Kazakhstan's leaders, business people and stars, in inviting honoured guests to visit this southern city, could do a lot worse than entertain them in the newly refurbished café restaurant located next to the famous Opera and Ballet Theatre. Caffe del Teatro benefits from the theatre in many ways, sharing, to a degree, not only its name but also numerous mutual patrons into the bargain. And it could be argued that the pinnacle of artistic expression theatre-goers experience in the adjoining building, is very much in evidence in this wonderful café too.

Caffe del Teatro exudes sophistication. On approaching it from the Kabanbai Batyr Road it is clearly an establishment which takes itself, and its association with the theatre, very seriously. Outside, on the seasonal terrace and inside in the stylish main room, nothing less than the best is accepted. The furnishings and décor have a theatrical theme which gives the clientele that perfect pre-, or after- theatre mood. The far wall depicts the interior of a traditional theatre with the tasteful use of a large fresco, while a large window overlooking the patio area permits the café management to achieve that elusive perfect lighting.

Service is also of the best quality and although there is a lavish VIP room, it is difficult to imagine not feeling like a VIP when eating anywhere in Caffe del Teatro. The waiting staff know their job and are fully respectful of their diners' space and preferences. They are always on hand to assist, as well as to serve, and their knowledge of the menu can be considered a credit to the management too, whose policy would not permit insufficiencies in service at any time. This would mean from 12:00 till 12:00 every day, their opening times.

The desire for quality has led the restaurant to recruit kitchen staff from overseas, notably Italy which is internationally renowned for its cuisine. Now bringing you the very best is the head chef Franco Gatto from northern Italy whose experience and professionalism complements the dedication of his team. Selective in his choice of ingredients and cooking methods, he is partly responsible for the acclaim the restaurant receives.

Interestingly, there is a close collaboration with a top restaurant in London called Il Baretto with whom Franco Gatto has liaised in order to bring about the very best in dining to the heart of Almaty. The result, a combination of style, décor, food and service which make this café a very special place to go, and those who do so understand its character, making the atmosphere all the more conducive to a wonderful dinner.

So why not try some of the delights of Italy (as well as other places)? Ossobuco al Milanese, an iconic dish from this famous Italian city is a firm favourite as is cannelloni with meat and cheese, the latter highly recommended by the chef himself. There is also the famous Milanese yellow risotto which takes its name from the time a stained glass fitter at work fell into the spice mix at an Italian wedding and discoloured the ingredients... to the amusement of guests, and the delight of thousands for years to come, including those eating at Caffé del Teatro.

Also often sourced from Italy or its wine-producing counterparts are some of the finest wines ever bottled. The range is impressive and for those with informed taste buds, a match for almost anywhere in Kazakhstan. It is a priority of the owners to serve the best, and when it comes to wine this involves considerable knowledge of many marketplaces. The drinks gracing their tables prove that no effort is spared in this regard.

Yet it is not just the rich and famous who head for Caffe del Teatro as priority, many others not inclined to fame or fortune find that its incomparable ambience affords them the time to simply let their worries go for a few hours. A business lunch or a romantic evening may find no better spot, but whatever brings people here the first time, most people dining on any given evening have returned in the knowledge that Caffe del Teatro is worthy of its reputation for class.


51 a, Zhambyl Street, c/o Baiseitova Street, Almaty

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