Megan Dwyer and I "putting on the Ritz"!

Restaurant Avanta/Ресторан Аванта
г. Владивосток, ул. Гоголя, 41
Hours: 7:30 am – 12:00 am (Kitchen closes at 11:00 pm)
Meals from $4

Ресторан Аванта (Restaurant Avanta) is actually located within Vladivostok State University of Economics and Service, the place where all of SRAS students stay! One of the interesting things about studying at this university is that it has an entire hotel within its confines; as part of the “service” sphere alluded to in its name, the university has a whole department dedicated to the management and operation of hotels. It is in this hotel that Ресторан Аванта is located.

Like many a hotel restaurant, Аванта is quite a classy sit-down spot, so if you don’t want to feel underdressed (as we did), do make sure to look a little more professional (or just dress like the average Russian). Also like many a hotel restaurant, Аванта is normally quite expensive, so if your goal is to eat cheap, do not order from the regular menu.

The low-price option is called бизнес-лаунч or комплексный обед, and there should be a small tablet on the table reflecting your options and the prices. In short, it’s a bit like the prix-fixe options that have been popping up of late on the American dining scene. You can choose a salad, soup, main dish and drink or any smaller combination of these options.

As is the usual for me, for I eat in style or not at all, I had all the available courses: оливье (olivye – a Russian salad made with ham, еggs and peas), рассольник (rassol’nik – a Russian soup, the base of which is tasty pickles!), spaghetti Bolognese and nice, strong black tea.

I was very skeptical about what the quality of the food would be given the prices – 60 rubles each for the salad and soup and 140 for the spaghetti – but I was pleasantly surprised overall. Both the salad and spaghetti Bolognese were quite delicious, with generous portions and fresh, flavorful ingredients. The soup, too, although overwhelmed by the taste of too much parsley, was relatively tasty, and what it lacked in taste was surely made up by the wonderful presentation of each dish and the chic atmosphere of the place. After all, the restaurant does sit on the 7th floor of a building near the top of a high hill, so it commands a beautiful and far-reaching view, not to mention the plush furniture and sleek, modern décor that accompany the vista. Therefore, I judge that a weak soup can be forgiven, and in fact, need not even be ordered, as mentioned above. The only other, very minor complaint that I would voice is that although our server was very nice and polite, it seemed that she often forgot about us, especially at the end of our meal when a large party came from the hotel’s conference hall to dine. I must say, though, that by Russian standards my fellow poor students and I did not look too important!

I think I hardly need add that at the end of the meal, I was not only satisfied, but quite full! The compatriots with whom I lunched, Megan Dwyer and Josh Solomon, both SRAS students, as well, reported to me a similar level of contentment. If you’ve been to a hotel restaurant in almost any country, this will be nothing new to you, as there is nothing especially “ethnic” about the place, but if you, like myself, don’t cook and need to buy yourself lunch while living in the dorms at VGUES, you could certainly do a lot worse. In fact, I would rate it the best area option for the price that I have thus far experienced!

For groups and faculty-led tours, Аванта could potentially be a great idea due to its elegant atmosphere and its university location. If everyone ordered the business lunch, the affair could be arranged at quite a reasonable price. Seeing as it is a hotel restaurant, it seems fair to assume that there are other specialized accommodations for groups, as well, such as the buffet-style lunch that was set out for the conference group. The official website of the restaurant can be accessed here.

Jordan Bryant

Jordan Bryant

Jordan Bryant is a recent graduate of Harvard University (Go Crimson!), who specialized in both Slavic Languages and Literatures and the Classics. In order to deepen her knowledge of the Russian language and study the culture from a perspective different than the ones she had already experienced in the "two capitals", she has journeyed to Vladivostok, which is on the other side of the country! After she returns from Russia, she hopes to matriculate into law school and work in the field of international corporate law in Eastern Europe.

Jordan attended Home and Abroad
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