Meals have become more reasonable this year, with real competition cushioning the pocket book. Hotels may still crush the budget, but it is now possible to find good, filling food for under $5, and under $3 for simple fare more and more the norm.
Catering to locals, the restaurants, cafes and bars are following an age-old dictum of making money off of volume.
Salad Bars are the surprise of the season: several good places now offer bountiful salad selections that are eons beyond the lettuce and carrots menu in the States. Armenian salads are a feast in themselves, and we doubt anyone goes away unstuffed from one of these feasts. This is the best value in Yerevan for cheap eats.
Cheap eats (around $3 or less)
5 Baghramian St.
1500 AMD for cold salad bar, includes glass of tan.
Sargisian street (down from HSBC, opposite Shahumian Statue)
1500 AMD for filling meal, lamadjium that will stuff you for 500 AMD.
Abovian and Arami (catty corner to Sil Plaza)
$1-3 for sandwiches and fixins. Hot dogs, chips and fries are served in this food stand. Run by same owner of the upscale Dolmama. Food is good, go early before it gets dry.
PIZZA DI ROMA
Abovian above H'raparak
1300 AMD for salad bar.
Hanrapetetiun and Tumanian
1300 AMD for the best salad bar in town.
OUTDOOR CAFE FARE
$2-5 for sandwiches to pizzas to cooked meals. All cafes serve food of some kind, and most are cheap: sandwiches for around 600+ AMD, pizzas for 1000+ AMD. The more upscale the cafe, the more the food costs, but not always: Malibu has toasted chicken fillet or ham sandwiches for 600 drams, others are comparable. With beer, chips it will set you back around 1000-1250 AMD.
SANDWICH STANDS ON TUMANIAN OPPOSITE OPERA SQUARE POND.
250-1500 AMD for sandwiches, kebab or sharma. These are local favorites, so follow your nose the one that looks most appetizing and has the most locals in front. No sitting, you eat and run.
Khandjian St. and Abovian
Still a good deal at 500 AMD for most sandwiches, made to order.
SOUTHERN FRIED CHICKEN
Tigran Mets below H'raparak Square, opposite Apotheka
1050+ for full meal (sandwich, fries, drink). New self-serve by Republic Square, the food is what you would imagine for a KFC rip off, but filling and cheap
PROSHIAN STREET (KHOROVATS STREET)
You still cannot beat simple khorovats for the best taste in town: juicy morsels of grilled pork in abed of greens blanketed by lavash. The entire street from Amirian and Baghramian is chock full of khorovats restaurants, each outdoing the other in size, decor and food. The best are still the mom and pop venues, but you want to know what to pick, or go with a friend to get the best ones. Per Shisha cost around 1500 AMD, but some will give you a sandwich for 1000 AMD. Also have grilled chicken for around 1000 AMD with meals at around 2500+.
Inexpensive (around $5)
Nalbandian at Sakharov Square.
Previously Indian, previously Ginetun. Cheap enough at $5 for small meal, nice atmosphere.
Bar Fare: Almost all bars have sandwiches, pizza or other specialties, costing from 600 AMD on up.
5 Marshall Baghramian Street
1500 salad bar, 3000 with hot dishes.
For a buffet, this is good, 2 trips to salad bar and one trip for hot dishes. The dishes are all Armenian-middle eastern, spicy. Hot dishes can be dry from sitting in the food warmers, but for the price, not bad. Price includes free glass of chilled TAN (yogurt-water). A must if you are on a budget and have to fill up.
Marx St. just beyond Baghramian
No name on door, has a Bon Aqua sign in the top window.
$5 for meal. Tiny off-the wall space, specializes in salads and sandwiches, always fresh and tasty. Worth a trip.
PIZZA DI ROMA
Abovian at Republic Square
Pizzas are OK, filling. Salad bar is the deal, at 1300 drams, one trip but as much as you want. Air conditioning is a real problem here, better to go to Buffet or Pizza H.U.T.
Hanrapetituin at Tumanian
1300 drams for salad bar, $5 for pizza meals
Salad bar excellent, one trip but you can cram as much as you want on the plat. Pizzas are fair to good.
Middle Fare ($5-10+)
Tel: 564 600
29 Tumanian opposite Opera Square, just beyond Mashtots.
$8-10 and up for meal in classy restaurant with impeccable service. Specialize in French, European cuisine. A real jewel for Yerevan. Live classical music after 19.00.
$5-10 per person.
Expats from international agencies report cases of food poisoning, menu is NOT Tex-Mex or any rendition thereof, a combination Armenian-Russian food with chile spice.
$5-8 for meals. Pseudo Mexican in an Armenian hotel. Go figure.
Abovian Street opposite Mr. Pig
1000-3000 AMD for simple meal and drinks.
Trendy cafe with indifferent service when busy, food can be quite good, also can be tasteless. This has been the place to be seen for expats, but it is on one of the most dusty corners in Yerevan.
Baghramian St. opposite American University
$5-10+ for meals. Dishes are named after famous Holmes cases. Old England feel.
Tel: 545 900
3 Amirian Street between H'raparak and Mashtots (closer to H'raparak)
$10+ for meal, individual dishes are $5-10 each. French, European, Armenian and Russian menu, food is very good, just too expensive for the portions.
Arami St. just beyond Abovian en route to Nalbandian St.
$20+ per person for very good food in an intimate atmosphere redolent of European salons. No reservations, The small restaurant fills early and stays full on weekends.
Koriun and Abovian (Opposite the Medical Institute look for the armored knight)
$10+ for meals with medieval flair. Good eats in fun atmosphere.
Tel: 584 993
37 Nalbandian St.
Middle Eastern dishes in a classy place, very expensive.
Italian Street, just above Congress Hotel, opposite Shahumian Statue
French operated Restaurant and Gay/Lesbian Disco.
Food: $20-30 per person for French menu. Snacks around 3000 drams. Guard at front entrance is obnoxious, willing to kill before letting you in. Talk to one of the servers for help.
Gay/Lesbian Disco: $5-10 entry, drinks for $2-5 each. Music loud and forceful. This is not for the feint of heart, after hours in the nearby alley could make a Frenchman blush.
Khandjian just above Pavstos Biusand
$10-20 per person for Armenian-Russian food.
The cafe is middle-priced and worth the rooftop view, the restaurant is over-priced, but beautiful.
Sayat Nova by Cascade
$10-20 per person for Armenian home-cooking. If you are hotel-bound, this is as authentic as you can get, if you will dine with a family, wait, as nothing beats real home-cooking. Atmosphere is a Disney-esque picture of an Armenian village. The live music is excellent.
Tel: 553 220
39 Sayat Nova at Charents
$10+ for authentic, unique Russian meals. Sumptuous feasts in a great Russian atmosphere.
5 Amirian St.
Arabic and Armenian, but closed a lot. $10+ for meals.