings, more about them can be found on the institution's Facebook page.


A cafe Limone in cascade

In recent years, the flow of repatriates to Armenia from Syria has increased, and this has led to the appearance in Yerevan of a large number of Middle Eastern restaurants. Several worthy places are concentrated on Cascade, on Isahakyan Street (directly between Cascade and Marshal Baghramyan Avenue), especially good there Zeituna and Lebanon. Another great Middle Eastern restaurant is Anteb (Kokhbatsi St., 30): simple interior, Western Armenian waiters, and almost always there are no empty seats. Here, perhaps, the most delicious oriental sweets, they are prepared in a separate cafe with the same name on the other side of the street, almost opposite the restaurant. And in the cafe Derian (1/3 Buzanda St.), according to many, they serve the best kebab in Yerevan.


Cascade Cafe Terraces

If suddenly you are tired of Armenian cuisine and your soul asks for something easier, take a break between barbecue and dolma in Eat & fit (Arami St., 80), here you will find healthy (and at the same time tasty) food and many options for vegetarians. An alternative is the recently opened Gouroo (13 Saryan St.), where a wonderful shady courtyard is a bonus to healthy food.

A great option for those who want a gastronomic variety - food court Gastropolis in the bank building Ameria (Vazgen Sargsyan St., 2). Just don’t come from 13:00 to 14:00 - at this time bank employees have lunch here and it is extremely difficult to find a place. There are several corners on the food court - with Asian food, salads, pasta and pizza, and the coolest one is the wine one with excellent snacks: olives, cheeses and meat delicacies.

Where to drink coffee

Everyone in Armenia drinks coffee at any time of the day, sitting over a cup of a fragrant drink is one of everyone’s favorite leisure options. Traditionally, everyone drinks coffee in Armenian or Eastern brewed in Turk. When ordering, you will definitely be asked if it is bitter or sweet. Keep in mind that bitter is really bitter.

Lovers of cappuccino and latte will not disappear in Yerevan - these drinks are available in almost any coffee shop. The best Armenian coffee - in the network of coffee houses Jazzvewhere it is cooked in the sand. Dessert lovers will also appreciate Cafe central (Abovyan St., 30) and Tiziano (Northern Avenue, 10). And for the original coffee experience, head to Haldi.co Coffee & Tea (22 Demirchyan St.) - this is a coffee shop that serves only Colombian coffee of different varieties. Tastes are very unusual - the barista will tell you why. And here you can try coffee wine!

Wine bars

The tradition of winemaking in Armenia totals 6000 years. According to archaeologists, it’s for so many years that the ancient vessels for making wine - crucian carp - found in caves in the Areni area. The most common local grape varieties are wax wax, from which white wine is made, and arenas, from which red wine is made. Many local grape varieties are endemic, that is, they grow only in Armenia. In Soviet times, Armenia emphasized cognac production, and much less attention was paid to wine. However, a real wine boom began in Armenia several years ago: small wineries began to open, mainly concentrated in the regions of Aragatsotn and Vayots-Dzor, foreign oenologists began to be invited to exchange experiences, many new brands appeared.

Following the wineries in Yerevan, wine bars and restaurants began to appear. The city’s wine mecca is rightfully considered Saryana Street, where several noteworthy wine bars are concentrated.

In vino (Saryan St., 6) - Yerevan's first wine bar and definitely the most atmospheric. A small room opposite the Saryan Museum from floor to ceiling is full of wine shelves from around the world - there are even such rarities as wines from Lebanon. There is a large selection of wine by the glass, and if you want to take a bottle, the price will be almost like in a store. There is no food as such, but for wine you will be offered decent cheese and meat snacks - for example, in the bar you can taste Armenian cheese aged in cognac. Wine prices by the glasses are indecently low and start at 800 drams (about 100 rubles).


Armenian wines from the winery Trinity in a restaurant Tapastan

Literally a few meters from In vino there are two more worthy wine establishments - Tapastan (Saryan St., 6), where you can try local brand wines Trinity and tapas, and Voskevaz wine time (Saryan St., 8) - a restaurant of the same name winery with author's European cuisine and a wonderful interior.

