The best restaurants in Samarkand, Uzbekistan
After being stuck in Samarkand for more than one week due to visa issues, I ate in as many different restaurants as possible. I tried to make my days a bit more fun by going from restaurant to restaurant and trying out new Uzbek food. Samarkand might not be the most interesting city after having seen all the interesting sights such as Registan, but it’s not the worst place to get stuck in. I found some real hidden gems with my friends and I’m happy to inform other travelers who might find themselves stuck there too, or just want to try the best food that Samarkand has to offer.
Isn’t it ironic that one of the best restaurants in Samarkand is called Samarkand? Our receptionist told us about this place after a few days at the hostel and we gladly accepted his advice. We had eaten at some local places that gave me stomach ache so I was longing for some good food. He told us it was the “best restaurant in Samarkand” so we had to try. When you enter the restaurant, it looks like a luxurious hotel. It’s decorated with majestic chandeliers, it has high ceilings and the restaurant just looks very expensive. We were very hesitant and asked the waiters several times for the menu, but they insisted we sit down. Nervous, we opened the menu and found out that… it was probably one of the cheapest restaurants we’ve visited. We were in shock. We had no idea how a restaurant that looked so posh could be so cheap. We ate, drank beer and had dessert, all for 5$ each. Not only is it cheap, the restaurant is also very good! If you’re a vegetarian, there’s some really good salad options for you. All in all, Samarkand was our favorite place and we visited it more than once.
Platan is this hidden gem in Samarkand that you have to know about in order to bump into it. We were fortunate enough to have met a group of people who’d been recommended this place by a local so we hurried up and went there. There’s both a restaurant and cafe area. They have separate menus, but you can usually sit in either of these areas and order from both the cafe and the restaurant. The food here was one of the best I had in Uzbekistan and I was happy to find out that it’s really affordable as well. The portions are huge too, which is always a good thing. This place is especially good for vegetarians because they even have a vegetarian section! Imagine that! If you’re traveling as a vegetarian in Central Asia, you know the struggles. Therefore, it was great to find a place that had more than just salad as an option. What makes Platan so nice as well is that it’s actually a nice place to sit down in, so we spent an hour or two here just chatting away and eating some delicious Uzbek food.
If you’re in the mood for some greasier food, I can highly recommend Lavash. It’s not a fancy restaurant, it’s a fast food place where you can get kebabs, tacos and pizza. Sometimes you just crave something else than plov and that’s why Lavash became a life savior. It’s cheap, it’s good and it’s not your traditional Uzbek food. That’s all you need sometimes.