From casual concepts to upscale dining, Ukraine’s capital city boasts a slew of attractive restaurant options. Here, we highlight four design-focused new openings.
Virgin Izakaya Bar
Spread across nearly 4,300 square feet, Japanese concept Virgin Izakaya Bar has opened within an 18th-century structure on the industrial estate of the Arsenal manufactory in the heart of Kyiv. Brick walls, rough wood, oxidized metal, and bare concrete are warmed by accent lighting and greenery in a space revamped by locally based studio YODEZEEN Architects to embody the feel of a traditional izakaya. “We wanted to convey that relaxed, stylish interior,” says YODEZEEN cofounder Artur Sharf. Natural wood tables, copper lamps, and leather seating subtly infuse natural elements throughout the historic interiors, while the experience peaks at the open kitchen, in front of which guests can dine at the bar counter.
To craft the healthy fast-casual concept Istetyka in Kyiv, locally based Yakusha Studio founder Victoria Yakusha stared into the void. “The void gives the ability to see the essence and focus on what’s important,” she says. “In [some fast-casual] restaurants, there’s too much noise. We wanted to bring visual silence here—to create a minimalist space where nothing distracts you and where you simply enjoy the food.” The result is a raw interior lined with textured clay walls and rough concrete that contrasts smooth steel and polished stone surfaces. Organic forms and recycled elements like artisanal tables and plastic poufs cultivate a subdued atmosphere that further tie the design to the earth.
The Kyiv building housing renowned Israeli chef Meir Adoni’s restaurant Samna dates from 1797, and that deep history was one of the challenges that YOD Group faced when designing the expansive space, which comprises five halls. Although Samna is very much a contemporary restaurant, it also needed to stay true to its origins as Ypsilantis House, a mansion that was once the home of an Ottoman Empire statesman. As a result, a restrained palette of oak and leather accentuates the architecture, which is defined by brick walls and vaulted ceilings. One of Samna’s most striking features is a bridge made out of copper, a material that suggests nobility, that also appears on the bar, a shelf poised above a counter on steel ropes, and the plates suspended from the ceiling that reflect the warm, flattering light.
When Julia Baydyk, founder and CEO of local studio Alta Idea Design Studio, was invited to craft the banquet hall and terrace at Shef restaurant located inside the Favor Park Hotel Kyiv, she dreamed up a design that is light and festive with a dash of drama. Enclosed by glass, panoramic views of the city immerse guests in the environment, which is further conveyed inside. Blue and orange chairs offset an abundance of silicone flowers, including strategically placed orchids that create private nooks. But it’s the flowers blossoming from the ceiling that are the showstopper. Nestled among the greenery are 15 chandeliers, which evoke a romantic, garden-like ambiance that envelopes guests in the setting. “I wanted a person to enter the room and think: ‘how good, how easy. I’m literally in a garden,’” says Baydyk.