Another great wine spot and one of the city’s most popular restaurants is Wine republic - located on Cascade (Tamanyan St., 2). The menu has two sections: Mediterranean and Pan-Asian cuisine, and both are good. Be sure to book a table in advance. IN Wine republic an excellent selection of wine - both Armenian brands and export brands. Recently team Wine republic opened another institution - Asador (Isahakyan, 28), which in a short time became even more popular. They specialize in grilling, fresh fish and seafood, by the way, this is the only place in the city where there are lobsters.

If you prefer beer to wine, go to one of the craft bars in Yerevan: Beer academy (Moskovyan St., 8) or Dargett (Arami St., 72). On the same street, just a stone's throw away, is the city’s best cocktail bar - Simona (Arami St., 80), where on the weekends local fashionistas dance and hang around.

Where to go in the evening

Mirrorzoyan library (10 Mgera Mkrtchyan St.) - a unique space for Yerevan: a library of books on photography, a platform for exhibitions and events, a cozy cafe, and a venue for great parties. It was opened by Karen Mirzoyan, one of the most famous contemporary Armenian photographers, winner of the Magnum Agency contests. Here is the largest collection of books and albums on photography in the city (and, according to some, in the region), photo exhibitions regularly take place.

The Mirzoyan Library is located in a beautiful old Yerevan house with an external wooden gallery. Part of the building is occupied by a bar, they prepare excellent cocktails and serve ice cream with baklava. Not so long ago, the space expanded - a small room opened in the basement, where parties are held once a month. The schedule of events can be viewed on the institution’s Facebook page.

Just opened Vinyl Garage Store / Second floor (3 Abovyan St.) promises to become one of the most beloved bars in Yerevan. This is the first vinyl record store in Yerevan, as well as a bar with a restaurant. Five days after the opening, without any advertising, the bar was filled to capacity with fashionable youth - in Yerevan word of mouth works instantly.


Pool in The Kond House / Facebook

Another bar with a cool atmosphere and a pleasant audience - The kond houselocated in the Cond area. In the warm season, everyone sits in a cozy courtyard with a relaxed atmosphere: the feeling is as if you are with friends in the country. Recently, the owners of the institution built a mini-pool in it (sessions must be booked in advance). You can also try different homemade tinctures here. The menu consists mainly of grilled dishes, they are prepared right in the yard.

Where to go to dance? If you like jazz, then go to the club Malkhas (Pushkin St., 52) - listen to the legendary musician Levon Malkhasyan, he usually performs on Friday and Saturday after midnight. Alternative option - Club 12 (91 Teryan St.). But be prepared that the audience in these places is quite mature.

If you want a youth vibe, head to the ethnic bar Calumet (Pushkin St., 56) or in Hemingway in cascade. For lovers of techno options a bit: there are parties in clubs Das (Koryun St., 9), B4 room (Teryan St., 105/1) and (perhaps the most win-win option) The basement (3 Abovyan St.). Once a couple of months at different venues, good events from the association take place The triangulum - Follow the announcements on their facebook page.

What to bring from Yerevan

The most win-win gift option is Armenian delicacies, which are worth going to the GUM market. A visit to the market is a separate attraction: be sure to try everything that is offered, and do not forget to bargain. Armenian dried fruits do not leave indifferent even those who do not like dried fruits in principle. Local specialties are dried peaches, persimmons and pears.


Street cafe "Basturma"

Churchkhela is also excellent in Armenia, only here it is called sujuk (by the way, dried meat like basturma is also called the same word). Armenian cheeses, basturma and sujuk are beyond praise. Sweet lovers will appreciate walnut jam and rose petals. Well, another practically universal gift is Armenian cognac or wine, but they need to be taken not in the market, but in specialized stores, large supermarkets (SAS, Parma, Yerevan City) or in shops at factories (in the latter you can taste drinks before buying). By the way, besides the classic wine in Armenia, it is definitely worth trying pomegranate.

Esthete friends will appreciate handmade pottery from the store Spitak ceramicslocated at a small hotel Villa delenda (Kokhbatsi St., 22). This is not just beautiful ceramics, but a social project: in 1994, the Italian Antonio Montalto opened an art school in the city of Gyumri. All profits from the sale go to the needs of this school.

