A Friendly Guide to Restaurants in Turkmenistan
This Central Asian country, known for its stunning architecture and rich history, also boasts a delightful culinary scene. Join us as we explore some of the most incredible dining experiences the country has to offer, from authentic Turkmen cuisine to international favorites.
1. Authentic Turkmen Cuisine
Located in the capital city of Ashgabat, Ayak-Ui is a top choice for experiencing authentic Turkmen cuisine. The restaurant offers a cozy atmosphere with traditional Turkmen decorations, creating the perfect setting for you to savor dishes like palaw (rice pilaf), ichlekli (meat pie), and dograma (a hearty soup). Don’t forget to try the refreshing chal, a fermented camel milk beverage, to complement your meal.
Dýýahan, also in Ashgabat, is a popular spot for both locals and tourists seeking delicious Turkmen food. The restaurant serves up a variety of traditional dishes, including gutap (fried dough with meat and vegetables), manty (steamed dumplings), and kebabs. Make sure to save room for dessert, as their baklava and chak-chak are not to be missed.
2. International Cuisine
Craving a taste of Italy? Look no further than Daýhan Pizzeria in Ashgabat. With a wide variety of pizzas, pastas, and salads, this spot offers a delicious break from traditional Turkmen cuisine. The laid-back atmosphere and friendly staff make it an excellent choice for families and groups of friends.
For those seeking a taste of Turkish cuisine, Çinar Restaurant in Ashgabat is an excellent choice. The restaurant offers a warm atmosphere and a menu filled with traditional Turkish dishes like lahmacun, pide, and various kebabs. Be sure to try their ayran, a cold yogurt drink, to cool down on a hot day.
3. Vegetarian and Vegan Options
Vegetarians and vegans will find a welcoming haven at Görogly Café in Ashgabat. The menu boasts a wide array of plant-based dishes, including salads, sandwiches, and a variety of flavorful vegetable stews. The cozy atmosphere and friendly staff make it a great spot to relax and enjoy a delicious meal.
My Happy Kitchen
Located in Turkmenabat, My Happy Kitchen is another excellent option for vegetarians and vegans. This small and charming café offers a selection of creative plant-based dishes, such as veggie burgers, wraps, and smoothie bowls. Don’t miss their homemade desserts, like the vegan chocolate cake and fruit tarts.
4. Cafés and Desserts
Bagt Köşgi, situated in Ashgabat, is the perfect spot to satisfy your sweet tooth. This elegant café offers a wide array of delicious pastries, cakes, and cookies, as well as coffee and tea. The charming atmosphere, complete with a beautiful garden, makes it an ideal place to enjoy a leisurely afternoon with friends or family.
Milli Çayhana, located in the heart of Mary, is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike who are looking to enjoy a relaxing tea break. The café serves a variety of traditional Turkmen teas, as well as a selection of sweets and snacks like gözleme (a stuffed flatbread), samsa (savory pastries), and sweet halva. With its inviting atmosphere and friendly staff, Milli Çayhana is an excellent place to unwind after a day of sightseeing.
5. Street Food and Markets
No visit to Turkmenistan would be complete without experiencing its bustling street food scene. One of the best places to do this is at Tolkuchka Bazaar, located just outside of Ashgabat. This massive market is filled with food vendors offering a variety of traditional Turkmen dishes and snacks, such as shashlik (grilled meat skewers), dürüm (meat-filled wraps), and pilaf. Be sure to arrive hungry and ready to explore the myriad of flavors on offer.
In the city of Turkmenabat, Lebap Bazaar is another excellent destination for street food lovers. Here, you can find a range of dishes that reflect the diverse culinary influences of the region, including Uzbek, Russian, and Persian cuisines. Don’t miss the opportunity to try sarychörek (a thin, crispy flatbread) or lagman (a hearty noodle dish), both popular among locals.
6. Fine Dining
For a truly special dining experience, consider a visit to Nusay Restaurant in Ashgabat. This upscale establishment offers a fusion of Turkmen and European cuisines, with an emphasis on fresh, high-quality ingredients. The elegant décor and attentive service make Nusay an ideal choice for a romantic evening or a celebratory meal.
Altyn Ýelken, located in the picturesque coastal city of Türkmenbaşy, offers a fine dining experience with stunning views of the Caspian Sea. The menu features a range of seafood dishes, as well as traditional Turkmen and European options. The refined atmosphere and impeccable service make it a popular choice for special occasions or simply an unforgettable meal.
We hope this friendly guide has given you a taste of the diverse and delicious dining experiences that await you in Turkmenistan. From authentic Turkmen cuisine to international favorites, there’s something to suit every palate.