Pekarnya “Osetinskiye Pirogi”
Черемховский Пер. 9в
www.irkpirog.ru / (3952) 60-60-52
Meals from ~$7 per person
Pining for pizza? Does mayonnaise-coated lavash not fulfill your craving? Though American-style pizza can be found in Irkutsk, consider a delicious Soviet substitute – Ossetian pies! These round, pizza-like pastries are made of a deliciously greasy dough, stuffed with things like cheese, potato, spinach, beet greens (seriously, its good), and/or meat, and then covered with sauces like tomato sauce and the spicy Georgian tzatziki. While many western Russian cities have a wide variety of restaurants offering Georgian Khachapuri and other regional delicacies, here in Irkutsk the Pekarnya is really your only option for Caucasian flatbreads. There is one hitch though – the Pekarnya is a bakery, not a restaurant. There are no tables, and you aren’t allowed to eat there. Instead, the Pekarnya functions as a delivery and take out service.
The menu can be found on their website or you can get an up-to-date copy at their physical location which is conveniently located about a 10-minute walk from the university. At first glance it may appear to be quite expensive – small pies are usually about 450 rubles, large pies range from 900-1000 rubles. However, keep in mind that Ossetian pies are large and filling; a small pie can easily feed 2-3 people and a large pie can be enough for 4-5 individuals. So go with friends. The pies have a wide range of fillings including vegetarian options, though not all of the fillings are available all the time.
Once you’ve selected your pie, you’ll have to choose whether to have it delivered or pick it up. Delivery costs range from ~100 rubles to more than the cost of the pie depending on where you are, though if you have many pies and are not too far off it may well be worth it. Picking up the pie in person gets you a 10% discount, yet be aware that the bakery is not easy to find and going there can be somewhat intimidating – it’s located in a courtyard off of the main street down a poorly marked stairway which can usually be recognized by the cluster of Caucasian bakers smoking in front of it. Walk past the smokers and ring the bell to be buzzed into the bakery – the cashiers are in the room down the stairs and to the right and are generally polite and helpful. Pies take 30-40 minutes to prepare so it’s best to call and order ahead. Also, the bakery does not welcome loiterers, so don’t think you can wait around for your pie to be prepared unless you want to hang out with the aforementioned smoking Caucasian bakers out front (it might be fun?).
For groups and faculty-led tours, the Pekarnya would not be an appropriate location to take a group of any size as it has no seating. However, food could be ordered for any number of people if a suitable location to eat it could be found.