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Caravan – a great Uzbek restaurant!

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When we first moved to Chisinau, over two years ago, we lived right in the center, about a block away from the Caravan Restaurant. Being familiar with Central Asian food, our family loved to learn the existence of this Uzbek restaurant in Chisinau. Naturally, we have been to this restaurant again and again, so I have no clue why I have waited this long to write about it! Their “manty”, “plov” and “lagman” are my favorites!

Location

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If you live in the center, you can walk there. If you are driving from outside of the center, you can usually find spaces to park in front of it. If not, you can park somewhere else and walk there. It’s worth it!

Food

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“Manty” – steamed or fried meat dumplings are the best thing about this restaurant. However, their “lagman” soup is almost as good as the “manty”. This soup is a rich and flavorful dish with thick noodles, meat and vegetables,  and lots of Asian spices. Also, their rice dish called “plov” is also really good. They have several types of “plov” and we usually get the traditional Uzbek Plov. They also have shashlyk and other Central Asian dishes that are heavy on meat. If you are a vegetarian though, you can still order some grilled vegetables and noodles. Not much more…

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And here is another thing I love about this restaurant – THEY SERVE SUSHI!!!! Yes, they also have sushi. It’s not too bad too. Since two of my favorite things to eat are 1. Sushi and 2. Manty, this place just wins the top-5-restaurant-in-Chisinau list in my mind and heart. The prices here are a bit on the higher side, which is why we save this place for some special occasions. The food quality is good every time, though! For drinks, they have pretty much everything. They also have a smoking zone for those who like to top it of with Hookah! If you want to look at their menu, you can find it on their website (in English)! There is a list of links on the bottom of this post, so check that out!

Ambiance 

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Yurt-like seatings, red and gold colors on cushions and curtains, and exotic chandeliers make this place very attractive and cozy. When you have guests and you need to show them something different, this is the place to come. It pleases people right from the start. Music playing in the background is also different (although not always Uzbek), and not too loud. For those who have kids, the restaurant is very kid friendly. They have a separate smoking section, so the non-smoking area does not get stuffy. Also, there is a waterwheel at the entrance that makes it fun for the kids to watch. The waiters are also always smiling and helping them feel even more comfortable.

Service 

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We are always greeted here with a smile and served with care. Some of the waiters speak some English and are willing to help if you are not sure what the menu items are. The menu is very big and have no pictures, which can get overwhelming at times. However, it is in three languages, the third being English, so for the English speaking folks, that’s good news! The sushi menu is separate, so if you want that you have to ask for it, and that menu does have pictures.

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When you are spending a lot of money, good service is important because that’s what makes you feel like you want to return and spend again. Caravan does that pretty well, and for that reason the place is very popular, especially on weekends. So make sure you call and reserve ahead. When you are reserving, you can specify where you would like to sit too! Below are some links you may want to check out fore more information. If you haven’t been there yet, do go there and I hope you will enjoy it!

Links

Restaurant website: http://www.caravan.restorator.md/index.php/en/

Facebook page for the restaurant: https://www.facebook.com/caravan.restorator.md

TripAdvisor on the restaurant: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g294456-d1603679-Reviews-Caravan-Chisinau_Chisinau_District.html

 

 

Propaganda Cafe – A delight to discover

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I finally tried the new restaurant/cafe Propaganda this weekend and I have to say, I’m pleased about what I saw and ate. The interior design is a combination of antique and modern. It seems that there are too many things on the walls, but it somehow goes together very well and makes you feel like you are at home. Music in the background is not too loud and the genre ranges from jazz to folk songs in English. It feels comfortable to be there right away, and that’s a plus for the atmosphere!

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For food, we ordered an appetizer Quesadillas , and Pork Medallion for the main dish, and both tasted fresh and delicious. The Quesadillas seemed to be popular as I saw plates of them passing through the restaurant. All the food came fairly quick too! The wine list was pretty impressive, I would say. We found our favorite bottles from Et Cetera and Equinox for a reasonable price!

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The location is right in the center, which is perfect. It’s on Sciusev between Pushkin and Banulescu-Bodoni. If you are driving, you can park on the side of Sciusev.

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It is open from 8AM till 12Am. Also, the whole restaurant is NON-SMOKING! That’s not too easy to find in Chisinau. This means, it should be a nice place for bringing kids! I have not tried their breakfast yet, but it would be nice to go for breakfast there, and then walk to the Stefan Cel Mare park for a stroll!