Art lovers will be pleased with the albums of Armenian artists, which can be bought in museums or in a bookstore Zangak (7 Abovyan St.). A beautiful line of souvenirs at the Martiros Saryan Museum (3 Saryan St.).

If suddenly among your friends there are book collectors or philatelists, then something interesting for their collections can be found in a small second-hand bookshop with a fantastically beautiful interior at the very end of Mashtots Avenue. Previously, there was a tea room, and the interior has been preserved from those times.

For other souvenirs go to the gallery store Dalan or at Vernissage - open-air market. The latter works on weekends, although in the warmer months, sometimes on weekdays. You are unlikely to find something really unique here, but you can always look for jewelry, carved wooden chess, shawls, magnets, dishes and beautiful coffee Turks.

And the main thing that needs to be brought from Armenia is, of course, impressions and memories. Have a good trip!

More stories about Armenia inthe author.

Photo: author, Elena Emelyanova, institutions Facebook page

Accommodation

Hotels in Yerevan are slightly cheaper than in Russia. In addition, there are many apartments and apartments on the market.
Whatever you choose, try to build on your location - the closer your temporary home will be to the central point of the city (Republic Square), the more convenient.

My choice is Kantar Hostel (Deghatan Street 10), which is a 3-minute walk from the square. This is a hostel with one of the highest ratings in Yerevan. I lived here myself, and then, at different times, several of my friends. Everyone was satisfied - the rooms are clean and comfortable, and the guys at the front are trying very hard to be helpful.

As in many hostels, there are dormitory rooms for 4-6 people and separate double rooms.

A little tip: if you see that the hostel is not teeming with guests, and you have booked a place in the dormitory room, ask if you can put you in a room where no one else lives? In my case, it happened, and I spent all 5 days alone in a four-bed room for very little money.

Approximate cost of stay for 4 nights:

  • 10 000 rubles for a double room.
  • 4,000 rubles for a place in a 4-bed room.
  • A 4-5 star hotel, for example, Hyatt Place Yerevan 4 *, which is located on Republic Square, will cost in the range from 18,000 to 25,000 rubles for 4 nights.

Walking in Yerevan

Spend the first day or two to get to know the capital. Frankly, I did not expect anything special from Yerevan, and the wider the smile on my face all the days when we walked around this colorful, hospitable city.

In sunny weather, Yerevan is painted in all shades of pink - from very dairy to almost burgundy. This is due to the fact that most of the buildings in the city, even nine-story buildings on the outskirts, are built of pink tufa - a stone that is formed from petrified volcanoes.
It looks especially beautiful at sunset - then the sky and the city merge into a single bronze-crimson canvas.

The structure of the city becomes obvious if you fly up to it during the day: the central point is the Republic Square, from which all the main streets diverge. According to my feelings, getting lost here is simply impossible.

Almost everything interesting is within walking distance:

  1. Republic Square combines the amazing beauty of the Government building, the Central Museum, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Post Office. In the evenings, a show of singing fountains is organized in the center of the square, and as a professional in viewing them in different cities of the world, I can authoritatively say that these were really good.
  2. At the intersection of all walking routes is the Opera and Ballet Theater of Yerevan - a beautiful building in the style of Soviet neoclassicism. If the love of food does not lead you on the path of militant hedonism to endless restaurant gatherings, you can visit one of the performances - very often give classic stories, for example, Giselle or Carmen, or more traditional ones, such as the opera Sayat Nova. The theater itself is very beautiful from the inside, and ticket prices against the background of Moscow are simply indecently low - an average of 300 to 1000 rubles.
  3. Immediately after the Opera and Ballet Theater you will go to the Grand Cascade. This is the first thing I recall when talking about Yerevan - a multi-tiered staircase with fountains, from the observation deck of which one of the best views of Ararat and the city opens. In the square in front of Cascade and on the stairs itself there are many sculptures of modern art, my favorite of which is the pot-bellied kiwi bird. And in the slope under the stairs is an art gallery. Here, the climb can be overcome to the observation deck can be overcome on escalators.
  4. Not far from the observation deck is the house-museum of the national hero and the legend of the world chanson Charles Aznavour.
  5. The Blue Mosque, the only Muslim temple in the country, can inadvertently be missed if you just walk along the streets. But it is simply necessary to go here - both the building itself, laid out with a mosaic of sky-blue color, and its quiet courtyard, wrapped in greenery - the place is absolutely amazing.
  6. On weekends, outside the Republic Square, like a self-assembled tablecloth, a huge flea market “Vernissage” is scattered. Now here, along with really old and interesting things, many trinkets of factory production began to appear. But you can still find cheap handmade silverware, dishes, carpets, books, etc.
  7. All gifts from Yerevan can be bought here - they accept both rubles and drams, and to find the best price, carefully go around all the rows.
  8. Northern Avenue is the main pedestrian street of the city. It is a must to walk along it, but I do not recommend it in the local restaurants (with one exception, about it below) - the cuisine in them is mostly European, and the prices are almost Moscow.
  9. Factory "Ararat". Everyone has heard about the Armenian cognac, here you have the opportunity to see how its production looks from the inside and listen to the story of how the name “cognac” nevertheless appeared on the labels, despite strict rules. The tour lasts about an hour and costs 600 rubles. You can register on the site.

