O'Panas Exterior: complete with a large wooden mill-wheel
O'Panas Exterior: complete with a large wooden mill-wheel

O’Panas Ukrainian Restaurant /
О’Панас, Ресторан

Київ, 03124, парк ім. Тараса Шевченка, вул.Терещенківська, 10
Daily (Monday-Sunday): 8:00am – 12:00am
Meals from $12

Opanas.com.ua

Taras Shevchenko Park (Шевченка) in downtown Kyiv is a popular outdoor venue for recreation, socializing, and enjoying ice cream (мороженое), beer (пиво), and/or kvas (квас) from street-vending booths. It is conveniently triangulated by three metro stations: Universitet (Унiверситет), Teatralna (Театральна), and Ploshcha Lva Tolstoho (Площа Льва Толстого). During my visits to this park, I’ve enjoyed observing children spill laughter over playground equipment as well as ride ponies and motorized toy vehicles along the pedestrian pathways. It is also commonplace to witness chess matches, business meetings, couples and friends enjoying each other’s company on park benches, and live music performances around the park monuments and fountains.

Also located in Taras Shevchenko Park is a delightful authentic Ukrainian restaurant: О’Панас (O’Panas), which offers a more complete, up-scale dining alternative to the street vending option. This reasonably-priced sit-down eatery offers a charming, amiable atmosphere and equally friendly, professional service.  For those who would like to experience genuine Ukrainian cuisine and culture without shriveling one’s wallet, I highly recommend О’Панас!

Chess match in Taras Shevchenko Park

Chess match in Taras Shevchenko Park

A fellow SRAS student and I dined at О’Панас in the early evening on a weekday, when the establishment was just starting to seat its guests amongst empty tables. With two dining levels, an enclosed summer terrace, and a third-floor private “VIP-hatynkas,” О’Панас can comfortably serve 150 guests in its Ukrainian Barocco interior. The restaurant’s wooden cottage (хатинка) construction features a picturesque mill-wheel at its entrance and a large tree which grows through the center of the building. Its large windows allow visitors to enjoy the sights of Kyiv’s historic central park while dining, and the restaurant also regularly serenades its guests with authentic live Ukrainian music. During our dinner, a trio of three women sang folk tunes and accompanied themselves on banduras (a lute-like string instrument originally played during the 15th-18th centuries by wandering minstrels and Cossacks).

О’Панас’s menu is extensive, providing a wide range of options in their choice of salads, soups, hot and cold appetizers, meat, fish, vegetarian entrees, desserts, and beverages. For those who are unfamiliar with Ukrainian dishes, the menu provides English translations of item names and ingredients. The full menu, along with other information about the restaurant can be found at the establishment’s official website, and О’Панас’s Facebook page displays additional pictures and event details.

O'Panas Meal

O’Panas Meal: stuffed cabbage rolls, vareniki, bread, and beer

I experienced the food to be exquisitely prepared and absolutely delicious. My friend and I sampled the «Голубцi з грибами лiд домашньою сметаною» (stuffed cabbage-rolls with mushrooms and sour cream), «Вареники з картоплею, грибами та шкварочками» (vareniki with potatoes, mushrooms, and cracklings), and «Балтика 7» beer. The portion sizes were healthy, leaving us feeling satisfied with both our meal and pocketbooks (our bill totaled $13.50 per person).

Options for more elaborate, expensive courses are readily available, including many dishes that were popular and considered traditional before the Soviets attempted to standardize and industrialize food production. This includes many dishes involving forest-based game, berries, nuts, and mushrooms.

The staff were friendly and experienced, and their traditional Ukrainian dress (elaborated with bright red and white embroidery) completed the charming folklore atmosphere.

For groups and faculty-led tours, О’Панас offers the option to reserve tables ahead of time by phone. This would be particularly helpful should your group require a large portion of the available dining space. The open-space arrangement of the restaurant can suit large groups quite well with the simple rearrangement of tables, but only if those tables are not occupied by other guests. О’Панас also provides a catering and delivery services. More information about these options can be found at the restaurant’s official website.

Marie Forney

Marie Forney

Marie Forney is a Master of Public Affairs student in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University, Bloomington. She holds M.M. and B.A. degrees in music theory and flute performance from Indiana University and the University of Notre Dame, respectively, with special emphasis on Russian ballet. Her artistic studies are serving well as a gateway into policy analysis and international development, and she is in Ukraine on an internship program arranged by The School of Russian and Asian Studies, studying Russian at NovaMova International Language School while interning at the Institute of World Policy in Kyiv, Ukraine.

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