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Tricks in Ukrainian Restaurants

One cold but nice evening we’ve decided to have our dinner at one of the top restaurants / night clubs in Kyiv. Being not sure about the crowd, we called to reserve a table, but they’ve turned us down saying, that it was impossible. Ok, whatever, we agreed to give it a try anyway. We’ve got there not too late and managed to get a table in the lounge area. A pretty girl was singing and aslo playing sax, creating an absolutely wonderful atmosphere. Our waiter knew his job and we’ve been anticipating a great evening.

We’ve got the menu and started to choose the drinks first. It was not a simple task. After we’ve chosen our wine with the help of a sommelier and ordered it, we were told they has just run out of it. It seems that the usual Murphys Law works everywhere. Well, ok, we’ve agreed to what the sommelier recommended instead. It wasn’t bad. How many times I was catching myself on the thought, that in order to save time, it’s maybe better not to choose your meal on your own, but to ask the waiter, what they’ve got. It’s Ukraine!

As for the food, I’ve ordered risotto with tiger prawns, nothing special, and my friend has ordered a steak with vegetables. This is where the fun begins. They’ve brought us a steak of the size of an elephant! I regret so much we didn’t take a picture of it! We could easily feed 2 more people. I asked the waiter, how much meat were there. The answer was – ‘a bit over one kilogram or something’. But we didn’t ask for a kilo of steak for one person. Of course in the menu the price was indicated per 100 grams, but the volume of the ready meal hasn’t been mentioned there. But anyway how could you expect over a kilogram of steak for one person? Why the waiter didn’t tell us anything? Because it is how they make you spend more money. Our steak cost us over 2,000 hryvnia! It was deliscious, to tell the truth, but we could never expect our bill to be so high and nobody would, I think! Of course, we couldn’t finish it all, but we tried! I had to join my friend even when I didnt feel like eating meat. Anyway, we left about half of it untouched. Maybe a hungry poor Ukrainian restaurant kitchen worker has finished it for us! Well, we had the money to pay our huge bill, but if we wouldn’t? Would we end up washing the toilets and dishes to cover the damage or they would just call a militsia? Probably the second part. It’s Ukraine! So, just be wise and follow the rules: pay attention if the price is indicated per meal or per grams, and if you don’t see the meal output, ask your waiter.

Just before I finish the story, here is another hint. If they offer you something instead of what you’ve ordered, make sure to check the price. At another top Kyiv restaurant, when you order tea, they ask if you’d like to try their special tea. So, you say, yes, why not! Well, expect your tea to cost you about 200 hryvnia. Some kind of a “very special Ukrainian tea”!

Ok, and one more thing. Don’t use an ATM machine at the entrance to Arena city entertainment (in Kyiv), just next to security and next to the wardrobe stand. Next day after using it we had to call our bank to stop the card, as it was hooked and lots of $ have been drained out of it. Our bank returned everything to us afterwards as it’s been proved that we were robbed, but it cost us a lot of damaged nerves.

I guess it could happen anywhere though, not only in Ukraine, so while travelling just stay alert, use common sense and pay attention to details.