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VILLA DEI FIORI
The fact that there are a lot of excellent cafes and restaurants in Almaty means that the boundaries of quality are being ever pushed out even further, part of the reason that many people come here and quickly form the opinion that you can eat as well here as almost anywhere else. It also means that for a restaurant to succeed, it needs to offer something that the competition does not.
Villa dei Fiori is a prime example of how an establishment can open up and within a year attract a large and loyal clientele in spite of the competition and many other things to do across the city. The fusion style restaurant complex justifies its reputation as one of the classiest joints in town not only with what it serves, but also the environment people eat in.
There are four rooms, one of which is dedicated to VIPs, although the latter is set apart more by privacy than by the degree of luxury, notwithstanding the fact that VIP guests are given special attention by waiting staff. The various dining areas, including the terrace, have the same menu which is printed in Russian and English and which has a wide range of options for anybody who loves good food.
The menu has been carefully prepared to reflect the diversity and the best of what people have eaten in Europe for decades or more, and there are a number of famous dishes as well as a huge choice of drinks, including the best wines from vineyards in Europe itself. Wine lovers are known to have made Villa dei Fiori their first choice while a typical day may also see the doors open to romantic dinners, business meetings and family parties which are attended to by trained animators loved by all the children for their costumes and energy, as well as the fun and games they provide.
The terrace area is stunning! There are modern pools and fountains, as well as comfortable seating and attentive service which it should be said adds to the experience. Staff are well-trained and know the menu very well, as well as understanding the importance of customer privacy. But coming back to the terrace, no, it would not suit to wait until summer to visit Villa dei Fiori if you are in Almaty in autumn or winter, but in the warmer months, at least check it out. You may prefer to dine indoors, perhaps for the music or atmosphere, but eating al fresco does not come a lot better than here.
Back indoors, there is a piano in the main restaurant which lends itself to concerts at times with talented musicians providing the music, but when it is covered over there are plenty of other events at the same venue, the excellent Internations group meeting there recently and other local groups such as Fryday very welcome too.
Opening times are 12:00 and a typical meal may cost 10-15,000 KZT although there are options for everybody and even a romantic evening out need not break the bank. Villa dei Fiori is certainly an upmarket restaurant and fully justified in its reputation for style, but it is not unnecessarily exclusive and certainly not snobby, so when you're in Almaty, consider this one of the places that will leave you with lasting memories of Kazakhstan as a place very much fit for the modern world.
Finally, although there is a really wide range of what European food has to offer and something for everybody of whatever taste, note also that there is a separate adjoining restaurant called Peppoli (same opening times) specifically dedicated to Italian cuisine. Recreating the culinary quality of Italy does not come easily and we have probably all been to places outside Italy where they haven't got the pizza quite right. But if you are a connoisseur of fine spaghetti, for example, then come along without any concerns because the kitchen staff are very much on top of their game, and the number of well-to-do people (including Italians) eating there on a regular basis is testimony enough to their work.