Food in Yerevan

There is a lot of food, it is incredibly tasty and just as incomparably inexpensive.
The average bill at the Yerevan tavern is about 600 rubles per person (with several hot dishes, snacks and wine). This is the most popular network of national cuisine. Keep in mind that you will have to roll out from the table - it is difficult to leave on your own, you will be crushed by circumstances.

  • The best of the taverns of the Yerevan network is on Amiryan Street.
  • Lavash Restaurant is the best place with traditional Armenian cuisine and almost the only one with a light and modern design, without styling. Located near the Opera and Ballet Theater.
  • Tsirani's house-restaurant, the happiest exception on Northern Avenue, is the most delicious restaurant in the center of Yerevan. More expensive than the tavern "Yerevan" and Lavash, but even so, prices surprise with their modesty. Great food and large windows on the floor, through which it is so nice to look at passers-by.

If you still want something European, head to the Wine Republic - a wine bar near Cascade, and order wine and any seafood here.

  • For an Armenian breakfast from scrambled eggs with tomatoes and basturma, go to “Dalan” - a cafe with a courtyard-gallery and a souvenir shop on Abovyan, 12 or to “Basturma” right here, on Abovyan - a place from the creators of Dolmama restaurant, which for a long time took all the first persons who came to visit the city.
  • For sweets, you just need to go to the Grand Candy confectionery on Mashtots, 54 - on the top floor you will find the Ponchikanots cafe, and these will be the best donuts in your life. And no more "Danki Donuts"! The most delicious - with vanilla cream, and the price is only about 20 rubles. Take no less than 3 pieces per person - you won’t be mistaken.
  • And take one evening to jazz - how long have you been dancing to jazz tunes? In Yerevan, which in the Soviet years was the capital of jazz, you simply must do it. Echoes of this story, look at the Malkhas Jazz Club. Its owner, Levon Malkhasyan, is 70 years old, and he still performs here himself - in no case do not leave before midnight without seeing the Maestro. Yes, and you are unlikely to want this - the atmosphere here is always amazing. Book a table in advance!

Holy places trips

Even on a five-day visit to Armenia, it is necessary to fit short trips to the main historical and religious cultural monuments.

  • Lake Sevan and Sevanavank Monastery. They are located 60 kilometers from the city. You can order a taxi, contact one of the travel companies or get to know the driver on the street, as we did. A round trip will cost about 2,000 - 2,500 rubles, be prepared for the driver to take on the role of a guide and your adviser on all issues.
  • The pagan temple of Garni and the monastery of Geghard. The same 60 kilometers, but in the other direction, and do not think too lazy and do not go. The calm and atmosphere of these places cannot be expressed in words or photographs, they need to be felt. Entrance to Geghard is paid, but, like everything else here, is inexpensive, about 200 rubles.

You arrive in Yerevan with a friend, stop in a double room, eat at different restaurants every day, visit the theater, buy trinkets for yourself and friends on the Vernissage, dance at the club, go on a tour of the Ararat factory, don’t go around donuts, leave twice out of town - to Sevan and Garni and Geghard, in general, you feel like a king of iiiii ... spend about 16,000 rubles in 5 days plus a flight if you divide the cost of living and a taxi for two.

Amazingly bargain, here's what I can say.

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