Ukraine restaurants can be intimidating if you don't speak Ukrainian, but the phenomenal Ukrainian food is worth a little bit of confusion. Traditional dishes are rich in both nutrition and taste, and there is excellent fare for both warm and cold temperatures. Look for traditional dishes such as borscht, salad, pickled cucumbers, cabbage rolls, potato pancakes, and fresh bread.
Adventurous tourists will find a way to communicate their desires, and especially in tourist-friendly cities such as Kiev and Yalta, staff may have some knowledge of English and will be more accommodating to clueless tourists. One of the greatest pleasures of traveling in Ukraine is sampling the delicious Ukrainian food, and for that reason, visitors should try to avoid the tourist mills—TGI Fridays, McDonalds, and the like—in favor of authentic Ukrainian establishments.
For many travelers, Kiev will be the first stop on their journey, and the restaurants in Kiev do not disappoint. There is a multitude of authentic Ukraine restaurants in the capital city, from upscale dining with live music to budget cafeteria-style food. Both kinds of dining in Ukraine are a unique and delicious experience. One of the flagships of the Kiev dining scene is Restaurant Kozachok, which serves traditional Ukrainian food in a rustic, quaint atmosphere. Live music enlivens the scene, and you can choose from the extensive wine and spirits list as you wait for your meal to arrive—don't miss the Russian vodka! The huge hall offers a festive atmosphere as you devour a feast of homemade pickles, borscht, grilled meats and fish, and more.
On the budget side of the spectrum of restaurants in Kiev, the Ukrainian fast-food joint Domashnya Kukhnya is a great choice for tourists. Serving traditional Ukrainian food in a cafeteria-style atmosphere, the food is cheap and plentiful, perfect for travelers on a budget. Just point to what you want, and the benevolent serving staff will smilingly oblige you in your choice of a meal. Despite being a fast-food restaurant, the atmosphere is clean, well-lit and inviting. Just be aware that week-day lunchtimes are packed with Ukrainians getting their noon-time meal.
For dining atmosphere, don't miss Taras Restaurant, one of the most charming restaurants in Kiev. Located in Taras Shevchenko Park, the restaurant building resembles a Ukrainian village house, and the décor is traditionally Ukrainian. Sample the traditional Ukrainian fare while gazing through the windows at a beautiful view of the park. For such an atmosphere, prices are very reasonable.
In Odessa, one of the best Ukraine restaurants to visit is Khutorok, a seaside restaurant that offers healthy, traditional Ukrainian cuisine in a rustic setting. The interior is decorated in a nineteenth-century Ukrainian style, and guests can choose to eat on a terrace overlooking the beach or by the fireplace on cooler evenings. Khutorok offers a good selection of fish and seafood, and their good thick steak isn't something to be sneezed at either.
If you're ready to dish out the big bucks for an exceptional setting, you can't beat the Swallow's Nest in Yalta. This turreted castle perched on a cliff by the shore of Yalta houses an expensive Italian restaurant specializing in pasta dishes. You don't have to eat at the restaurant to appreciate the view, however, as there is a viewing platform for tourists to use. The Swallow's Nest can be reached by taxi or by ferry from town.