Filled with cultural delights, which of course includes eating and drinking, Yerevan is a gorgeous city surrounded by stunning mountains and filled with theatres, museums, galleries, monuments, and eye popping scenery of a brick and tiled city. If you find yourself here, and you should, take in the history and beauty of the city and enjoy. Currently in its 2796th year, Yerevan is the capital of Armenia and its largest city. Although there is a lot to see, the Armenian people are worth getting to know; with expressive features and friendly dispositions, getting to know the locals couldn’t be more charming.
The Spade brings you a ‘Mini’ City Guide to Yerevan, Armenia – partly to tempt you to visit, and partly because this not often talked about city deserves some attention. As usual, our focus is on the important stuff – eating, drinking, coffee and enjoying life.
Eat, Drink & Be Merry
Jazzve Cafe in Opera Square – great people watching, beautiful middle-eastern style decor & drapery, and a front row seat to the Opera House in the heart of the city.
Armenian coffee made in a Jazzve (traditional copper pot that makes each drinker an individual pot of coffee). Once you’ve finished your coffee, turn your cup upside down into the saucer and wait for the grounds to dry – turn it back right side up and read your Armenian coffee grinds by looking at the picture your grounds have left in the bottom of your cup.
35/30 Tumanyan Street
tel: + 374 10 532048
Mer Taghe for Armenian-style pizza called ‘Lahmajune’ located in the heart of Yerevan on a bustling street. All Armenians know that this is the place to go for the good stuff.
Lah Majune – thin lavash (bread) topped with a variety of spices, herbs, ground beef and red peppers. Texture and taste is similar to pizza. Really good and a must try!
21/1 Tumanyan Street
Yerevan 0001, Armenia
tel: +374 10 580106
Any one of the 20 plus outdoor lounges around the Opera House
Pomegranate flavour, with a Kalika beer (local beer that is 12%)
A local’s house!
If you are lucky enough to be invited to someone’s house for an Armenian Barbecue you will experience the following: massive skewers of lamb, beef, chicken, goat, tomatoes & potatoes over a backyard fire pit.
This is what all locals do and they will be sure to show their hospitality; they wrap the meat pieces in Lavash (bread) with some fresh herbs and eat it like a wrap.
Our Village Restaurant after 7pm for live Armenian traditional music
traditional meal: Dolma (meat and rice wrapped in grape leaves), Beureg (cheese and pastry-like lasagne), Kefte (boiled beef), tomato and cucumber salad, lavash bread, and a pitcher of Tan (yoghurt drink).
Trout – freshwater trout caught straight from the lake and barbecued. There are a variety of restaurants along the waterfront, pick whichever one takes your fancy.
Cascade stairs and surrounding gardens
Grand steps that lead to an incredible viewing platform of the city. Before you climb, check out the hundreds of massive statues and artwork privately donated to the city.
Go between 9-11pm. Big old buildings and fountains are lit up, and accompanied by a music and light show.
10 minutes from the centre of the city, Saturday and Sunday only – get all your trinkets and artwork here, and be ready to bargain! Best buys: Jazzve coffee pots, tea sets, Doodook flutes, hand woven slippers (3 days to make), wooden Chess sets, and carpets!
St. Girgor Lusavorich Church
Constructed out of the local stone that most buildings in Armenia are built with called “Douf” – buy an orange candle (bad luck for someone else to buy it for you) and make a wish/prayer and leave it to burn in the candle trough.
Yervand Kochar Street
tel: +374 10 543332
Ararat Brandy Company
Armenians are very proud of two things 1) their Brandy and 2) their apricots. Take a tour of the Ararat Brandy Factory and check out the Peace Barrel waiting to be opened when the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia ends.
2, Admiral Isakov Avenue
tel: +374 10 510 100
Tour: +374 10 540 000
Go for a real traditional, cultural experience. Home of the Armenian National Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet, the Opera House is an excellent example of Soviet era architecture.
54 Tumanyan Street
tel: +374 10 533391
Be sure to stop and sample local sweet treats. Stalls will offer up tutu lavash – fruit leather, thin roll-up sheets of sour plum purée; Soujoukh – walnuts in a jelly-like caramel on a string; and Gatah – fancy bread with intricate designs and sweet sugary filling.
Head to the mountains
Just outside of the famous church called Geghard, there is a restaurant tucked into a cliff. Ladies make fresh Lavash (Armenian Bread) right before your very eyes. You can sit and look out from your perch eating BBQ chicken, lamb and beef with assorted herbs, cheeses and ‘Gampot’ (plum juice) that all Armenians make and have at home.