Giraffe / Жираф
ул. Дзержинского, 34
Meals from $3
Giraffe is a fast-food cafe not far from the Central Market in downtown Irkutsk. You’ll know it by its jolly giraffe sign and large pictures of coffee and corn dogs advertised outside. It’s a very brightly decorated place, both outside and inside. Inside there’s a lot of space, but when I went with a friend for a quick bite to eat, the place was nearly packed, so it had a busy atmosphere and we had to search a bit for a table.
Giraffe works cafeteria-style, so you go up to the counter first to order and then bring your tray to a table. The menu is very large and it takes a while to sort through all of your options! They range between fast food standards such as pizza, burgers and fries, to Russian standards – bliny, borsch, pirozhki – and finally a variety of drinks and desserts.
The quality of the food here is pretty mediocre, neither good nor bad. When I came here with my friend Maria, we were looking for more of a snack than a full meal, so I ordered just a slice of pizza (39 rubles) and a side of fries (45 rubles) plus a glass of mors (морс, a drink made from lingonberries) for 20 rubles. The pizza was better than some of the other fast food pizza options around, but worse than others, and the fries were pretty standard. The dipping sauce, a garlicky mayonnaise (for 15 rubles), was pretty tasty though and added some extra flavor to the otherwise unremarkable fries.
In a pinch, Giraffe will do as a relatively quick place to grab a bite to eat. And it’s possible that some of the other options on the menu are more exciting, but I wouldn’t expect much from the food here and wouldn’t recommend going out of your way to eat here.
For groups and faculty-led tours, There’s space enough to accommodate a group, but when I went the place was nearly packed and fitting in any group over five would have required a wait.