Cafe “Belaya Vorona” / Кафе Белая Ворона
Ул. Карла Маркса 37
0900 – 2200
8 (3952) 400-854,
Siberia isn’t a place one goes to for good coffee. However, for a city of its size, Irkutsk is actually reasonably well served in terms of coffee shops, and there are a number of places where one can go to get a good, reasonably priced cup. The coffee shop “Belaya Vorona” (White Raven) is my personal favorite, offering good quality coffee for a price similar to what one might pay in most major cities in the United States. Located on Ulitsa Karla Marksa, the main walking and shopping street in Irkutsk, Belaya Vorona is centrally located and a convenient point for meeting up with friends. The free WiFi and comfortable atmosphere also make it a good place to do work, and the clean public restrooms are always useful during downtown explorations.
Belaya Vorona is located in the basement of a flower shop, yet despite this it is relatively easy to find – You’ll see large signs for it on the front of the building, just enter the flower shop and follow the stairs down. The bathrooms are actually at the top of the stairs on the right, so you can use their toilets without entering the coffee-shop and thus feel no obligation to buy anything. The actual cafe in the basement is quite cozy, with painted brick ceilings and wooden bookcases with a variety of books in Russian for patrons to read (they might even have a couple in English). In addition to books, Belaya Vorona displays a variety of works of art from local artists, mainly small paintings and sculptures. On occasion, the coffee shop hosts special exhibitions, and also hosts cultural events such as movie showings and concerts by local musicians. For a full listing of events at Belaya Vorona, check out their VKontakte or Facebook page.
Prices at Belaya Vorona are quite reasonable – 80 rubles will get you an Americano, and you can get a small espresso for less than that. Unfortunately, tea only comes in teapots, and so is actually a bit more expensive than coffee, generally around 100 rubles. Belaya Vorona also serves a variety of food. Their breakfast menu is quite affordable, and you can get different kinds of kasha for 80 rubles, while omelets or bliny cost 150 rubles. A range of pastas, salads, and soups are also served, which look fairly tasty but are somewhat more expensive, between 200-250 rubles.
For groups and faculty-led tours, Belaya Vorona might be a poor choice if you are looking for a place to eat as food options are limited and many of the dishes are expensive. However, there is usually enough space to accommodate 8-10 people so if you were just looking for a spot for a drink or light snack or simply needed WiFi access this might be the place for you.