Kraken
Yum.

Kraken Bar
Sverdlova 23a
M-T, 12–12; F and S, 12–2

Kraken is a very comfortable bar/café situated a five- to ten-minute walk away from the faculty of foreign languages building of Irkutsk State University. With a pretty long European/Russian menu, though not a very exciting beer list, it’s great for a weekday lunch or dinner near school. I haven’t yet tested it in its capacity as a bar, though.

Kraken

Kraken – entrance

While Kraken may not be the most exciting, Russia-y experience you’ll have in Irkutsk, it’s one of the better places I’ve found to eat near school. I got a Nicoise salad, which turned out to be super fancy-looking, with squares of salmon and some sort of poached egg in a cool shape. It was both really good and a great change from stolovaya fare—no disrespect, but sometimes you need a break! The friend I was with got a beer-snack plate that included some more Eastern European/Russian snacks, including grenki (гренки), the fried garlicky squares of rye bread. The bar also has hookahs available, so it’s not exactly your standard American-ish bar.

Prices are a little higher than I’ve been accustomed to in Irkutsk, though nothing outrageous. You can definitely stick to a $10 budget, though you won’t be getting an enormous meal for that price. Most entrees ranged from about $5 to $10, with the more filling-sounding dishes on the higher end of that spectrum. The atmosphere on a weekday late afternoon was quiet and pleasant; it would have been a fine place to do some homework. Overall, I don’t think it’ll become my go-to Irkutsk café, just because it’s not super unique to the area, but I did like it, and the sea monsters all over the walls are of course a definite plus.

Kraken

Very informative information about krakens.

 

Kraken

Quiet weekday bar experience.

Kraken

Yum.

Julie Hersh

Julie is currently studying Russian as a Second Language in Irkutsk (and before that, Bishkek) with SRAS’s Home and Abroad Scholarship program, with the goal of someday having some sort of Russia/Eurasia-related career. She recently got her master’s degree from the University of Glasgow and the University of Tartu, where she studied women’s dissent in Soviet Russia. She also has a bachelor’s degree in literature from Yale. Some of her favorite Russian authors are Sorokin, Shishkin, Il’f and Petrov, and Akhmatova. In her spare time Julie cautiously practices martial arts, reads feminist websites, and taste-tests instant coffee for her blog.

Julie is attending Home and Abroad
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