Food Critic: A halal bite at Bessarabsky Market

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Sept. 27, 2012, 10:42 p.m. | Food & Nightclubs — by Elena Pashkovskaya

Walking on Bessarabsky square in downtown Kyiv, it’s easy to make the mistake of overlooking a small cafe called Lina’ss Caffe.

Elena Pashkovskaya

Walking on Bessarabsky square in downtown Kyiv, it’s easy to make the mistake of overlooking a small cafe called Lina’ss Caffe.

This small but tasty place right next door to the Billa supermarket offers nothing special apart from decent, affordable portions of Middle Eastern and South European dishes, often with both regular and halal versions. 

That’s enough of a reason to stop by for most stomachs.

Lina’ss occupies two floors, but fills up quickly around lunchtime. 

Don’t panic as you can order takeout, which will make your meal even cheaper.

While the streetside tables are a bit cramped, they offer a view of the action in downtown Kyiv. In contrast, the downstairs eating area offers more privacy and comfort, with stone tables, cozy chairs and mirror walls.

The menu is user-friendly, with pictures of dishes that are useful if you don’t know, for example, what comes in a marush (a sandwich with chicken, pickled cucumbers and sauce) or falafel (fried ball or patty made from beans wrapped in pita with vegetables and spicy sauce).

After several visits, I found my perfect lunch dish – “Meat Breakfast.” It includes an omelette, french fries, light salad, succulent chicken pieces and costs only Hr 43. But I also developed a fondness for “Lina’ss Tauk”– chicken kebabs with souse and french fries, also Hr 43. 

Full meals rarely exceed Hr 50-100. 

If you’re not that hungry, try the mushroom cream soup (Hr 23), a delicious combination with Lina’ss house bread.

In general, various sandwiches cost about Hr 23 if you eat in, but fall as low as Hr 15 for takeout. That’s a hard to beat price for those who don’t mind lunching on a Khreshchatyk bench or in a nearby park.

The main advantages of Lina’ss are: Service is simple, yet sufficient; food, including various salads, is fresh; queues are  never long, and the bill is always ready when you want to pay.

If you have not finished your entire meal, the waitress will swiftly wrap your food in a container.

The waitresses are mostly local. The ever-present manager is from the Middle East.

The atmosphere is really nice, especially downstairs.

The only potential discomfort, depending upon your sensitivity, could be the music channel playing too loud.

A lot of foreigners hold their business lunches there, and it’s common to hear two or three languages being spoken at any given time.

Lina’ss Caffe
2 Bessarabska Square
(063) 669-6799.

Kyiv Post staff writer Elena Pashkovskaya can be reached at 

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