Since 2003 when I first discovered Mongolia, the offer of restaurants and quality increased drastically in the capital city. At the beginning I remember the most favored restaurant in town by the Mongolian people was the Khan Brau, a german brewery that has been since transformed into a cashmere shop right in front of the Mongolian National Theater. Today, more and more quality restaurants are opening, offering more choice for the hungry tourists that we are. Here is my list of the 10 personal favorite restaurant I recommend in Ulan Bator.
So many memories attached to this incredible restaurant, spending time drinking a little rosé at the terrace of the place. La Véranda is providing both quality and stable good prices throughout the years. The place is nicely decorated with comfortable seats in a warm atmosphere. You can seat on colorful cosy sofas or have a rest on the terrace with a view on the Choijin Lama temple nearby. The food choice is arguably the best Mediterranean food in town, bringing on the table mixed salads, pastas, and delicious pizzas (the best one is with anchovy and breaded aubergine dressing). Meatlover? La Véranda offers the best steaks too. A safe bet would be to order the Osso Bucco, the Piccata pork or the juicy salmon. How to get there: Located the right side of the Choijin Lama temple, or also behind the Blue Sky Tower near the Genghis Khan’s square. There are 2 different restaurants inside of the same building: the Silk Road (1st floor), and La Véranda at the 2nd floor. Prices: between 7 to 12 euros a meal. Specialities: Italian, Mediterranean receipes To guaranty a table, best to book it beforehands, especially during summer season!
As its name suggests, it is an Indian restaurant. Actually it is not the only indian restaurant in the city, one of the new comers this one stands out and propose much more than the other ones. You will be welcomed in a really nicely decorated interior with obvious indian influence, with a cuisine coming from North of India, you have the choice for spicy or non-spicy meals. The best chicken tandoori to date is to be expected in this restaurant, as well as other curry delicacies. I can recommend the Ghost Palak, a sort of spinach curry with lamb, one of my personal favorites, served with some Naan garlic and a mango Lhassi (yogurt). How to get there: Located in Baga Toiruu, it is very close to the Hotel Guide, and from there you only need to cross the street. Prices: between 7 to 8 euros a meal, without rice or Naans. Be aware that the meals are served in big plates, and 2 or 3 dishes are enough per person. You can always take away the rest to continue this nice gustatory pleasure home! Specialities: Indian
The Bluefin has 2 locations in Ulan Bator: one is a specialized in steakhouse near the Kempinski Hotel at the East side of the capital city, and the Bluefin art cuisine, at the center near the Genghis Khan’s square. This last one is particularly interesting for us, bringing to Mongolia the best and elaborated international cuisine. Sea food represents a big part of the offer with the delicious mussels, shrimps and calmars. The offer is completed with various beef from Australia, stews, fish and several sorts of sushis and californian rolls. The nights are animated with jazzy sounds with musicians on stage, creating a nice and cozy atmosphere. How to get there: Almost touching the National Library, in front of the Genghis Khan’s square. Prices: between 8 to 12 euros a meal Specialities: international
2 different restaurants located near the 1st maternity, and the other one in the city center on Seoul street. It is the best place to encounter expatriates who gather there. You can enjoy the most fresh and delicious food in the city, knowing the chef is himself growing his own herbs (thym, basilic) and works with local breeders and herders. You can choose from pizzas, small by the size but absolutely delicious, some paninis and sandwiches, and the meal of the day and some pastas. The best I recommend would be the fried calamar with basilic served with marvelously cooked potatoes. How to get there: Going from the department store towards the circus, arriving on Seoul street, turn left and keep walking for 50 more meters. The restaurant is in front of the Russian embassy on the other side of the street. Prices: between 8 to 10 euros a meal Specialities: international, sandwich, italian
The Casablanca has yet to be found on the list of the best restaurants in Ulan Bator, simply because it is known more as a bar than a restaurant. You can find fresh and Asia inspired quality food, just like the tasty Indonesian Beef Rendang, or their sheep with curry and other asian style soups. It is the best place if you are seeking for a drink with friends accompanied by a water mouthing dish. How to get there: Within the Bayangol Hotel, at the south of Genghis Khan’s square, towards the peace bridge. Prices: between 8 to 10 euros a meal Specialities: asian, international
