When picturing Yerevan I had no idea that there would be so many amazing restaurants in Yerevan to choose from. I knew it was the capital of Armenia so there must be something going on….but I was totally taken by surprise. While the cuisine is certainly a mix and you see many influences from neighbouring countries like Georgia, Turkey and Romania, Armenia certainly has it’s own spin on these classic meals. And some I have to say are better than I’ve tried anywhere in the world
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Yerevan is a city with a pretty tumultuous past. It’s actually one of the worlds oldest continuously inhabited cities and it’s seen its fair share of growth and destruction. Due to this Yerevan is a surprisingly modern looking city that has had to rebuild itself time and time again. As of today Yerevan and Armenia are seeing times of peace and this means a flourish of things that make life more enjoyable – an abundance of food and booze!
In this post, we are going to reveal a few of our favourite places to eat in Yerevan and we’ve also asked some of our fellow travellers what their favourite restaurants in Yerevan are as well. Our goal – to make sure you leave Yerevan with full bellies and fond memories of this fascinating and historical city.
9 Amazing Restaurants in Yerevan
Tavern Yerevan is a restaurant that transports you back in time. The decor is like old timey Armenia, the singers are in traditional clothing and singing traditional Armenian tunes. The menu is 100% traditional (no club sandwiches here to keep foreigners happy) and the atmosphere is quite simply – joyful. Some people see these restaurants as ‘fake’ or ‘touristy’ but when every other person in the restaurant appears to be a local and are all singing along with the performers at the top of their voices how can that be touristy?
We love restaurants like Tavern Yerevan and find that they are the best place to find a great variety of local dishes. Dishes like Armenia Tolma (similar to dolma) – obviously a dish popular throughout many regions but this version is now sitting as Tommo’s favourite in the world! A dish simply called Armenia that is a delicious blend of beef, bell pepper, peach dressing and spices. And the very traditional Spas which is a soup of egg, sour cream, matzoon (yoghurt), pounded wheat and greens. All washed down with a very affordable jug of wine, a visit to Tavern Yerevan is sure to be a fun and filling night out!
Lovers of desserts look no further – the chef at AdAstra is here to satisfy every sweet dream you’ve ever had. AdAstra is the restaurant that is part of the Radisson Blu hotel in Yerevan, we actually stayed a few nights at the hotel, but more on that later. Right now I have to tell you about the BEST Baklava we’ve ever had in our lives!!!
Actually, in Armenia, it’s called pakhlava and it’s a dish that was spread throughout this region by the Ottoman Empire many moons ago. Now, I’ve tried plenty of Baklava during my travels and I’ve always found it to be too sweet, too sticky and not my cup of tea….until now. This Chef knows how to combine ingredients to make the perfect mouthful that will keep you wanting more. Not too sweet, not too sticky just the perfect dessert. Not only is she amazing at Baklava but every single dessert we had at AdAstra was not only delicious to taste but plated so beautifully we honestly felt bad eating it.
More tasties from AdAstra…
AdAstra is not just a place for desserts but it’s a great restaurant in Yerevan to go and enjoy the sun setting over the city – they have an amazing view! Then stay for dinner and cocktails as the lights of the city turn on and start to sparkle.
You may (or may not) have heard that Armenia is famous for their cognac, or brandy, as cognac can only come from that region in France. But Armenia also has a truly ancient tradition of winemaking. They are in fact hot on the heels of Georgia trying to claim the oldest wine in the world. Currently, the title is held by Georgia with 8000 year old evidence found – but in Armenia, they do have the world oldest evidence of a winery dating back 6000 years ago. Which is pretty amazing too!!!
So, of course, you will need to have a wine tasting session while in Yerevan and In Vino is absolutely the place to do it. You can do a private tasting which is usually 4 wines with some seriously tasty snacks, or you can check their facebook page to see if they have any wine tasting events on when you are visiting. Just remember that these events are really popular and you will need to make a reservation in advance to secure a spot.
