When it comes to the best restaurants in Ulaanbaatar, there are plenty of great spots for grabbing a bite to eat and drink any time of day.
What can I say except that I happen to love food. Like, a lot.
In fact, I’m the kind of person who plans my entire day around my meals. Not the other way around.
I live and breathe for a good meal shared with someone. Whether it’s a guest, a friend, someone a little more special, or even alone, a good meal cures everything.
And, since I’ve been living here for five years, I’ve seen plenty of restaurants come and plenty of restaurants go. The same with dining trends in the city and the Mongolian palate. Which has slowly been evolving and adapting to appreciate things that previously wouldn’t fly here. (I’m looking at you, hot sauce.)
So, while Mongolians do love their traditional foods, they also have a growing appetite to try new cuisines as well. From Mexican to Italian, fast-casual to fancy dining, it’s an exciting time to eat your way through Ulaanbaatar’s diverse and burgeoning food-scape.
Between all those other things to do in Ulaanbaatar you’ll be checking off your list, these are the best restaurants for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in Mongolia’s capital city.
For: Peak Diner Vibes
One of the few places in town that’s open early (8:00 am) and with consistent and reliable service with every visit, Millie’s is a diner meets café near Sukhbaatar Square. Get your steak and eggs, bacon, or hashbrown fix, or go for a breakfast burrito, the service is quick and the food fresh. And, if you don’t make it to Millie’s for breakfast, they are now serving Creole and Cuban cuisine from Monday to Saturday from 6 pm to 10 pm.
For: Great Coffee
Any coffee shop that hosts Vinyl & Coffee and streetside live music events is a-okay in our books. Across the street from Choijin Lama Museum and next to BlueSky hotel, our favorite part about Nitro B is that they serve Jack’s Coffee, our favorite locally roasted coffee beans here in Mongolia. Their food menu is limited to pastries, so, if drinking your breakfast is more your vibe, this is your place.
For: Consistently Great Comfort Food
In Ulaanbaatar, Rosewood’s weekend brunch, which can – and should – include their bottomless mimosas, is legendary. Not to mention, it’s one of our favorite hangouts in town any day and anytime of the week – not just for breakfast, which just so happens to include everything you crave for brunch. From hand crafted Italian sausages (made next door at the restaurant group’s butchery) to pancakes, French toast, and more, plus homemade kombucha and pastries they make fresh daily at The Market next door, it’s safe to say Rosewood’s weekend brunch has just about every weekend breakfast craving covered.
For: Your Fried Chicken and Udon Fix
We here at Meanwhile in Mongolia hold a special place in our hearts for Sakura. Not only is it one of our long-standing favorite restaurants in Ulaanbaatar, but we’d also probably vote it the best lunch restaurant in Ulaanbaatar, if we had to narrow it down to just one. (Which, it looks like we just did.) While we always go for the Japanese fried chicken with a slice of cheesecake, locals go crazy over the udon and tonkatsu. No matter what you order here, you can’t go wrong.
For: Lunch Outdoors
With outdoor seating and a friendly waitstaff, Green Zone is a local favorite for many reasons. The dishes are simple but tasty and the prices are reasonable. Plus, it’s one of the few places in town to get a decent salad (we particularly love the Greek Salad). The people watching is also interesting at this tiny café near the city center.
For: A Night Outside Overlooking a Buddhist Temple
With a terrace overlooking Choijin Temple (built in 1904), Veranda’s second floor seating is one of the best hideaways for a dinner outside when the weather is nice. The food is Italian, but there’s a little bit of everything, including a cocktail menu that includes a negroni and aperol spritz that even we approve of. Start with a cocktail and a caprese salad before moving on to some of the best pastas, steaks, and pizzas in town. And, after dinner, head down to Fat Cat Jazz Club in the basement of the same building for another special twist to your evening.
For: When You’re Dining Solo
This itsy-bitsy space inside the Shangril-La Mall complex is anything but itsy-bitsy on flavors – and fun. While we adore their cocktails, that’s not the only reason to head here, their food is unfussy and delicious. From salads to quesadillas and more, come here early to get a seat, this place gets packed as the night goes on and the atmosphere turns up.
For: The Hot New Spot in UB
While Tuul, the upstairs restaurant is the oldest restaurant in UB (and host to some pretty great music), it’s the new Niche Garden that has our attention this summer. Whitewashed and beachy chic to the max, sit in this open space with as many friends as you can wrangle, this is what this hot new spot is best for.
For: Party Vibes
With an outdoor patio that’s peak summer vibes and a big open space indoors perfect for the live music they often host, La Fontana is a young, hip, spot to see and be seen at in Ulaanbaatar. Drawing a funky, well-dressed crowd, they host a ladies night on Wednesdays and live music often happens on Fridays. Check the La Fontana Facebook page for their schedule of events.
For: Large Groups
Near the wrestling palace in the 6th micro-district of Ulaanbaatar, Hazara is one of our favorite restaurants in Ulaanbaatar for larger groups and special celebrations. The food at Hazara is so good you’ll want to order to share – which means, grab everyone before you head there. The more people that join you, the more dishes you’ll get to share! It was the first Indian restaurant in the city (they opened in 1997) and since it’s still around, you know it must be good. There’s not a bad thing on the menu, and we particularly love their daal, tangri masala, rogan josh (lamb curry with fennel), murg makhani (butter chicken), and every one of their naans and rotis.
For: Exploring Another Side of Ulaanbaatar (Literally)
Located in Ulaanbaatar’s Zaison neighborhood, across the river and closer to the Bogd Khan Uul mountains, Terrazza’s rooftop is one of our favorite places for dinner for the setting. Head there later in the day for sunset and enjoy the restaurant’s sprawling outdoor patio for late day drinks and dinner. To avoid traffic, head there before rush hour and check out the views from the Zaison Memorial, since you’re already on that side of town anyway.
For: A Good Time
Go early and go hungry. That’s our motto for La Rosa and we’re sticking to it. The restaurant opens at 5:00 pm and expect every table to be full by 6:00 pm, if not earlier. The service is the best in town and it’s hard to beat the vibe. With a funky tiled floor, custom-made pool table, and the most happening bar on the block, La Rosa is a place you might go to early, but it’s also that place you’ll find yourself staying at late. (Shruggies.)
Author: Breanna Wilson
Hi! Sain uu! I’m Breanna, an American travel writer and adventurer living in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia for more than 5 years. I’ve written for and been featured in Condé Nast Traveler, CNN, Forbes, and the New York Times, among others. Read more of my Mongolia travel articles here.
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