Mexikhan is a more recent comer, proposing Mexican delicacies. It is a nice place to find for spicy and crusty food lovers, and you will have a great selection of the best fajitas, burritos or chili con carne. In summer time, what best to have a rest at the terrace outside and enjoy a nice meal? Main dishes, ok, but please, keep some room for the dessert of the restaurant: the hot chocolate fondue with churros, a real treat for all your senses! How to get there: Within the Regency residence, at the south-east of Genghis Khan’s square, on Embassy street. Prices: between 10 to 12 euros a meal Specialities: Mexican
The must-see! A beautiful restaurant and very spacious, located close to the Tumen Ekh Ensemble. Best for groups, it excels in wedding parties in Ulan Bator! 4 different menus are proposed between korean food, chinese, japanese or western style dishes. You shall try the Gyozas, wonderfully prepared, one of the best sushis in town, and various spicy soups that will let your mouth on fire well after the dinner! (great for winter time). If you want a place that can please different gourmets and food craving people, search no longer: it has everything you would like to order. How to get there: From the central Genghis Khan Square, go towards the peace bridge. Right before arriving to the bridge, turn left. You will see an arc, and the building in front of you is the restaurant. Prices: between 10 to 15 euros a meal Specialities: korean, japanese, western
If you miss a piece of France, and some typical specialities of the north-west coast from the Brittany region, search no longer: the Triskell is here in Ulan Bator to fill your need. Yannick opened the restaurant back in 2011, making this place just like his neighbor Le Bistrot Français the place to spot french people! There are always some people to connect with, especially on friday evenings, to share a beer and eat together. The special Breton wafers as well as the freshly grilled meats will arouse your senses! Especially after several days in the Mongolian countryside, the Triskell will be a much welcomed or needed stop! How to get there: at the north of Genghis Khan Square, go from the north-east corner of the square and continue straight north. After the crossing you will see the Triskell after Le Bistrot Français. Prices: between 10 to 15 euros a meal Specialities: Breton, grill
Well, if you are like most foreigners who will say that the Mongolian cuisine is not that appealing, you are probably wrong! This restaurant provides the best offer in town for the typical traditional and modernized nomadic food. When you enter you will be encouraged to discover the decoration, as every props have been placed like in a museum: items under glass, with a cozy slightly dimmed-lighted environment. The menu is giving you the best possible dishes Mongolia has to offer, reworked in a fashion that all the foreigners love! The boiled sheep’s head, the Bodog (to be ordered a day before consumed) or a huge variety of typical Mongolian plates and soups are here to seduce you. It is even better for the tourists than the so-often visited Modern Nomads restaurants, which are good but too crowded. For the sensitive stomachs, it is the best place to start a journey in Mongolia! How to get there: at the north of Genghis Khan Hotel, very close to the Sky Department Store, it is best to go there by taxi, a bit far away from the center of Ulan Bator. Prices: between 8 to 12 euros a meal Specialities: Mongolian cuisine
The last one on this top 10 is a Japanese restaurant! The Sakura is a very small place, family style business at the center of Ulan Bator. With only 9 tables you better either come before 12am or well after 14:00pm if you don’t want to wait for a seat! The choice is not that large but the dishes are succulent and well prepared, with some Japanese currys, soups and delicious cakes for dessert! It is a praized location for all the workers around. How to get there: on Beatles street (yes and there is a monument of the Beatles in Ulan Bator), right in front of the main entrance of the Department Store. Go south towards the end of the street and this is the last restaurant on the right side of the street. Prices: between 4 to 6 euros a meal Specialities: Japanese I realize this list is purely a subjective reflection of my taste! As asked for the 10 best of the best, I would not hesitate a second to bring you back those ones. But others are great too and if the chance drives you to Ulan Bator, don’t hesitate to stop at the two other Indian restaurants the Hazara and the Delhi Darbar worth for their quality. Ulan Bator tends now to offer much more than before, and even if it is not THE capital city recognized worldwide for its food offering, it gets better and better! Sylvain