Stepanakert's Authentic Cuisine: Local Dishes, Restaurants & Recipes

Stepanakert's Authentic Cuisine: Local Dishes, Restaurants & Recipes

Stepanakert's Authentic Cuisine: Local Dishes, Restaurants & Recipes


Stepanakert, the capital of the Republic of Artsakh, is a city rich in culture, history, and of course, delicious cuisine. Located in the South Caucasus region, Stepanakert is known for its unique blend of flavors influenced by Middle Eastern, Russian, and Armenian traditions. From hearty meat dishes to flavorful vegetarian options, Stepanakert's cuisine has something to satisfy every palate.

Local Dishes


Tolma is a must-try dish in Stepanakert. Made with grape leaves stuffed with a mixture of rice, minced meat, and herbs, tolma offers a burst of flavors. Topped with a tangy sauce made from pomegranate juice, tolma is a delightful combination of savory and sweet.


Khorovats, also known as Armenian barbecue, is a popular dish in Stepanakert. Made with marinated chunks of meat, typically pork, beef, or lamb, khorovats is grilled to perfection. The smoky aroma and tender meat make it a favorite among locals and visitors alike. Served with fresh vegetables and lavash, a traditional Armenian bread, khorovats is a true delight.

Zhingyalov Hats

A unique specialty of Stepanakert's cuisine, Zhingyalov hats is a type of flatbread stuffed with a variety of herbs. The dough is thinly rolled and filled with a mixture of finely chopped green herbs, such as cilantro, parsley, and dill, along with onions and other seasonings. It is then baked on a hot griddle, resulting in a crispy and flavorful bread. Zhingyalov hats is a popular street food snack in Stepanakert.


Dzorak Restaurant

Dzorak Restaurant is a beloved establishment in Stepanakert, known for its traditional Armenian cuisine. It offers a cozy and welcoming atmosphere, perfect for enjoying a meal with friends and family. Some of their must-try dishes include tolma, khorovats, and zhingyalov hats.

Shushi Restaurant

Shushi Restaurant is another popular dining spot in Stepanakert, specializing in local Artsakh cuisine. The restaurant prides itself on using fresh, locally sourced ingredients to create authentic dishes. Their menu features a wide range of traditional Armenian delicacies, including khorovats and various meze options.

Grand Lavash

Grand Lavash is a charming restaurant that offers a unique twist on traditional Armenian cuisine. Known for their lavash, the restaurant serves freshly baked bread, both traditional and flavored, alongside a variety of dips and spreads. It's a great place to experience the true flavors of Stepanakert.


Tolma Recipe


  • Grape leaves
  • Minced meat (beef or lamb)
  • Long-grain rice
  • Onion, finely chopped
  • Garlic, minced
  • Herbs (parsley, mint, dill), chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Pomegranate juice for the sauce


  1. Prepare the grape leaves by blanching them in boiling water for a few minutes until they become tender. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a bowl, mix the minced meat, rice, onion, garlic, herbs, salt, and pepper together until well combined.
  3. Take one grape leaf and place a small amount of the meat and rice mixture in the center. Fold the sides of the leaf over the filling and roll it up tightly.
  4. Repeat the process until all the filling is used.
  5. In a large pot, arrange the tolma rolls in layers. Add enough water to cover the tolma and bring it to a boil.
  6. Cover and simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour until the rice and meat are fully cooked.
  7. For the sauce, reduce pomegranate juice in a separate saucepan until it thickens slightly.
  8. Serve the tolma rolls with the pomegranate sauce drizzled on top.

Zhingyalov Hats Recipe


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Assorted herbs (cilantro, parsley, dill), finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • Olive oil for brushing


  1. In a large bowl, mix the flour and water together to form a dough. Knead for a few minutes until smooth.
  2. Divide the dough into small balls and roll each ball into a thin circle.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the chopped herbs, onion, and salt.
  4. Take one of the dough circles and spread a generous amount of the herb mixture on top.
  5. Fold the dough in half, sealing the edges by pressing firmly.
  6. Repeat the process with the remaining dough circles.
  7. Heat a griddle or non-stick pan over medium heat. Brush the pan with olive oil.
  8. Cook each zhingyalov hat on the pan for a few minutes on each side until crispy and browned.
  9. Serve hot and enjoy this flavorful flatbread!