Restaurants in Azerbaijan: A Mouthwatering Journey Through Azerbaijani Cuisine
If you’re planning a trip to this unique country, get ready to experience a delightful culinary adventure. Azerbaijani cuisine is a harmonious blend of Eastern and Western flavors, offering a wide variety of dishes for food lovers. In this guide, we’ll take you on a gastronomic journey through some of the best restaurants in Baku, Gabala, and Ganja, covering everything from traditional eateries to modern fusion dining experiences. Let’s dive right in!
1. Baku: The Capital’s Culinary Scene
a. Şirvanşah Musey Restoran
Located in the heart of Baku’s Old City, Şirvanşah Musey Restoran offers a unique combination of authentic Azerbaijani cuisine and a cozy atmosphere. The restaurant is housed in a historic building, and its interior is decorated with traditional Azerbaijani carpets, giving it a warm and welcoming feel. The menu features a range of local specialties, such as dolma, plov, and tandir bread. Make sure to try their signature kebabs and don’t forget to order some mouthwatering baklava for dessert.
b. Sumakh Restaurant
For a more upscale dining experience in Baku, look no further than Sumakh Restaurant. This elegant eatery offers a stylish atmosphere and stunning views of the Caspian Sea. The menu boasts an array of Azerbaijani and Mediterranean dishes, with a focus on fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Try their sumptuous fish dishes or the slow-cooked lamb shank with seasonal vegetables. Pair your meal with a selection from their extensive wine list, which features both local and international options.
2. Gabala: Regional Delights in the Heart of Azerbaijan
a. Qabala Chay Bagi
Nestled in the picturesque town of Gabala, Qabala Chay Bagi is a charming restaurant that offers a true taste of Azerbaijani hospitality. The restaurant features both indoor and outdoor seating areas, with a lush garden providing the perfect backdrop for a leisurely meal. The menu highlights traditional Azerbaijani dishes, such as qutab, a delicious stuffed flatbread, and dushbara, a hearty soup with tiny dumplings. Be sure to save room for their scrumptious homemade halva for dessert!
b. Qebele Tendiristi
Qebele Tendiristi is a must-visit for bread lovers visiting Gabala. This cozy bakery and restaurant specializes in tandir bread, a traditional Azerbaijani flatbread baked in a clay oven. The bakery offers a variety of fillings for their bread, including cheese, herbs, and meat. Pair your tandir with a steaming cup of Azerbaijani tea, and enjoy a simple yet satisfying meal in this charming eatery.
3. Ganja: Discovering the Flavors of Western Azerbaijan
a. Nizami Ganjavi Restaurant
Named after the renowned Azerbaijani poet Nizami Ganjavi, this elegant restaurant in Ganja offers a refined dining experience. The menu focuses on traditional Azerbaijani dishes, with a special emphasis on the flavors of the western regions. Try their delicious levengi, a stuffed chicken dish with walnuts and pomegranate, or the aromatic pilaf with chestnuts and dried fruits.
b. Ganja Sharab Evi
Ganja Sharab Evi is a unique spot to experience both traditional Azerbaijani cuisine and local wines in a warm and welcoming atmosphere. With its rustic décor and charming courtyard, this restaurant is a perfect spot for a leisurely meal. The menu features a variety of local favorites, including kebabs, dolma, and kufte. Be sure to ask the knowledgeable staff for wine pairing suggestions, as the restaurant boasts an impressive selection of local wines to complement your meal.
4. Azerbaijani Street Food: Flavors on the Go
No trip to Azerbaijan would be complete without sampling the country’s delicious street food offerings. Here are a few must-try snacks that you can easily find at street vendors and food stalls throughout the country:
These thin, crispy flatbreads are filled with a variety of ingredients, such as minced meat, cheese, or pumpkin. Gutab is typically cooked on a griddle and served hot, making it a perfect snack to enjoy while exploring Azerbaijan’s bustling markets and streets.
Dovga is a refreshing Azerbaijani yogurt soup that is typically served cold, making it a perfect snack for a hot day. The soup is made with yogurt, herbs, and rice, and can be enjoyed as a light meal or a palate-cleansing snack between heavier dishes.
c. Tendir Chorek
This traditional Azerbaijani bread is baked in a clay oven called a tandir. Tendir chorek is often enjoyed as a street food snack, sometimes topped with sesame seeds or stuffed with sweet or savory fillings. Don’t miss the opportunity to try this delicious bread while wandering the streets of Azerbaijani cities and towns.
Azerbaijan is a true food lover’s paradise, with its rich culinary heritage, diverse regional flavors, and mouthwatering street food. We hope this guide has given you a taste of what to expect when exploring the country’s vibrant restaurant scene. Whether you’re savoring a traditional Azerbaijani feast in a cozy Old City eatery or enjoying a refreshing bowl of dovga on a sun-soaked terrace, the flavors of Azerbaijan are sure to leave a lasting impression on your taste buds.