Since there is very little on chowhound in terms of recommendations for Kiev, Ukraine, and I am a long-time chowhound user who has been living here for the last three months, I figure I should contribute by giving some recommendations:
Milk Bar- At this point I have eaten most items on the menu. A few of the main dishes are disappointing, like the chicken wrap, but the salads are always tasty, creative, if a bit small in portion size, and the soups are not stunning, but still tasty on a cold day.
Brunch is generally good- the poached eggs with mushrooms is the standout, but the chicken omelette is delicious, as are the sweet potato fritters (though not enough substance to the dish to feel full). The hash browns are throw away. If you like sweets for brunch, their waffles with homemade nutella is dynamite.
Desserts here are definitely a highlight, the chocolate caramel cake is rich but very good, their version of the banana pudding is not quite as addictive as the one from Magnolia's, but it isn't far off. Their cobblers are great, the key lime pie is the right balance of tart and sweet, and the cheese cakes are decent for Ukrainian versions of a truly American dish. Their woopie pie is great as well.
Staff are friendly, and the atmosphere is good.
Kuvshin- probably the best Georgian in town. Their Khachapuris are great, as are their Khinkali (I prefer the veal and pork ones but only slightly). Their Khachapuri-Kubdari is hands down my favourite thing on the menu. Excellent high-end Georgian wines- ask to speak to the sommelier to get a good recommendation. They also have a very drinkable high-end Mukhrani chacha. Nice servers, and great atmosphere. Romantic enough for a good dinner date.
Spotykach- very creative, which sometimes pays off. The salo was decent, though nothing exciting. Their traditional Chicken Kiev is delicious, and their new version, as meatballs in a spaghetti sauce is just as tasty. Their new version of cabbage rolls are delicious. The dumplings are nothing to write home about. Atmosphere is a bit odd, the décor is not too charming.
Vino e Cucina- excellent Italian. You should not miss starting with something from the mozzarella bar- I recommend the burrata with the balsamic sauce. We had a tuna and salmon tartar with avocado that was very tasty, but the avocado was totally unripe and should not have made it onto the dish in a restaurant of this standard. I had a homemade pappardelle with Bolognese that was tasty, and the real highlight wasn’t the sauce, but the pasta which was perfect texture, and perfectly al dente. My partner had the veal tartar which was perfectly seasoned. After the copious meal, we only had room for a ball of homemade salted caramel ice cream for dessert and it was well worth it to round out the meal.
Atmosphere is great, service is good, and the Italian and French wines on the wine list- WOW. Its just a shame the sommelier is a 17 year old kid who doesn’t seem to be much of an expert.
Dogs & Tails- fun place on a weekend, decent cocktails and good music. The hotdogs are yummy but greasy. Once I came for a catered event, featuring lots of vegetarian dishes, and they were really fantastic.
Bao- If you are starved for Asian food, and need to get your fix, this place is ok. But don’t expect anything exceptional. The cocktails are the highlight.
Kanapa- was not overly impressed, though had a decent borscht. They were out of Chicken Kiev, one of their most famous dishes, the night we were there. A bit of an odd atmosphere, feels like you are in your grandmother’s living room.
Yoshi Fujiwara- ok sushi, the one highlight is the tuna selection, including fatty tuna. Unpleasant staff.
Al Faro- everything was underwhelming except for the pizza, which had great crust and toppings. The atmosphere is unexceptional, and I think the place is an overall miss.
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