Top things to do

Top Choice Mongolian in Irkutsk


Take your taste buds to the Mongolian steppe for some yurt-size portions of mutton, lamb and steak as well as filling soups and buuzy dumplings, sluiced down with a bottle from the decent foreign wine list. Smiley s…
Top Choice Cafe in Irkutsk

Belaya Vorona

Disciples of the bean should definitely head to the ‘White Crow’, a relaxing cellar-based coffee hang-out hiding from view in the cellar of a flower shop on the main drag. A funky soundtrack provides background for …
Top Choice Russian in Irkutsk


Arguably the best eating addition in the 130 Kvartal, this retro restaurant serves up a 100% Soviet-era menu (think upmarket pelmeni, okroshka, shchi, kvas and grandmother's pickles) in a plush Stalinist banqueting …
Bakery in Irkutsk

La Boulangerie & Patisserie

This is the kind of place Siberia's earliest Francophones, the Decembrists, must have dreamed would emerge in Irkutsk one day. Believe us, no freshly baked croissant feels more invigorating than the one consumed str…
Pub in Irkutsk

Brasserie BBB

Belgian Benoit de With ended his career as beer plant manager and set up this great beer place. It has its own beer (cheap) and dozens of kinds of Belgian and other international beers. Belgian and French food is go…
Buryat in Irkutsk

Poznaya na Lenina

With a stylishly dark interior and Buryat-themed modern paintings on the walls, this otherwise unpretentious cheapie is possibly the best place to sample pozy (R40 per person) and other Buryat-Mongolian fare in the …
Market in Irkutsk

Central Market

Very central indeed, Irkutsk's well-maintained and perfectly authentic market is the place to stock up on cedar nuts, taiga herbs and Siberian fish, notably the famous Baikal omul, which can be packed in hermetic ce…
Cafe in Irkutsk

Castro Cafe

This place is cleverly divided into two areas – the downstairs bar for those who want a quick cup of brew, and a brightly coloured upstairs lounge zone with comfy couches and cushions.
Museum in Irkutsk

Volkonsky House-Museum

The duck-egg-blue and white home of Decembrist Count Sergei Volkonsky, whose wife Maria Volkonskaya cuts the main figure in Christine Sutherland’s unputdownable book The Princess of Siberia, is a small mansion set i…
Monastery in Irkutsk

Znamensky Monastery

Stranded on the wrong side of a thundering roundabout, the 1762 Znamensky Monastery is 1.9km northeast of Skver Kirova. Echoing with mellifluous plainsong, the wonderful interior has muralled vaulting, a towering ic…