Kazakh cuisine, like most food in the region, is a wonderful amalgamation of influences from many religious and ethnic groups. Travelers who would like to stick with the comforts of home shouldn't despair as there are many international options. Night-time activity is liveliest in the big cities where there are plenty of bars, pubs and clubs for every taste.
Kazakhstan Bars and Pubbing
Most of the nightlife takes place in the large downtown areas like Almaty and the capital of Astana where pubs, nightclubs, concert halls, and casinos abound. Most of the fun after dark lasts well into the early hours of the morning, but there are options for a more chill evening, as well.
The Dublin Pub (Bayaseyitova 45, South of City Center, Almaty) is the perfect place to knock back a few beers after a long day of sightseeing. Located on a quiet street in a quaint part of town, the pub guarantees no disturbances. For more good beer, try Line Brew in Astana (Kenesary 20, Old Town, Astana), which looks like a tavern and serves Belgian ales.
For something trendier, Tinkoff in Almaty (Satpaey 27A, South of City Center, Almaty) is three floors and the place to be in Kazakhstan. It helps that the establishment serves up great drinks and even light dinner on the second level.
If it’s pop music you’re after, Soho (Qazybek Bi 65, City Center, Almaty) is the spot. Popular with locals and tourists alike, they're packed every night of the week. It has a great international atmosphere and occasionally live music.
Kazakhstan Dining and Cuisine
The food in Kazakhstan is a delicious mix of influences. There are a few local establishments which specialize in Kazakh food, but most of the regional delicacies can be found in street stalls and informal "mom and pop" restaurants. From Middle Eastern to American, there is an eatery for everyone.
To eat like a local, try Kishlak (Seyfullin, 540A, South of City Center, Almaty), which serves up traditional Uzbek shashlyk (grilled meat and vegetable kebabs). The atmosphere is relaxed, with tables low to the ground and bamboo decorations. Another good option is Derevnya Yegorkino (Auezov 93, Old Town, Astana), which is two floors of Russian village fare.
If it’s a quick snack you’re after, head to Yubileyny (Cnr Gogol & Abylay, Khan City Center, Almaty), which specializes in kebabs wrapped in tortillas, which are then stuffed with everything from sour cream to French fries. Extremely popular, you'd be lucky not to wait in a line wrapped around the block, especially during lunch time.
For the best American food in Kazakhstan, head to the American Bar & Grill (Tole Bi 41 City Center, Almaty), which offers burgers, steak and Tex-Mex. With its ranch-style interior, the eatery may see dining travelers harking for home sooner than they thought. Another more traditional option in the Caspian Sea harbor city of Atyrau, is Guns & Roses (Hotel Ak Zhaik, Azattyq, Atyrau), a pub-style restaurant which serves up high quality bar food.