If you are a fan of Anthony Bourdain (and who isn’t may he RIP) then you might have seen his episode of Parts Unknown where he visits Armenia with System of a Down frontman Serj Tankian. If not go watch it it’s a great episode. One of the restaurants they visit while in Yerevan is At Gayane’s and we went along to try out this lovely little restaurant that offers fresh cooked local Armenian specialities plus traditional hospitality.
While the night we went it was very quiet (we were the only people there) we were given the utmost attention with the owner even calling her son in London because she didn’t 100% know how to describe what a dish was and he could tell us in English. She and the ladies that work with her are the sweetest and they make some delish homestyle Armenian meals that you are sure to love.
Lavash is the sister restaurant to Tavern Yerevan and offers many similar dishes but in a more modern atmosphere. Lavash is currently the number 1 restaurant on TripAdvisor in Yerevan which usually makes us weary that it could be a touristy hell hole – but this was not the case at all. The food was tasty and cooked fresh to order, with all of their ingredients coming straight from local farms. We recommend trying the Jingalov Hats (flatbread filled with greens pictured above) and tolma (cabbage wraps) and also the arishta which is a handmade Armenian Spaghetti. It’s quite a heavy dish but if you are a carb fanatic like me – you’ll love it.
The service was fantastic and the atmosphere was of modern sophistication. We do highly recommend you make a reservation if you want to visit Lavash as they do book out regularly.
More Restaurants in Yerevan….
As we were only in Yerevan for a few days and even though we honestly do try – there’s only so much we can eat. So we asked some fellow travellers what their favourite restaurants in Yerevan were and here are a few top suggestions:
Located in the heart of Yerevan, Dolmama is that place where travelers go to interact with locals and to have their taste buds tickled by the beauty of food cooked with love.
If you go to eat at Dolmama, you better be prepared. The variety of the menu and the wide selection of wines are sure to make you want to try out everything. My personal favorite though has to be the veal qufta. A different take on this traditional dish, it is the perfect examples of what a chef can do. The veal meat is pureed with local, traditional brandy and is cooked to perfection. It is then placed between a layer of cabbage mixed with mustard reduction and a sunny – side up fried egg laying nicely on top of caramelized onion.
There is nothing more exquisite than the freshness of the green salad, combined with the thickness of the veal and the richness of the fried egg. Add to this a glass of local apricot brandy and you’ll remember this meal forever!
Recommended by Iulia from The Traveling Tulip
I visit Yerevan frequently, at least once a year. Every single time as soon as I arrive at the city I head to Caucasus Tavern, located at 82 Hanrapetutyan St, some 10 minutes walking from Republic Square.
As the name suggests the place specializes at the local cuisine from Caucasus region. In the extensive menu you will find all the best dishes not only from Armenia but also from the neighboring countries: all kinds of grilled meat, salads, soups as well as khachapuri and khinkali and so much more. The menu can be actually a bit intimidating, there are too many options but each has the accompanying picture so it’s easier to make a choice.
Caucasus Tavern is also a perfect option for vegetarians (I am one). My favorite food there is vegetarian dolma, with lentils, chickpeas and beans inside – I haven’t eaten a better one anywhere else! Not only is food in the Caucasus is good, it also has very decent prices. The place is very spacious and open 24/7 so no matter when you go you’re in for a treat!
Recommended by Kamila from My Wanderlust
Like a lot of restaurants in Yerevan, Old Zanzegur Tavern is located underground. From the outside, it looked classy and elegant, and I thought out of my budget range so I just passed by it several times. When I did take a look at the menu displayed outside, however, I was surprised that it wasn’t as expensive as I thought!
Inside, the Tavern is even more impressive. The traditional décor has a medieval sort of feel, with the stone walls, and wine caskets displayed. Being underground, there were no windows, but since the ceilings were high, you wouldn’t feel claustrophobic.
The big winner is the wide range of cheap, delicious Armenian dishes they offer, and the friendly staff. I there several times and even brought a friend, and would definitely recommend them again and again.