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They don’t have a website yet, but they do have a lively Facebook Page, so check it out hereIMG_4544

Try this place and let us know what you think!  Enjoy!!!

Zen Sushi Restaurant 2014 – New Look, New Menu

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I have posted about Zen Sushi Restaurant before, and I am writing once again, mainly because they have changed their look and menu. It took them 5 or more months to get a new look.

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Personally, I am not too impressed with the changes. It is trying for a cool futuristic look. A bit more pub-y or night-life-y. But, I simply miss the cozy and peaceful Zen Sushi it was before.  The sushi is still pretty good though. Their rice is probably better than the other sushi restaurants in Chisinau. However, I am not in love with their noodle and other curry dishes. Their menu does not have pictures or English translations, but they say they are working on making a new menu.

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They took out the old ring-bar that spun sushi around the room and showed us how the chef’s are making sushi, which I really miss. Instead, they put a DJ stand above for some loud music when you need it. The bar looks nice, but it did not have any beer last time I was there. This not a big deal for me as I prefer my sushi with cold white wine (the best!).

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Despite some disappointments, I will still go there sometimes, but probably not as much as I did before. I hope that Zen Sushi will continue changing and adding pictures in the menu, and maybe change their recipes for noodles and curry. I think for people who may be new to Zen Sushi altogether, may like it because of it’s atmosphere and good sushi. I wrote about their sushi and location in my last post, if you are interested. The quality of the sushi is still the same, which is good.

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If anyone else has any opinions about this place, please leave a note below. Cheers!

GEOGRAFICO – Thai and Japanese Restaurant – What a Joy!!!!

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Recently, I heard about a restaurant called Geografico,which serves Thai, Chinese and Japanese food. So, I had to try it as I have been really starving for East Asian food. After visiting Geografico, I ended up falling in-love with the food I ordered. We ordered a chicken curry dish with coconut milk (forgot the name), pork fried spring rolls, royal pad thai and a roll of sushi. We ordered a Moritta beer to go with our food which was perfect! All of the food was delicious, beautiful, plentiful and affordable!

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This restaurant is right in the center, on Veronica Micle street, between Alecsandri and Armeneasca streets. It’s a hard restaurant to spot, because it is located under and overshadowed by a big and shiny restaurant called Carmelo. I have never been there yet, but the restaurant below, Geografico, is where I will be again and again!

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It has only been open for couple of months. Here is an article about it at Allfun that talks about the owner, the menu and the restaurant style.

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(This beautiful pictures is taken from the Allfun website where the article about the Geografico was found. If you click on the picture, it should take you there)

I liked the article; I thought it was true to what I felt at the restaurant.  It said that the restaurant has a minimalist design, so if you don’t feel too excited as you walk into the doors, don’t be surprised. They are concentrating on the quality of the food and want to create an easy-going atmosphere that people can come and eat in. I think, that is exactly what the restaurant is. For me personally, the design is not a problem at all. If the food is good, nothing else really matters.

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At their facebook page, you can see their menu and a lot of pictures of their food. Their menu, by the way is full of beautiful pictures so there is no need to know a particular language. You just point to the pictures and wait for the goodness to come! If you need to speak English, one of the waiters spoke good English, so that is also comforting for us expats!

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I can see myself coming here a lot! I hope you go and give it a try and let us know how you felt about the food!

 

Blogs and Websites about Moldova

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It’s been two years since my family moved to Moldova and since I started writing this blog. I enjoy writing, and while I write, I also find other blogs and sites about Moldova. Today, I want to share a few blogs and websites about Moldova with you. I hope you find them useful, interesting and funny as I do. If you know of any other sites, please leave us a comment about it and where we can find it!

Websites:

For Entertainment:

allmoldova

When I look for a restaurant in Moldova, I always ran into Allmoldova site. It has a lengthy list of restaurants and cafes with details, contact information and some pictures. Besides the restaurant list, they have sections about political and economic news, information about shopping and spas, and holiday events in Moldova. For English Speakers, it has an English version as well!

fest

Fest.md is a great place to look up the upcoming events in Moldova. It lists all that is going on including concerts, festivals, museum events, musical events, and even private parties. Sometimes, the information is not complete, but most big events will have good information and links to their websites or facebook pages. Bookmark this site as it will come useful many times!

