Cafe Eliss/Закусочная Элисс
Ул. Мордовцева, д. 3
11 am – 12 pm Daily
Meals from $6
As may have been apparent throughout my last few posts, I believe that “Cheap Eats” should not only be cheap, but also accessible. Of course there are some cheap greasy spoon type restaurants on the outer edges of town, but who wants to go that far out of their way to grab a bite? Thus, continuing my trend, I am featuring a Chinese café located in the very center of the city, not a half a block away from Семеновская площадь (Semienovskaya Ploshad’; main bus stop in the center).
Café Eliss, despite being smack dab in the middle of Vladivostok, steps away from the ultra-modern and sophisticated CloverHouse mall, puts on no airs. The dining room is the size of a large kitchen, and grungier-looking places I have rarely seen, but the service was fast and friendly, and the servings plentiful. Perhaps the most unfortunate part of the meal was the jukebox located in front of the bar, as a group of old Soviet rockers commandeered it early on and played nothing but ear-splitting Black Sabbath tracks.
I ate with Dylan Clifford and Josh Solomon, two other SRAS kids who joined me on my food adventure. Dylan and I shared the sweet-and-sour chicken with bell pepper and pineapple, as well as fried dumplings (total 230 rubles, 180 rubles respectively). All three of us shared two bowls of rice (80 rubles total). I also sampled some regular black tea (40 rubles). Thus, for eight rubles under our target total of 280, I had quite a filling meal. However, I will say that the food was not the greatest that I have encountered. The chicken dish was sorely lacking in the seasoning department (although the café did gain a point for having soy sauce on the table, a feature extremely unusual in Vladivostok restaurants). The fried dumplings were just okay, and were honestly nothing ethnically specific, but were rather just fried Russian пельмени (pel’meni; small meat-filled dumplings). Overall, even for the price, I’m not sure that I would recommend Café Eliss. If you are in dire need of a bite to eat and your bus from the center just isn’t coming, I guess you could go ahead and stop in. Otherwise, I’d give it a pass.
For groups and faculty-led tours, I would also not be an enthusiastic proponent of Cafe Eliss. This is due to the fact that even sitting at our table of three, we felt a bit cramped. Also, there are only about 6-7 tables in the entire restaurant, as the center of the floor is left completely clear, so if there were other patrons in the establishment, I am pretty sure any group that came in would be out of luck.