Recommended by Aleah from Solitary Wanderer
If you need a little break from lavash and shashlik, Yerevan has a surprisingly decent Thai/pan-Asian food option that will definitely wake up your palate from all the Armenian food you’ve been eating! A friend recommended Wine Republic for Thai-inspired food. As you can probably guess by the name, the restaurant specializes in Armenian wines so you’ll have a lot of options there – I especially enjoyed the rosés. But the best things to order is the Thai food!
I went several times during my time in Yerevan and can recommend every dish I tried. The fresh summer rolls with vegetables were incredible, and the red chicken curry was so flavorful and delicious. I also really loved the pad kee mao (drunken noodles) which is one of my favorite Thai dishes to order. While not Thai, they also had fantastic gyoza that I couldn’t help but order every time! Don’t miss Wine Republic if you are seeking a break from Armenian food.
Recommended by Allison from Sofia Adventures
With so many Yerevan restaurant options to choose from you will for sure want to spend at least a few days hanging out in Yerevan and exploring all of the restaurants, bars, museums and more. So that means you are going to need somewhere to stay…..
Where to stay in Yerevan – Radisson Blu Hotel, Yerevan
We chose to stay at Radisson Blu Hotel, Yerevan for a few key reasons:
- The AdAstra restaurant we mentioned above is located at Radisson Blu Yerevan – we like to have good food close by
- Yerevan gets crazy hot in the summer months and we wanted a hotel that offered not only great air conditioning in the rooms but a pool to really relax in and cool off.
- We love hotels that have a design element to them and Radisson Blu Yerevan incorporates both the traditional styles of Armenia with new and comfortable hotel surroundings.
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Radisson Blu and slept better than we had in a while thanks to their massive king size beds and blackout curtains. I can’t tell you enough how much we appreciate a place that has legit blackout curtains where you can go full food coma mode and have a peaceful nap during the day.
We also took the time to explore their spa facilities which include a large indoor pool, sauna and steam room both of which actually worked. Tom loves the sauna and I love the steam room but sadly the number of times we’ve stayed somewhere where both are just a bit sad is too many to count. These spa rooms worked! And we loved going from room to room and then taking a dip in a pool to refresh ourselves. The only downside with the pool is it seems to be open to the public (i’m assuming for a fee) and there were a few times that it was overloaded with families taking their kids to cool off. But still, if you need to escape the 40+ Celsius heat – it’s a great pool with loads of space.
If you are staying at Radisson Blu Hotel, Yerevan here’s a top tip: make sure you get breakfast included as the chef works her magic with an incredible spread of pastries every single day! There is of course options of fresh made egg and waffle station, fresh fruit, yoghurts, cereals and local meats and cheeses as well. Oh! and fresh squeezed orange juice so tasty!
How to Get to Yerevan
Yerevan isn’t the easiest or cheapest of places to get in and out of and that’s why we included our visit on our most recent trip to Georgia. From the capital of Tbilisi, there are minibuses that leave daily to Yerevan but there is no real booking system and you have to turn up and hope you get a seat. Because of this, we chose to travel with KiwiTaxi private transfers.
We knew that the trip was going to be hot and we also knew that minibus drivers are notoriously INSANE! We wanted to travel with a company that we knew we could travel in comfort, have some personal space and travel with a reputable driver who won’t drive like a maniac and will get us there safely. In fact, our transfer even had wifi in the car until we crossed the border – how cool is that!
As I just mentioned you do have to do a border crossing to visit Armenia but the process is relatively straightforward – just make sure you don’t need a visa in advance. For our UK & Australian passports we didn’t need visas in advance as they are issued on arrival but we saw others having a bit more difficulty at the border. Also remember if you’ve been to Azerbaijan, they are not great friends with Armenia and vice versa. This can cause some other issues as well. Make sure you read up on all the requirements for your particular passport before booking your transfer.
While I did wish that the air conditioner worked a bit better (it was 45 degrees I can see why it was struggling) our private transfer with KiwiTaxi was just nice and easy…..and that’s what you want when you travel. Easy!
KiwiTaxi offer transfer services in loads of destinations. Check out their full destination list here