Walter's - Restaurant review
By Martin Nunn
Design of the restaurant
Walter's is one of the most unpretentious restaurants in the city. The design is simple from the terrace which is a joy particularly at weekends when the street is pedestrianised, through the gelateria to the sumptuous seating at the back. It’s the sort of restaurant where you can pop in for a quick bite or lounge around for hours. What I like is that it’s a restaurant for people who really enjoy good food rather than posing. The décor is very simple yet wonderfully refreshing as it’s not over designed.
Walter's is so easy to find that you will probably have walked past it a hundred times without realising it. Just as you enter Podol on Petra Sahaidachnoho stands the Impress Hotel on the left. 5 meters past the hotel entrance is Walters.
Walter and Gisella have trained their staff well, yet both still spend virtually every evening watching over their customers. This is a place for regulars as once you have been there a couple of times you become part of the greater Italian family. The two ‘Maitre d’hotel’ are excellent and don’t miss much. The staff have been at the restaurant for as long as I can remember and nothing is too much trouble. The service is effortlessly smooth although some customers, who have obviously never been to Italy, believe it could be a bit quicker. This however is not an atmosphere to be rushed, take the time and savour the moment.
Prices of food and beverages
I have never come away from Walter's thinking that I just had an expensive evening. As with any restaurant it’s easy to spend a lot, particularly in this case, if you deviated off the Italian wines. I’ve had lunch time Pizzas for under 100 hryvna per head and sumptuous dinners for less than 250 Hryvna and for food of this quality I defy anybody to complain. You can spend 300 to 400 Hryvna on a bottle of wine if you chose but personally I prefer to drink the house wines which are well above average
Quality of the food
You can always tell a good restaurant by the people that dine there, Walter's is consistently full of Italians, Ambassadors and lovers of real Italian cuisine. It’s not a designer food restaurant; the menu is not full of clever little numbers that are designed to look good but taste of nothing. It’s just possibly the best Italian food in the city and it’s all in the details. The pasta is cooked ‘al dente’, the pizzas are baked in a wood fired kiln, Walter makes his own mozzarella cheese, salami, sausage air dried hams and ice creams and even imports his own olive oil and coffee just to get it right.
To start with order the Fecacha, an oven baked pizza bread with oregano, try pouring a little olive oil onto your plate, add a little salt and then smother it over your Fecacha slices… delicious. For your first course try the Carpaccio of Beef served with a ruccola and red radicio salad, thinly sliced mushrooms and a lemon vinaigrette or if you prefer something warm the Cozze alla Venezianna (Mussels in a hot wine broth). If it’s really chilly outside the home made mushroom soup is brilliant. For pasta you have an army of choices but personally I think the Lasagna alla Bolognese is the best in Kiev and the Spaghetti alla Scogliera al Cartoccio (Sea food spaghetti cooked in a paper bag) is well worth the wait.
For carnivores your have two house specialities; The Filetto di Bue aitre pepi flambato al Cognac (Fillet of Beef in a pepper and Cognac sauce) is best eaten red with a Chianti Classico or good Barolo. If you are really hungry try the Ossobuco Milanese, again it’s a delight. Personally I prefer these with grilled vegetables rather than the usual garnish. In terms of fish dishes try the Sea Bass which comes ‘straight’ with just a wedge of lemon or if you want to impress your guest try the steamed Tiger Prawns with carrot mousse.
For pizza lovers there is a separate menu of real Italian Pizza. These are baked at the back of the restaurant in what I think is the only wood burning Pizza oven in Kyiv. The taste is uniquely Italian particularly those with Walter's own salami’s. For me the best is the Tonne e Cipolla (Tuna with Onion)… With a glass of Pinot Grigio its just like eating in Venice.
For desert you have to try the home made ice cream wonders or if you still have room Walters unique Tiramisu will finish your meal beautifully.
11:00 - 23:00