When it comes to food, Ukraine is the land of abundance, with distinct regional variations. In western Ukraine, gastronomy leans towards Central Europe. Local versions of polenta (banosh) and goulash (bograch) are especially popular. Central Ukraine is where you'll find traditional Ukrainian cuisine at its best, with borshch (beetroot soup), varenyky (dumplings) and halushky (pasta cubes) as main staples. Odesa and southern Ukraine have a cuisine of their own – heavy on vegetables stews and Black Sea fish.

The Basics

There are several types of eatery in which to sample Ukraine's culinary offerings, though many establishments multitask.

  • Restaurant (ресторан) Can be upmarket, casual, Soviet or just a fancy cafe. Some specialise in one type of food (varenyky – stuffed dumplings – for instance).
  • Cafe (кафе) Either more basic than a restaurant and with cheaper food, or a fancy, central-European coffeehouse such as in Lviv.
  • Stolova (столова) A self-service canteen, often the best choice as you can see what you are getting. Prices per 100g.
  • Kiosk You may find yourself at one of these enjoying anything from a hotdog to a waxed tray of pancakes.