Ukraine’s top meat grill open’s left-bank locale – read on for the good stuff.
When we heard that, on 3 December, Argentina Grill opened its second location in Kyiv – and the first on the city’s left-bank – we sent a couple of What’s Oners to check it out. Voted Ukraine’s Best Meat Restaurant at the 2017 Salt Awards, our own Serzh Velychanskyi and Lee Reaney wined, dined, and sat down with restaurant co-owner Pavel Moroz.
Location / Clientele
Lee: So Kyiv’s left bank isn’t exactly where most restauranteurs would think to build a high-end steakhouse specialising in foreign fare. I’ve never even been to Pozniaky. How’d you settle on this area?
Pavel: This area was strategic. It’s highly-populated and many people here have just purchased a new apartment. It’s been less than a month and already it’s becoming quite difficult to find a table on the weekends.
Serzh: I bet – the natural sunlight, great nighttime views, spacious décor, and rustic trimmings – you must attract many corporate parties as well.
Pavel: Sure, but people come for the food! Our location in Obolon has been nominated one of the top 10 restaurants in Ukraine for the past three years by the prestigious SALT Awards. And our location in Kharkiv was named Best Meat Restaurant in Ukraine in 2017.
Atmosphere / Service
Lee: So we were greeted in Spanish on arrival – by both staff and your enormous ‘Hola’ sign at the entrance. It seems all of your staff can speak English. Is this a requirement for the job?
Pavel: We offer our own “mini MBA” in the fields of human resources, marketing, and management to servers. It’s our commitment to high-level service and management that makes us stand out.
Serzh: There aren’t so many grill houses in Ukraine, never mind ones that are Argentina-inspired. How did a couple of guys from Kharkiv come up with the idea?
Pavel: I love to cook meat, so you could say we have excellent qualifications. We wanted to open a meat restaurant, but not your average steakhouse. After travelling Europe, we saw many Argentinian restaurants. Argentinian cuisine is 70% Spanish and 30% Italian. That’s where the idea of an affordable steakhouse came from.
Food / Drink
Lee: Looking at the menu, there is a great variety of prices. Your burgers are 229 UAH for 490g, while your ribeye steaks run anywhere from 516 UAH to 1 099 UAH for 400g. Even your wines have a great range, from 183 UAH for a bottle of your Argentinian merlot to 592.50 UAH for the Argentinian malbec. Is this by design?
Pavel: Our idea was to keep it in the middle – affordable food for everyone and high-end dishes for those in the mood. The most important thing is the quality of ingredients, with our more expensive meats imported from Europe and the US. We can prepare them to perfection in Ukraine’s only Argentinian Parilla grill or our very own Josper oven.
Serzh: Do you have any dishes that you like to recommend? Or that are your own personal favourites?
Pavel: All of the foods developed here are cooked in full accordance with Argentinian norms. Our most popular dishes are the ribeye and T-bone steaks. Our burgers are excellent and that’s what I like. All of our dishes are very tasty.
Lee: So what’s next for the Argentina Grill?
Pavel: We are currently building two new locations, including one that we hope to open in Podil this spring. We don’t just want a handful of restaurants, we have a vision to become an international brand, with up to 300 locations worldwide. Currently we’re emphasising Eastern countries, like India, China, and the Middle East. Our partner is headed to Dubai tonight to look at opportunities there.
Serzh: Anything else you’d like our readers to know?
Pavel: There are restauranteurs, and then there are restaurant businesspeople. I like things to be natural. We’ll let our food do the talking.
Lee Reaney and Serzh Velychanskyi
Black Burger (490g) 229 UAH
Grilled Pork Ribs (300g) 261UAH
Wine (750ml), Merlot from Argentina 183 UAH
The What’s On Checklist
English menu Yes
English-speaking staff Yes
Price range $$
WO Rating 5-star
Make sure you try
The Big Black Burger – they serve it with black rubber gloves so your hands stay clean
The Ribeye Steak – either from Ukraine or from the US
Churros – a traditional Ibero-American treat – a MUST!
(Anna Achmatova 22)
Tel. +38 067 126 0000