For Tourism and Adventures:

MoldovaHoliday
This site serves as a guide to living and traveling in Moldova. It is a website that is being built as a project to improve tourism in Moldova. It has useful information about visa and finances as well as guides about the cities and attractions in Moldova. The website is organized well and has many pictures to give you a visual tour of Moldova.
explore.ppg
This is a website that invites people for adventures in Moldova through hiking, biking, running, kayaking, climbing and more. It is an exciting website run by exciting individuals that I have met personally. Besides outdoor activities, they also organize team building activities in English to which I have been to and enjoyed a lot. If you are up for an adventure in the beautiful Moldovan nature with or without kids, I would strongly recommend this group as a guide and facilitators.

tripMold

Triptomoldova.com is a website of a tourist agency that has business packages and customized packages to get to know Moldova more. Just give them a call and you will have a personalized trip!

For Personal Blogs:

CSer
This blog is a warm and lively blog that is written several times a week by a wonderful expat who has moved to Moldova recently in 2013. The blog posts have a curious and positive voice that I love ‘hearing’. It also has creative pictures from all corners of Chisinau and other parts of Moldova.

whenU

If you are up for giggles from comments and jokes about Moldova, this is the right place to go. Written by a young blogger who is fluent in English, this blog is simple, funny and brilliant.

iThink

This is a blog written by a Peace Corps Volunteer in Moldova. I find this blog very interesting, informing, and exciting as it delves into the every day lives of Moldovan families and youth. At the same time, the blog expresses the feelings and changes of being abroad in Moldova.

These are the websites that I personally like because of their guide and knowledge about Moldova. There are many more websites out there though. Do you have any other websites you know about Moldova? If so, please do share!

Gustar Festival 2013!

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I went to the Gustar Ethno Festival last August in Orheiul Vechi, Moldova, and I had a blast! My whole family went (with two little kids) and we all had a great great time.  It is a great historical place. I would write about it, but I actually don’t know much about the history of it. I only know that it is absolutely amazing there. It looks like a natural amphitheater, with old monasteries on the walls. Some websites call it an open-air museum complex!  Check it out on Google Image and you will like what you will see.

Although Orheiul Vechi is beautiful to visit on it’s own, it’s even better when you are going there for the Gustar Ethno Festival. This year, it will happen very soon. Like TOMORROW!!! and the DAY AFTER TOMORROW!! So, this Saturday and Sunday, August 24th and 25th, the festival will take place and I am sure there will be a lot of people there! They have lots of food and drinks and activities for kids, as well as great live music. Bands from several countries will come this year. If you want to find more information about it, check out the Fest.md information about it.

The only downfall of this place is that you have to have some kind of a transportation to get there. I don’t know if you can take a taxi there, but if you can, I can imagine the price of that. Fest.md writes about the price of bus tickets going there, but not anything about where you can catch those busses, so go figure! If you have a friend who has a car, convince that friend to take you there!

If you have kids, take them there too. Last year there were a lot of things for kids to do there and they can just run around and jump around with music. Our kids had a lot of fun last year and I hope they’ll do this weekend!

Recently, someone I know told me that she goes there to camp over night. If I went just with friends, sans kids, I would totally do that!

Also, I wrote about it after our last visit and you can see what I wrote there, and see how it looked like through my camera lens. Click here to go to that post.

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Mister Dog – Pet Shop in the center of Chisinau

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We decided to get a little aquarium a few months ago. For now, fish is as far as it goes for a family pet. With two little kids, we didn’t think we could manage anything bigger. So, we got our fish and aquarium and we are a happy little family now.

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We bought our first fish and the aquarium at an outdoor market, but that was before we knew Mister Dog existed. Mister Dog, is a cute little pet store that is right in the center of Chisinau. It is on the street Mitropolit Varlaam #88. It is very close to the shopping center Sun City and the Leogrand Hotel. The store is a little tricky to find, but I tried to pinpoint the location at the map below. Once you are in that area, you will notice a little store with a poster of a dog on it.

They sell so many types of food and accessories for all kinds of pets. They also sell different types of fish, hamsters and birds. They do not have dogs and cats, although there are several cats running around there and I know the owners of the shop would be happy if you wanted to take them. In fact, when I first went to this store, I almost forgot about the fish I wanted to buy and adopted a little black kitten. Almost. But, I got the fish instead, as I remembered that we already had two big cats with two feet that can talk and eat and scream and make us do all kinds of things, at home.

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Mister Dog, does not have a website so, I have no links for it. But, if you want to take a closer look at the map, click on the map above and I hope that will help you find the place.  I always spoke Russian in the store, so I am not sure if the owners know some English. But try it anyways, if you only speak English. They work 9 AM till 7 PM Monday through Saturday, and 10AM till 12PM on Sundays. Check it out and enjoy!

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