Ул. Фокина, д. 12
Regular Hours: 12 pm – 1 am daily
Business Lunch: 12 pm – 4 pm Mon-Fri
Meals from $8.33
After a winter holiday hiatus, I am back with some new Cheap Eats in Vladivostok for all my adoring fans (sense the slight sarcasm there?)! First up is a place in the city center called Далянь (Dalyan), which is a convenient two-minute walk down Aleutskaya Street from Simionovskaya Square, the last stop for the #17 and #23 buses, aka the transportation lifelines of VGUES students. The restaurant, as you may have guessed, is named after a Chinese city well-known here in the Russian border regions, a fact that I got quite a hearty laugh out of as I’m sure that if the city knew just how its namesake restaurant was representing its food, a lawsuit would not be long in coming.
Indeed, I have very little good to say about Дальянь. Though I do often subscribe to the adage, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth,” I must say that I am sorry for even paying the paltry 250 rubles that the all-you-can-eat, buffet-style meal cost me. Why you ask? Well, first and foremost because the food was near flavorless, and even the dishes that would have been mediocre in terms of taste, were in some other way horribly defective (e.g. one beef dish was charred almost beyond recognition). Secondly, the food was basically the exact same that you find in every Chinese restaurant in Vladivostok – General Tsao’s chicken (Го Бао Жоу – go bao zhou – it’s called here), garlic and greens, some dry beef dish, an assortment of pork dishes in different sauces, and stir-fried potatoes and eggplant, to name a few. Lastly, the atmosphere was even unappealing, as it felt to me as if I were dining in a dungeon; the lighting was pale and harsh, the spacing of tables felt too close, and from the speakers blared a misguided mixture of Bollywood hits and sappy Russian pop. So in short, not only was this nothing new, but it was all the worse because the experience was both banal and subpar to boot. The only real positive thing that I can say about the restaurant is that my lunch partner, fellow SRAS colleague Jeff Bell, and I were full at the end of our meal (for better or worse) as there was a 250-ruble penalty for not cleaning your plate well enough!
For groups and faculty-led tours, I would most definitely not recommend Дальянь – that is, unless you want a dissatisfied mob on your hands! The place could easily accommodate a large group, but I really don’t think there is a reason to subject people to this experience if you even remotely respect them.